Today I used a prompt for Setting which required me to write about Biggar, Saskatchewan, which is apparently a real town. The catch? I wasn’t allowed do any research. Biggar, Saskatchewan would become whatever my mind created. Fun, right?
So, Biggar, Saskatchewan, I apologize for this rather drearily insulting portrayal. I’m sure you are a lovely town.
Biggar, Saskatchewan, was shrinking, even eight years ago when I first came here. In fact, if it weren’t for the signs at the edge of the highway, you could drive right past and never know it existed. Most people don’t even notice the signs.
The five hundred or so permanent residents (including women, children, and bobcats) at the time all had an air of having gone far beyond caring about much of anything, and the town’s appearance reflected that attitude. Paint was left to chip and curl away from the walls of the houses, which were streaked with lichen and moss. In the Spring, melted snow puddled in the muddy yards and on the sagging porches, where people had to learn which boards were safe to step on. Venetian blinds hung crookedly, or were forgone completely, leaving the mineral-stained windows to be covered with squares of faded tie-dye left over from the hippie days.
In the middle of town, the few dingy little businesses clustered together, showing a wary, almost hostile front to the world. Flies buzzed aimlessly around the check-out counter of the general store, and dashed themselves against the streaked windows. The girly posters slapped up on the walls of the convenience store attached to the gas station showcased burnt-orange bodies in high-waisted, French-cut bikinis, and the single hairdresser’s shop still offered business in front and a party in the back. After all, why keep up appearances — it’s not like there’s any competition to worry about. Off to the edge of town, the long-abandoned motel sat empty and gaping to the wind. Most of the doors were forced years ago, by looters looking for things to sell, or bored young people looking for excitement and a place to get away.
These days, most of the young people have gotten away for good, moving on as soon as they could find work to take them away. In consequence, hardly any new children have been born to take their place. The people who are left are all of one kind: Taciturn and suspicious; with dug-in heels and set ways. The only thing binding them together (besides a hatred of civilization and Big Government that runs deeper than their hatred of each other) seems to be a shared philosophy of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”