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The Town that Crank Built

In your mind, see a town, way out in the desert of the middle of nowhere. It’s a boom town and right now it’s in a slump. But the work continues day and night. There are about 18,000 people living in this town. Enough people to keep a few schools operating and plenty of car repair shops. And just enough people to mask a significantly large methamphetamine operation.

Now the miners love the crystal meth. Keeps them on all night while they’re working. Those graveyard shifts get long, and the last thing you need is a 200 ton equipment operator falling asleep. So the 200 ton equipment operator does up a gram of crystal meth before the shift and he’s good to go for 4 hours until his next gram at break time.

The illegal aliens love this town too. They go by unnoticed for the most part, but they’ve set up a nice little neighborhood for themselves down by the train tracks. Mostly trailer parks, but you get a few shacky looking houses here and there. The fume is enough to keep a person awake for days. Dig through a local dumpster and you’ll find broken beakers, cold medicine boxes, old car batteries, kerosene containers… the ugliest stuff you can imagine. And that’s about all you’ll find. Maybe a few barefooted children running around in dirty clothes.

Many people don’t know, and others won’t admit it. But crystal meth is running this town. If the police don’t come in and start crackin some crack-heads, this sleepy little mining town will never sleep again. These crystal meth dealers start at the junior high school. Most of them are kids themselves. They’ve got a mom or a dad who brews the stuff up in a bathtub at home, this crystal meth. Fourteen year-old kids are turning in ten page homework assignments and too spun to realize they wrote the same sentence three times in a row on six of the pages. They think they’re doing more things when really they’re just making scrambled eggs out of everything they touch.

The parents aren’t much better. Working in the mines is a tough job and the guys out there need something to take the edge off. And since drinking is all too tell tale, the meth makes them feel “super-sober” and able to take on the world.

But in the grand scale, the local government is in the know about the problem. And like any government, it doesn’t go without some corruption. That’s where it all gets interesting. The former mayor had some shady deals going with the underground of the crystal meth operation. The county government got wind of it and the people kicked him out of office. The new mayor comes in and promises to clean up the town. Now the DEA is in there kickin some heads to the curb. We’ve now got entire neighborhoods that are roped with yellow tape. Men and women in white hazard suits walking in and out of houses and trailers like an E.T. invasion. The smart kids are getting out of dealing and back into school. The parents are getting help and trying to clean up their heads.

We now see an old boom town, covered in yellow tape and white suits, trying to go about its business. In five years it will have twice the population it has now. Crystal meth will reenter the scene and the cycle will start over. Educate the children, or the dope will never die.

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