Fantasy in the Suburbs

What happens when a housing developer never quite gets over that doomed fantasy novel he wrote when he was nineteen?

What happens is the neighborhood where Bookgirl and I went for driving practice last week.

The first thing we noticed about the neighborhood is what anybody who has read A Wrinkle In Time would think. We expected to see children all bouncing balls in unison, until all the doors opened at the same time and all the mothers came out at the same time and called them all inside, in unison. It’s like it was designed by Camazotz Builders and Mind Control, Inc.


It had the usual ironically idyllic street names. Driving on Garden Path Road we passed Waterfall Court and Firefly Lane. None of which objects actually, you know, existed.

We did blink a little when Bookgirl turned us onto Mollie Mae Avenue, though. Most of these Camazotz developments have an obvious theme that informs their name choices. Mollie Mae puzzled me.

It just got weirder from there.

Our half-mile circuit through the neighborhood took us along streets named Carrie’s Wind, Twelve Moons, Nightbird, Falling Hill, and finally, Velvet Ridge.

Bookgirl and I talked it over, and I think now we get it.

The developer, I imagine, often returns to this development, standing next to skinny little maple saplings and brand shiny new vinyl siding, watching the sun set on his fantasy world. Once again I revisit the City of Twelve Moons, he muses. Little do these people understand the dark secret of Falling Hill, and the tears shed on the hill of Carrie’s Wind…

A jarring thought interrupts him. He remembers a co-worker’s comment and frowns. It is not true that it sounds like Carrie was a victim of flatulence. It’s because her soul was released from her cursed body and she became as a firefly, guiding the hero to the regenerating waters of the Waterfall… in retrospect, he could have named that one a little more creatively.

He returns to the sunset and fantasy. The adventures of Nightbird, ninja assassin pirate, and his undying love for the half-elven vampire princess Mollie Mae, will live on– even though these soccer moms and summertime grillers don’t understand the legacy on which they stand.

So, young developer whose poetic soul has been sucked into blandness of soulless suburban conformity, please know that Bookgirl and I understand. We salute you.

But your co-worker was totally right about that one street name. FYI.


Note: Sparkler learned via Tumblr and passed on to us that the exact opposite of “waterfall” is “firefly.” You’re welcome.


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