One building stood since the beginning when the road was first laid. Convenience store, insurance firm, coffee shop, consignment, bakery—was its last configuration (read left to right.) Several trees were felled before that, among them, the screaming of birds. A notice was up since last year. Avoiding the alleys and their ruin, which someone said was built in the gold rush. Its time has come! It will be felled in a year’s time. Men are smarter than birds and they know to abandon their home before it is felled. (Why is it being felled? None of your business!) The windows were empty long before the power shovel came. The first wall came down with a bang. Bang! Crash! Spectators across the street were unharmed in the process. I took a picture and another when the building disappeared. In the void, the land forgot what its purpose once was. Then accidentally rained the next day, pouring wet everywhere. The ground became mud and puddles for the first time in a century.

The building across the street was felled two years before, but I forgot what used to be there. Now it’s a grocery store with people stacked three-high above it. Soon, they say, the road will need to be widened. They’ll cut up the sidewalk for that. That’s why no one smiles any more.

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