Uniontown, Pennsylvania. A city that had money. A city that does not have money now. Home of John Marshall and desperately in need of its own Marshall Plan. Like so many other middle-sized industrial cities, the later twentieth century has treated it brutally and the early twenty-first promises to be no different. Its stacks of old brick buildings are largely empty, a renovated theater standing out with incongruously bright colors amidst dingy browns and grays. It is the middle of Saturday and the streets are empty of cars and people. Which makes the one pedestrian all the more noticeable
The Pedestrian appears middle-aged, with sandy hair, a pushbroom mustache, and a dark tan. His tan is only marred by a thin white line that traces an angular, symmetrical shape around his neck and lower jaw. It looks vaguely like the outline of an automotive gasket. He glances over his shoulder compulsively. When he speaks, his voice sounds like it is clawing its way out of a glowing, hissing fissure in the Earth. It is deep, monotonous, inhuman. It is a voice bellying no hint of empathy. It is a voice that croaks "the drugs" and turns your spine into an icicle. There is nothing affected or glamorous about it. The Pedestrian is a wreck, closer to being dead than alive. His stiff body language, at once unresponsive and twitchy, makes the anti-drug fable Requiem for a Dream look like a bit of dolled-up artistic wankery. "Getting off the drugs. Hardest decision." Each word comes out painfully, as if he is coughing up shards of glass. "They tried to kill me. Almost did. But he wouldn't let them." The man points to the sky. "I'm done." He scrunches up his mouth and nose, looks over his shoulder, and shuffles away.