Tuesday, April 17, 2012

4-way #2: The Escape Hatch

Much like its name implies, the Escape Hatch means one thing.  A way out.  A quick escape from some unspeakable horror or impending doom.  A burning building.  A nose-dive from 30,000 feet.  A sinking ship.  Or, in this case, a town called Harrisburgia.

I don't mean to suggest any existential threat to Harrisburgia or its citizens.  It's not burning, crashing, or sinking (except perhaps metaphorically).  The Hatch serves a more subtle purpose than the preservation of human life.  It's all about the preservation of human sanity.  Surrounded by a mix of madness and monotony, frequent, quick escape to the north is necessary to prevent Harrisburgians from coming up with their own, more "creative" methods of coping.  If Chuck Palahniuk taught us anything, it's that, left to our own devises, we will become insomniacs, black-mailing our employers and producing homemade soap (and napalm) in our basements, in order fund our underground fight clubs and guerilla armies.  Not to mention the schizophrenia.  No, more conventional ways of coping are preferred for Western Civilization to continue as planned.  There's just one catch...

Like the lifeboats on the Titanic, the Escape Hatch lacks the capacity it needs.  It lies on the intersection of rural south Cliff Avenue and County Highway 106 in the purgatory between Harrisburgia and Sioux Falls.  Straight to the west:  the Tea exit off I-29.  Straight south:  Harrisburgia.  Straight north:  Sioux Falls.  Straight east:  the intersection of Highway 11.  With no turn lanes, the Hatch is one-way in both directions, and is as backed up as the Plugged Stool.

For Harrisburgians escaping to Sioux Falls, Cliff Avenue north is the way out.  You could drive a mile and a half west out of your way, driving 35 threw Harrisburgia to get to south Minnesota and head north.  You could drive 3 miles east out of your way to Highway 11.  But when you're in a pinch, a hurry, or just feel like gambling, you take Cliff.  Straight to the Hatch.

You might get lucky and breeze through.  Then again you might not.  You might spend 15 minutes staring at a line of rear bumpers in your windsheild, wondering why you got greedy.  How late your going to be.  Why you didn't fill your car up before leaving town.  Why the fuck there's no stop light.

Instead of a quick rumble, you'll bounce slowly in your seat, feeling the gyrating of each individual speed bump as you crawl toward the distant stop sign.  As your ire grows, you'll have plenty of time to reconsider your life.  Maybe you shouldn't have quit drinking.  Maybe you will start seeing other people.  Maybe Rush wasn't right.  Maybe Jesus was black.  Maybe they are all going to laugh at you.  Yes, the Escape Hatch may well ruin your life.

The Hatch serves a necessary and noble purpose.  Escape.  Unfortunately, like everything else in Harrisburgia, it's just not that easy.

The Escape Hatch from the sky:

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