Theme: A certain place on a roadmap
Lindsay flounced in the front door and slammed it, hard. She dumped the contents of her purse onto the kitchen counter and sorted through them until she found the AAA map of Indiana. Until an hour ago, she’d had no intention of leaving her tiny house in the middle of Ohio. Then again, until an hour ago, she hadn’t known that Caleb was a cheating jerk. Seeing him sitting in the back booth at Ma’s Diner with his hairy arm draped around MayBellene Todd was proof enough.
Lindsay unfolded the map of Indiana and smoothed it out across the kitchen table. This was the plan: she would close her eyes, spin the map around and around and then, with her eyes still closed, put her finger on the map. The city she landed on would become her new home. She had never been to Indiana before, but Indiana was not Ohio, and any place was better than Ohio.
Lindsay closed her eyes and followed the plan. She opened her eyes to discover that her new home would be Gifford. Who knew what adventures awaited a single woman like herself in the town of Gifford? It was only natural that she should want to check out the place before moving there, so Lindsay searched Gifford on the Internet. Here was something already. Click. “Gifford is an unincorporated town in Barkley Township, Jasper County, Indiana. Population: 42.”
“Well, that was just a practice run,” Lindsay said out loud, a little embarrassed to discover she was talking to herself. She looked over at her faithful Boston Terrier, Sully. He was sitting nearby, his bulging eyes watching her intently, while his tongue poked in and out of his mouth with his panting. Lindsay put her hands on her hips and spoke directly to Sully this time. “That was just a practice run. Just to make sure this is going to work right.” Nothing like saving face in front of a dog.
“Okay, this time for real.” She closed her eyes, spun the map and pointed. Flora. A beautiful name. This had to be the one, but only Google would know for sure. Population: 2227. Kind of small. Now on to the important stuff: for everyone 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.5 males. No good. In Lindsay’s experience, she was going to be stuck with that half a man.
“Moving on.” Boston, Indiana this time. Population: 177. 98.9 males for every 100 females. Lindsay didn’t know much about geography, but she could do the math: 89 of the residents are women and 88 are men. Good luck with that. And way too close to Ohio. The whole point was to get away. Far away, but still close enough to visit Mother.
Lindsay eyed Sully, snoring and unconcerned that his owner’s life had been turned upside-down. “Sully!” The dog’s ears pricked up. “Baby, this is it. Momma’s gonna find us a nice new home. I’m so sick of this place, I could scream. Thirty-nine years in the same state, and what do I have to show for it except a bunch of slimy ex-boyfriends. But I’m not spending the rest of my life here.” She smacked the table for emphasis.
Sully got up and lumbered over to his water bowl. Even a dog needed a drink at a time like this, and Momma showed no signs of stopping. “If I have to end up with some loser, I’d rather do it somewhere else. So this is it, this time. No more practices. The next town I point to is where we’re moving, so pack your bones.”
Lindsay tied her blonde hair into a ponytail, closed her eyes, and stretched her arms in anticipation of the big moment. Spin, spin, spin, bam. And there it was: Avondale. Just a dot on the map, but so romantic in name. Surely the town was as idyllic as it sounded.
“Why, yes, I’m from Avondale, Indiana. Do you know anyone there?” Lindsay practiced. “Oh, Avondale? It’s just this darling little town in Indiana where I’m from. We have flags on the houses, tree-lined streets, wide sidewalks, an ice cream store in every neighborhood, and churches around every corner. It’s the sweetest little town you’ve ever seen!” She looked to Sully for agreement, but she could swear he groaned and rolled his bug-eyes at her.
Undaunted, Lindsay turned to the laptop. “Okay, Internet, don’t let me down.” She typed the town’s name into a search engine and waited for results, remembering the way her mother would sing to pass the time while sewing. “Whyyy, oh whyyy, Ohio-o-o-o, whyyy oh whyyy oh whyyyyy?” As a little girl, Lindsay had been enraptured by the cadence and the rhyming, and she’d carry on singing the tune long after her mother had stopped. But what kind of song could be made from “Indiana?” Start with the rhyming words: banana, lantana, tropicana…or “I’m a fan-a Indi-ana.”
“Here we go – Avondale, Indiana: home of…’click to see more.’ Yes, please.” Click. “Avondale, Indiana: home of the nation’s most prolific serial killer who remains at large.” Lindsay sat back, hoping the headline was a joke, but worried that it wasn’t. She turned to face Sully. “It’s like they’re proud of it or something. Like they’re bragging.”
Scrolling through the rest of the story and down through the comments, she saw that the story was indeed true and that the townspeople were practically rooting for this sicko to never get caught. Yessiree, one of them had commented, Avondale is finally on the map, thanks to this guy. Take that, Muncie!
Lindsay turned back to Sully. “You know what, buddy? I think Indiana is all wrong for us. It’s just too darn close to Ohio.” She picked up the phone and dialed. “Hello, Triple A? This is Lindsay Markus. I’m going to need another map. Make it Hawai’i this time.”