Posted in Uncategorized, Writing

The Price of Gentrification

The leaves glittered a pretty gold green color, the wind ruffling them gently in the breeze. Blue skies and fluffy white clouds and serene sidewalks and dark green lamp posts and the occasional wooden bench dotted the landscape punctuated occasionally by a eggplant colored trashcan and a black car.

Perfectly landscaped shrubs shielded an impressive wooden fence guarding an impressive building of modern architecture, all red and grey and covered in various angles and degrees. Very very edgy. Modern. Definitely modern.

Every plant and shrub and piece of cement was immaculate and like new. The place was perfect. Too perfect. You almost looked for the error, for the mistake, for the hole. The red and grey had orange panels between, but you can tell it was planned, it was no accident.  There was no graffiti, no broken pavement.

It was like an oversized doll house. It didn’t look like it had been used. It was too new. You almost expected it to have that new car smell. Kind of a weird rubber tire smell, the kind that says there is something plastic and shiny here that hasn’t been corrupted by human stink yet.

Totally mechanical, and unused. But the air was fresh, with a hint of lavender in the air.  The windows were all various sizes and different heights. It was like the building was trying too hard to be edgy. It had accomplished that all ready, yet it was still trying to one up itself.

Why? What for? What was the purpose for it? What need or use did this random patchwork angled thing assist in? Did this color scheme somehow make the building more efficient? Was it more economical to heat because of it?

This building was built by and for the city, an administrative building created with no expense spared to look as glaringly new and different as possible. It would not settle and become one with the buildings around it, oh no, it was an individual.

Housing for the homeless was torn down and moved and gotten rid of so this beautiful monstrosity could squat over the entire block, housing no one, only fitting worker bees inside a useful building with a flamboyance that was beyond useful or necessary. The bill of course being footed by the people and for the people, because they deserve the best, except for those homeless sods, of course they should just leave. They are no longer welcome here in our pretty perfect town.

No more emergency shelter for them, the city needed a sharply angled giant building plus plaza to take up the entire area, this was more important, and the building showed it. It looked important and impressive. It was large, and expensive. And there would be no beds in there. Lots of rooms, but no beds. Lots of benches too. And trees. And the sun was shining with blue sky and fluffy clouds.

And everyone could see the impressive modern building in all its multicolored glory, no remnant of the sad apartment complex that used to be there. All the living and breathing and dying and eating, all that living moved somewhere, anywhere else. Now, this looked unused, like new, there would be working here but no living, no dying, no eating. Just working.

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Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

Concrete — A Future Story

The sun beat down mercilessly on her bare shoulders. She moved an arm slowly, wiping the large drops of sweat from her forehead to the ground. She wasn’t used to the heat, it rarely got hot in the summer where she was from, but here with all the concrete sidewalks, metal benches, and towering buildings; these things were heat magnets.

This was once a busy place, she knew that before she began digging. The signs of a thousand voices mumbling were so real; she half dreamed she was there. She missed the trees. Why had the people cut all the trees down? Except for a plot of land untouched in the middle of this long lost city, cement covered the earth preventing all but the most stubborn of vegetation.

Time had slowly eroded the city. There were now large cracks in the concrete where determined grass broke free to be followed by generations of the most determined weeds. There were still sections that were so barren and devoid of life that the cement remained intact. The metal benches exposed to the heat of the sun and the occasional rainstorm continued on with minimal rust thanks to some sort of coating.

She had yet to find an object telling her how the people here lived or thought. They’d found coins suggesting an advanced financial society but little else than great swathes of concrete and often larger than life buildings. Did these people just build and build? There had to be more to them than that. She could picture the murmuring of voices, but not the mother and child, nor the kind elderly man who shared his knowledge.

They’d found large metal vehicles, some larger than others. From the sheer number of these one could conclude this was a highly mobilized people. Yet, if everyone had a personal transport, why all the obvious cemented walking paths? Some speculated that these were for the two-wheeled vehicles that were found. These were less popular, or perhaps they didn’t have the survivability rate of the other type.

Many buildings also had numerous monitors in them. What were these for? Security? Entertainment? Information? Children’s toys? It was hard to say. They’d found disks that fit into slots in the machines attached to the monitors but none were functional. There is still no certainty what could be contained within these or what their purpose was.

She again wiped the sweat off her forehead and sighed, setting her tools onto the hot concrete surrounding her. She could almost hear the voices, but the people were far away and the words remained indistinct.