This Land is My Land


fiction by Samuel Ligon


I’m thinking about developing my intellectual property—maybe putting up a couple of houses or a gas station, plus a nice park for the kids and old people and young mothers and weed dealers. I’ll probably plan a commercial strip, a town, but cooler—more authentic, somehow—than that fake Disney town in Florida, Celebration, or the one out on the Olympic Peninsula, Seabrook, “A New Beach Town,” which my family and I stumbled upon last spring, and let me tell you, it was darling, with old style one-speed bicycles propped everywhere free for the riding, and everything so safe and clean and new and old fashioned.

I want people to feel comfortable on my intellectual property, at home. I want them to love my intellectual property. I want them to love me as a result of loving my intellectual property.

But, then, I don’t know…. I sort of can’t wait for it to get run down a little. I don’t mean like fake-aged and charming. I mean a little seedy, a little fucked up, with a few liquor stores and some broken windows and a sex shop and some hookers over on the edge of town. Bars and used car lots. I’m just talking about one side of town here, or maybe part of one borough.

Now that I think about it, there can be all kinds of gleaming shit too—glass skyscrapers and modern schools and safe parks and mega churches and grange halls and coffee shops and vegan bakeries and hippie butchers. But I’m planning right now to have at least one skid row and some drug hotels and welfare hotels and a Superfund site somewhere over at the edge. There can be a gigantic pristine national park—like twice the size of Alaska—but I want at least one Superfund site.

And some sad mothers. A handful of indifferent fathers and a shit-ton of sad mothers. Everyone else can be happy, except for that girl with the skin condition, and the old dude about to get busted for embezzlement. And the king. I don’t want the king to be happy ever. Or the priests. The children can be happy sometimes. Some of them. Same with the adults. The fetuses will all be perfectly happy always. And the dead people. Pets will be welcome everywhere.

And we’ll be happy too, of course. You and me. Us. Sometimes. At first. Until the economic collapse. And the onset of Father’s condition. And then the war. But aside from these things…. Better times will be right around the corner. Along with our inevitable demise. But don’t worry about that. On my intellectual property, we’re going to be accentuating the positive, generating happy endings, curing diseases, filling prisons, eating our pets. No. Loving our pets. Eating animals that aren’t our pets. Only killing things we eat. And people we feel inferior to or threatened by or afraid of for whatever reason. We will feel feelings and everything will work out fine in the end on my intellectual property.

I do worry about that apartment building with the lead paint making all the children retarded. And the crumbling infrastructure everywhere else. But I’m thinking about putting in this kick ass water park, where maybe only like one person an hour drowns, gets sucked, unsaveable, into this gigantic spinning toilet-like vortex…. But no: We’ll splash each other and have picnics and the sun won’t give us cancer and neither will cigarettes or anything else. We’ll be beautiful and live forever and be fulfilled, all of us, except for that one little half man/half goat dude, always scratching himself and rutting. And the criminals and reprobates, the atheists and agnostics and true believers. The rest of us, though—we’re  going to be happy and in love. I’m sure some crisis will always be looming, a disaster of some kind. But, I swear to you, I don’t think it’ll hit here. And if anyone ever does get out of line or bothers you in any way, just let me know, because the one thing I’m most looking forward to is telling people to get the fuck off my property. Now. This instant. Then we’ll go back to being fantastic together forever.


Samuel Ligon