On the first day of October, 2016, while waiting for a piano concert to begin in a hall well-filled with elderly white people in Ninian, the largest city in Galloway County, Wisconsin, David C. Fischer struck up a conversation with an eighty-year-old man who said he and his wife were from Menomonee Falls but had driven to Ninian from a house they own on Mirror Lake. The man asked where Fischer (and Fischers wife) were from. Fischer, of course, said Fjord.
For now, I shall set aside the part of this story that concerns pianos and the piano concert, but if you wish to hear Fischers thoughts on musical matters, ask him; he might be willing to comment.
Fjord! exclaimed the Mirror Lake man, pronouncing the name as it looks, instead of as though it contained no j, which is the way anyone from Galloway County would pronounce it. Fee-yord, the man declared, is a terrible place!
Oh, my! said David Fischer. Tell us more.
The man from Mirror Lake proceeded to describe an incident of perhaps forty years ago, when the man, as he now recalls, was traveling with his family, in an automobile westbound on State Road 16 and discovered, too late to avoid a speed trap, that the posted speed limit just outside Fjord dropped, with no warning (according to his present memory and belief), from fifty-five miles per hour to something like twenty-five. The man paid a substantial fine that night, he recalled, and he evidently has considered Fjord, Wisconsin, ever since, a dirty little town and a terrible place.
Fischer offered something approximating an apology on behalf of his beloved village, but the lights dimmed and the concert began before the two men had a chance to explore the complexities and nuances of highway safety, municipal finance, or a general concept of law and order. They did not resume their conversation at intermission or after the concert was concluded. If they happen to meet again, Fischer supposes, other subjects will likely seem more deserving of discussion.
It did cross David Fischers mind, however, that misuse of police power, or citizens perceptions of wrongfully applied power, may indeed have a greatly magnified importance after the eighth day of November.