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My Name Is Gerald
By S. A. Barton
Copyright 2013 S. A. Barton
Find other stories by S.A. Barton on his Smashwords profile.
They said we’d be able to see the fireworks from Lincoln, even though it was thirty miles away across the cotton fields. We could drive out to their city limits, but we wouldn’t be able to get inside—every parking space was already reserved for the 4th and had been for a couple of years now. Or we could go to Cornsgone just a few miles down the road in the other direction. It was just big enough that we called it ‘the city’. Their display would be much smaller than the one in Lincoln, but at least you could park.
There weren’t many towns in the USA that were too poor to manage some sort of fireworks for the Quincentennial, but Redemption, Nebraska was one of them. Instead of fireworks, we had a banner over Main Street that read ‘2276—500 years’ and plans for a bonfire behind the squat cinderblock community recreation center. With a population of less than a thousand people, the town was supported by the salaries of the dozen workers needed to maintain the power plant on top of the landfill at Trasherhorn Park (closed to the public since 2112 when ground was broken for the plant) and a few dozen telecommuters handling tech support and corporate email correspondence from virtual home offices. That, and the disability allowances of a few hikikomori like me, who did a little dataherding for the government if we were judged able by the powers that be.