"Now, who’d of thought, any of us oppressed people would all get along...?"

Yahn, a Philadelphia accountant, warns Simms, his client, about the dire consequences of having borrowed money from a corrupt business that he can’t repay. Yahn’s boss fires him before Protean (the corrupt moneylenders) can entice Yahn, a numbers wizard, to cook their books like Simms wants him to. Already stressed to the point of multiple medical emergencies, Yahn believes unemployment will finish him. Instead, he takes the opportunity to heal in the country. The Pennsylvania farmland where he buys property, however, is also Protean’s hideout. While Yahn and his new farmer-neighbors ready the soil for organic crops, Protean members plan a heist to undermine their leader. After a violent encounter, Yahn’s Earthworks crew and the Protean thugs discover they have more in common than they thought.

In both the opening and ending scenes, Yahn is surrounded by desperate men. In the beginning, he walks through city streets trailed by vagrants whom he finds despicable. At the close, the Protean men left after the melee, along with Yahn and his new friends, have all come through adversity, not unlike the vagrants Yahn once thought were nothing like him. The story’s writing, dense with adjectives and details about the scenery as well as the characters’ dress and mannerisms, anticipates the messy collusion between shady business and law-abiding citizens, victims of crime, and perpetrators. The new breed is shown in the vagabond community tied to the land. Mother Earth’s voice in the text lends a spiritual element, unexpected and refreshing, tying the stories together in a healing ritual that makes the overall narrative’s point: growth and redemption happen when enemies face each other and their own demons, too.

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