Life doesn’t always go the way you plan it. People who live here work hard all their lives; by now, they’ve either given up on their dreams or are still looking for a golden opportunity, both equally dangerous. Hope – even false hope – is a good place for a legend to strike roots. Maybe it’s the kid who sees dead people or the lady whose apartment feels like an icy cool lake, even in the summer. It could be the aspiring local politician who is always carrying a flute around, trailed by a crowd of reporters, or the car mechanic who you once saw pick up four wheels like they were pizza trays. This neighborhood is made of the little stories, each capable of becoming much more... for better or for worse.
But why is it so tough to break out of the cycle of poverty and debt around here? Is it that the jobs pay less and the rents are high? Are mobsters and loan sharks thriving on protection money and high interest paid by individuals with no other choice? Or are there some other, greater forces at play – ones that wish to perpetuate stories of tough luck and perseverance?
Places of Interest:
The 24/7 Diner - The place you go to start your day with black coffee and pancakes in the morning, take a break around lunchtime, hold an informal face-to-face meeting in the afternoon, and have a sad dinner alone at the bar in the evening. If you’re there at night, the staff will start treating you as part of the furniture. Greasy meals and percolator coffee is all you’ll get here, but it’s cheap and it keeps you going. It’s the penultimate casual meeting place, where anyone is welcome and no questions are asked. Sure, sometimes a hobo wanders in and starts shouting in a foreign language until they give him some food and send him away. There’s also something funky going on with the soup-du-jour. Once or twice you may have witnessed someone trashing the place (or were responsible for that yourself). But for the most part the diner is where you can gear up, wind down, or just sit by the window and watch the City go by...
The Private Office - The private office is a staple of detective stories. Whether it’s the lead characters’ base of operations (and sometimes not-so-temporary home), the setting of dramatic conversation revealing a shocking truth, or the target of a break-in that now must be investigated, the office should appear in your story in some way. Luckily, the City is dotted with such small establishments so weaving one into the story will be quite natural.
Samuel Valtierra / Baron Samedi
Once a sullen middle-aged cemetery keeper, Samuel Valtierra now runs this neighborhood. Ruler of the local underworld, he is involved in shady drug and gun trafficking business, but he mostly dominates the neighborhood through extortion. Most stores in the district, and particularly vulnerable businesses like liquor stores and diners, pay homage to Valtierra. “Nobody dies unless Valtierra says so,” is the common saying used by his men. And strangely enough, it seems to be true. Valtierra has bigger aspirations than just this blue-collar residential hood and as a result, bigger problems. His alleged ability to safeguard people from death is interfering with the plans of a much more ancient and powerful underworld bigwig, one who is coming to collect...
Hugh Flynn / Pied Piper of Hamelin
Hugh Flynn has always been a popular yet controversial figure in the district’s politics. A sworn activist, Flynn has been personally laboring for the people of this neighborhood for over a decade. No one can contest the fact that Flynn is a great public speaker - he is a master at stoking the emotions of his audience, to the point that they are willing to follow him through thick and thin. But it’s exactly this instant and total faith he inspires in people that sets him up as a villainous cult leader in the eyes of others. Some folks are afraid to attend his public speeches for fear of being brainwashed. There’s a pack of mallrats that even accused him of abducting their friends, although that’s probably just a prank. But what is Flynn’s real agenda? And if it’s truly to help the district – is a little brainwashing really so bad?
Martin “Marty” Brooks / Sleeper
Marty is always looking for the next hit. Having developed an earnest aversion for hard work from a young age, Marty found that he had to learn how to exploit the gullibility and absent-mindedness of his fellow man. When he lands a windfall, Marty lives the high life, and when he’s stuck for money, he plans the next scheme to get him solvent again. Marty has worked with the best and the worst, and he got out of some serious dire straits, never doing more than a few months in the brig. The only one Marty can’t con is Father Time itself; with a growing waistline and a receding hairline he can’t seem to hide anymore, Marty is not the playboy he used to be, but he is still as sharp as a knife.