I can understand his abrupt skepticism when I turned down the treacherous dirt road that led to Knowlton Heights.
“Are you sure we’re at the right place?” asked Ghoul.
“Yeah man. I take it you still don’t believe that this is our town’s trailer park, huh?”
He didn’t respond. I knew his decaying brain was processing the gigantic let-down he was about to receive. It was a common misconception that Knowlton Heights was anything but a trailer park, as most advertisements or mentioning of the place were falsely portrayed as a pristine example of modern architecture and affordable, family accommodations; all nestled away in seclusion at the end of a private drive. Ghoul realized the harsh truth that I tried to explain as we reached the end of the road.
“How can people live like this?”
Bruce whined from his spot on the backseat floor.
“It’s… it’s a trailer park—what do you expect?”
Knowlton Heights was worse off than I last remembered. Trailers—in general—have no need for modern foundations and usually have plastic siding that covers their exposed underbellies. That sheeting was now gone, revealing weak cinder blocks that held up the rotting homes. I also recall there being less trailers and more yard. Shriveled strips of brown grass divided the compact cluster of worn-down trailers.
“Just remember that you’re the one who wanted to do this. There is no turning back now—Look.”
I parked the car at the first column of trailers, watching with Ghoul as an unbelievable sight befell our eyes. From between the scattered car parts, gaudy yard furniture, and piles of trash emerged the residents of Knowlton Heights. They swarmed around our car, peering with hungry eyes to the coolers that sat on my back seat. It was a cold meal they salivated over—one consisting of day-old tuna sandwiches, mushy apples, one garden salad, and questionable cartons of milk.
“I’m going to try and get out,” said Ghoul.
“Good luck,” I returned.
“Hell no, you’re getting out too. Come on man,” Ghoul rolled down his window and spoke to the mass. “Hey everyone, how are ya? Let me just get out so we can get this show on the road.”
The filthy throng of Knowlton Heights’ finest filed into one straight line and stood at a modified version of parade rest. I was impressed by their discipline, and felt that there must a leader somewhere in the ranks. Ghoul noticed this as well.
“Who is in charge here?” he asked.
A man who stood at the back of the formation came forward. He was a burly individual who wore grease stained pants and a Dale Earnhardt racing shirt. The ripped trucker cap atop his well-kept mullet.
“I am,” he stopped before Ghoul and offered a grimy hand. “Frank Coldmane—pleased to make your acquaintance. I welcome you on behalf of our fine community to Knowlton Heights. I feel I can speak on behalf of everyone gathered here; we are ever appreciative of the feast brought before us. My deepest gratitude.”
My jaw dropped at the eloquent speech given. I would have never guessed someone who called Knowlton Heights home to be so well-spoken.
… Am I this judgmental of horrible stereotypes? I need to take a step back later and evaluate my morals.
“Well thank you very much Mr. Coldmane. Let me go ahead and get this food for you,” said Ghoul.
“No need, sir. You have done more than enough to help, now it’s our turn to repay you.”
The sequence of events that happened next came without warning. A group of young men came to me requesting the keys to my car. I was clutching onto them so tightly that I felt my key chain digging into my palm. They acquired them somehow and drove off after the coolers were emptied from the back. Bruce never had time to escape, and I feared the worse as his howls faded along with the sight of my, now lost deep within Knowlton Heights. The women came next. They lined the coolers side-by-side, opening them to count each meal. One made a comment that they were short.
“This is becoming a common trend at Knowlton Heights. Yet I cannot complain at the mouth of a gift horse,” said Frank.
“How do you mean?” asked Ghoul.
“I would not like to trouble one who is so benevolent with our plight.”
“Then, if we may talk in private.”
Frank and Ghoul walked away while I stood alone, watching the citizens of Knowlton Heights in awe. The women handed out the meals in a specific order: young first, followed by the elderly and then finally, themselves. Only the men left hungry at the end. My car was then returned to me as I stood baffled by this entire scenario.
“All set, sir,” said the one who took my keys.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Changed the oil, replaced the air filter, and cleaned the inside. Also, gave your dog a bath and trimmed his nails. I’ve never seen a dog enjoy a bubble bath more than him before. But there is this awful smell that we couldn’t get rid of from your car… reeks like death. Anyways, sorry.”
He left before I could thank him. The coolers were returned to the backseat, and Ghoul came to me with Frank, who clasped his enormous hand on my shoulder.
“You are good people. I look forward to working with you both.”
Frank shook my hand and then turned to Ghoul. They embraced each other in a powerful hug that brought shivers up my spine.
“I’ll make things right—don’t you worry,” whispered Ghoul.
I inquired about their conversation when Frank was out of view.
“What was that all about?” I asked.
“The town has been treating these good people like garbage, and I aim to fix it. Let’s go back home and give Adam a call. We have work to do.”
© Copyright John Potts Jr 2016 – 2017