Morning. A thriving village spread over a barren desert. At the outskirts is a weather-beaten billboard: “Welcome to Abeville, Heart of the Holy Land—Celebrating 56 Years of Progress.” Main Street is reminiscent of the Old West: storefronts, wooden sidewalks, hitching posts—everything but horses and buckboards, which have been replaced by camels and a few cars (a Model aFord, a Kaiser, a VWBug).
The signs on the buildings announce:
“Holy Land Post Ofﬁce”
“Abe’s Trading Post—We Specialize in Used Camels”
“Holy Land Federal Courthouse”
“Sears, Abe’s, and Company”
“Abe’s Souvenir Shop—We Cater to the Religious Tourist”
“Holy Land Sheriff”
Behind Main Street are many residential tents. A sizeable percentage of the male citizens are loitering on Main Street, smoking, spitting tobacco, and chatting. They are dressed in traditional Middle Eastern attire, except for the Western holsters and six-shooters that are slung around their hips. They wear cowboy boots, with spurs.