Zapata County Pig

Once, after a time, times, and a half, in a Galaxie far, far away from Kansas, two wolves and a sheep buzzed north along US 83. The top was down and the sun was high. The terminally handsome wolves were in the front, listening to a hip-hop remix of Eagles tunes in Spanish. The driver casually looked up from the road and noticed a pair of flashing lights in the rearview mirror. “Lycan’s fur!” he muttered. “It’s the pigs!”

“Nothin’ like Zapata County Pigs to ruin your day,” sneered the other wolf.

The Galaxie slowed down and pulled over to the side. The police car stopped a car length behind and sat there for a few minutes. The sheep started to fidget nervously.

Finally, three figures stepped out of the police car and walked toward the Galaxie, two on the passenger side and one on the driver’s side. The driver glanced in the sideview mirror and noticed that the porcine figure waddling toward him was dressed all in black and carrying a Colt M4 Flat Top assault rifle. He inhaled sharply.

One of the black-clad figures took up a position at the back of the car in the center. The other two slowly walked up the sides, stopping in the middle of the car. The sheep started to breathe erratically, like a prelude to hyperventilation. The wolf on the passenger side turned his head slightly in order to peripherally watch the figure behind him. He exhaled a low growl.

The figure on the driver’s side stopped just behind the driver’s door, about a foot away from the car and turned slightly toward it, his gun leveled at the back of the driver’s head. The sheep chanced a look sideways and twittered when he noticed that the figure had a black knit mask over his ears and around his snout, showing only a pair of large, swinish eyes.

Hola, señor! May I scan your identification, please?” he grunted, with an accent of southern Mexican Castillano.

“Of course, officer,” the driver said smoothly. As he held out his left hand for scanning, he turned his head slightly toward the pig. His eyes narrowed when he noticed the masked snout.

With his left hand holding the Applied Digital Systems CarnoScanner, the pig uploaded the driver’s ID data. He silently looked over the displayed text. He snorted, “Do you have a license to transport this sheep, señor?” The sheep started to sob.

“Er, I thought this was a democracy, officer…” the driver said as his right hand slid between his seat and the center console. The sheep emitted a low, sobbing moan.

The other wolf casually crossed his left hand over his chest, under his right arm, which lay on top of the door. A gunshot suddenly blasted the pig on the passenger side in the stomach, while the driver whirled left and threw his head back toward the center console. His shot grazed the pig’s head while the M4’s bullets shattered the windshield.

The pig placed behind the car instinctively pulled the trigger on his M4 and accidentally obliterated the sheep’s head with a burst of gunfire. As the passenger wolf spun around and up, sighting his Walther PPK on the pig in back, the pig used his left hand to sweep his aim to the right while flicking the trigger. As the wolf squeezed off an errant shot at the pig, M4 fire cut across his torso.

Meanwhile, the driver and the last pig rained gunfire at each other, over and through the side of the Galaxie. Then the gunfire from the car stopped.

The driver’s side pig stepped back, then held his M4 up high to aim down at the wolf laying across the center console. He squeezed off a couple of bursts at the wolf’s head. The pig from behind the car stepped around the other pig’s body and did the same to the wolf on the passenger side. Then both stood still for a moment, watching for movement in the car.

The pig on the passenger side kneeled down. “Strawboy is dead,” he said matter-of-factly. “Didn’t wear his armor today. How about you, Sticks?”

“I’m fine. No tripas for you today, huh?”

“Don’t think so, cerdito.

Todos somos pingüinos.” They both waddled toward the police car.

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14 thoughts on “Zapata County Pig

  1. I remember those Galaxies.

    The terminally handsome wolves were in the front, listening to a hip-hop remix of Eagles tunes in Spanish.

    That’s funny, man, but I’ll have to study the rest of it to figure out the moral to the story.

  2. Dude, you didn’t have any roosters in the story. And you’ve seen a deformed rooster? I think farm animal analogies don’t work so well for urbanites. I’ve seen my share of cows, but my grandfather didn’t keep any chickens.

    Are you sure it’s the idealists that use people? That could be true for the left, Marxists, etc. But it seems on the right, the pragmatists are the users. I’m an idealist.

    I didn’t figure these out:

    “I’m fine. No tripas (intestines or guts) for you today, huh?” “Don’t think so, cerdito (piglett).”

    “Todos somos pingüinos.”

    We are all penguins.

  3. I don’t know if you’ve given the definitive answer to what people are looking for when they search for “Zapata County pig,” but, for a while, you’re gonna come up first in a Google search.

  4. tripas = chitlins
    Sometimes used to make tasty tacos in Mexico.

    cerdito = piggy
    Think of Nine Inch Nails: “Hey Pig”

    El Pingüino = The deformed rooster used by Subcomandante Marcos to illustrate certain political points.

    When the Mexican government claimed to reveal Marcos’ identity, his supporters started using the catchphrase “Todos somos Marcos” to show how everyone is an insurgent. Eventually this mutated into “Todos somos pingüinos” to show how everyone is a victim. In my post-apocalyptic scenario, “the new boss is the same as the old boss.”

  5. So you did have a rooster in the story. But this implies that, just like me, you’ve never actually seen a real, live, deformed rooster. So, we’re even in that regards. In fact, there’s a good chance I can one up you when it comes to sights concerning farm animals.

    I found this link, The Zapatista’s Return: A Masked Marxist on the Stump, which filled in the gaps.

    Yeah, the new good guys just become the new bad guys. The Republicans just morphed into nothing better than the Democrats. I suppose Mexico is colorful material for making that point. It’s amazing how bad ideas like Marxism and atheism never die. I wrote an essay once on Flowering Judas by Katherine Anne Porter where I mentioned that idea, “the new good guys just become the new bad guys.”

    Your story brings up your last post in which you say “I can explain myself if you ask for clarification, but I’m not going to feel sorry for you if you are too stupid to ask for help.”

    Your current story is one that needs some help. But, Dave, aren’t most or many people like me when it comes to reading blogs or commentary? They’re looking for things to read that are interesting to them, but they’re not going to take the time to leave comments or email the writer when they read things they don’t understand. If a writer wants to teach me something new, I may take the time to read what they have to say, but if they talk about things I don’t understand, I usually have something else that takes priority over understanding what they’re talking about. And because I’ve started venting by means of a blog now, for the most part I’ve even stopped emailing writers to complain about what they’ve written.

    I did say that much of what you write gives me fits, but that was a roundabout complement to say that it seems you’re so well-read that you’re in Vox’s league. But where he doesn’t reference much to give common folks fits, you do.

    This brings me to Hodges’ link above to his blog, and the link to Nokes’ blog. In Noke’s Hate Mail, he says:

    You also write that you are suprised that I “would fail to see the value in all pieces of literature.” Well, guilty as charged. Do you know what makes a work literature, Judy? At the end of the day, it is people like me who decide.

    This is laughable to me, not that I haven’t bookmarked Hodges’ and Nokes’ blogs; on brief inspection, it looks like maybe they’re not so hard core as to be useless to me at my level of philosophy and literature; but neither are you, or I wouldn’t be here.

    Anyway, as I come from a relatively humble background, in many ways I have a common man’s mentality. As I said, it’s laughable to me that a person with establishment credentials thinks that he and others are going to be the definitive sources as to what gets accepted as literature. Yeah, it could be he’s helping decide what goes into Norton’s Anthology of Literature, but there’s other ways to equalize the situation, like music. Many a relatively uneducated musician has impacted thousands of people’s philosophical outlook on life even though the musician’s may preach lyrical nonsense, for as I say, “Mere entertainment is the philosophy of fools.” Of course, Marx showed that bogus philosophy can also be perpetuated by means of establishment credentials.

    Okay, this brings me to you. What? You’re not an intellectual because you don’t have enough establishment credentials? But you’re working in an academic environment, right? And I’d like to be there, too. But the advantage of not being in that environment is that I’m less intimidated by people who have better credentials.

    It’s a free-for-all.

  6. It all depends on the social circumstances, doesn’t it?

    At times, the poor, uneducated revolutionary may have the most appeal. Sometimes the rich and educated have the clout. At other times the poor and educated have the clout.

    And with the Zapatista’s, you have the poor and uneducated advocating what has philosophical roots from him who was poor and educated.

    Are there those who are poor and uneducated appealing to the philosophy of the rich and educated?

    Through Jesus, surely we have the rich and educated appealing to the philosophy of him who was poor and uneducated, that is, if you don’t count his Jewish, religious education.

  7. Thanks, Jeffery. I’ve enjoyed reading Wordhoard since you linked to it recently.

    Gee, ZK, you sure are challenging. This is getting to be like a little writer’s group. A really little one.

    Yeah, the new good guys just become the new bad guys.

    Believe it or don’t, but I wasn’t consciously referencing the current political situation. The only reason Mexico snuck into this was because I was riffing on the word “Zapata.” That associates with Mexico and revolution, which associates with the song by The Who, which expresses universal truths.

    Your current story is one that needs some help.

    Yeah, it’s complex, but all the basic ideas are either part of popular culture or searchable on the Web. And, like any fairy tale, it can be enjoyed without getting any underlying meaning.

    They’re looking for things to read that are interesting to them, but they’re not going to take the time to leave comments or email the writer when they read things they don’t understand.

    I could have hotlinked everything obscure. With this story, I was trying for a more literary effect. I didn’t even want to adulterate it with the link to the big hog, but I felt sorry for some of the confused people that might come here via google.

    it seems you’re so well-read that you’re in Vox’s league

    Not really. I read a lot and I remember most of what I read, but I read very broadly and not from anyone’s list of best books. I only read what I like, which makes me a kind of dilettante to any specialist. I know almost no subject in depth, say, the way Vox knows military history, because I would get bored or distracted before I could become well-read in any one area.

    But where he doesn’t reference much to give common folks fits, you do.

    I don’t know what this means.

  8. it’s laughable to me that a person with establishment credentials thinks that he and others are going to be the definitive sources as to what gets accepted as literature.

    Nevertheless, it’s true, due to the authoritarian nature of higher education and the chain of command among the scholarly journals that decisionmakers use when writing policies. But I think what happens is that the culture eventually outruns both kinds of institutions, and when cognitive dissonance hits them they re-align. The actual culture is always out front, but it isn’t well organized.

    You’re not an intellectual because you don’t have enough establishment credentials? But you’re working in an academic environment, right? And I’d like to be there, too. But the advantage of not being in that environment is that I’m less intimidated by people who have better credentials.

    Well, I don’t really want the label “intellectual.” I’ve been shamed too many times by people who use it as an insult. They are merely intimidated by my vocabulary and my ability to spell correctly, so I know it has nothing to do with intellectual ability as such.

    I used to want more credentials, but it was pure vanity. In my field it confers only a minor advantage, basically the opportunity to do more administrative work. Moreover, the narrowing of my field of vision that would result from pursuing a PhD is against my better nature. Perhaps if I were convinced it was necessary from a career standpoint, I would force myself.

    I’m not intimidated at all by people with better credentials because I know from personal experience the inexact relationship between credentials and ability.

  9. Are there those who are poor and uneducated appealing to the philosophy of the rich and educated?

    In two-party politics, the capital-poor and miseducated populace divide up into two dodgeball teams and start flinging the philosophies of capital-enhanced and properly credentialed people. Is that what you were looking for?

    Through Jesus, surely we have the rich and educated

    A more or less modern phenomenon, at any rate postdating Jesus himself, in terms of numbers of people.

    appealing to the philosophy of him who was poor and uneducated,

    More a description of those he ministered to and the gawking crowds than Jesus himself.

    that is, if you don’t count his Jewish, religious education.

    An arbitrarily modern distinction. Jesus was obviously better educated than the Jewish textual scholars and religious experts of his day. This wasn’t because they didn’t have enough schooling, but because they didn’t learn anything. Moreover, he wasn’t obscure and evasive; unlike them, “he taught with authority.”

    Also, although Jesus could hardly be described as rich, he was only poor insofar as he chose to live like the poor.

  10. Yes, I have to admit that I think people mischaracterize Jesus as being poor in the same sense as those without the means to change their circumstances. It can be convenient to do that.

    Gee, ZK, you sure are challenging. This is getting to be like a little writer’s group. A really little one.

    Those farm animal comments, right? I think you’re just messing with me, Dave.

    zk: But where he [Vox] doesn’t reference much to give common folks fits, you do.
    dr: I don’t know what this means.

    It means that I think that he makes a conscious decision to not make frequent references to things that most people are not going to be familiar with. He’s catering to his core audience. But everyone’s blog circumstances are different, right?

    Well, I don’t really want the label “intellectual.”

    I’ll take it all I can get. Of course, I would feign modesty if labeled as an intellectual by someone.

    I’ve been shamed too many times by people who use it as an insult.

    People don’t even use the word where I come from, or in the social circles I’m running in, so that’s not a problem for me.

    They are merely intimidated by my vocabulary and my ability to spell correctly, so I know it has nothing to do with intellectual ability as such.

    You’re feigning, Dave.

    I used to want more credentials, but it was pure vanity.

    I would like to have bragging rights (as in Ph.D. bragging rights) so I would be better equipped to try and smack people down like Sean Carroll.

    I’m not intimidated at all by people with better credentials because I know from personal experience the inexact relationship between credentials and ability.

    So maybe it’s me who’s really intimidated.

  11. I’ve experienced the circumstance of being humbled by my stupidity while people who have never been to college are praising me for my intelligence, based mainly on some big words I used thoughtlessly.

    Among the PhD’s I know, the ante keeps going up. “He’s out of his field. He’s not a specialist. He’s never published anything in a peer-reviewed journal. He’s 20 years out of date. He doctored his research results. Yadayadayada…”

    I spend all my time correcting the work of PhDs. They aren’t arrogant about it, because the ones who are don’t ask for help. But it shows that the credentialing process qualifies one to do a very specific activity in a very specific way on a very specific topic, without guaranteeing any other skills.

    As it turns out, a BA only impresses high school graduates, an MA only impresses college students, and a PhD only impresses graduate students. Smart people in the real world consider credentialed people to be overeducated fools.

  12. I guess credentials are like most everything. They can be used in a good way or an evil way, which means that they will be used in an evil way.

    Dealing with that, I suppose, is part of the struggle.

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