Why were Jack and his brother digging post holes? A fence there would run parallel to the one that already enclosed the farmyard. The Welches had no animals to keep in or out - a fence there could serve no purpose. Their work was pointless. Years later, while I was waiting for a boat to take me across the river, I watched two Vietnamese women methodically hitting a discarded truck tire with sticks. They did it for a good long while, and were still doing it when I crossed the river. They were part of the dream from which I recognized the Welches, my defeat-dream, my damnation-dream, with its solemn choreography of earnest useless acts.