Thursday, September 8, 2016

Shadow City ‘Hidden Harms’ -- deepest, darkest secrets stay that way

By ‘Hard Luck’ Lou Zerr
Staff Schlub Writer

You can appreciate the hard luck that one has in this town. You’re running around feeling like two bucks and thirty-two cents, but don’t be braggin’ about it. You’re not gonna impress anyone here and no one’s gonna give you any respect. That’d be like expectin’ oil from the Oil Fields. Everyone knows that ground's only got bodies in it.

It’s time to go deep into the underworld with your new persona. This place has secrets. Underworld it might be called, but you go up into Black Hand Heights in order to go down. The road ends there, though, and that’s where you get off this cockamamie merry-go-round. However, you don’t just follow the yellow brick road. And you don’t just get an invitation to go up. You gotta get an OK, and that ain’t easy.

First, you gotta do your homework. The Shadow City Sentinel is the local rag in these parts. Go to the Sentinel Building on Hard Luck Lane, just down the street from the Shriekeasy, and ask the old broad at the desk for last week’s issues of the paper.

Those mugs on the front pages are the ones you wanna be gettin’ to know. And you’ll find them where we’re goin’ next . . .

The Shadow City Boxing Ring -- it’s a miracle the place is still standing. Some of the rafters have fallen into the ring, and on fight nights, too. Johnny “Stoker” Dixon took a rafter to forehead one time. He still tore up Tiger Nelson. Pulled his arm out of the socket. Then a left hook took his nose right off his face. Stoker buried him in the Oil Fields a couple hours later. Lotta money made that night. You wanna be around that money.

Once you get a seat, follow the dough. It’s easy to spot. It’s flyin’. You find Little Boy Tiny Thompson, you get in good with Little Boy Tiny Thompson, and you’re on your way to that invite to Black Hand Heights.

You’re right -- it ain’t that easy. Don’t be getting’ cocky. But don’t forget, you don’t have to go lookin’ for trouble around here. Trouble finds you. Look, that schlub in the seat next to you’s got his hand on your wallet.

Ah, what’s this? The Shadow City Grindhouse Theater. You're probably wondering how you got there. Don’t bother tending to your wounds. There’ll be plenty more of those. Why the Grindhouse Theater, though? Because the bad movies just keep grindin’ on there. No one goes in to check on the audience to see whether they’re customers or corpses. The lights haven’t been on in years. Who knows what they’ll find if they ever do turn ‘em on?

As you’re coming outta your daze, let me be the first to congratulate you, you’ve just become a victim of mutants out clubbin’. That one next to you at the fights clubbed you and got away with your identity and that two bucks and thirty-two cents you had earlier. Everyone wants to get clubbed these days. You just got yours, and you’re still new in town.

Now what? Best thing to do next is get outta that theater before something else gets you. Go see the ponies.

Dark Meadows Horse Track is where the real trouble finds you. "They" know who you are now. They have your identity thanks to that mutant at the fights that lifted your wallet. And they'll be watching you.

Just bet on the horse that’s runnin’ fastest. How can you tell? These races are so crooked, you can tell right outta the gate. Believe me, you bet on the winner, that ticket to Black Hand Heights is comin’ to you in a hurry. The minute you go to collect, you’ll find yourself tied up in the trunk of some swanky sedan, and on your way up to the boss in no time for a late night visit to the Oil Fields.

And just like that, you’re one of the secrets buried in Shadow City.

This one in a series of TRAVEL STORIES from the 13 districts of Transyl-vein-ia. These stories run weekdays between August and September. Jack-o’-Lantern Press’s regular news and entertainment coverage will continue in October.

No comments:

Post a Comment