Written by Eric Puchner
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Model Home, 2010
Rounding the San Gabriels, Warren got off on Highway 14 and began the long descent into the valley, an endless, moon-stark desert stretching into the distance, spiked here and there with Joshua trees poking up from the dirt. Their arms branched haphazardly in the sun, like the thoughts of a lunatic. The trees, the Mojave seemed to appear out of nowhere. Warren still found it beautiful—breathtaking even—though he regarded it with the begrudging respect you might have for an enemy. He searched for the poppy preserve that had once been a selling point, trying to spot a few dreamy flashes of orange in the hills, but the summer drought had rendered them as brown as their surroundings. He pulled off the highway and followed the long dirt road to a block of brand-new homes, his very own ghost town, parking in front of the strip of grass meant to evoke images of croquet matches and Fourth of July picnics.
© 2010 Eric Puchner; New York: Scribner