When you want to understand the differences between towns, cities, states, or even countries, the best way to do this is by simple observation. The “tourists” observation won’t work; you need to see the normal, everyday workings, not the built-up image. With this in mind, here is a “from the parking lot” glimpse of the world of “Hunter”.
My trench-coat is getting dirty, but for once, I don’t really care. My legs are worn out and informing me that if I try to get up, they’re on the next boat heading down-river. Since I kind of need them, I decide not to risk it just to dust off the coat. Anyway, the grass verge of the parking lot is remarkably comfortable.
It occurs to me that it really isn’t the safest place to take a break, but scanning for danger reveals a whole lot of nothing. The people going from their cars to the store are astoundingly harmless. Even the young fellow with the sewer-exterminator’s truck looks friendly. I wonder how he manages the alligators and Storm-warped cats. Shaking their claws with a friendly smile just doesn’t seem feasible. The only particularly threatening character is the door-greeter at the store.
In New ‘Tonio, it’s wise to be very polite and respectful to little white-haired old ladies. Especially if they’re armed. The elephant rifle leaning on this lady’s chair looks like it’s been well-used. Shoplifters beware. Given that I’m not intending to go in and buy anything, she doesn’t seem dangerous.
The grass is cool and the sun is warm, a pleasant combination in the January weather. Drifting off to sleep is a serious likelihood, but just as I close my eyes, a massive rumbling from the street snaps me out of it. Blinking and annoyed, I turn my head with great care. The effort seems excessive. The tractor-trailer rolling up the street is a classic tourist trap. Bullet-proof glass windows and plate steel armor covers the tractor, while the trailer has been turned into a veritable gentleman’s-fortress. Thick glass and steel doors everywhere and a spotter’s roost on top.
Through the rolled-down window, I can see the driver. He’s wearing a fedora, not unlike the one on my head, but whereas I wear mine with a flair, his just looks like a leather bowl jammed over his hair. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to wear hats. He rolls the truck into the lot, parking slowly and carefully, then swings out. He looks a picture-perfect example of a Texan Hunter, ready and willing to guide any tourist hunting parties that come along.
The look is working, too. As he walks to the store, a couple of high-dollar cars roll by him, passengers asking questions. By the time he gets back with his groceries, he’ll probably have someone wanting to hire him. Their loss, if they do. I happen to know this “guide”. He may look the part, but he’s no Hunter. It’s entirely possible he bought his pistol in the “bargain bin” of the local pawnshop.
However, customer credulity isn’t my problem, so I roll back over. I’ve got a meeting with a wizard at 3:00, but until then, sleep has universal precedence. Single-handedly shoring up New ‘Tonio’s most important business can be tiring. Beasties to be caught and clients to bill, other Hunters to run out of business…..I gotta do everything around here…….
If you liked this glimpse of Hunter’s world, why not check out his short stories? Excitement, sarcasm, and crazy critters reign supreme.