We're tough and we're Texan with necks good and red.
— Elton John
SCENE: A gathering of self-appointed delegates for the government of the New By-God Republic of Texas. The delegation — made up entirely of 55-and-over white men and Herman Cain — has been arguing for hours, trying to out-shout each other when a distinguished-looking 70-something gentleman with an impressive head of white hair and a long handlebar mustache takes off his black 10-gallon hat, pulls a Colt .45 from his holster and fires three shots in the air.
The delegates either drop to the earthen floor of the Republic's town hall — a hastily thrown-together pole barn erected on a square in the heart of what used to be Dallas — or draw their own weapons and take aim at the shooter. A couple, obviously caught up in the moment, squeeze off a few shots of their own, mostly pleased — but still a little embarrassed — that their shots didn't take anyone out.
"Gentlemen, all this squabbling is getting us nowhere," says the distinguished-looking gentleman, Billy Joe Bob Hunter. "We have grave problems we didn't account for. Since we became an independent country, even with all our oil and cattle money — and let's all show our respect to Mr. James Driller and Mr. Sam Houston Hereford for their contributions to our noble cause (the delegates break into raucus applause that Hunter stops with another shot from his Colt .45) — we're getting low on funding.
"One of the things we didn't account for when we gained our independence is that most of our wetb ... er, hired help either went back to Mexico or left our borders. And that's left us with a shortage of laborers. Hell, I rode by Doyle Bramman's cattle ranch last week and saw him and his boys trying to fix a fence where their livestock was getting out. Them boys didn't know a hammer from a cow pie."
There's a smattering of laughter, but also murmurs of grave concern among the delegates.
"What's even worse," Hunter continues, "is our growing 'whiteback' issue. I know it's hard to believe, but a lot of those God-fearing folks who signed that secession petition and came happily into our free land don't like it so much that they no longer have Social Security or access to health care or groups like the Rangers and the Navy SEALs to protect their property or mail delivery or libraries or a courthouse or regulated utilities.
"According to the latest figures we have, as many as 80,000 of our citizens have defected and gone back into that other godless land. I've heard reports of three generations of families sneaking across our borders into Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana. If we don't get a few more free men from those other states where they talked about secession but, let's be honest, didn't have the guts to follow through, we're in trouble here."
A somber silence fills the pole barn as the delegates ponder the future of their new land.
"Can't we get a little help from the good folks in the Republican Party in that other country?" one asks.
"What about the secessionists from Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, South Carolina and Wisconsin?" another asks. "Hell, there's even secession groups in California, New York and Puerto Rico. Can't we count on them?"
Hunter shakes his head sadly.
"Unfortunately, we're the only ones who had the guts to take a stand," he says, and he's interrupted by random chants of "Don't mess with Texas." "While I'm giving out bad news, I might as well tell you boys that we've been turned down for financial support from the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch and even Mitt Romney and all those other so-called 1-percenters in our former country.
"They gave us all this mumbo-jumbo about our righteous cause, but their general reaction was, 'If you think we're getting off this gravy train for a bunch of misguided rednecks, you're as dumb as folks say you are.'"
The delegates grow silent, each pondering his own dim future.
"I wonder how those 11 Confederate states that fought the Union in the Civil War managed," one muses aloud. "Things went so well for them."
Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at firstname.lastname@example.org.