The town is picturesque if you’re just driving through it. The old Carnegie library, the Louis Sullivan bank, the six blocks of small town density, the adults walking their dogs in the October sunshine, the teens hanging out at the Kum & Go, the firetruck scooping the loop with a giddy contest winner honking the horn, the way everyone notices when you turn a corner, every head swiveling after you, the women that cross the street to avoid you, the minivan that tails you almost to the HyVee before screeching off with a shriek of laughter when you turn your head, the cops that don’t ask questions when your friends disappear.
Away from downtown, the wide streets are lined with stoop-shouldered shade trees. Summer evenings, there are fireflies; summer storms are romantic with lightning. There’s a gazebo in the park back of the library where the town band plays Sousa marches in July. There used to be a roller rink, but it burned down back in the 70s under circumstances less mysterious and more just unexamined. There’s a bakery that opens up at 2 am, so you can always stop in on your way back from the bar and get pastries still warm from the oven, if you’re in a group, if you haven’t been roofied, if you haven’t been jumped, if the cops didn’t come in and arrest anyone for drinking suspiciously. The donuts are good; the croissants are mediocre. If you’re up for a bit of a hike, you can walk out to the country club where they found one of the disappeared kids face down in three inches of frozen water, though you’ll have to hop a fence to actually get there; the country club is members only, but they’re always accepting applications.