Whispering Falls was a bit of a lie because there were no falls at all, just a river that every now and then, completely dried up. When it wasn’t dry, it was just running through a little wannabe city. Someone had a great idea one day to put the falls back into Whispering Falls, so they did. They located it conveniently off the freeway so that visitors to the fair town could glimpse it as they were driving quickly to get outside the city limits.
“They aren’t Niagara,” said my friend Carla.
“Right, not big enough and with too much red dirt,” I added.
So they were installed right outside the cemetery in the park. I had my picture taken there with a tombstone peeking into it in a weird, macabre photo-bombing manner just over my shoulder.
“Of course you have to look really hard to make out what it is,” said Carla.
“That’s right,” I responded as I squinted at the photo.
This was taken years before the establishment of the Whispering Falls Paranormal Society who would have surely been able to alert me if there were orbs of light present that were not meant to be seen without super computerized enhancement evidence instead of an 80s Polaroid, or voices present telling me that it was definitely time to ditch that curly perm craze. All this good advice that could now be recorded with a supersonic digital smart phone like we now have.
Yes, such a simpler time then, sitting in Avaline Park next to the new waterfall, watching all the memorial bricks being installed and absolutely not thinking that 30 years later, I would still be stuck in this pathetic, little town sitting by the same waterfall with the same dead people (plus some newer ones added over time) who were silently gazing on in morbid, pitying fascination.
The day came when I realized that if I was ever going to be overpaid for something, then I was going to have to attend college. I had managed to move from copy room operator to word processing secretary and was simply amazed at how fast I was climbing the corporate ladder, but further education, it had to be done.
“This is an IBM Office System 6,” announced Constantly Smiling Vickie, my boss.
It was maybe half the size of the Xerox copy machine including the added bonus of being able to sit all day which worked out fine back in the metabolism youth of my twenties. The small town college loomed in the distance like a Kafka castle ready to prepare me for something other than copying, stapling, and running things through the postage meter. Since Knots Landing was on TV, I decided the best thing would be to major in business. After all, Donna Mills looked really okay in that red power suit.
“Business Calculus, really?” I asked my friend Jessie.
She frowned. “That’s what it says for the degree requirements.”
I rolled my eyes. My deep-seated hatred fear of mathematics – some sort of cosmic genetic curse.
“It’s a fear of mine also,” she said. Then smiled at me, folding the paper and passing it back. “I’ll have my red pen ready for you, though. All those papers, you know!”