(By Bobby L. Graham)
Everybody's been to Gossiptown at least once in life. Most people spend much time there, because they enjoy the amusements of the place or the company they meet there. Frequently they meet people much like themselves; and occasionally they become so astonished at what they are like when seeing others doing the same thing, that they wake up and decide to leave the place and never return again.
Gossip and all sorts of activities associated with it occupy the time of the people who live there or visit there. The residents decided to stay many years ago, so they could gossip and keep up the lifestyle of the town, while the visitors come once in a while to check it out, with some of them deciding to move there for good.
Let me show you around Gossiptown, because it's the kind of place that attracts many. I do admit, however, that a few have found the place repulsive. The town is divided by a large river flowing through the middle; it is FALSEHOOD RIVER. Many lies of all kinds-black lies, white lies, social lies, half lies-false charges, cheats, deceitful ways have been found in the river. It has been said that those who drink the water from that river find it hard to tell the truth again.
Crossing Falsehood River is BITTERNESS BRIDGE. So many bitter words have been spoken there and hurt feelings have been caused there by the gossip of the town. It is quite common to see people crying, anguishing over what somebody has said, and expressing bitter feelings, thoughts, and words- all because of the falsehoods that have been spread or the disregard of many for the feelings of others.
Down by the river and running next to the bridge is a track, where IDLENESS TRAIN runs on a regular schedule. People who have nothing better to do than gossip ride the train and talk about things they don't understand, pass along what they have heard (especially if it is about an enemy), or speak evil of others. Many reputations have been ruined and many families have been disrupted by riders on the train.
THE TUNNEL OF HATE lies along the track of Idleness Train. The tunnel is long and dark, because hate abounds in this town and feeds on the lies that are told. Yes, hate causes many of the lies to begin, and then the lies cause even more hate. Inside the tunnel can be found many angry people, plotting schemes against others, speaking about their suspicions of others, their jealousy and envy. When these angry people have left the Tunnel of Hate, they have sometimes caused problems with other residents in the town and even with the visitors. Some families have had much turmoil and churches have had big problems because of the people who spent time in the tunnel. Even some of the businesses and other work place in the town have experienced major disruptions from some of these same people. There seems to be something very evil that happens to the riders on Idleness Train who pass through the Tunnel of Hate.
The town has two main streets, with one intersecting the other at the middle of town They are THEY SAY AVENUE and I'VE HEARD BOULEVARD. The boulevard is a much larger street than the avenue, because many more people travel it than the other. People have sometimes asked about there not being more than two streets for such a large town with so many people. I also have wondered, but the people there are so busy in their gossiping that they seem to have little time to do anything useful.
Near the intersection of these two streets is a park where many residents spend a considerable part of the day. It is Don't Tell Park. When a passerby is near, he can easily hear people there saying, "Shhh…don't you tell now, you hear?" I understand they are doing a lot of talking about what they have picked up from others and don't wish it passed on to certain others, since they are not even sure about its truthfulness. I have noticed, however, a smirking smile on many of their faces because they have told it to somebody and have enjoyed doing so. Many of the people go straight to Don't Tell Park after getting off Idleness Train that travels through the Tunnel of Hate.
This is Gossiptown. What a town! It is probably one of the more wicked places around, not just because of the crimes committed there, but also because of the hate that begins there. It often spreads to surrounding places and causes many towns and states to have their own problems and crimes. Many who have visited the town have decided never to return, but far too many people have stayed there so long that they wouldn't live anywhere else.