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According to local legend, braggarts founded the town, yet I remain skeptical. Winners write history and “founded” seems like a term some nineteenth-century blowhard would insist upon instead of “grew tired of aimlessly walking”. Town, too, is problematic. Only a braggart would call their four-way stop beside a barn, fifth-wheel, and a decrepit post office a “town”. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that we are still waiting for the town to be founded. Historians from the area—their veins likely still teaming with boastful genetics—claim these original tired walkers were so dashingly beautiful that their good looks could stop a wagon train, however, they insist there isn’t much evidence, since, mostly, the settlers remained in the Science Barn perfecting their perpetual motion device. I take this convenience with a grain of salt.
The government seized all motion-machine research and blueprints after President Polk caved to Whig dissenters and the cutthroat Motion Lobby. “It’s a black eye for the entire Missouri Bootheel,” my bombastic guide continued. Through the Energy Crisis, both Iraq wars, and every Global Warming red flag, this remedy has been withheld, lest the Polk Administration or the Whig legacy be colored as anti-innovation and lose face. Once the Chinese or Russians crack perpetual motion, he assured me as he signaled for another Bud Lite, the Feds will launder the Braggadocio plans through an American tech firm, provided the firm’s front office is attractive enough.
“Need to be handsome. Beautiful really.” My guide’s assistant reiterated from the neighboring stool. I hadn’t realized that this man was even conscious, let alone another history buff, but now he paused, pondering, as he ran his thick fingers through the matted confines of his long beard, his caterpillar eyebrows inching towards each other. “Through the Civil War, our beauty sustained us.” I let him go, a tourist’s reverence for his native traditions and culture. “The Union never took Braggadocio, never came close to the Science Barn!” The other tables quieted and glanced over before chalking the noise up to garden-variety Science Barn passion and returning to their conversations. “The Braggadocio Battalion was the strongest in all of the Confederacy.” His beady eyes burned white hot. Union soldiers, he insisted, had been blinded by the battalion’s attractiveness, had been overcome with confusing feelings, and “would have rather died than destroy anyone so beautiful.” That was a direct quote, he said, however it was unsearchable, and I shouldn’t try. Internet is kind of spotty here, conflicting facts sometimes come up, but—nevertheless—had those brave men and handful of women dressed as men wished, they could have won any war. “All they ever wanted was to protect the Science Barn. Maybe glamour the occasional traveler and raid their supplies. A simple life.”
I had my doubts, but it didn’t matter. Evidence would never be uncovered to unequivocally support my hypothesis that these dashing, original settlers merely “stopped caravanning directly upon the site of a future inoffensive rural intersection.” Records had already been tailored, and these historians remained the most confident and loudest.