Where I live, a powerful local official causes a contribution to be withheld from an organization planning a pride festival in the town square. The official does not wish the county’s name to be associated with a drag show, a one-hour feature of the day-long event.
A citizen of another country tells me of reading Paul Theroux’s book “Deep South” and marveling at the number of churches and preachers the author encounters in his tour of Dixie. I’ve been a passionate reader of Theroux’s explorations of far-flung reaches of the globe. He chose the American South in 2015.
In my state, the party of limited government and individual responsibility reaches into the lives of citizens with the fury of Draco. A century-old statute against abortion has been activated. Measures are afoot to criminalize travel to other states for the procedure, as well as the taking of pills for it.
When it happens I always glance at the time on my bedside iPhone. Last night it was 12:54 AM. I suppose I want to be able to answer the question, if interviewed, When did you hear the shots? The volley of unmistakable, sharp reports awoke me. From the usual direction, south side of town, sounding only blocks away. Somehow the mind registers the number of reports in a zone of afterthought and recreates them: two spaced cracks, brief pause, then four in quick succession.
There was no followup or aftermath, no sirens, no next-day news report of any fray. Just unremarked gunfire in the middle of the night in my Texas town in 2022. A semi-regular occurrence. My sister lives a short distance from me in the direction of the shots. “Did you hear them?” I ask her at morning coffee. Yes, she nods. We sip from our cups and contemplate the summer heat.
(c) 2022 JMN