Great Elamran Plains Southern Auraria “Que te folle un pez!” Martín shouted as he pulled the trigger of his rifle casting a large boom and another hole to appear in the chicken coop as wood splattered about. The early days of October still wouldn’t see the cooler autumn air in the Great Elamran Plains. Martín wiped the sweat from his forehead as he stared at the barn, grinding the tobacco between his teeth. He squinted his eyes as he looked over the bullet ridden chicken coop. With a great “hmph” he lifted his rifle once again to take aim. “Quite a beautiful day we have here, Comrade Acosta,” a man called to him as he was walking down the dirt road to Martín’s ranch. He was a tall, slender man. Sides shaved near bald with long hair slicked back on top he had a nontraditional look. Certainly, out of place for Elamra, far more suited for the urbanites of Vesilla in the North. Martín lowered his rifle and looked to the man approaching him. “Couldn’t have asked for anything nicer.” “It’s hot, preacher,” Martín spit his tobacco and lowered his rifle to the ground, using it to support his old, aching body. “Please, Comrade Acosta,” the preacher called back “You can call me Sebastián.” “I’d rather call you preacher,” Martín scoffed. “All fine and well,” Sebastián smiled “Can I ask why you’re shooting at your chickens?” “I am not,” Martín looked back at the coop “I’m shooting at the shit bag thief that keeps taking my eggs. I have less and less for my family, I can’t provide for our community. There is nothing honest about that, I’ll tell you.” “Certainly,” Sebastian agreed “We all toil for the benefit of the community, thieves certainly don’t – no justice in that, certainly isn’t God’s will.” “I don’t care much for God’s will,” Martín lifted the rifle to his shoulder again and took aim “I’ll get my own justice.” “Well before we do all that,” Sebastian put his arms on his hips and looked at the coop “Mind if I take a look?” “Take a single thing and I’ll make sure you meet your God,” Martín lowered his gun and leaned on it once again, Sebastian smiled and moved forward. He unlatched the rusted knob and opened the door, it creaking as it swung open. Sebastian looked, soon hit in the face by the smell of a chicken coop that spent its entire existence and housed all activities of dozens of chickens in a small wooden crate under the hot Elamran sun. He took a step in, careful to avoid the corpse of a chicken blown to pieces by a rifle too strong for such small animals. He looked around and saw a young girl cowering in the corner, behind the rafters as chickens bounced around her. “I just need a couple eggs, I’ll never come back, I promise,” she sputtered out to him. “Understood,” Sebastian nodded to her “Just keep your head down, I’ll handle this.” Sebastian stepped outside the coop and walked back toward Martín. The old man looked upset and impatient. “Did I get him?” “Well, it’s a young girl you’re shooting at in there,” Sebastian answered “And no you didn’t.” “Pity that is,” Martín shook his head and readjusted his hat “Suppose I try again.” “Right, well,” Sebastian lifted his hand to wipe off the sweat “I saw a few dead chickens in there – don’t you suppose shooting it up like that and losing more chickens does you more harm than good.” “A man’s gotta have his principles,” Martín retorted “Surely a preacher understands that.” “Surely I do,” Sebastian answered him “Look, let me level with you. I’ll give you some eggs I have, should be more than enough to contribute to the Committee. I’ll talk to the girl about her behavior – I’ll promise you myself that this doesn’t happen again, let’s just stop shooting shall we?” “You promise that?” Martín scoffed “On your God?” “On my God,” Sebastian assured “And my word to you.” “A man’s word is all he has,” Martín answered. “Then I’m giving you everything,” Sebastian replied. “Hmph.” --- “How did you convince him to let me go?” the little girl asked. “Well, simply put, I lied to him,” the Preacher said, handing the girl an apple. “Preachers can lie? What denomination are you?” the girl questioned. “Oh pick one, I guess,” Sebastian said “I just believe in the good word, not the Church. I didn’t lie, per say – I am gonna talk to you about your behavior.” “I’m sorry,” the girl said “Truly I am, it’s just I was hungry and the shortages..” “I know dear,” Sebastian answered “I simply mean to say I’m going to teach you how to not get caught. Just steal a few chickens dear, lay your eggs.” He smiled at her as the two walked off down the dirt trail.