Canto 01

Everything starts with a beginning, whether consciously chosen or not.

Mike had a month to move from Mauk, Georgia to Elkin, South Carolina. By car it was only a five hour trip between the two cities, (if you drove really fast). But he was in no hurry, so he could piddle about, and explore a bit while he had the time off.

Personally I would get the hell out of Mauk as fast as I could; the place is dismal! Imagine the lushness of Georgia giving way to the arid Southwest, complete with gravel pits, stunted, withered trees, and a goat here and there. Scenes like this shouldn’t exist this far east of the Mississippi river; in that respect Mauk is exceptional. It also is home to more than it’s share of odd people, but in a dangerous, not interesting, sense.

I will never, ever understand why Mike moved there in the first place. He’s my best friend and all, but he does make some odd decisions. Like marrying that female bodybuilder who then proceeded to beat the crap outta him for five long years.  (Yet our wacko legal system allowed her to file abuse charges against him.  Go figure!)

But there he was, living in trailer, and commuting to his latest IT contract job in Columbus. That he was a computer whiz wasn’t in doubt. But where was the boy’s common sense?

When he told me he was gonna do some “sight seeing” before he arrived at his new home, I wished him the best of luck, and advised him not to enter heated arguments with bikers anymore, lest he get his jaw broken again. He thought that was funny, and told me so.

“Jack, you worry way too much,” he said, his voice crackling in the shitty cellphone reception common to the outskirts of Mauk.

“I ain’t drivin’ ya to the hospital this time!”, I told him. “Stay out of trouble, okay?”

“Mrsph…..”, he said, or something like that, as the call dropped. Stupid Mauk!

That was the last I heard from him for a day or so.

If I were gonna live in western Georgia, I’d settle somewhere closer to Pine Mountain, where the scenery is beautiful, not depressing. But I suppose everything comes with a cost, and I’m sure his rent in Mauk was dirt cheap. But despite the financial advantages, that’s not a trade I’d be willing to make.  Nothing any good ever came out of Mauk!

What is it about Mauk that gets me so riled up anyway, some folks ask me. I don’t know. I think it is obviously a “Hell on Earth” type place, and would still think that even if one of the many girls I was trying to become a couple with hadn’t dumped me for a guy who lived there. (Dumped for a dude who lives in Mauk! How humiliating. And she was hot too!)

What do they do in Mauk anyway, besides mine sand? (No, not gold or silver or even an ore of some type, but just common old sand!) Mike’s neighbor on one side is a crazy old lady who like to walk around outside naked as the day she was born. His other neighbor likes to aim his shotgun at any vehicles that tarry too long at the end of his long driveway. So despite the ruts in the muddy road out in front of this jerk’s house, you’d best keep moving at a steady clip right past it.

Mauk! Ugh!!