Tumbleweeds skitter across a barren field, passing a broken-down hen house, underneath a rickety, faded fence and up over an igloo before brushing up against once grand French Chateaus, now boarded up and forgotten. Its fate is told in the brief, final words on the sign just beyond the front door: foreclosed.
This shambles relic is just another sore sight for weary eyes in this ghost town, still called Farmville, but in name only.
"We should have seen it coming," one dejected farmer said, sitting on the porch of a home he was no longer allowed to enter. There were chains on his door.
When news came of gigantic hedge fund Goldman Sachs' massive $450 billion investment in the town, boasting great promises of "strategic acquisition," many residents were skeptical. After all, the town had never been healthier.
A once flourishing monument to ingenuity, creativity, community and infinite free time, Farmville at its peak was a brimming town of more than 50 million. Gigantic, ever-expanding plantations blossomed continually with tree species from around the world, animal species from chickens to pandas coexisting peacefully and productively in the shadow of splendid architecture. Homes decorated with permanent rainbows, massive teddy bears and Eiffel Towers sparkled with pride.
Neighbors gifted everything from shovels to horses to mansions to one another. The citizenry, ethnically diverse but not without a set of eerily shared facial features, worked hard, sometimes all day and night, but rarely were faces seen without smiles.
That was then. In the weeks that followed Goldman's investment, little seemed to change; the farms teemed, the population buzzed and the winter chill did nothing to slow the booming town. But soon, the paperwork came. Promises of great castles and even larger farms dazzled and tempted the town's workers, who despite their great prosperity, found easy loans and flowing money too hard to pass up.
As it would turn out, as they signed the mortgages on their estates and Leaning Towers of Pisas, they were signing their town's future away.
"They make it seem like, sign this dotted line, make these payments, and then everything will be milk and honey," another citizen lamented, shaking her head. "We should have known, no one comes with all that money not expecting to make more."
Soon enough, the farming town became ensnared and confused by the huge packets of contracts and endless stream of signatures needed, scribbling their names down on what they say were purposely misleading documents. Over time, the bills came due, starting to collect on the dinner table of worried Farmville denizens.
Demands for checks far larger than they'd ever seen overwhelmed the town's farmers, and even pitching in to help each other, they continued to fall behind. Despite the nature-defyingly fast harvest times for their crops -- some springing up within an hour -- and gigantic cows pumping out milk at record pace, their Farmville bucks couldn't answer the call.
The town was enraged further when, as they struggled, they learned that Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein had rewarded himself with a $100 million pay package, buying a gigantic plot and mansion that once served as the town's most historic and treasured mansion.
"Here he is, stepping on our heritage, rubbing his green money in our face, as our farms fade," a weeping Farmvillian said at a town hall. They tried to appeal to the government, but with more and more produce coming from overseas, they received little assistance.
Now, after a mass exodus from the town, those who stayed, whose roots run deep in Farmville, hope against hope for a change.
"What we need is a revolution," a defiant man said at a recent meeting of remaining farmers. "That, or hope Twitter starts supporting applications."
The author can be reached by email: Jordan at HuffingtonPost dot com.