The Crimson King Takes Office: Thugtown Urbanex – pt. 1


January twentieth, two thousand sixteen, and the world stopped; it was given the opportunity to rise and hail the Crimson King, Donald Trump, now elected President to the United States of Amerika. A slow dance begins from a twenty-first century country, it’s citizens up in arms with one another. No more speculations or predictions about what might happen in a Trump ruled society, we now begin that era in real time. My observation of Trump/the Trump Administration starts a new chapter of ramblings from my pulpit here at the Church. All sides of the political fence are filled with folks bickering at one another and posting angered messages on social media platforms; we are a nation gone mad. There is no middle ground, it’s been eradicated. The best way for me to escape this societal hell was by taking an urbanex (Urban Exploring) jaunt to immerse myself in meditative inspiration.

We humans have varied ways of distracting ourselves from the world’s woes. Some people do it by rock climbing or base jumping. Other folks just enjoy floating lazily down a river in some boat. Some prefer lines of white powder on a mirror to stuff up their nose but for me, my solace really comes out while exploring the remains of decaying urban structures. I would let this new Civil war carry on while I went on a photo shooting excursion in Gary, Indiana. Gary, with it’s infamy sung about in the musical, the Music Man. Two time winner of the ‘Murder capital of the U.S.‘ title. Gary; borderland outpost to Chicago and Detroit, a city kissing the butt end of Lake Michigan. We were on our way to Thugtown for some well needed R and R.

The Saturday I would be on the journey to Gary, the rest of our nation filled the streets in cities all over Amerika with mass demonstrations. The Presidential Inauguration turned out to be an embarrassment to all we deem decent with this country. Both sides squabble and fight, like children in Kindergarten, and I wanted to let this initial start to the Trump term presidency continue without my opinion or attendance. The Civil war could go on with out me a while. Some times, you just got to give up trying to stick your hands in the middle of a dog fight…you can’t break it up so you have to let them fight. One side will come out victorious, but guaranteed, both sides will suffer.

Gary was a couple hours drive from Indy and the trip would include four of us, with my brother, Miguel, leading the expedition. He did the history and footwork to make this thing happen and the weather was unseasonably warm so everyone felt this trip should prove bountiful. Up until now, all the urban jaunts we’ve been on were to single structures, like a hospital or an abandoned multi-story hotel. Google maps showed Gary hosting a seemingly endless supply of dilapidated structures to venture through, so even if one place turned out a flop, the Gary location had a number of buildings inside the city to investigate. Being able to map it online with help from Google Maps is one of the boons of our technology. Another benefit is being able to stream live video of events all over the world on your phone. We were able to see the marches and protestors in cities all over the U.S., as well as the melancholy coverage of Trump’s victory celebration.

Road trips can wean you off your norm routines and help you set aside troubles. It also gives you a personal look at America, the true folk living out there in little cities and burgs, the wandering landscapes and such. One of our pit stops included some BP gas station in Lafayette, Indiana, that sold guns. Yes, right there where you pump gas, you could pick up a glock, or a Walther PPK painted in camo whites and gray tones. Too bad I didn’t have more money or I would have picked one up, just to rub that off my bucket list….yeah, marking ‘buy a pistol at a gas station’ off my bucket list…that would have been nice.

We left the little gas station, with it’s cheap priced guns and some quaint sculpture-scape of boats sticking out of the ground, and cruised on toward Gary. Halina navigated the route on her phone while popping up images, videos and stats of those protesting. There were also images of the Inauguration celebration where Donald and Melania Trump, Mike and Karen Pence and a differing reported number of spectators celebrated the new reign of power. All hail the Crimson King; Melania hides her eyes, almost as if in shame, or like a subservient mistress who has been traumatized into submission. The scene reminds me too much of that classic story by Poe, The Masque of the Red Death; the common folk outside the castle walls, suffering a hellish doom while the rich and powerful remain inside the confines of the wall, hidden from the disease outside…it takes time before they realize it is they, who are truly doomed.

Gary, Indiana was now in sight…


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