Country Boys is a story about cultural clashes inside the USA. When I started posting it, a lot of readers immediately wrote that they thought a country boys whoops ass tale was a lame story concept and a few asserted that it was beneath me. Well, it wasn't a country boys whoop ass story.
There are a number of cultures represented in this story - the country culture, the urban culture, the inner-city culture, the law enforcement culture, the gang culture, and the suburban culture.
Bit players in the story provide little glimpses of different perspectives about the action within the story. An unnamed young woman has sex in a van with anyone in the gang because she sees that as optimizing the quality of life available to her. She isn't a unique person in real life -- there are lots of young women just like her.
There are people who love the country-side either in permanent immersion or as occasional visitors. There are others who think nature makes a nice picture on a postcard, but 'ugh' there are insects out there. There are subcultures who think crime just is and that it can't be eliminated while there are others who think that fighting crime is the responsibility of every citizen. There are even some who view crime as the only way to survive in what they perceive to be a hostile society.
I know people like Pepper. People who have lived their lives without ever taking something apart to see how it worked. Young men who don't know how to change a tire. People who look at you incredulously and ask, "How is it possible that you've never had a Chai Latte?" Yes, there are people who believe that knowing the current trend is a sign of intelligence and sophistication.
I also know people like Dan, Joe, Sonny, and Donny. Proud men who are equally willing to stand alone for what they deem is right and to stand in unity with their neighbors in times of trouble. Men and women who work with their hands and minds with a touch of commonsense added. People who believe in God, self reliance, hard work, patriotism, and charity. They also have the bizarre idea that doing a excellent job at work should be rewarded with raises and promotions while performing poorly should lead to a loss of job.
I also have known people who believe that might makes right. There are those who believe that if you can't stop them from taking what they want then they have a right to it. The elements of the story about gangs posting on their website that they were chasing the police was taken directly from a newspaper.
There are also members of law enforcement who are trying their best to ride herd over the chaos created by pseudo-legal wrongs, individuals with callous disrespect for law, and zealous watch groups who demand humans to perform perfectly or else. The bit about the huge number of law enforcement people (1200) who went out to arrest 52 gang members was straight out the newspaper. There was also the case where neighbors protested the police closing down a crack house in their neighborhood. I didn't include cops getting killed while drinking coffee in a donut store. There is the side of the story that isn't often told -- the side that wonders about the hopeless of effectively protecting the public.
It has come to my attention that a lot of people are disappointed by what appears to be an abrupt ending. Good. I didn't want to leave a sense of closure for the characters in the story.
When cultures collide, the individuals involved are uprooted. Long held beliefs are questioned, leaving most people without satisfactory answers. Heroes come home from war and in the dark of night question the righteousness of their actions. Wounded heroes lie in bed wondering if their sacrifice was worthwhile. It is natural after things are over to wonder 'what if I had...'.
After cultures collide we are left with a sense of unease - the feeling that things aren't right and will never be right again. The world has changed on us and what we once accepted without thought is suddenly brought into question.
There are no purely 'good guys' or purely 'bad guys'. There are imperfect people doing the best they can with what they believe to be right. Too often we feel cheated when all is said and done. Why? We believe that everything should be peaceful when reasonable people interact.
Do we live happily ever after? Only in fairy tales.