A Private Detective

Is this where the letter went?

The neon sign shouts EA, and, on the other side, with symmetry you didn’t expect, DRIN. Some joker has stolen a letter from the chrome public library sign. Evidently a terrible joker, since the remaining letters now say “Pulic”. The traffic sign for the Marina has the “n” blacked out in what looks like marker, either a tag or a love note. More neon, exclaiming wedish, and also, bloom (from blossom. That one worked out well). The lack of an “s” at the end of “expert” could just be a grammar thing, but it’s more likely the letter is gone. Letters are missing from all around. One letter at a time, mostly. As a symbol of some sort of urban decay, it’s a little too on the nose. And besides, it’s not correct – the town is neither depressed nor abandoned. The missing letters are not merely illustrative. Their off-kilter language means something. But what? As I walk home tonight, I try to fit the missing letters into ransom messages no one reads.

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