Part 6: Fit The Fifth: You Will Regret This
Fit The Fifth: You Will Regret This
1903 was a relatively quiet year for Funkytown, although there were one or two notable events.
Firstly I had a couple of parks built near the hospital. Hopefully this wouldn't encourage any ritual slayings of alpacas or whatever those fez people were on about.
Couldn't think of a name for them, though. After all I'd named enough things in the town after myself.
I also figured we ought to be expanding west over the railway line, towards the harbour. I began this process modestly, extending the small commercial zone.
While all this was going on, the ramifications of my decision to cut back on mass transit funding were slowly but surely taking hold. Marsha, the chair of the local public transport users association and/or public transport labour union - I couldn't tell which they were supposed to be, probably both in a true case of the lunatics taking over the asylum - led a deputation of her comrades to my mansion in order to "sort things out", as she put it. At least they were civilised enough to not break my windows.
Wallace Bunkley, I demand that you take prompt and decisive action immediately to halt this outrageous denial of funds!
Nnnn, I dunno. What do you reckon, Moe?
Hmm, well, I appreciate your opinion, but I cannot say that in your case you're not exactly impartial in this issue, because as I understand it your wage comes out of the budget as well.
That's true, Wal, but, the fact remains that...
Marsha, I will give due consideration to your request, and I will get back to you in a couple of months.
Then she and her cabal left the mansion, marching down Moon Slayer Street, chanting union slogans and knifing the tyres of parked cars.
This will not end well.
Yeah, I guess so, but I just want to see what they're going to do. Call it morbid curiousity. In the meantime, everyone's going to have to walk a little further.
More expansion, this time on the other end of the town proper.
At some good news for once. Greta, again representing the less militant segment of the community, announced that they thought the schools were good. The poem was pretty cute too.
There once was a mayor called Wal
Who made all us kids go to school
We're growing up smart
We even do art
But that don't change the fact you're a fool
Since when did "Wal" rhyme with "fool"?
As I left the mansion to go on my morning walk around town, I noticed a massive tower blocking the view of the factories. I nearly dislocated my jaw when I realised it looked very much like the Empire State Building.
I shrieked and ran to Constance's house and pointed it out to her, since I guessed it was in her field of knowledge. Many people were coming out into the streets and gawping at the massive tower.
What? Didn't anybody tell you?
Tell me what? There's a stonking big art deco skyscraper in our town! When the hell did that happen?
Oh, it got delivered overnight. Yeah, the Empire State Building's going on a touring exhibition, since New York's needing the room for some thing or other. I think it's got something to do with them trying to remove the alligators from their sewers.
But that doesn't make sense! It's just ... there!
Yeah, well, I don't know exactly why we've got it, but they asked me a week back whether you'd be cool with it visiting and I figured it'd make a nice surprise. Enjoy it while it lasts, though.
We don't get to keep it?
No, it moves onto Alvinsberg in a couple of weeks.
Maybe it had something to do with us breaking the 10,000 barrier as well. But that was nice. I was expecting to be given something cool to go with the mansion but it never eventuated. Oh well.
If Mort was supposed to help me not send the city broke he didn't seem to be doing a very good job of it. We made a small yearly profit for 1903 but the amount I was spending on parks and roads and land development dwarfed that.
I wondered if cutting transit funding had anything to do with the black bottom line...
Still, I was warned about consequences, and sure enough, as I was going for a drive around town in an open-topped car with Moe, we were caught in a jam caused by a picket line near the West Funkytown station. One of the picketers noticed me.
"It's him! Pull him out of the car!" he said.
"No! Let's just rock it from side to side!" another protestor replied.
Sure enough, they began to do just that. They clumped around each side of the car and began to push and pull on the car. We just sat there and enjoyed the sensation.
Suspension sure was crap on these early cars, right?
I decided I'd had enough fun for one day, so I bopped one of the protestors on the head and got out. I supposed Marsha was up nearer the station, so Moe and I walked up in that direction, followed by the gang of picketers.
Sure enough, there she was next to the gates.
I knew you'd give in, eventually.
Eventually. Public transport's not really that important yet, I suppose I'll start caring more when we get buses and subways and shit, but until then, well, huh. Just wanted to see how far I could go.
I can't believe you'd be that stupid.
Believe it, missy. Umm.
Frankly, this is getting pointless.
Yeah, you're right. I'm bored with this nonsense anyway. I'll be returning transit funding to normal levels straight away.
Damn, I liked the smell of exhaust fumes.
The Mass Transients called off the strike almost immediately, but as soon as I got back to the mansion I was greeted by another disgruntled citizen in the lobby, named Fiona.
So why are you so against the town having it's own rubbish tip?
Are you nuts? Landfills smell! They hang around forever! And we've got a good deal to get rid of it. Jesus, were you even around when we had all sorts of junk lying around the streets? Bloody penny-pinching puritan cocksuckers.
Did you just call me a ... a... FELLATRIX?
No, I called you a cocksucker. You deaf or something?
At this point Karen walked in from the meeting room, wondering what the commotion was about.
What's going on?
This cocksucker wants me to cancel the garbage deal with RuPaul because she thinks it's costing us too much.
Young woman! Do you realise the savings we could make from building our own disposal facilities? Did you advise the mayor otherwise?
Landfills are expensive. And sooo stinky. Poo-ey!
But the idea of giving someone else my money - OUR money - it's an outrage! An absolute outrage. It's not your money to spend, you suffragette bluestocking strumpet! GET BACK IN THE KITCHEN YOU WENCH!
Wow, Wal, you're right, she is a cocksucker!
Fiona was taken aback by our combined powers of profanity, but she got in one last parry before she left the mansion in a indignant huff.
Karen and I just looked at each other and shrugged.
I mean, yes, the deal wasn't cheap, but it was very effective. Besides which, I did have a plan for further down the track for reducing the waste we sent out.
Furthering my efforts to beautify the town, I decided that the centre of the old town could be made more attractive.
However, again, it would require some surgery.
Several houses and backyards were reclaimed and leveled...
... to make room for an English-style garden square. I really wanted to get away from just having everything on a strict grid, to the point of even giving each neighbourhood their own character would make each one slightly different, so as to cause rivalries and hatred and gang turf wars down the track. But it all looked pretty so far.
Bernie was back, this time he just complaining about the tax rate. He should've remembered who got him his precious hot running showers!
Besides which, demand for housing was off the scale. There just wasn't enough of it. If Bernie moved out (which I doubted he would, because in his heart he loved Funkytown), there were plenty more that would come in his place.
Plenty of room for housing as well. For as long as the remaining cash held out, I would start filling out the space between the existing town, the coasting facing Grenade Island, and the port, with both offices and housing.
But as long as there were room, I decided it'd be nice to have some farms. I extended High Street even further, beyond the power station it would be known as RuPaul Road.
This didn't make Maria too happy, since they were beyond the reach of the existing fire station, but extra stations could wait.
One of the blocks adjacent to the garden square was flattened, cleared and upgraded to medium density. It was annoying that I had to destroy everything on the lot before I could do that, but that was supposedly a state regulation. Stupid, but what can I say. I hope they'd correct that eventually.
With all this expansion, it was time to extend the water capacity again as the two pumps just weren't keeping up.
Whilst putting more pumps next to the lake or the river was the more effective solution, I decided a water tower would be interesting from an aesthetic point of view. Hope the new slum residents thought so too.
Well, I'd received word that two farming families were moving in. Some sneaky bastard was trying to build a warehouse next to them, where the land was cheap, but we'd soon send the council bulldozers out there to deal with that.
More petitioners turned up. I was warned by at least one advisor to be courteous to the first, Malcolm Landgraab, since, unlike many of the other regular lobbyists, he could back up his talk with the power of cash - the power to give it, and to take it away. Also the only thing worse than a celebrity real estate agent, a celebrity property developer - though in his case that was only one finger in one of many pies.
At least this time around his request was modest.
So you want more residential zones planned out, then?
If you would be so kind. It'll be a win for the town, a win for you, and a win for me!
OK, I'll certainly look into doing so. (Wanker.)
Ian talked big, and I suppose he had some power as well, representing the local industry association but they were the main beneficiaries of the seaport, and that had not even begun to pay itself off. The taxes would be staying as they were.
Oh, c'mon, please, lower them for us will you?
Now, look, if you bozos started producing something other that plumes of acrid smog that do nothing but stink the place up, I might look more inclined to be more "pro-industry". Until then, it's not happening. In fact I might even raise taxes on Acrid Smog Production or something.
Oh shit, the jig is up.
Oh, and Sophia, of course. An Arts Patron, and all that entails. I didn't even realise we had "arts" in Funkytown. Nevertheless, there was some art exhibition opening in the school hall, to which I was invited to so I went. Sophie buttonholed me with the request, while I was surveying one local artist's ham-fisted attempt at an impressionist watercolour of what was supposed to be Firetop Mountain, and making fun of it with Randall.
Just imagine opening the children's minds to a world of Dickens, Bronte, Chaucer!
You know they're just going to read some retarded crap like Harry Potter.
*whispers* That hasn't been written yet.
Umm, the Chronicles of Narnia, then...
OK, whatever. Do I even have to ask what you think, Randall?
Yep, thought so. OK, I'll pass the ordinance.
Hey I just thought of a funny.
When I hear the word ordinance I reach for the ordnance.
That doesn't make sense.
Well, one meaning of "ordnance" is weaponry or ammunition, while "ordinance" means, well, the kind of thing I've just agreed to.
Oh you cad, that is awful!
And then Sophia started giggling.
Well at least someone thought it was funny.
You are a relatively uncouth oaf but there's a certain je ne sais quoi about you.
I'm the mayor, remember.
I'm sorry, this wine's gone straight to my head. Still. You know where I live.
Back to more mundane issue, The main town had been steadily growing outward, though I would have to show foresight in planning future expansion, what I'd done so far had been relatively slapdash in execution.
Although many factories were abandoned at the moment, full employment had not suffered.
I'd been thinking about allocating a buffer zone between the Old Town and what I felt would be come the main business centre, I don't know why, it just seemed like a good idea. Feng shui or something, perhaps.
My approval rating was on the up, which was nice to know.
Apparently farms had a really positive aura about them, compared to just about everything else.
Plus I'd have to look in to other ways of increasing land value aside from parks, which weren't that cheap.
As the town celebrated its fifth year anniversary, I tried to imagine it 200 years from now. I would not be around then, but hoped that the people of that time would look back on me kindly.