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Electrical Substation No. 2

Written by David WiecekView Icon Profile

As I watch the copper red sun settle into the pine covered hills, dusk once again falls upon my outpost here atop Electrical Substation No. 2. Below I can hear an irregular breeze whistling through the chain link fence. Occasionally it cries out into the moist air with a chilly rattle. A thick humid smell of diesel fuel and creosote is rising up off the crumbled granite from the ground below me and overhead, a network of cables is continuing its rhythmic swing like that of ocean waves beating against a deteriorating marine wharf. As the night continues, errie street lights begin to glow with mercury vapor across tar laden roads and the nearly blackened countryside. In the distance, star's diffracted light twinkles in the heavens. This tired light dimly irradiates constellar patterns onto my obfuscated carnival colored shell. Lingering around me are dense nocturnal fogs produced by the lake nearby. Brown ferric blood drips nightly from these steel structures and has tarnished my once brilliant surface like old forgotten silverware. A constant hum of high voltage transformers and the buzz and crackle of agitated electrons dancing about the wires are my only reminders of the builders of these corroding buttresses. For even the roar of steam locomotives carrying anxious travelers has been replaced by that of the frozen lake during the winter months.

As the moon's nightly sojourn across the milky way nears completion, dawn begins to peak through the stillness. Suddenly, the flow of electricity dies and a foreboding lull of silence overcomes me. Hours pass and the station remains shutdown. The light the sun sheds on old No. 2 does little the relieve the anxiety of powerlessness. The minutes tick away like hours. Large yellow trucks carrying heavy equipment arrive and surround the compound. Dismantlement is eminent I fear. However, a curious redheaded onlooker helps to ease my fear. Somehow, his reassuring glance seems to indicate that although I must surrender my reign over this fortress to an army of yellow hard hats, my movement will be that of a promotion to a higher rank in the more glorified position of an enthusiast's showcase.

Reprinted with permission from "Crown Jewels of the Wire" November 1985, page 10.

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Last updated Sunday, December 10, 1995