Both times before, I wished I'd a place in my port for my entries...this time I do!
|"Well howdy, Sheriff Dawson. You lookin' mighty purty today." Frank Peterman tipped his Stetson.
Next to him, Daniel Horn pulled the damp stump of cigar out of his mouth. "Right purty," he agreed with a slight leer.
Dawson narrowed her eyes and tilted her head, regarding them with a wry smile. Lifting the electronic clipboard, she shifted her eyes to it. "Enough of the pleasantries, boys. You know why I'm here. Let's get on with this."
Peterman and Horn looked at each other, eyebrows arched and comical looks of question on their faces. Horn said, "Why no, Madam Sheriff, we don't know to what you might be referrin'."
The sheriff drew a long, steadying breath. Her voice was strained but pleasant. "I'm certain you received the nationally distributed email last week. The Demoncratic Republic of Texas has instituted regular checks to ensure all beef farmers are administering the government mandated rounds of growth hormones and antibiotics. You are in my jurisdiction, so you get to deal with me on this matter." She pulled the stylist from the clipboard and poised it over the screen.
Peterman shifted his weight; the leather chaps made a sqeaking-creek sound. His smile was gone. "Now you look here, Sheriff. Out here on the plains, we do as our daddies done, and their daddies done before them. Now back in the early part of this century, we all learned how bad them hormones is for the cattle and for us 'umans. We have been organic beef growers as long as I've been alive and as long as I'm still alivin' that's what we is going to be."
"No, you look here, sir," Sheriff Dawson countered. "This great country was founded by men and women who didn't want the rest of the world telling us Texans how to live our lives. You know as well as I do that the hormones are safe for the cattle, and we have developed excellent drugs to combat any secondary effects they may have on humans who consume their meat. We have the biggest cattle in the world, Mr. Peterman, which render the tenderest meat on the market. We Texans are proud of our industry, and as a Texan, you should be too."
Horn guffawed. "Lady," he began, dropping all pretense of protocol, "Before we seceded, Texans had the right to farm as we chose. Now for fifty years, the use of the Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone has been banned in the European Union, Japan, Canada, Australia, and the United States, and for good reason. We're still using it in our country. That don't make sense. It ain't about doing as we please, it's about doing the right thing. That's the principle our forefathers founded this great country on." He raised his rifle, an unspoken threat. "Now, Sheriff, I think it's time you mosied on home."
Dawson glared at the two. Then she picked up her cell phone and began dialing. "I see I'm going to need back-up," she muttered.
Horn and Peterman didn't look at each other first. They both leveled their rifles and fired. The resounded blast startled the cattle grazing on the clover-rich grass and sent black birds into the air from trees surrounding the field. Peterman shook his head at the crumbled form of pretty Sheriff Dawson.
"When is the government gonna learn? No one's gonna tells us Texans what to do."