A Brief History of Gerald, MO. | T. Guzman
Eleven secret herbs and spices.
In the air, in our cloths, settling like dust on houses and cars, driving the dogs in town crazy. Something we stop noticing till people not from here say “you smell like chicken.” It’s not a slight, but a confusion. A fur trading post, then train town, now a town with a sign that declares Gerald—The Town that Works. Its irony is not lost on us. The largest structure is an old grain silo. Our biggest industry is the spice factory employed to keep secrets and mix packets of KFC spices. Methamphetamines, opiates, and the speed trap cover the rest. Everyone deals in cash. Kids bike down main street wearing hats declaring the wrong winners of Super Bowls and World Series and NBA Championships from when the Embroidery was still open. Old men in overalls get drunk standing around pickups in parking lots, smoking twenty feet from the gas pumps at Amoco. Teenagers drink and fornicate in caves where their parents drank and fornicated, leaving their cans and boxers and bras on a precipice overlooking Red Oak Creek. Back roads, 265 ACs, the smell of money, crowing out of car windows, flying past miles of hay fields, cows, and clay pits, sliding on gravel through curves like some kind of hillbilly drift—
a single blinking yellow light
in the middle of town
that seems to encourage everyone to speed up—
the sun setting in the distance a few minutes early behind rolling hills, making everything momentarily brilliant before the afterglow.
T.Guzman writes, and does things in general. MFA student at Northern Michigan University. Splits time between the UP and Southern California.