Laura, TJs wife, isn’t rattled by much. She shags rattlesnakes with a stick, eats dog food, and knows more of Mother Nature than anyone around but Boy Quick. This week she and TJ sped to the city hospital to get her “engine tuned” (hysterectomy) and I was drafted to property-sit their 40-acre Independence Square. However, I was as an ornament because two-dozen dogs on breakaway strings ring the place. One bit me, and I wanted to pat its head cuz that’s its job. For two days, I sat center to a number of cats, chickens, turkeys, a blind horse and a Volkswagen graveyard. They returned to say they’d “Rather take a whuppin’ than go to town again”. TJ had dryly suggested the doctors “Put in some extra blowers”, and Laura while under anesthesia had punched the doctor’s jaw which the nurse addressed as, “A good right cross”.

Residents hereabouts have taken society lickins and, while appreciating certain benefits such as the hospital, view it as a general tormenter and carver of repetitious statues. They’ve retreated from the zoo like characters in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged to this remote lowland and don’t peek outside. My appraisal rings of Nietzsche’s Master-Slave ethic. Master morality prizes independence, excellence and creativity, while slave morality touts servility, resentment and mediocrity. Three years ago, I didn’t suppose this move to a focus of distinction surrounded by a doughnut of captive standards.

Indigenous phrases reveal underlying sentiment such as with “Goin’ to town.” One of the toms at Independence Square is bobcat-big and one afternoon it pounced on a smaller favorite of Laura’s. It was over in one-second with the favorite on its back gasping from tooth holes in the trachea and lung. The tom skidded round a corner as TJ leaped for a revolver and Laura wailed, “She’s goin’ to town!” and hugged the dying feline. “Don’t let her go to town!” It went, dead as that tom after TJ caught up with it.