A Lawless Utopia (II)

Some days are better than others...

12:15 – I’ve found a suitable trail alongside the perimeter of the huge plow field where cotton used to grow. I’m feeling in pretty good spirits for a man who’s just waived goodbye to a good job, a fancy Jaguar and a sleek BMW. Objects come with strings attached – fuel, oil, insurance, smog tests and tags, driver license renewals, roadwork and traffic jams. Remove any variable from the equation called Life and you’ve got nothing, nada, ZIP.

Like this friend I once had, Humphrey, a traveling salesman. He’d been living quietly with his wife and son, always donating to charity, a volunteer firefighter. One Saturday afternoon, the cops came to his door and arrested him for failing to pay alimony and child support to his first wife. Peggy, his second wife, had no idea he’d been married previously and had a child with the other woman, so she moved out of state and took their son with her. The authorities soon located a third wife, then a fourth, and those marriages had never been dissolved. Peggy had been living with a polygamist, and Humphrey remains in prison to this day. Hadn’t the private detective traced him down, none of this would have happened, and the family would still be sitting there every night watching TV and munching popcorn. Law and Order can be two very different things.

13:10 – I’ve checked into a motel 6, which was all I could find around here. There’s a Denny’s next door, so that’s where I’ll be headed after a long, hot shower. The TV works, no power outage around here apparently. I’ll take a nap after lunch, then call a cab to bring me back home.

13:45 – The family restaurant is nearly empty. I can easily hear what they’re saying on TV, they’re talking about this paralysis of our justice system from top to bottom. IOUs worth $ 16 billion were never honored, the federal government wouldn’t cover our losses, and so everybody went on strike. That happened about six weeks ago, on and on it went until the Governor declared a state of emergency. But a Californian emergency is not equal to a national emergency, the folks over in Nashville are busy producing country songs about us, and we’ve become the nation’s laughing stock.

14:30 – A change of plans. The waitress tells me that the state prison, which is located within miles of here, is releasing prisoners for a price. Non-violent offenders can walk for about 500 bucks provided they have a sponsor, she says. I’ve never met a less violent person than Humphrey, so I’m heading over there to see if he’d like to come with.


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