Over here is a big white house with a pillared portico. Over there is an important-looking domed building.
You might get to thinking this is a fancy neighborhood -- till you notice the old rusted travel trailer, the 1972 Dodge on blocks, a shed leaning at a 30-degree angle, a heap of defunct water heaters ... and the neighbors.
Hm. The neighbors. No, I don't think they usually see this much camo around big such pretty big white houses. Certainly don't usually see this much heavy weaponry. At least not in regular people's hands.
And the fancy buildings, now that you think about it, are about the size of playhouses. Well, why not? They're there for play.
It's the Hardyville Whiskey Day Memorial Machine Gun Shoot and Ice Cream Social. And everything you see out there, sitting amid the sagebrush at the foot of the hill, is about to become history.
Normally at this time of year, the Beautiful People flock to the Hardyville Freedom Film Festival. They flood in from as far away as Pocatello to be dazzled by the greatest freedom films and to be seen among the pickup-truck glitterati.
Then they sweat like Rosie O'Donnell jiggling her way through the Boston Marathon. Because it's hot in July and the One-Plex has no air conditioning.
So this year, the festival backers wisely decided to postpone that event until the weather begins to cool. Or to put it somewhat more truthfully, Carty told me, "Claire, you're a &^%$#@ing idiot, writin' about movies in the dead of summer when nobody wants to watch 'em."
Thus was born the Hardyville Whiskey Day Memorial Ice Cream Social and Machine Gun Shoot.
Since poor Mrs. Nat, our natural-born organizer and ice-cream maker, has been sadly laid low, the job of conceiving and planning the event fell to a Hardyville newcomer, a young man name of Thunder.
You might remember Thunder as the caveman-in-chief at last winter's Bug-Out Campout on the famous Bobaloo Ranch. As a Hardyville newcomer, he wanted to make a big bang with his first civic volunteer project.
And what bigger bang than ... this kind of bang or this kind for a bunch of gun-totin' freedom-lovin' folk?
To set off fireworks is a grand American tradition. So, of course, is shooting -- however nervous it makes Our Beloved Leaders (hot-house city folk, almost to the last). Machine gun shooting can be a combination of fireworks and firepower that, while it may not have that much real world application, is a whale of a lot of fun.
And if semi-auto shooting unhinges the Schumers and Feinsteins of the world, full-auto fire really, really, really makes Our Beloved Leaders quake in their Guccis and Pradas. Which is (some would say) one perfectly good reason to do it.
Yes, the combo of machine guns and Hardyville is long overdue.
Thunder decided to add the ice cream so the people at Knob Creek wouldn't think we were going into competition with them. (Any of the people at Knob Creek, that is.) They got machine guns. We got machine guns. They got whiskey. We got Whiskey Day. But they don't got Thunder's Key Lime Pie Ice Cream.*
Actually, the combo of Hardyville and machine guns would go even more naturally together if machine guns didn't cost so darned much. Richfolk we ain't. Sigh.
But back to the Hardyville Whiskey Day Memorial Machine Gun Shoot and Ice Cream Social ... The whole Hardyville gang is here, plus lots of out-of-town visitors. Those of us who can't afford our own full-auto weapons can rent some time on everything from one of these to one of these. Somebody even brought one of these ...er, whatever it might be.
We definitely don't have any of these. Only the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms would do something dumb like that to a perfectly good semi-automatic firearm to try to fake it into acting like a "illegal machine gun" -- probably shortly before it blows up from their mishandling.
Oh yeah, and contrary to much popular belief, real machine guns aren't always illegal -- even in the Outer U.S., that is, outside Hardyville. Inside Hardyville, of course, the only thing illegal is initiating force, stealing, & suchlike.
There are a whole bunch of other media-fed myths about the destructive power of machine guns, too (as well as the dangers of non-automatic .50 caliber weapons).
Don't get me started on that. No. Don't. Back to the machine gun shoot -- where our aim is to have some pure, simple, all-Hardyvillian fun.
With eagle-eye range officer Carty patroling the line, the first shooters step up, machine pistols in hand ... and the rock n roll begins!
* Thunder and his partner Lightning say if you're going to make that Key Lime Pie Ice Cream, it's better to crumble the graham cracker crumbs on top when you serve it, rather than mixing them in.
The rock and roll continues next column.
Experience the brand new novel by Claire Wolfe and Aaron Zelman: RebelFire: Out of the Gray Zone. It's the story of one boy's dangerous quest to fulfill his dreams in a world where dreams are dulled with prescription drugs and everything, everyone, everywhere, is watched and controlled. First four chapters are online.