Monday, August 5, 2013
Of course, man makes plans/swears oaths and god laughs, so five years later, I found myself sitting in my boss' office, being told that my job now resided in Texas.
Now, I can't say I hate the place - I met my wife here, I've made good friends here, and there are lots of things to do and enjoy here that I wouldn't have access to living in the bowels of Upstate New York. Texas has been good to me, make no mistake.
But I can't say that I love it here, and while I live here, I don't know that I'll ever really feel at home. Large portions of this state are the cultural equivalent of an irradiated wasteland; the type that glows at night and kills deer that drink from its streams. I'm confused by the politics, frightened by the politicians, and befuddled when otherwise normal, rational people reveal that they stockpile weaponry like it's the 1770s. Oh, and my office has a sign telling people not to bring their guns inside the building. That sign exists, because if it weren't there, they could. It's like a gun version of the Do Not Call List - if you don't opt out, you're in.
So basically, coming from New York, it's like I moved to another planet.
The fun thing about Texas is that you can talk to anyone from around the world, and regardless of what language they speak, they all know TEXAS. Probably 70% know it from the show Dallas, and the other 30% from the sheer force of Texan will, which exports its culture in a forceful sort of cultural osmosis. Texans love Texas, in a bizarre sort of way that I don't think I'll ever understand, and what's more, they love to talk about Texas. As a result, you can walk into any bar around the world, say "Texas!" and somebody will yell back, "Big hats belt buckles and gun racks!"
As my wife, proud Texan that she is, would be quick to point out, it's not exactly fair. Dallas, to a certain extent, and definitely Austin, are not stereotypically Texan cities. I go days in Dallas without hearing a drawl ("y'all" excepted - that, at least, is universal), and for it's, for the most part, a thriving metropolis.
But, the presence of so many stereotypes, elevated to legendary status world wide, begs for stories to be told in their shadows. Garth Ennis gets this - it's one of his "things" - the man loves him some Texas. Preacher mythologized Texas to a degree I haven't seen elsewhere, and it was glorious.
So, to make a long story short, I've started writing up some things. I'm calling the setting Tayxis, a gonzo version of Texas, turned up to 11.
In Tayxis, Big Oil Men own everything, and Luchadores wage a shadow war to free the oppressed. Blonde
Bombshells cozy up to Gun Nuts for protection from the G-Men. High Plains Drifters blow into town and square off against Cartel Assassins at high noon. Preachers scream on street corners, warning that the Devil is buried out in Palo Duro Canyon, and he's stirrin' brother, he's a stirrin'! Meanwhile, Antipostles vomit down the airwaves and screech from the pulpits of megachurches. They rake in the cash, paving the way for their master to come again, and only Santeria priestesses bar their way. Down on their luck, drunken Country Music Singers wander the highways and byways, gee-tar strapped to their back, putting the spirits of the dead to rest with a song.
There are Strip Malls, where you can buy any kind of flesh you could ever need, live or dead - cow, chicken, lamb or human. There are trailer parks full of ninjas, and subdivisions full of the Walking Dead. Otherworldly chimera gather up tumbleweed into golems that terrorize the countryside, and only the shamen from the Rez can stop them. And from deep beneath the Alamo, the Immortal 32 haved lived up to their name. The streets of San Antone run red with blood, as they emerge each night to fight the Battle over and over again, cutting down any Mexican "invaders" they come across.
Don't worry, though, the Pigs are out in force, keeping things in check with their badge and a gun, but if they're the ones you're scared of, as Sons of Liberty have had enough of Big Government taking away their freedoms, and they're bringing the fight to the streets.
What is Tayxis? Tayxis is six feet of crazy in a five foot glass. It's a ten gallon hat on a midget. It's God, Guns, and Guts. It's the Wild West and the Deep South with a double bourbon chaser. It's sharp dressed men and rough boys. It's taxmen, texas floods and blue eyes cryin' in the rain.
Oh, and it's got the best darn Barbecue you'll ever eat.
Welcome to Tayxis. Ya'll come back now, y'hear?