(originally posted 9/14/2102)
There is a small town in West Virginia where time runs a little differently than it does around most places. The town is situated in the Appalachian Mountains and because I’m from the north you’ll assume that I am in some way making fun of the residents of that town by saying what I did about time running a bit differently. But rifling through your head to come up with hillbilly clichés isn’t going to help you as much as trying to remember what you were taught in science about how gravity can actually bend the time-space continuum. Even that won’t help as much as I’d like, suffice it to say that when I say Little Gorge, West Virginia is set deep in the Appalachians, I do mean deep.
There are no hotels in Little Gorge, the last thing the town wants is to encourage outsiders and there are no travel agencies in Little Gorge because the last thing the town wants is to encourage their own residents. The particular thing about the town is that anyone who was not born within the city limits can never fall asleep there. So you see why a hotel would be a cruel trick to play on visitors. In the event of a medical emergency involving someone from the outside, they are hustled into an ambulance and taken to the nearest hospital outside the county because no amount of anesthesia will put them under. To date nobody has ever had to have an operation while they are awake, but the possibility of such an event remains.
Funny thing about when the people from Little Gorge venture outside of town; if they fall asleep, they wake up two weeks later. Leave it to mountain folk to mess up a perfectly good Brigadoon storyline. There are no such things as vacations for the townspeople of Little Gorge. They would have to trade fourteen days of their life for every day spent somewhere else. Occasionally one of the young ones will want to bolt and make for a nearby big city, but after the realities of the town’s situation have been explained to them they let common sense guide their decision. Stories of outside life do tend to make their way in, however, and tend to plant the seeds for the next generation of impetuous youth so that temptation will always be there.
So to the outside world, the residents of Little Gorge seem downright rude. They seemingly have no desire to interact with the rest of humanity. The truth is that they have a secret to keep, because the last thing they want is a team of government scientists descending on their quiet town and turning them all into lab rats.
Obviously you’d think that this set-up must create a plethora of interesting stories, fascinating examples of the human spirit in action and folktales galore, but nothing is farther from the truth. This extraordinary circumstance just gives the citizens of Little Gorge an excuse to do what most of the people who live in small mountain towns do. Nothing much.
Ok, I will admit there is one thing that is interesting about the place. You see all of the inhabitants of Little Gorge have a secret, but only a few of them have another one on top of that.
Their secret is that the first secret isn’t true.