The More You Know
Hello, Onward State. My name is Brad.
When most of you leave, you don’t think of what happens to State College without the student populations. You may think that the townspeople rejoice as though a plague has been banished; you may think that pizza shops just close early. But no one realizes that without the students, State College becomes a vision of the post-apocalypse. No one thinks of the barren hellscape that is State College on spring break.
The first thing that hits you is the silence. The unbearable silence. No yelling into cell phones, no drunken singing, no occasional snippets of intelligible conversation, nothing.
All you can hear is the wind, the continuous drizzle, And the rustling of tiny squirrel corpses that have replaced tumbleweeds as State College’s most prevalent indicators of loneliness.
While searching for signs of life, you see what appears to be a Lion Scout. On closer inspection, you see that it is actually a Lion Scout’s skeleton, still encased in its signature peacoat. Why is it like this? Starvation? Lion Scouts, by law, can only eat on campus. Radiation poisoning? You know that there’s a nuclear plant in the southeast, and, with no one around to watch over it, disastrous accidents could have happened. But no, you know the real reason- the roving hordes of cannibals.
If you walk the bone-littered streets by Beaver Stadium, you may hear them. It is there they make their home, when they are not hunting for the few survivors of the great Exodus. Though blood-thirsty and savage, they appear to be chanting, plaintively. They are praying to their god, Joe Paterno, to bring back the students. As an offering, they are building a bust, in his likeness, made out of human femurs and rejected THON t-shirts that read “Forth, E-kids!” Their cries fall on deaf ears, for JoePa is not listening.
All of downtown is now ruled by the robot voice you remembered used to say “Walk Sign on South Allen”, but now says “The culling is upon us”. The pizza-shop confederation fought valiantly to win downtown back from its robotic overlord, but, ever since the Canyon Betrayal, only Gopper’s stands independent.
In the distance, you see West College Ave is now a wall of flame. Hopefully, the char-broiled neighborhood will help Arby’s sales figures.
On campus, one beacon of hope still shines, and that beacon is named the Willard Preacher. He has converted the Willard Building into a safehouse for survivors as penance for murdering the older, fatter, Willard preacher during a heated discussion over whether or not Leviticus predicted the great Exodus. He has also tuned down his rhetoric, damning now only the cannibals, rather than everyone he sees. At the Willard Building’s communal meals, the Preacher now only gently suggests that his flock “please stop sexing up the infirmary, as it raises the blood pressures of the burn victims.” Few have problems following the request, and we all know who those few are (Steve and Diane).
All this, dear readers, and it’s only Monday evening.