Background: Two weeks ago, Ardith and Justin and Jason and I went down to Oklahoma for our cousin Andrew's wedding.
Stillwater is one of those cities on the Oklahoma plain that is surprisingly obscure till you get there, and then it is surprisingly full of surprises.
Travelers approaching from the north have first to cross the great Kansas prairie. It is land where there is nothing except for - nothing. The great disappearing stretches of fields, to eyes from the Northern farmlands at least, are mostly flat but not quite flat. In other words, not even remotely resembling the ideally gently rolling fields of Iowa.
Coming from the north as described above, the most frequently traveled route (otherwise known as the McDonald's-monopolized tollway) pretends it is passing west of Stillwater, before turning sharply due east, straight into town.
The western boundary of Stillwater is marked by the Blood Lake. It is a blue lake so tinted with red that it would almost look purple, if it did. Some say it took its name from the sacrifices made to the dragon of the lake. Others assert that this is but an old tale begun by the fantasy-minded and slightly inventive brother of certain travelers. These asserters declare that the red dirt of the Oklahoma plains is what gives the lake its reddish hue. And yet it must be asked how the Oklahoma dirt became red in the first place, a question which quite frankly suggests yet bloodier histories for Oklahoma.
On the east, Stillwater is bounded by a vegetable delivery point. After nightfall, the vegetables delivered must be particularly dried and of a particularly grassy or weedy origin. It is advisable not to use vegetable delivery points as places in which to turn around after dark, if you are a traveler fortunate enough to drive too far through town.
To the south of Stillwater lie nameless and unexplored lands. Rumor has it this area contains a terrible fatal triangle, within whose inexactly determined points and angles, all travelers disappear forever - hence none dare name or explore it. Rumor also has it, much less interestingly, that certain travelers from the north may just not yet have ventured south of town, hence the namelessness and inexploration.
In the town of Stillwater itself, there is a system of roads with intriguing names such as "Hall of Fame", "Duck Street" - a particularly great favorite, and most especially, the notorious "Mac------ Road". It is notorious for disappearing, especially by the magic of one fine cousin of certain travelers. By merely speaking its name within a list of directions, he has the power to wipe it off the face of the map. The counter-spell, naturally, being Google Maps.
So much for Stillwater and its surroundings. Now to see what adventures might befall our fine fair travelers, in this fine fair town... or perhaps more to the point, now to see if the fine fair traveler narrating their story can ever get around to finishing the story.