Used car lots. Burned out buildings. Empty shopping malls. A strip joint featuring a one arm go-go dancer. Two dollar well drinks on Tuesday nights.
This was once a boom town. Industry thrived here. Back when we made things. Now technology is all the craze. The two coasts prospering; Midwest making the best of hard times.
Prices going up. Service jobs; McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, hiring and firing folks with no future. The green fields made him smile.
Every time the old man drove past the tall corn stalks, soy beans starting to grow, lush colors, he was reminded of his youth. A time when community meant something. People looked out for one another. Men sat in the diner discussing the decline.
It’s all the Democrats fault, one said. They started this whole Covid crisis, he slurped his coffee. Now we’re broke. China owns us. Bill Gates owns the rest, puffed on a Marlboro.
Now, now, wait a minute, another said. The Republicans are at fault too. Don’t trust them. Never have. They’re all about big business and leaving the rest of us behind, he stated.
They both are, the third senior citizen declared. They both are. It’s a club gentlemen. And we ain’t invited.
This gave the table pause. It was now clear the American dream was over. They drank their coffee. Ate pie. And smoked cigarettes. Sitting in silence.