Monday, January 12, 2009

The Tale of Ham & Izzy

Once upon a time there were two families who both claimed the same small piece of property. One was the Paul family, the other Jude. Their claims to this property were ancient, going back thousands of years. Ironically enough, for much of history, neither family owned the property. Richer, better-connected investors controlled the land and members of the two families lived there as tenants. 

About sixty years ago things changed. The property owner at the time was a rich real estate magnate named Britney. For various reasons, Britney decided to divest herself of the property, and to split it between the Paul and Jude families. This is where Izzy enters the picture. The Jude family accepted Britney's arrangement, and a young member of the family, Izzy, took possession of his slice of the property. But the Paul family rejected this situation outright. They claimed all of the property and were unwilling to tolerate Izzy as part-owner. The other neighbors backed the Paul family. Like the Pauls, the neighbors, especially Egbert, Sy, and Jordie, were strongly prejudiced against Izzy and didn't want him in the area. They and the Paul family initiated a violent property dispute with Izzy. But young Izzy was surprisingly resiliant. He turned the tables on everyone, and in the course of the dispute, he seized part of the property controlled by the Paul family. The rest of the Paul family property was grabbed by Egbert and Jordie.  Even though Egbert & Jordie supposedly supported the Paul family, they didn't trust them.

The Paul family couldn't get over this loss. They vowed vengeance on Izzy and refused to get on with their lives. In the meantime, Izzy did an amazing job improving his property, and making it the finest piece of land in the area, despite its small size. He won yet another property dispute with his neighbors. Then, nineteen years after he had first taken ownership, Izzy saw that all his neighbors were plotting against him yet again. He decided to strike first. This time he won a spectacular, lasting victory in the dispute. He took control of multiple adjoining properties, two of which are particularly relevant to this story. One was the West Riverfront section, taken from Jordie, and the other the G Block, formerly held by Egbert. The Paul family lived in these areas, so now the Pauls became unwilling tenants of Izzy.

The Pauls were horrible tenants for Izzy. They caused constant trouble and finally Izzy had enough. The biggest problems were on the West Riverfront section. Although he wouldn't release the section entirely, Izzy decided to let the Paul family run it, albeit with restrictions. The Pauls placed one of their members, Fatima, in charge. Some years went by and Izzy continued to have problems with the smaller G Block part of his holdings. The Paul family there was a constant source of irritation. So finally, just a few years ago, Izzy decide to try a simliar arrangement as with the West Riverfront. This is where Ham enters the story.

The Paul family couldn't agree on who should control G Block, but the G Block branch decided on Ham. Now Ham was a particularly obnoxious, violent member of the Paul family, who hated Izzy and the entire Jude family even more than most of the Pauls. So naturally Izzy decided that if Ham were going to run the G Block, there would have to be very tight restrictions and limitations. Ham of course found this intolerable. Rather than try to make the best of a bad situation, Ham decided on violence. His problem was that he didn't have any really effective weapons. But he found a solution. He came right up to the property line with Izzy's main land and started throwing rocks. All he had were small rocks and most of them missed. But a couple of them hit Izzy and stung him. Ham started digging for more rocks and found some heavier, more threatening ones. He also improved his strength so that he could reach Izzy from further away. And he hid his best rocks all through the G Block, so Izzy couldn't find them. Then one day he assembled a collection of his best rocks, moved up to the property line, and started raining rocks on Izzy. Izzy ducked and dodged and most of them missed, but one or two hit. Izzy decided he could take this no longer. At some point one of Ham's rocks would do serious damage. So Izzy pulled out his pistol and shot Ham.

Ham's now in the hospital in critical condition, and Izzy is searching the G Block. Despite the fact that Izzy clearly acted in self-defense, most people in the neighborhood and in other lands think Izzy should be arrested. They ignore Ham's actions, the entire history of the property, and blame the whole situation on Izzy. A minority support Izzy and think Ham got what he deserved, and feel that he's lucky to be alive at all. There is not yet an ending to this story.

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