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Hall of Fame of Us/Hall of Fame ofThem John D'Agata Thefollowing two essays appear mid-way through a long series ofessays titled "Hall of Fame: An Essay about the Ways in Which We Matter," a 200-page meditation on the American hall offame. Some ofthe halls offame depicted in the series are real, others are not. Thefollowing do not exist as institutions thereof, but they do exist in time and space. There are currently 144 halls offame in the United States. Hall of Fame of Us Rachel, Nevada (Ríe. 375, "The Extraterrestrial Highway") Ergo the town. Ergo, also, the fence. Most of Rachel, Nevada, lives near this fence. Come dusk, at the Little Ale'Inn, the town gets drunk on talk about the fence. So-and-so peeping over the fence. Such-and-such sneaking around the fence. The fence and the bUght of fascist American conspiracies. Etc. On the other side, at night, sometimes a white Jeep stalks the desert, sometimes a black jet zips the sky. Always in bunkers and warehoused in vaults, alien captives are crying out. If we could only get inside ofArea 51, say the townspeople ofRachel—population 91—we could save the aliens, and thus save ourselves. 31 32Fourth Genre In the meantime, at least, we know that they are near. We know, for example, of five ships docked somewhere on the other side— although we have our suspicions of six. We know of two bunkers above ground, innumerable bunkers below. We know RosweU, Atlantis, Bermuda Triangle . . . We know that they are kind. They want to take us with them. We know a lot, in fact. Just not enough. Not, at least, tiU we're on the other side. Visiting the bar one early afternoon, I asked the waitress what she'd recommend . "AUenburger." No doubt about it. "It's a green-dyed patty," she said. "Green?" "Don't worry, hon," she added with a smüe. "You can teU it's not real. "Real alien meat, of course, is greener." Hall of Fame of Them Rachel, Nevada One half of one of these thirty-five traders hitched alongside the Little Ale'Inn is avaüable for rent to any stranger. That's us. For thirty-one doUars: dinner tonight. Towels, shampoo. Air conditioning, Bible. AU the videos we want. John D'Agata33 Videos? "DarUng, where do you think you are?" the waitress asks us when we check into the room. "TV reception sucks to high heaven out here. "The only time it's not lousy is when something's flying overhead. "And at that point I don't care who you are—scaredy-cat, beUever, skeptic, whatever. "Ifyou're not convinced after Baywatch comes on in Icelandic or some shit . . . weU, I don't care who you are, there'sjust definitely something wrong with you, then." Tonight the early bird is T-bone steak. Corn. RoU. Mashed or fries. We are watching—we five early birds in Rachel tonight—the owner of the Little Ale'Inn on Larry King. "So you thought, 'Heck, ifthis thing ever happens to me again,'" says Larry Uve, '"then next time I'm gonna be prepared!'" "Right," says the owner. "So you did what?" "I bought insurance." "She bought insurance!" The first in America to be covered for abductions. "Bet now we're gonna need more help," the cashier predicts, folding black Tshirts with gold saucer contraüs: RACHEL, EARTH! A commercial comes on. The kitchen beU's rung. 34Fourth Genre Someone gets up and goes into the broom closet. Someone gets up and goes out the screen door. A woman stands up and walks behind the pine bar. She sits back down with a Bud Light and a Bud. "So who's going out tonight?" a boy bounds in and starts yeUing at the crowd. "Who's going out, cause I wanna go out!" He has been watching and foUowing for the past three nights a certain blue light in the western sky. "Ifanyone wants to see it," tapping a long finger on my table as he says, "there'U be no charge." "Just promise to let me drive," he adds. Together the teen...


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pp. 31-37
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