I got a job at the public library this summer. It wasn’t because I was strapped for cash — my parents were one of the prime investors in developing Ichor Falls, and they were always willing to help me “fund the local economy,” it was because I needed to get out of the house; away from the oppressively humid fog that circled our aging property.
The library is one of the only eternally cool buildings in town due to being constructed into the side of a hill; a network of sloping subterranean chambers, spiraling deeply into the earth so that the entrance was actually the third floor while the older books were down on the first. The story goes that the building was put here when a potential iron mine would not yield its expected fruit and the furious landowners gave up the land for public use. That was close to 200 years ago.
I was hired to do the dully repetitive job of transforming the card catalog into a computer database, another cog in New Elysium’s convoluted plot to revitalize the town. The third and second floors were a simple enough task; one card at a time, cataloging texts from the start to the finish of the last century. When I came across a particularly illegible card I would consult the ailing librarian, a Mr. Pennsworth, but otherwise I had started building up a fairly impressive database of hypothetical volumes.
Everyone’s got something they enjoy more than they should.
For some people, it’s an oddity -– but harmless –- like that guy at the
supermarket who’s always checking the corncobs for blight until an
attendant has to ask him to please get out of the produce department.
For some people, it’s problematic -– or worse -– like that truck driver
who paid more attention to the radio announcer’s opinion on the
economy than his vehicle’s opinion on going 70MPH around a hairpin
For some people, it’s acceptable –- even encouraged –- like my late
aunt’s penchant for embroidering historical scenes, except I don’t
think Colonel Sanders fought at the Battle of Kanawha.
For me, it has been Ichor Falls, with all its small-town
idiosyncrasies and legends. I hope tourists and residents have enjoyed
reading my weekly column “Stories of the Quiet Valley,” which was an
effort to plumb the depth of this area’s history.
Hearing tales of the supernatural, or just strange, may have increased
tourism revenue and
encouraged people to travel in this area, but it should not be
forgotten that there is a
lasting impact of focusing on the unsettling events of history, so
much that placing em-
phasis on haunted houses may lower property values, and recounting the
murder sites in print can only discourage business growth.
Eventually, any journalist who values his community should understand
the fact that
some stories don’t have to be told. But your humble correspondent
thinks, despite his
training, the residents of Ichor Falls deserve to hear truth, and this
is a place where
one can have difficulty separating truth from fiction.
People have claimed that the FDA has no records of Ethylor being
certified as safe for
non-industrial use until 1938, long after the laminating industry
claimed it was harmless.
In later court battles, this theory was debunked, based on 1966
legislation releasing all
government records into the care of Rick (?) Donfeld, but at the time
Ichor Falls was
Lasting effects include a moratorium on intravenous — [recount details
of "Dawst v.
Opprobrium" case especially section IV.8.a]
Get tapes and reformat interview with Walter Mattias, check licence(s?)
- need more cereal, butter/cream ch, bagel plain NO CHIVES
- move P.O. box
- talk with CFO McKinsley about insur
- ??movie nightJennifer??
- certain problems with voice mail fix fix
Last three years of The Times indicates a serious problem with
We regret that no additional parts of Jonathan Tollant’s last article
were discovered in his studio. Law enforcement has been unable to
produce evidence that the fire there was connected to his ongoing
investigations for the Falls Inquirer.
We have attempted to reprint all of his notes here without editing to
honor both the memory of Mr. Tollant and also to reinforce our
commitment to the community of fair reporting.
Publisher-in-Chief Nigel Oglethorpe and The Times‘ editorial staff would like to
thank Mr. Tollant for his many years of contributions to that news
agency, which is now in our care. We regret that much of his research
was never formatted for publication, especially regarding the rise and
fall of this town’s logging industry.
Leighton had given up on his garden faster than he’d given up on other hobbies, pastimes, occupations, acquaintances, friends. He’d started one out of the sheer boredom of living out here, in farmland considered secluded even for the Falls. His closest neighbors seemed to glean some kind of satisfaction from tending small gardens; they were at least three miles down the narrow dirt road in either direction, which he liked. Contrasted with the depth of Leighton’s other emotions, “like” was an ocean.
This garden, if it could be called that now or ever, had yielded nothing — a few stark white shoots that dried yellow and wrinkled; countless weeds; and, in the far corner nearest the back of the house by the rusting water meter, one sad green tomato immediately beset upon by caterpillars. He ran his fingers through what was left of his gray hair, and considered pulling all the plants up, but it was a thought that had come to him many times in the past, never acted upon. Let the earth do what it will, he thought.
Leighton’s existence was both bleak and self-applied. He had had a life once, known people once. A child of a stern upbringing, he had worked as a materials scientist, a metallurgist, for an iron ore refinery up in Point Pleasant for forty-odd years, and took early retirement. He attempted to teach physics to high school students for a year or so, but he had no interest in imparting knowledge to those too stubborn to receive it.
There was something pathetic, infuriating about youth today and their parents. The people of Point Pleasant — or anywhere really. People got on Leighton’s nerves; sometimes he couldn’t understand how anyone could stand to be a part of the world.
Ichor Falls was a dim town, a gray town, which appealed to him — the locals kept to themselves, and in all the time he’d lived out here he never considered himself one of them. The mist gave him a good, cold feeling. From this distance he could barely even make out the lights of the highway.
The feeling was broken, often, by the local newspaper delivery. The man parked his truck further south where the dirt wasn’t so soft, and walked the 300 yards up to Leighton’s mailbox. He kept thinking one of these days he’d have to move it further away from the house; as it is around this time of day he tried to be inside so as to avoid small talk. But here Leighton was, standing outside staring at his garden. He set his jaw.
The delivery man waved a long wave as he came closer with a stack of ads Leighton had no interest in reading. “Morning, Leighton.”
“Last stop of the day. Always good to see you — means my shift is over.” He had made this joke too many times to count.
“Just in the box, please.”
“No time for chit-chat, huh? Something you’ve gotta get back to?”
“I enjoy my solitude, and I wish you’d respect that,” Leighton said, already moving towards his front door. He stopped and turned back to the man. “And if all you have for me is advertising, then make your last stop somewhere else.”
“You want us to suspend delivery, then? I can put in the form for you, but you’ll have to sign it.”
Leighton responded by angrily slamming his front door.
This was his never-ending experience with others — no matter what steps you took to be left alone, it intruded. It persisted. Wasn’t it obvious from the way he acted, Leighton thought, what his desires were? From the company he didn’t keep? From the places he refused to live? From the state of his garden? He had a house full of journals and books to read.
What could be more simple, more easily carried out, than to leave another man completely alone?