SMOKE: Anyone For A Desert Town?
Originally published: 11 March 2003
It doesn't come more brilliant than this. Timothy White and Walt Wilson - the owners of a small desert town called Amboy in California - are putting the town up for auction on the Internet, and aspiring bidders will most likely get it for less than $2-million.
Now I don't know about you but I could seriously do with my own desert town, to run as I see fit. I have my desert island fantasy (I have so far amassed -R8,000 towards the grand total required of R30-million, but getting there, getting there), but having read about the proposed auction of Amboy I now know what I have to do - purchase my own town.
Amboy was founded as a mining town in 1858, in the heart of the Olde West (just 3½ hours outside Los Angeles), and has a current population of seven. Hopefully those seven won't prove a problem, as I'm going to need them to hop it out of there right quick when I take over (I intend to people it with my kind of citizens, you see).
So what do you get for your cash? According to the Associated Press:
"The highest bidder will get a package that includes the 150-acre town, post office, motel, cafe, gas station, church, gift shop, two landing strips, four antique vehicles and about 540 acres of surrounding land divided in five noncontiguous parcels."
Now I'm not so sure about the noncontiguous parcels - whatever the hell those are - but the rest sounds pretty cool.
The post office will be useful for sorting those anonymous bags that are sent over on a regular basis from Colombia and Jamaica, the motel has its filthy uses, the cafe is great as long as it doesn't feature a 7-11 cashier at any of the tills and stocks Embassy Lights, the church will be converted to a theatre and the landing strips will accomodate my private planes and helicopters, which are a necessary luxury for a town owner.
Of course - the town will have its own principality which will be run solely by myself, offering me the opportunity to try out my theories relating to the way I believe a society should govern itself. And I have a few.
The chief law in my town would be Mind Your Own Fagging Business. What I do, or look like, is my business, and disapproval in any form for anything that I or anyone else does will be met with public humiliation, flogging and Death By Swine.
I want the right to think how I choose, to say what I like, and to believe what I will without fear of stigmatisation in any form, from disapproving relatives to disbelieving arresting officers.
Rule Two will be No Kids. Whatsoever. Not even for the reasons that assholes who bring them to "No Kids Allowed" weddings always produce. Not welcome.
The town doesn't need to grow - it needs to rot around me, so that at age 80 I can go all William Burroughs and pen my drug-fuelled paranoia, to be converted to depressing songs which earnest youths will analyse and love in generations to come.
But keep the kids away from me. Produce one and you too are facing Death By Swine, or even Chinese Knee, Tooth And Botty Torture, which...well...let's just say it's very, very sore. Please believe me.
Rule Three involves dancing girls, but I can't remember what it is. I'll form an investigative committee involving myself to get some legislation in this regard going. I'll keep you posted.
Rule Four prohibits all forms of telephonic technical support, particularly in the field of IT, as the support is always a brush-off, designed to sound impressive while the "consultant" or "agent" or "service ambassador" (excuse me for five while I go vomit) tries valiantly to sound knowledgeable on a subject it is patently clear they know nothing about.
Rule Five will see the end of marketing as we know it. No more spam in your postbox or inbox, no people with clipboards outside busy shopping malls trying to get your five minutes for their "market research", no more billboards lying about how white you can get your clothing (nothing turns my shirt collars white, and that's a promise as well as a challenge), and no more telesales people phoning you just as you've dozed off for your afternoon rest.
No more advertising. Think about that. Just pure, un-touched by corporate greed entertainment. Bliss.
Then I'd have a useful constitution, touching on - but not limited to - drugs, euthanasia, prostitution, abortion, voluntary suicide and privacy. I won't go into it here, but of one thing you can be sure: if you're a hard rocker you're gonna want to come to Amboy.
Which of course will have to be renamed Hell. Obviously. No desert town in my world is not called Hell.
So why all this passion for what in effect amounts to a dry, burnt plot of dust miles from nowhere, inhabited by seven freaks?
The time for confession has come - I have been an avid reader of Louis L'Amour since my early teens, and my concepts of romance and trouble are all inspired by the tales of the old west, when men were men, women were gold and to be treated as such, and the only thing saving you from certain death was a six-shooter and the ability to read the smoke signals.
I have a part of the old west in me - I'm an Urban Cowpoke without the cow (or the poke, for that matter). Desert towns spawn the mystic in me, and I find the desolate loneliness most appealing. The stuff you write songs about.
So I'm going to bid to purchase Amboy. I doubt I'll get it, as I don't have many more belongings to flog at Cash Converters, but I'm going to try (you never know - maybe I'm the only person in the whole world who wants a desert town and I'll get it for a dollar or something).
The sun sank heavy into the hot night and he rode out of town with just the brim of his hat kissing the bruising sky.
All Smoked Out,