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Plains Town

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Dawn breaks in the east in small-town America, just the same as every other place. The farmer has been awake and working for an hour by the time the sun begins to rise. Birds chirp their familiar song to the farmer during the coolest hours of the day as he begins maintenance on his 15-ton John Deere combine, pain…

Dawn breaks in the east in small-town America, just the same as every other place. The farmer has been awake and working for an hour by the time the sun begins to rise. Birds chirp their familiar song to the farmer during the coolest hours of the day as he begins maintenance on his 15-ton John Deere combine, paint faded and scraped from the two decades worth of fields it has harvested. Equipped with the proverbial outfit of patched jeans, long sleeve shirt, and hat, the farmer knows he has 12 hours worth of work in that field on this day. With the crop being freshly planted, the first task is to take a hoe with his weathered, jagged hands and remove pesky weeds that want to take his crop’s vital nutrients. The farmer will be occupied for hours combing through the rows and mounds of soil. 

The morning progresses and local business owners arrive at their respectful place of commerce to begin the day. The coffee and tea shop on the corner of Main Street and the highway welcomes its normal flow of regular customers while the donut shop fills with retired men eating their favorite cake donut and discussing politics and the drought. The forecast shows no sign of rain again, and the men chatter about another day with temperatures in the triple digits. 

The drug store opens its doors to find customers already keenly waiting in the parking lot to refill their prescriptions. A familiar man in a motorized scooter pulls in to buy his regular: a Diet Coke priced at $1.50. Though he knows the price has never changed, he still asks the cashier for his total, and hands over exact change as anticipated. The man leaves the drugstore and gets back into his scooter, small dog and soda on his lap, to coast through his regular Main Street route, heat be damned. 

A mother of three has beads of sweat dripping from her forehead after vacuuming the house and getting the kids dressed and ready. She dreads making the monotonous drive to Wal-Mart some ten miles away, but knows that it must be done. The kids fuss about the musty smell of the feedlot crowded with cows as they pass by, but to her it smells like home, strange as that may be. Even as early in the day as it is, she appreciates the air conditioning in the car, as the dash reads “92 degrees”. The car rounds the only curve on the trip and passes through the unused underpass, and the mother of three anticipates seeing familiar faces at the only corporate-chain “superstore” in the Valley.

A recently promoted eighth grade boy wakes up early for his first day of strength training with his future high school teammates and coaches. The lanky boy with disheveled hair already feels soreness crawling through every underdeveloped muscle in his body, which just got its first taste of working out. He cringes knowing that he has a city-recreation baseball game to be played that evening. In the meantime, he knows a paradise that will give him temporary reprieve: the town’s swimming pool. 

Elsewhere in the town, a group of friends gathers at the Loaf-N-Jug gas station to plan out their friendly assault on the streets. They decide to begin by going for a cruise; one done by many before them, up and down Main Street, poor sounding bass rattling and rocking their parent’s cars and trucks that they claim as their own. After an hour of cruising, the group spots a few more friends playing basketball at the concrete slabs on Main Street, next to the railroad tracks. The friends won’t cause much mischief there, being that the slabs are catty-cornered to the police station. They throw off their shirts in hopes of staying cool and play some basketball, as the deafening roar of trains intermittently cuts into their banter during the game. 

At lunch time, the farmer has moved to another field, swathing through the hay that has already grown so that he can sell it and make a profit for the month. Sitting in the tractor is not exactly a leisurely activity, as the sun beats furiously through the windows, turning the high-powere…

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