“Is this a joke?” asked the lady behind the counter at the passport office. It was a question Crosby expected, but he still played dumb.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“You’ve written that you live in the town of Defeat.”
She looked at him over her glasses. “And your address is 1602 Regret Lane.”
She leaned back and picked sleep from her eyes. “These places don’t exist,” she declared.
“Of course they do. I live there. A lot of people do,” said Crosby.
“Who’d name their town ‘Defeat’?” demanded the passport lady.
“Well, it started as a small ranching settlement along Desperation Creek. Roving gangs of bandits would pillage the countryside at will, but when they came against our settlement, they were always routed. Over time the gangs referred to it as ‘Certain Defeat’. The name was eventually shortened and it stuck,” explained Crosby.
“That actually makes sense. What about Regret Lane?” asked the passport lady.
Crosby chuckled. “That’s kind of a funny story.”
“I bet it is. Amuse me,” said the passport lady.
“It used to be part of old Henley’s farm. It seemed old Henley took a liking to O’Keefe’s oldest daughter. She had no interest in the old man, but she wanted a piece of his wealth. In a fit of irrational passion, old Henley sold a piece of the family farm and gave her the proceeds. The rest of Henley’s family sued, and to make a long story short, the disputed land was called Henley’s Regret. The lane followed suit.”
The passport lady set Crosby’s application on her desk. “I have one more question.”
“Why do you want your passport? There’s no where in the world that could possibly be more interesting than where you live.”