The first scene opens on a lone shack perched on top of a junk-heap surrounded by small trash fires burning in the nightlight. The title, The Burning of Ukulore Valley, flashes across the screen. Townsfolk walk out from under rusty corrugated roofs into the road. We see the playground and the courthouse by Memorial Square. A group of black-clad mourners, mostly women, look on as men in grey jumpsuits smash a marble statue of an angel. Way out, over by a cluster of trailers, at the heel of the crop where the labourers live, men are shouting. These men are the wrecking crew. Their yells roar northward and rise with the crackling fires in the field. We see barbed wire fences, and three miles from town three pickups park. More men jump out and begin demolishing clapboard shacks. They make quick work of each refuge – these homes of outcasts and hobos – they set the hill ablaze.
We cut to the inside of one of the larger (nicer) houses at the end of the dark dirt road. Knock-off Nick Cave is drunk and shirtless swaying in the kitchen with the toaster under his arm. We hear the sound of a bathtub filling. The beautiful clawfoot tub in the middle of the room has no unity with the rest of the ranch house – the shitty toaster, used earlier that morning, has blown its fuse. The electronics inside the toaster, guts and circuitry, are fried like an egg. Knock-off steps into the bathtub, full now, with the plugged in toaster cradled in his arms, mutters some oaths and sits down.
Are there sparks? Maybe. But it doesn’t kill him. The bath is overflowing. Knock-off panics as he feels the sensation of cool water on skin and not the jolt of electricity through his body, its sweet relief. No. He sits. He’s alright. God is merciful. He sits in the bath, sobering, crying, dumbfounded. Why is he still alive? Credits.
Jean McLarney is a Canadian writer, performer, and liar. He studied creative writing at the University of Windsor. He works as baker and lives in Toronto, Canada.