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Author's Chapter Notes:
This was something else I wrote, around the same period I wrote "Ghost Towns"
S-O-S— this is not a test
This isn't a joke, either
A hoax or some sick game
I promise this is neither
Just get me out of here
is all I ask of the receiver
I don't want to live here
until I'm an old geezer
I just want to see this town
in my rearview mirror

A place of false fronts & buried secrets
Here it's "out of sight, out of mind"
It's all the things these people hide
the things no one will ever find
The Bone Yard where all things end up
the last stop, this is the end of the line
That's why I've gotta get out
This life will kill me before my time


Dead end
Wrong way on a one-way street
Can't admit defeat to anyone I meet
Dead end
I got detoured on a one-way track
Looks like there's no going back

This is Hell County behind the fašade
a dead-end life, a dead-end job
Just keep driving when you arrive
Dead End Drive


From afar they try to bring me down
from CEO's to senators
And circling me like vultures
are predators & creditors
My only motivation
desperation, debts & threats
No reward, no incentive
just a life of regrets
I can't breathe but I can't leave
because I just don't know how
Going nowhere, must get outta there
and leave Dead End Drive right now


Dead end
Wrong way on a one-way street
Can't admit defeat to anyone I meet
Dead end
I got detoured on a one-way track
Looks like there's no going back

This is Hell County behind the fašade
a dead-end life, a dead-end job
Just keep driving when you arrive
Dead End Drive


This is life in a Company Town
You just rent a Pullman house to dwell
only shop Pullman's store, and at the bell
go sit through a Pullman church, as well
Trade in for a Pullman soul to sell
and only have a Pullman tale to tell
So choose your path & choose it well
or else you'll die like me
and go to Pullman Hell...
Chapter End Notes:
-circa 1999, revised 2003

"Ghost Towns" was not the only song I wrote about the darker side of living in eastern Montana, as back then, I kinda had an axe to grind on the subject, but this was the only other one that was ever any good. Back in 2003, my friend moved out of state to go back to school, but for a couple years, I held on to the silly notion that he might come back and try to start a band, so for a while, I continued tinkering with song lyrics before putting it all away for years to focus more fully on Tradewinds. The key to this one, when I came back to it later, was recognizing that it started with the present, but had I unconsciously dug back into all I'd learned of the state's history, from the Copper Kings to the Railroad Barons, and the horror stories of living in a Company Town. Montana is a state full of ghost towns, the products of 150 years worth of booms and busts. (Remember that when they get to the "history" of corporations, they suck places dry and then move on.) And, sadly, the whole thing comes full circle, seeing how far our current Plutocracy is going these days to reverse over a century of human progress, and drag the past into the future...

"Hell" County was more than just a nickname, it was a play on the county's real name. In downtown Havre, just a bit back from Main Street, in front of the train station, is a bronze statue of one James J Hill, railroad magnate, whom the entire county was named after. In some town I can't remember the name of, there's a small bronze plaque dedicated to the one dead Chinaman for every mile of his railroad. :( And while, unlike the rest of the song, "Pullman" (the final verse based on a famous quote from the Pullman Strike) is not a Montana reference, per se, but it was the epitome of the kind of company towns that dominated Gilded Age West. A place where corporate executives voted themselves into public office by having foremen watch over the shoulder of every ballot cast, as well as funneling most of their workers' incomes right back into the owner's pockets at Company Stores, at their worst, calling upon Pinkerton mercenaries, and even the National Guard, to gun down workers. :|
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