Congo street, so-named, curving north off Desiard where the Trans-Southern railroad crosses. The old, willfully disremembered part of DeSiard, just out of downtown yet well shy of the bypass. On either side of the tracks are bumpy dirt right-of-ways, following the gentle curve until they go out of sight; this is Congo street. Sad houses of 1920s union laborer vintage side by side, red-curtained, slack-porched, dimly seen as if still within that era's faint remnant light. Facing the tracks the way they might a street or highway, or further, a river.
At night the mysterious pull in his gut as Mac pauses the car on the tracks. Where it veers away in the distance, shadowy, full of implication--poignant, if he knew such a word. How far does it go? He's never quite actually driven it, having made a few shy deliveries no more than a couple hundred feet off DeSiard--something forbidden or shameful about a dirt street in the heart of town, belonging to another group of people entirely, an unfathomable group that would be outraged by his appearance, a transgression. Congo. Mac wonders.
On the maps it is shown that only small stretches are amenable to automobiles--the line broken by bridges or culverts or multi-lane thoroughfares. Yet the tracks on paper curve unbroken all the way until nearly the river. And on Washington he looks down from the opposite perspective of DeSiard's. It looks the same, yet different. Unallowable. Some space between here and there, untouched by official geography.
Mac knew all the streets. He had maps, hundreds of them, mostly repetitious copies, some even collectibles--though the concept would seem foreign to him. Had someone wanted them enough to offer to buy, a local historian (or worse), he would have happily given them away. But he read them, studied them, quizzed himself on the streets. Agony when one is forgotten, mis-sequenced; then comes head-slapping, an unforgivable lapse. He's driven them all, known them all.
But Congo bothers him. His unwillingness to navigate it. The incongruity of tracks running right up a street. The way it looks like a tunnel.
Every street he drove connected with another street and all roads came together one way or the other, and he could drive circles forever.
A railroad goes on, straight on, and eventually ends. Must end.