All night Wanda sat bolt upright, thinking of her dead parents, and of dead Cal and dead Carol and dead Old Gus and dead Elmer and wondering what it was going to feel like to be disassembled, and twenty times in the night she rose to test the barbed wire, each time finding the strands too densely placed and tightly strung and savagely barbed to squeeze through, and each time she touched the fence, Leon came out of his shack and shook his fist at her.
The sun came up, gold with a trace of blue, and over the horizon came Phil and the Advisors and the Special Friends, casting long shadows.
“Well, Andy, this is it,” said Wanda. “This is it for me.”
Little Andy’s eyes were open and both brains were making the little ticking noises they made whenever he was thinking of something and his Decider rotor was spinning so fast it was giving off sparks and his lips were moving but he wasn’t saying anything.
“Andy?” said Wanda. “Are you okay?”
“Someday a huge slashing blade,” Little Andy muttered.
“Andy, they’re here,” she said. “So, you know, get ready. Don’t watch. Just hum to yourself and think of something else while they’re doing it. And you’ll be fine. Don’t worry about me.”
“My slashing blade will be so cool,” Little Andy mumbled. “I’ll make like fruit on the ground. Fruit of them on the ground. With my slashing blade. Excellent! That will be so excellent.”
“Andy, don’t talk like that,” said Wanda. “You poor thing. Your mother and dad, they wouldn’t like you talking like that, they always said--”
“What would be even cooler?” said Little Andy. “Slashing like even the fruit on the ground. Like the fruit I already made? I’ll make it again. Whack whack whack, you know? More fruit, less chunky. That would rock.”
“Andy, my God,” said Wanda. “This isn’t like you. Not at all.”
“Perhaps that milkshake did not agree with him,” said Phil. “Nevertheless he is lucky. In our nation, unlike your nation, we have pity for those who perhaps have gone a little nuts and need a complimentary Evaluation at our Outer Horner Psychological Evaluation Center. We pity the weak and the nutty, we always have, we see nuttiness as an unfortunate condition deserving compassion, and, in the name of compassion, we will Evaluate him, for free, the poor little guy.”
“He’s probably just afraid you’re going to disassemble him,” said Freeda.
“Ha ha!” said Phil. “That’s a good one. Clearly, he is too small to be worth four smolokas. Plus he is a kid. I do not disassemble kids. The future is the children, we all know that, they contain all that is good about humanity, which anyone can see by looking at that little tykish face.”
Little Andy stared at Phil.
“Fruit,” he said coldly.
“Please do not call me a fruit,” said Phil. “Or are you requesting some fruit? I cannot tell, your diction is too rudimentary for me. If you would like some fruit, maybe some fruit could be provided, at the Evaluation Center, Prior to your Evaluation. And also, not to cast aspersions on a loco tyke, if anyone around here is a fruit, it is you, being so small and young and speaking such weird rudimentary violent sentences like some sort of uncurable psycho with a screw loose.”
“Someday,” said Little Andy. “I’m going to slash you.”
“Nice talk!” said Phil. “Apparently, spewing forth poison from one’s mouth is a family tradition. Jimmy, take this pitiable violent case to the Evaluation Center. But first please build it. Build the the new Outer Horner Evaluation Center beneath my Presidential Palace, by digging a spacious modern hole, and equipping it with the finest state-of-the art thin mattress. Build it with the finest in modern therapeutic techniques, such as quiet, such as dark, so that the person being Evaluated has time to think about why he is so crazy, without being confused by needless distracting noise and light. And wet. Being a basement, it will be equipped with the finest in modern dampness technologies, which, in combination with the dark quiet and some therapeutic spiders, will comprise an excellent diagnostic environment, so that the accused, in this peaceful environment, may quietly in peace wait for his Evaluation.”
“Got it,” said Jimmy, and took Little Andy, biting, kicking, and cursing, from the Short-Term Residency Zone, and disappeared over the Wall of Truth.
“Goodbye, Andy!” shouted Wanda. “Don’t forget about us! Remember us, remember your country!”
“Well, Evaluation Centers cost money,” said Phil. “Especially diagnostic Evaluation Centers with state-of-the art therapeutic technologies, such as dark cold wetness simulation environments. So shall we get started on the tax collection?”
“I have one thing to say to you,” said Wanda. “What goes around, comes around.”
“How original!” said Phil. “Although perhaps that is true. Perhaps that is why your people are so scarce in there, in there where so many of you formerly were, whereas now there is essentially only you, and yet our people, out here, are so happy and free and numerous. Perhaps something that you people previously did is now ‘coming around.’ What did you people do, to deserve this? It must have been bad.”
“This is what you wanted from the beginning,” said Wanda. “You wanted us gone. And now we’re gone. So good for you. Are you happy? Is this what you wanted?”
“Yikes, yap yap yap!” said Phil. “Why the big speech? You do not hear me going on like that. You Inner Hornerites really love to speechify. Blab blab blab. Perhaps it is because you feel so inferior due to your terrible luck. Whereas we, us Outer Hornerites, prefer to act, because we are confident, because of our terrific luck. Deeds not words, that is how we feel, which you will now witness via Jimmy’s bold actions.”
And Jimmy unclipped the fifteen clips that bound Wanda’s Left Half to her Right Half, and the halves split apart on either side of Jimmy, who kicked the Left to Vance and began working on the Right, and as the freed pieces fell away, the Friends tossed them into Leon’s wheelbarrow.
Finally the last piece, Wanda’s neck clamp, clunked into the wheelbarrow.
“Oh, happy day!” shouted Phil. “I have long held a dream for our nation! A dream in which I am down on all fours, gazing across this portion of our nation, and what I see is an uninterrupted expanse of Outer Horner, with no disruptions or or borders! I have always called this, to myself, the Meadow of Peace, this area here, which is now so untidy with barbed wire and this unsightly Wall of Truth. In my dream, I saw nothing but grass, grass, grass, and no one cluttering it up with their refugee feet. And look how partially true my dream has come! Does anyone see any cluttering refugee feet? Boys, please show your Loyalty, by making my dream come totally true, by tearing down the Wall of Truth, taking out this oppressive barbed wire, and making manifest here today, right now, my Meadow of Peace!”
Hearing the rapture in Phil’s voice, the Special Friends went into a frenzy, ripping up the barbed wire fence, kicking and punching down the Wall of Truth, sprinting out to Far West Distant Outer with armful after armful of rubble, until finally nothing was left but the fallen barbed wire fence, which Vance slung over his shoulder like a cape for one final sprint out to Far West Distant Outer Horner.
“Oh that is terrific!” said Phil. “Although, not to be fussy, but it does not look exactly like my Meadow of Peace yet. In my dream, there was no snow, only grass. Please at least clear the snow and paint the earth green, so I can get a feel for it! And don’t pay for the paint. Go to Matt’s. Matt’s Paint. Tell Matt it is a matter of national security.”
So Leon and the Militia and the Advisors shoveled up the snow and leveled off the dirt with rakes, then went to Matt’s Paint and took all of Matt’s green paint and all of Matt’s brushes, since they assumed one would go through a lot of brushes painting dirt.
By dusk, the former Short-Term Residency Zone had been painted green and over near the Outer Horner Cage was a large pile of ruined brushes.
Getting down on his hands and knees, squinting, Phil surveyed the Meadow of Peace.
“That is it!” he said. “You have accomplished it! Look how natural our native land looks for the first time ever in history, with no Inner Hornerites slumping around making us feel guilty, no fences, no walls, only freedom! You have made me so happy. How long we have all waited for this day! Not only is there no Inner Horner, there are no Inner Hornerites, which of course is unfortunate, since I so very much value diversity, but gosh their luck was bad. But also what a lovely meadow! Let us focus on that, and not on our thoughts of sadness, due to a marginally decreased diversity, because after alll, we are still pretty diverse. Please, indulge me: let all assume my present posture, the better to view my Meadow of Peace.”
And the nation of Outer Horner, on all fours, squinting, viewed the Meadow of Peace.
“Wow,” said Larry.
“Wow,” said Melvin.
“It is flat, it is green,” said Phil. “But do not think I ever really cared about flat or green. What I cared about is that I dreamed it! And now here it is. It makes me feel that all my dreams are meant to come true, which, you know, really emboldens me to dream! Which I find exciting for you, my nation, since my dreams are your dreams and your dreams are my dreams! Let us dream! Let us dream together! Am I right?”
“Yes,” said Larry. “You are so right!”
“Totally right,” said Melvin.