It was just a same old, same old, pre-dawn, weekday morning in Gallery City. Marshal Artz,  so as not to awaken” Prudie” (Prudence), his wife of thirteen years, slid, stealthily, out of bed to perform his quotidian, morning duties which, importantly, included, switching off the two large, revolving searchlights on the roof, de-fusing the four landmines, strategically, located in the lawn, checking the ammo on the spring gun in the backyard, turning off two, of the four, home alarm systems and warming up his camouflaged, Humvee, for his later commutation to work.  

After breakfast, he, dutifully, reminded Prudie of the City Council Meeting, late that afternoon and the possibility, that he would be a little late coming home. As customary, Prudence woke the son and daughter, Audie (named in honor of military hero, Audie Murphy) and Annie (named in memory of Annie Oakley), for morning family muster and chow (breakfast).

At breakfast, Prudie, found it necessary to admonish the children for goldbricking in the performance of their morning assignments, lest they miss the daily, armed, military personnel carrier that takes them to school. After breakfast, Marshal kissed Audie and the children, holstered his loaded, Glock, and mounted his Humvee for commutation for work. The two children, dutifully  wearing their school-issued steel helmets and Kevlar jackets, from their, “Remember the Alamo,” High School,  waited for the armed personnel carrier while Prudie, quickly and securely, locked and bolted all of the doors and windows of the house, in time to be picked- up, for food shopping, by one of supermarket’s fleet of armored jeeps,

At the conclusion of his busy workday, Marshal, employed as an assistant chemist, at Ivermectin Laboratories, LLC, and an elected City Councilman, lost no time in proceeding to the meeting room of the Special Session of the Gallery City Council; the irregular meeting called to discuss the issue of the proposed purchase of a large, military howitzer, from the U.S. Defense Department, to, defensively, stand guard at the City entrance. A hotly contested issue had been raised, by certain, loudly objecting, Council Members, who preferred, as protection, the acquisition of two military-grade rocket launchers, to be defensively placed, at each of two entrances to Gallery City. The kernel of the contested issue was not financial, but rather the argumentative objection, that the howitzer’s single-shot canon, however devastating in impact, would not be as effective a defensive a deterrent, as the rapid multi-firing, rocket launcher. Marshal, a responsible husband, telephoned home, to indicate that he would not be returning for the family’s usual dinnertime. After a grueling and heated, four-hour debate, the parties reached a consensus agreement, to a military howitzer, one rocket launcher and four daisy chain land mines (viz., two, surface mines, undetectably, buried at each City entrance).

As extensively, reported in the Wistful Times, exactly, two months following the expensive purchase and installation of the defensive equipment, (as approved, officially, by the City Council),  the Wistful community, on a certain, Wednesday midnight, experienced a sudden and shocking, Hiroshima- size explosion, at both of its guarded entrances. The shock waves from the huge and unexpected, fiery explosion, as well as its thick black and gray fumes, were felt and seen, respectively, throughout Wistful City, itself, and, as well,  the surprised and traumatized, neighbor, the historic, and peaceable, indigenous Village, of “Sesame Y. Knot.” It was concluded, after investigation, by the City Council that it was the movement of squirrels or opossums, of which the area has a plentitude, must have set off both sets of mines, which were installed just beneath the surface, causing all of the ordinance, including the pile of howitzer shells, to ignite and explode.

It may be interesting and instructive, to note that the neighboring Indian Village, is known to have, eternally, lived in peace and safety, employing, as (rarely) necessary for its protection, simply, bows and arrows and the occasional long spear, throughout the history of its many centuries of residence.

Two weeks following the occurrence of the awesome fiery explosion, the City Council, appropriately, sent a delegation to the neighbor, the nearby, indigenous American Villagers, bearing gifts and expressing profuse apology for the effects, of the dangerous and horrific experience. The Chief and, leader, Wise Old Owl, was gracious and forgiving and had generously arranged for a sumptuous meal, for the delegation of City Councilmen, together with his own, extended family. During the deliciously prepared main course, consisting of sweet wild duck and fire-roasted vegetables, Marshal, could not resist, asking the wise, old and empathic Chief, a question, which had perseverated in his consciousness. “How can it be possible, that you and your tribe, with only bows and arrows for protection, have resided, for so many generations, in safety and peace; while we, with all of our protective ordinance and advanced military weapons, are not safe?”

The elderly, wise Chief, smiled and replied, somewhat condescendingly, “The threat of danger, all too often exists, as you painfully have learned, by the existence of, “protective” weapons, and their asinine and reductive, possessors.”  


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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