Marysville, Benton County, Republic of Astoria
31 March 1989
Donnie Fleming shared a cell with three men in the basement of the Benton County Courthouse. Two looked at magazines. One snored softly. Donnie studied the guard, seated in a creaking swivel chair, his feet on his desk and a paperback in his fists. “Hey bud, you got a smoke?”
“I told you to keep a lid on it, squirt.” The guard continued to read.
“Hey, c’mon chief. I’m dyin’ for a cig. How ’bout it?”
“How ’bout I come in there and smack you one? Shut up.” The guard laid down his book, lit a cigarette, and blew smoke into the cell. He chuckled as he smoked and returned to his cowboy story.
“Ah cheez, that’s cold!”
After the guard had half smoked his butt, he flicked it into the cell. It struck the far wall and exploded into sparks. Donnie scrambled after it and puffed it back to life.
Another guard stepped in from the corridor. “Roust your babies, Frank. Let’s get ’em loaded on the van.”
“T’hell wi’that,” mumbled one prisoner, “le’s jus’ get loaded right here.”
“Keep it up, sweetheart,” Frank opened the cell door, “and you can settle your debt at the range.”
“Take it easy, Frank. Let’s just get these babes to the Farm. Goliath here is getting ripe.”
After a couple of deep hits, Donnie surrendered his prize to see it crushed under the heel of one of the guards as they assembled the assessees. They were marched out the door, up to the street, and into the waiting van.
The van pulled away, passed through town, then accelerated out of the confines of city traffic. The van roared past a bicyclist as he turned off the road and coasted into Union Station.
The highway followed the river. Where the Willamette swung away to the northeast, the road threaded its way into a thicket. Exiting the grove, the ground leveled into rich farm land, planted post to post in mint and yams. Mint gave way to beans and beans gave way to hazels to apples to peaches until, looming at the top of a hill, a spartan wood and brick edifice, attended by ancient oaks and wrapped in wrought iron, stood ready to accept the passengers.
The van pulled off the smooth road and crunched onto gravel. An iron gate, mounted between two stone kiosks, swung inward as the van slowed to a stop. Arched over the entryway, in black iron filigree was writ GENADY WORK FARM, and under it, in smaller lettering, arbeit macht frei.
That’s all you get for the price of admission. If you’d like more, hard copy is available post paid from Greigh Area Associates or Piracy Press for Fifteen United $tates Legal Tender Federal Reserve “Dollars” (U$LT) in check or money order, or Three Quarters of a Silver Dollar, in silver coin. Send your U$LT to Gene Greigh, c/o Greigh Area Associates // 843 Carson Drive, Lebanon, Ohio; 45036 // An earlier version of this novel, weighing in at a tedious and didactic 192000 words, can be had in digital format from smashwords.com for $1.99 Fe’ral Reserve Digits.