Sunday, April 24, 2011

This is coming along a bit at a time

This still needs some rewriting, but I'm coming along.

A hard rain pounded Atlantic City as I stood under a rusted metal awning and waited for the evil little fucker to make his nightly visit to the screamo bar across the street. Relentless and unforgiving, the rain lashed both the city streets and the crowds of nightlife seeking shelter and a euphoric release from their lives. Atlantic City didn't have quiet nights. Gamblers and hookers, tourists and punks: they all flooded the streets at night, looking for some kind of score. A quick fuck. A needle. A bag of cash, or a sucker. The streets of AC were garish with graffitied walls and casino neon flashing its come-hither message like a fuck-me doll. Huddled under umbrellas, the passing crowds were as mushrooms scurrying into casinos, pawn shops, strip clubs, bars and restaurants.

Some of the steady stream of passersby stayed on the streets and sidewalks as the night was hot, despite the rain. I didn't give a fuck one way or the other. Dead flesh doesn't suffer under the elements.

I love Atlantic City, and I've hunted here off and on through much of the last six decades. The city has a low profile, because crimes that would be national news anywhere else are kept off the media's radar by sleazy politicians greasing palms with cash, drugs or prostitutes - sometimes a combination of all three. Those same politicians talk about the rebirth of the city and the changes made possible by gambling and the wealthy Middle Eastern and Asian tourists. But what the politicians really do is jam as much cash into their pockets as fast as they can, fucking over the populace and screaming poor-mouth when the actual decline of the city does make the news.

In the light of day, the Atlantic City looks like a war zone. Not that I would venture into sunlight, but my lair is in just one of a dozen abandoned buildings that blight the south side of the island city.

At night, Atlantic City's glitzy exterior of neon and multi-billion dollar casinos masks the grime that lies just below the surface. Mobsters and slavers made the city their home long before gambling was legalized in the 1970s. Indeed, slavers established a firm grip in the early 1800s and continue to use the city as a port of call for the sale of under-aged boys and girls.

Just beyond the lights and through the casinos is Atlantic City's famous Boardwalk, where whores, drug addicts and schizophrenics live under the planks, fighting and fucking beneath the feet of tourists and teenagers. Occasionally a body turns up. But most times the city's ghoul population takes care of the corpse before anyone notices the stench.

Ghouls are necessary to a city like this one. Smarter than zombies and more efficient than werewolves.

But the best part of Atlantic City was the number of disposable teens that stalked the night streets with sneers and baggy pants. The former was an indication of perceived invulnerability. The latter slowed them to a pants-yanking shamble. Many of Atlantic City's youth were cheap, wanna-be gangsters who knew fuck-all about real life and death. They were the kind of punks who bragged about guns and murder and their plans to one day move to the Big City, where they would be players, with plenty of whores and drugs in easy reach. These little thugs beat and robbed tourists, raped girls and boys in back alleys, and fought endlessly over perceived territory violations.

They were the kind of shit-ass punks that the police would sooner quietly disappeared.

I was the vampire for that particular task.

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