The Good, the Bad, and the Dead
“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”
- Lawrence Walsh
Chinatown. In an ironic twist of fate, it might actually be the most New York part of New York. Full of vibrant color and exotic decor, it is the equal of anywhere else in the city. It’s foreign heritage takes the city’s clifflike learning curve to new heights, the dizzying sound of peddler and the all-illuminating lights leaving visitors feeling off-kilter and surreal. It is intoxicating in it’s madness.
But there is a darker side, to be sure. The harsh lives of it’s residents, the ill-equipped poor living so far from the culture of their birth clawing tooth and nail to survive and thrive. The gangsters, stickup artists, and other riff-raff prowling the streets and maintaining their hold on the neighborhood through brutal suppression. Just as with any other part of the Big Apple, friendly smiles can easily turn to wicked grins.
And yet… things are changing. Whispers tell of a new king of thieves, calling the shots and changing the rules. The gangsters still hold onto the populace with an iron grip, but there is something shepherding in it. The depraved savagery seen under other groups is swiftly punished, the business of ruin made orderly and organized. The riff-raff are being reformed into soldiers, slowly but surely, brashness and zealotry transforming into discipline and even a twisted sort of honor. Children have been made off limits, and there is generally little trouble if you pay your dues and keep your head down. Organized crime seems to be earning the name.
And perhaps the mobsters are not the worst thing to face. Deep in the shadows rumors abound of monstrous things, urban legends made real, who savage man and woman and child only to leave the blood-drained remains in the alleyways and crevices of the town. Strange protocols have been issued to gangmembers, policies regarding what to do when encountering things you have no frame of reference for. Trusted enforcers are being armed with odd training and weaponry, and the more superstitious – and perhaps socially unaware – have taken to wearing garlic and symbols of faith.
Yes, there are darker things in the shadows than the mob.
And yet darker on the horizon.