After a smooth first thirty years, successful Southern-California dentist, Doctor Joseph Wayne Pedrick, gets a solid one/two to the jaw from life. Reeling, when he sees a good reason to leave town on a quick trip, he grabs a few things from home and goes. Choosing his weekend hobby car, a lowered black 1954 Mercury, he’s off from L.A. to a ways north of the Golden Gate.In the years since the Economy crashed and the Recovery didn’t include many now very angry and desperate citizens, the West has once again become Wild. Doctor Pedrick had never been off on his own like this before, but armed with his hunting shotgun and a small handgun in an ankle holster, he’s sure he can survive a few-hundred miles drive and back.When animal shelters became overwhelmed and could no longer take all the unwanted canines, packs of hungry abandoned critters roamed and multiplied at will, city and country, beyond the control of anybody; Canada has outlawed tobacco; all U.S. citizens are permitted to carry guns for protection from vicious dogs and each other; feminists have won the right for women to go shirtless anywhere a man may; and using the 1975 book Sugar Blues by William Dufty—“ Like opium, morphine and heroin, sugar is an addictive, destructive drug, yet Americans consume it daily in everything from cigarettes to bread . . . “—a politician got through a bill to make sugar a controlled substance. But that’s just where things have gotten, not what the story is about.Doctor Joe was happily married and content at lunch time, was in a total tailspin soon after dinner. At dawn the next morning he gets caught up in an armed robbery, and that night he’s off on a Mission, nobody could believe it. Not a familiar face or scene in sight. He goes through painful always-being-on-a-schedule withdrawals, cold turkey. He can’t believe the low blow his wife had delivered out of the blue. But he was off to discharge the chaldra of the security guard; only then would he go back home and pick up the pieces.