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A satire inspired by the very real Abbey Subdivision in Moab, Utah.
NEWS ITEM: The Durango Telegraph reports Moab’s approval of the Abbey Subdivision, which the developer says is an homage to Edward Abbey (1927-1989). Abbey wrote the memoir Desert Solitaire, set near Moab, and the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, in which the heroes try to blow up the Glen Canyon Dam. As an anarchist and anti-growth advocate, Abbey’s greatest contempt was for subdivisions.
“All of your loan paperwork is in order, sir,” the banker said. “Congratulations, you now own a house on Hayduke Court.”
Our hero smiled, still not used to being called sir. “Moab has a housing crisis,” he shrugged. “I need a place to live.”
“May I ask why you chose the Abbey subdivision?”
“I’m… I had a… umm, ‘friend’ named Hayduke.”
“And may I ask why you chose us at the Butch Cassidy National Bank for the loan?”
“You were recommended by a couple of associates of mine, Smith and Sarvis.”
“Oh, right! From Seldom Seen Venture Capital.”
“They’ve really helped me transform my life these last few years. You know, I was just a night-watchman for the Bureau of Reclamation when we came out with those Desert Solitaire Playing Cards. They did so well, we tried the Floyd Dominy Dominoes—the ones with the pictures of the politicians on them.”
“Falling over in a line. A brilliant innovation in the novelty toy and game space.”
“So then I invested the profits in Survey Stakes R Us. And eventually expanded into Abbey’s Road Construction Supply.”
“You clearly have great management skills. Is that what the Green Berets taught you? And what financial wizardry!”
“The finance part was mostly Smith.”
“I don’t think I’ve met him.”
“He doesn’t get out much. Just to church on Sundays.”
“Church! Is he Mormon?”
“No, he and I go to the John Muir “Get Rich” Prosperity Gospel Church. It’s a beautiful building, lots of parking, very secure, no windows.”
“Is that the one on Wilderness Highway, out beyond the Ted Kaczynski Industrial Park?”
“Right, you go past the Rachel Carson Lawn Chemical outlet and the Julia Butterfly Hill Stump Grinders. And past the factory where they make the Alice Waters Iceberg-Lettuce-and-Artificial-Pineapple Potato Chips, and past the Billy the Kid daycare. But then it’s right before the Christopher McCandless Luxury Suites hotel.”
“Yes, I know the area well. We’ve done deals nearby with the Thoreau Pencil Company—their expansion into office efficiency and time management software. And Zane Grey Mediation Services. Jack Burns’ OK Corral horse rendering plant. The Al Gore Inconvenient Truss and Carbon Fiber Beam company.”
“Did you guys fund the Chico Mendez Lumberyard?”
“No, but we did help the John James Audubon Poultrymen’s Supply outfit. Teddy Roosevelt Irrevocable Monuments—you know the gravestone company? The Ayn Rand Collective Bookstore—very interesting co-op ownership model. And I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but I’m hoping we’ll have a role in that new skyscraper, the Jane Jacobs Tower.”
“Impressive. I’m glad to be doing business with you.”
“But I’m curious, sir. You know your way around leverage, but you’re actually borrowing more than this Hayduke house is worth. We’re more than happy to give you the money, but would you like to share what your plans are for it?”
“I’m going to buy a Huck Finn Houseboat. Not the deluxe model with the Everett Reuss GPS system. Just something to take out on Lake Powell.” To a careful listener, his tone of voice might have implied skepticism about both calling it a lake and naming it after John Wesley Powell. “There’s a spot right above the dam...”
“How fun! I remember going out on the lake as a kid. As fast as Utah is changing, it’s nice to know that some things will always stay the same.”
Our hero raised an eyebrow. But the banker didn’t seem to notice.
“Is there anything else I can do for you, sir?”
“There’s a place I haven’t been to yet. Could you give me directions to the Chief Joseph I Will Fight No More Forever Factory Outlet?”
“If you turn left at the light here, it’s about a half-mile down on your right. Buying some guns and ammo?”
“Something like that,” our hero said. “Is it true they also sell explosives?”
I hope this made you laugh!
Thanks to Jonathan Thompson at The Land Desk for surfacing the story. Thanks to Travis Burdick and Elli Elliott for suggesting jokes.
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