Thursday, September 17, 2015

Welcome to New Palermo

     I already took an unexpected risk taking the kid into that lab. Yes he might have seen more danger than I already have in my posh middle-class life but he’s not getting killed on my watch. I left James in Steelhead for a while since all the scamps I ran into told me it’s a safer place to run around in than New Babbage, and except when they all get rounded up for schooling once a week it’s all hunky-dory. Miss Blue promised me James could have all the grub he wants. The more he eats the better, and it takes him off my back for a bit.

     I got on the train at the Steelhead station heading east. It took me a couple days. That’s when I found out Miss Blue of all people left me a bundle in my briefcase, and not just dinner rolls. She must be the best if not only baker in town! Along the way I sat next to a salesman from Philomena who gave me a great deal on an olive trench coat. The fedora didn’t quite match but he threw it in for free.  I needed to look a little more fashion-forward when I got back east. Once I got to Trenton I hitched a cab to New Polermo. 

     Like I said before most of the townsfolk were from another town that got flooded out. The cab driver was going bonkers from all the construction so I got out early and let him keep the change. After the train ride I needed to stretch my legs. There was so much construction you’d think the Depression was already over. More roads than not were blocked by cranes and streets were filled with the smoke and stink of hot tar. If I was a bricklayer I could be working triple shifts. 

     So I’m wandering through the streets for a couple hours since nobody thought to put up the street signs yet. Around 6 o’clock I noticed some poor sod left his silver Caddy out and the roads around him got ripped up so he had to park on the sidewalk by the barber shop. Right next to the stuffed bear with the fez. I guess when people can’t drive to your business you get desperate for advertising.  Well the advertising must have worked because there was a ruckus on the street corner with people standing around. There was a paperboy selling the first new rag of the city and I guess there was an informal celebration which turned into a gossip fest and airing of laundry. Who needs a newspaper when you got a tongue-wagging crowd like this?

     Hoo boy if I thought these guys weren’t gonna be my neighbors the things I could tell you. Just suffice to say that my time in Berlin taught me a few things, and I could tell this one British dame that had just high-tailed outta Berlin did for all the right reasons and just the right time. Most of the crowd was in on a little surprise she was hiding except apparently her main squeeze. A some point he’s gonna be real surprised, either that or he already knows but is so proud he’s playing it…well he acts like it’s all peachy keen. I may be a lawyer but I think that wedding is gonna set some major precedents. Little Miss Drama huffs off and we all breeze to the local watering hole, where they only serve tea. It took me another few days to find the local pool, and there I learn about the other watering hole where the sparks really fly.   
  
     Later while I’m schmoozing I met a guy and his dame who might be the Mayor or a least came up with the idea of starting a new town. I also met the guy who runs the local rag and he asked if I want to take the beat. Why not? I could use a half-steady salary and it fits in with my line of work. 

     Later that night some kid asked if I was looking for a place to sleep. Well sure my coat was wrinkled from the train but I’m no hobo. I told him I was staying at boarding house just outside of town until I could get closer in. He tells me he’s the barber’s son and tells me his Mom is the one with the lousy parking skills and his Dad is the one who shot that bear. No it wasn’t wearing the fez at the time. No neither was he. Save that gag for the Marx Brothers. At the city limits I ran into a dame looking over a plot of land, she told me she’s building a boarding house and offers me a pamphlet. I told her I’ll give it serious consideration.