If you’ve ever been to A-Camp before, you know that on the last night of camp, we send things off with a bang by having a themed dance that’s always amazing. This year we’ve taken it to the next level and selected Midwestern Gothic as our theme, and I wrote a little story to describe the aesthetic of the dance. Being from a small, conservative farm town in Idaho, I was able to jump right into this world.
You’re driving down the highway on your way to a-camp. You’re going within five miles per hour of the speed limit. You’re always driving down the highway. You’re always within five miles per hour of the speed limit. You’re looking for a party. The signs say “Midwestern Gothic.” The signs are written in what looks like blood, but maybe not human blood. Not animal blood either.
A local girl named Charlotte Jo has gone missing. You’ve seen the billboards asking her to come home. You’ve seen posters hung in windows of abandoned houses. You wonder what happened to her. Then you see rusting billboards, three of them, rising from the side of the highway. “HELL IS REAL,” “CHARLOTTE JO IS ALREADY THERE” and “ARE YOU NEXT?” You no longer want to know what happened to Charlotte Jo.
You continue driving through endless fields of corn that are only punctuated by churches, plastic lawn furniture, exits for far-away outlet malls, and ominous garage sale signs bearing ominous arrows. You continue driving through endless fields of corn that not only have ears, but eyes and mouths.
As you walk down the street, every blonde, blue-eyed farmer’s daughter (there are so many farmer’s daughters) you see smiles and says “hello!” only to follow up with “don’t go into the woods, there are strange women in the woods” in a hushed voice as they walk past you.
The land here is empty. Empty and flat and repetitive. So empty and flat and repetitive. So empty and flat and repetitive. So empty and flat and repetitive. So empty and flat and…
You stumble upon a wedding outside a church that advertises “We’re Your Only Hope Now.” Everyone is crying. None of the tears are happy tears.
Finally you get to your destination. You would guess at how many days you’ve been driving, but it always seems like it’s dusk or midday, there is no inbetween.
The barn party has been advertised at every Waffle House, seedy motel and outlet store for miles. You had to come here, you had no choice. You’re drawn to the bonfire, you’re not frightened by the raccoons who are feasting on on the litter and garbage that covers the lawn, you can feel your heart beating along with the croaks of the frogs and the yips of the coyotes. How old are the dancers? What gender are they? What species are they? They’re just dancers, and now, so are you.
Do you understand now? If not, here are some of the looks I’m hoping to see on the dance floor. Also, remember, makeup and accessories are a big part of this. Smear that blood red or black lipstick, give yourself raccoon eyes, let that mascara bleed, got some fake blood? That’s perfect.
Child of the Corn
King and Queen of the Old High School
Small Town Preacher