E/E

West Virginia

SUNDAY, JUNE 17

It costs $6 to drive across the state of West Virginia.

Marmet is a factory town. It is beautiful, right on the river, wedged between Debaser and ‘Hatchet’ by Low on our playlist and the Booker T. Washington childhood home and Peal Harbor Survivor Highway, all the way out here, as per landscape.

You can tell the town by its billboards. We are traveling high above the town, looking in. Down there it says, “Pure, clean water you can drink” about a quarter of a mile past the second or third giant factory in a row. This tells us the townspeople are worried about the quality of their water, and it was thought that perhaps they could be swayed by a PR campaign. As if just telling them their water was okay cancelled out them living right next to the factories, looking down their street and it ends in a factory. They are called contaminants because they cannot be contained.

Another billboard says, “The legal drinking age is 21. Thank you for not giving alcohol to minors.” There is no image, only text. No actor pretending to be a troubled youth, no red and blue cop lights. Just a simple message, from left to right.

West Virginia is Lio’s twenty-first state. He enjoys the deep bends and swoops of the small mountain passes.

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