El No, We Won't Go
Copyright© 2010 by Ol'Mac
The News Stand really should have been renamed 'The Community Center' Mike always thought. In the seven years that he had 'grown up' running it with his father, he'd watched the life of this local district revolve around it and the coffee shop-bakery next door, like the planets revolve around the Sun. You could set your watch at 4:00 A.M. by Angelo Catrella arriving to start the day's baking and Mike would have sworn he'd heard "Time to Make the Donuts" mumbled at least once or twice through the years.
If you wanted to know about anything going on in the neighborhood that was the place to check. Everything wound up there sooner or later: from lost tourists looking for a map, to local Police Detectives hunting for a lead.
As an added bonus. It also became known as one of the safest places in the entire downtown Chicago area. This was due to the area gangbangers and the underworld crews giving the place a very wide berth. Especially after every incursion - no matter how small - wound up in the harbor and after surfacing, began swimming for shore with not a clue what had happened to them.
The record for one day multiple dunkings stood at three, and was currently held by one Anthony Louis Salvonii. Everyone that knew how these cannonballs had been accomplished was fairly sure that record would stand for some time. They just couldn't imagine anyone else being quite that stupid. Racketeering in other parts of the city was so much easier and much, much safer.
The dress code for evil in any form seemed to be water wings and was rigorously enforced. Even Insurers had taken notice, with casualty rates for a seven block radius hovering about thirty percent lower than comparable rates elsewhere in the City.
Predators tended to be very short lived there also, no matter what kind they were. They just simply disappeared and water wings were not included in their vacation packages. So far, none had shown the ability to cover the twenty miles to shore in any direction, and the scavengers living on Lake Michigan's bottom were getting down-right fat.
Drug dealers trying to open new territory were guaranteed to be hung by their thumbs from police station flagpoles. While at the same time -they auditioned for the Joliet Choir - with their wares dangling just below their feet. Local Police even nicknamed this phenomenon 'Cherry Picking' and relished it immensely.
What was not quite as visible to the ordinary citizen, but just as real, were the comings and goings of the 'Little Folk'. Though mostly ignored by the human population, those with the senses were very aware of them.