Welcome to downstate Illinois. Out here, the corn grows like weeds...albeit in neat, long, organized rows. Depending on the farm, many of these rows run for miles.

Soybeans grow, too. They're hardly as impressive as the corn, but... There'd be more friction between technology's rough edges, if not for the soy industry. That alone uplifts Downstate's value.

Here and there, specialty farms proliferate pumpkins and popcorn...at certain times of year. Pumpkin-growing can be a bitch. I'd know...

Near Lincoln, Illinois, there are watermelons. They're grown, and fattened. Many more of them are grown in wineries. Illinois wine is becoming more common, if not more popular, by the year.

Beneath the crops, many caterpillars wander about, feasting on everything that doesn't eat or disgust them. Little does. They're very chubby babies. Some take more than what local farms have to keep under control.

In compost bins, earthworms slither. They do a lot of dirty work. If not for them, a lot of garbage would still be garbage. Alas, if only they could compost everything...

This is Insignificance. It's a small town, in the southern part of Downstate. Out here, tractors really like to hog up the FM roads. They're hardly parade leaders...but damn, if they wouldn't make some great ones.

In a soy field, another tractor tills. He's tilled a lot of land...and he's still got a lot more to till.

Meet Miguel Mejia. He's well-accomplished, and wise. Once, he was just your average Latino ranch hand. Since then, he's moved on to inheriting a late owner's legacy. He'll never have any idea how lucky he's been, to do so.

A black metal cross hangs around his neck. It's jeweled with a sole beryl gem.

There was a Latina character in the book the Hound of the Baskervilles, whose first name was Beryl. She was the main villain's wife...who posed as his sister for most of the book. And at one point, she managed to seduce the titular character. (The Baskerville, not Sherlock Holmes; Holmes was the main character, albeit neither of the two title ones...)

At this, Miguel smiles. He's got a niece up in Chicago, who just might be able to beat Beryl Baskerville, nee Garcia, in a Latina beauty pageant... But it's just as well that they don't. There's no such person as Beryl Baskerville, but if there was, she'd be several generations older than his niece, and therefore dead.

Within the tractor's tread marks, earthworms and caterpillars writhe around. They've just lost their homes...but it's a good thing they're more than capable of rebuilding from almost nothing.

For now, Miguel's mind is at ease. It's gotta be. It takes less than intelligence to do this. And it takes more than impatience to do this...

Not too far away, the Illinois River drains the surrounding land. In some lone spots, barges are still hauled up and down it.

Dusk begins to settle. And when it settles, the local mosquitoes rise. They rise among flashing fireflies, and the noises of crickets chirping. (I KNOW how much of a bitch an incessantly chirping cricket can be...especially if it can't seem to frequent somewhere farther than just outside your bedroom window, while you're trying to sleep...)

Such a skeeter lands on Miguel's arm, as he works. Moments later, he notices. He swears, slaps his arm, and keeps working.

The skeeter's left a mark. Miguel doesn't yet know how deep it'll run...but he will.

In a tree across the field, a screech owl perches. He's got his fixed eyes fixed on the moving tractor, bearing a once-mighty Latino farmer...

Miguel doesn't feel so well. Feverish, he slows the tractor to a stop. He waits, and examines how he feels. He thinks it's getting worse...

Across his arm, the bite mark spreads. It covers his whole arm in necrosis. When he sees, he screams. He weeps, when his arm disintegrates.

Here, the screech owl leaps, dives, and flies right at the farmer's face. He shrieks like Wilhelm, in a horror movie, as the owl bares its talons, and closes in on both of his eyes...

Lying across the ground, as he begins his existence as a corpse, his black metal cross is still around his neck. Luckily, as valuable as it is, it won't stay there for long...

Weeks later, there's a tombstone in a cemetery in Brookport, Illinois with Miguel's name on it. Yellow flowers grow in vases on either side of it.

Behind his stone, there are two others. One says BOB EDWARDS, 1931-2018. The other says PEGGY EDWARDS, 1933-2019. They're right next to one another.

RIP, REEPJE. And RIP, Miguel Mejia. Your soul will pass on, to Catholic heaven...as your legacy soon passes to your niece in Chicago...

Dick, a dirty mangy local cur, trespasses the cemetery, and creeps up to Peggy Edwards's tombstone. He sniffs it, turns around, lifts his back leg, and leaves his dirty mangy signature on it.

Seems like a lot of curs do, these days. But then, around here the curs must do a lot, to salute the many ex-Kerrs who these lands have said goodbye to...

Dick smells like he's been in the silage pit again. Hence, he's probably drunk. But then, that seems to run in his pedigree...if you can even call it a pedigree. It's less like an inverted pyramid than most conservatives in New England would expect from a Bichon Frise...

Yes, it seems cousin marriage runs in the Kerr family. It practically scampers...