Part 22: Fit The Nineteenth : I Feel The Earth Move
Fit The Nineteenth : I Feel The Earth Move
To accompany the residential towers now arising in the old town, I felt the commercial sector could do with a similar increase of the building height limit.
There were just a bunch of nothing buildings downtown, so I had them all levelled and rezoned.
And so the first office towers began to thrust into the sky.
Constance was pretty excited about it all.
I mean, look at those big beautiful bastards.
Well I wouldn't really class them as "big". Or "beautiful". Or even "bastards".
Well, do you even know who those buildings' fathers are?
An odd question for you to be asking.
You know, I was really surprised when I heard about that. I didn't know you had it in you.
Everybody knows about that? Jesus.
It's not much of a secret any more. But, back to business. We really need to get more connections out of Funkytown, preferably by road. I've got one idea, for instance, you've heard of airplanes, right.
Yeah, of course I have. *brrrrttttt dakka dakka dakka* Like the Red Baron!
Well, you know, if we built a place for them to land, they might drop off lots of money and other goodies.
The Red Baron might drop off goodies? But isn't he one of the bad guys?
No, you twit. I'm talking about passenger aircraft. Mail planes. Even freight planes.
She's right, you know. An airport would really put Funkytown on the map and boost business.
OK. Well, the budget's coming up, we should have be able to set up a basic airport, to begin with.
We'd spent barely any money during the previous year, which was good, because we had a few things to build.
I surprised the councillors by moving that we make a few changes to the ordinances. Crossing Guards were out, and the Clean Industry Association was brought in.
I also reckoned introducing Mandatory Water Meters would reduce the amount of water wastage and extend the life of our existing water pumps.
Airports weren't cheap. They cost §500 an acre to lay down, so we'd just have to go for the barest minimum at first.
I picked a site that was close to the city for good access, and yet had room for expansion in the future. Some of the residents near Garden Square would be under the flight path but the planes weren't particularly noisy or, more importantly, prone to crashes.
Once it was laid out, I didn't really know how it was supposed to effective without hangars or a passenger terminal, but with commercial flight in its infancy, it would do for now. The pilots that landed weren't very impressed, but I despised them, their sheepskin jackets and stupid goggles, their up-diddly-up and their down-diddly-down. Gits.
Next, a more mundane form of travel. Two new stations were added to the fledgling subway system, with the new western terminus of the subway being placed right downtown, near the new skyscrapers.
The cost of digging out the tunnels now seemed fairly reasonable compared to that damned airport.
So that was all hooked up and everything was nice.
Some of the planes that were now using the airport looked pretty way out.
Funkytown stretched out further to the east, following the Ashy Bend River.
The firms esconched in the heavy industry sector showed a real lack of originality.
To provide another link between Funkytown and the outside world, I splayed out Pompeii Road around the foot of Firetop Mountain.
We had to wait for the new year to finish the job, though, as the airport and subway expansions had sucked up almost all of the available cash. At the Annual General Meeting, I dropped a bombshell that caught just about everyone by surprise.
When I announced the tax cut, people dropped their donuts, fainted in the aisles, and the people who always fell asleep in the second last row of the hall even woke up. Pandemonium. The city was cutting all municipal taxes and rates from 8% down to 7%. A bit of a hit, yes, but I felt it was needed to keep the city rolling along.
Anyway, with the yearly influx of cash, the link to City Name was completed.
And another bridge was also put across the river. Some people claimed it was superfluous, but it would have a use soon, I hoped.
Reaction to the tax cut was positive, but I'd have to wait and see. I hoped it was a wise decision.
I got a little creative with the urban planning, but it took a while for people to get used to it.
Also, another block of factories was approved, to be set up next to Fort March.
Everything seemed to be going great.
On the morning of June the 31st, 1934, I woke up bolt upright out of bed. The whole house felt like it was being shaken by a giant gorilla. An earthquake, and quite a strong one. I clambered out of bed and made it to my upstairs office, where I took shelter under the desk. The quake subsided, and as soon as I felt it was safe, I went out on the mansion balcony.
What I saw was devastation.
While I was used to smoke on the horizon, the amount of it that was spilling from the middle of the of the town was appalling. I saw a police car pull up out the front of the mansion, and Maria got out of it. She saw me on the balcony, and beckoned me down.
I'll be down in a minute, I need to get dressed!
There's no time! The town needs your help! I'd punch you in the head right now but there's not even time for that.
I grabbed my dressing gown, telling the maid that if she could organise to have some clothes brought to me, wherever I was going to be. I made sure my willie wasn't poking out of my pyjamas, put the gown on as I walked down my front path, and I think Maria even smiled as she ushered me into the car.
So what's happening?
The situation is fucked. We've only got two fire brigades, thanks to your skinflint arse, and we've got fires all over town that need to be put out before we can even work out how much damage the earthquake has caused.
We had received word that a fire brigade from City Name had come to assist, so things were not quite so dire, but it would take an awful lot of co-ordination to put the fires out.
There were three critical sites.
Many factories were wiped out, but the fires were coming treacherously close to one of the power plants.
The Port Funkytown estates were being completely gutted by another firestorm.
And, oh, Downtown! City Hall itself was no more, but there was still a hospital that need to be saved.
I remember having a dream about this.
I was so busy that I couldn't even take many pictures, the day seemed to blur into nothing. But the firefighters were able to save the power plant and the hospital, but the firestorm continued to rampage through the tenements. It took all three crews to halt its spread, but eventually it was quelled.
It was horrendous. We lost the city hall and the courthouse, as well as the Maxwell Smart Bridge.
The new, fucking expensive airport was useless. Fuck, even the haunted house was destroyed.
Everything was fucked. At the end of the day, when we were counting the cost, Maria explained the extent of the damage.
The firefighters were brave, and I think you did a good job of co-ordinating them.
Well, as I've got some spare time now, I guess I can do this.
And Maria punched me in the face.
Jesus christ, Maria. What was that for?
For being a shitty mayor.
What? I didn't cause the earthquake.
Earthquakes are a fact of life for a town on a faultline. We should've been better prepared.
That just seemed like some bureaucratic bullshit.
So you say. And as for the fire coverage, our firefighters did well, but they're spread unbelievably thin...
OK I'll have more stations built.
It's a bit late now. You keep ignoring my warnings, thinking it's all some kind of joke. But people have died because of your incompetence. I don't know who made you mayor and why you've had the job so long but they must be just as retarded as you are.
THIS. Coming from the advisor who makes cracks about firefighters only being good for getting cats out of trees.
Ah, yes, well.
Look, it's been a long day, we've going to have a lot of work to do tomorrow and beyond. Get some sleep.
Yeah, I guess so.
Of course, I didn't sleep much, but the next day I had a far better look at the chaos that the earthquake had wreaked upon Funkytown. It was a miracle more people weren't killed, but the quake had still taken its pound of flesh. People were taking refuge in schools, the hospitals were full to overflowing, and essential services and utilities had been severed where it hurt most. The army was actually even helping out instead of frequenting strip clubs and starting punchups in bars.
I toured the town with Louis Fontana, President of SimNation, who had flown into City Name from Capitolia that morning, and we returned to the school hall, where a crowd had gathered around. A makeshift stage had been set up on the back of the truck, and the President made quite a stirring speech commending the courage of the citizens of the town, even sparing a few flattering words for me, even though I didn't really deserve them. But he emphasised how much faith he had in my capacity to rebuild Funkytown, based on the ability I had apparently shown in bringing it up so far. Maria's rebuke from the previous night still burned hotter in my ears, and as for the broken nose, well, at least it wasn't a black eye, which would make me look bad.
Eventually it was my turn to speak, curiously following the President, and I felt the eyes of the crowd burning through me. I knew I had to make this speech count.
Good people of Funkytown, it would be stating the obvious to say that yesterday was the worst day in our young city's life. Nature has herself proved that, for all her majestic, she can be bloody capricious at times, and it is fair to say that Nature is a bitch, and she sure threw a hissy fit yesterday.
Oh god the people were looking at each other and frowning.
Ahhhhhh but the people of Funkytown are anything but! We are steadfast, and strong, and stoic! Whatever does not kill us makes us stronger! This we proved yesterday, when faced with the direst of emergencies, we pulled together and fought back, with all our very being. We are bruised and battered, we're missing a tooth but we're still on our own two feet, even Mother Nature couldn't knock us out in the end. Funkytown is a tough little city.
OK, that's got them interested again. I'd better wind this up I think.
So we had a bad day yesterday. Buildings collapsed. A lot of shit burnt down. Even the haunted house is gone. Whatever. Today is better. Tomorrow will be even better. We will rebuild our city even bigger and better than before. Of course we've got a lot of work today, and tomorrow, and the day after that, but in those days to come I know that each of us will do their bit and do it well. We will overcome this setback and go back to building the best goddamn city in SimNation. Do you want to know why I'm so sure we will do this?
And the crowd actually shouted "Why?!" in union. Brilliant. Just what I wanted to hear. Now for the payoff.
Because, WE, the people of Funkytown... WE'RE FUCKING AWESOME!
And, as I rose my arms up in triumph, everyone went off.