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Whispers of Morg City
Chapter 3: "Snakeskin Boots"
From the way Mr. Rapt described it, the reporter expected bustling crowds of people and upbeat jazz from every standing building in the city. But as he stepped off the tram, Morg City gave the reporter only a sense of drabness and a somber attitude from every man, woman, and child he set his eyes on. Everyone had their heads down like they were avoiding each other. Mr. Rapt did say Morg City's night life was something to behold, nothing like this. Perhaps during the daylight the socialites stay in-doors awaiting their next venture.
The young reporter could not help but feel a sense of urgency as he stepped down the stairs of the Waterfront District. Those same dry souls who stared at the floor brought their gaze towards his as he walked through the district, searching for a place to stay. He felt almost unwelcome, like the city did not take too well to outsiders. He passed under clothes-lines and small bridges connecting the buildings in this more down-to-earth area of town, before finally finding an inn.
He entered the lobby, the walls still coated in wearing paint from the 19th Century, and with only two chairs occupied by an older couple. The reporter tipped his hat to the couple, who did not avert their gaze from the peeling wall before them. A younger man, perhaps in his late 30s, called out to the reporter.
“Hey! Quit bothering my customers. You want a room or not, buddy?”
“Yes, yes, sorry about that. I'm, uh, new in town.”
“You think I can't tell that? How long ya stayin'?”
“Probably a couple of weeks. I'm a reporter, ya see, trying to get a feel for Morg City for-”
“Yeah yeah, that's real nice. I expect your payments in full at the beginning of every week. Here's your key.”
The night life had better be worth the trouble. So far the lack of friendliness from Morg City's residents has been the highlight of this job.
The reporter took the keys, making his way up the stairs to his room. There were fifteen rooms in the hall, yet none of them seemed to be occupied except one, most likely used by the old couple for who knows how long. The room at the very end of the hall was his. Twisting the key and pushing the creaky door open, the reporter recoiled at the large cloud of dust sprung up from the floor at the door's opening. The small wooden desk in the corner and the chair along with it seemed untouched by the outside world. The bed was roughly in the same state, though the mattress itself was stained in several areas.
He placed his suitcase in the closet, after first removing his notepad and his lucky fountain pen. He noted the strange sense of despair the town had given him, and the unkind nature of all the residents in the Waterfront District.
As the day further passed and the sun began to settle for the night, the reporter donned the finest suit he had on hand in his inner-city apartment, ready to experience the night life of Morg City. He placed the pad and pen within his pocket, and bore his hat. He exited the room, sure to lock the door for fear of robbery in this seedy area of town. As he exited the inn, he noted the old couple, still sitting in the lobby chairs staring, as the manager at the desk watched the reporter exit the building.
Outside, it was dead quiet in the Waterfront District, though the reporter could hear the faint jazz emanating from Morg City's more lively part of town. He walked on through a fruit market in the center of town, catching the gaze of several salespersons simply waiting for the day to officially end. One man in particular took a vested interest in the reporter, shooting daggers through him for his entire walk through town.
Then came a sudden flash of light across the sky, then another, and another. About a dozen meteors whizzed through the sky leaving a bright trail of light behind them. The reporter had never had the privilege of seeing a meteor shower for himself, only hearing about them from eggheads on the radio. He had stopped in the middle of town, staring up above at the strange phenomenon, but even more puzzling was the lack of reaction from anyone in the square. No one had even raised at eyebrow at the event, and the old man continued to stare at the reporter in his state of confusion.
For fear the old man may pursue him, the reporter continued on towards the Footlight District where the music was emanating. A stark contrast from the town square, the district was packed with automobiles and pedestrians mingling with each other outside the Black Lace Burlesque, a night club drawing in all of the attention. These people were young, spry, hip; they were not like anyone else in town. This must be what Mr. Rapt spoke of when he mentioned Morg City's night life. The reporter joined in the constant flow of clubbers entering the Burlesque. He handed the man in the doorway a twenty dollar bill: a small price to pay to be a part of the action. Entering the club felt like entering another world entirely. On the center stage was a band performing a fine jazz tune, with the floor packed with men and women having the time of their lives, at varying levels of drunkenness. The moon's light could not be seen within the club, being fully lit by the bright red lights of the stage.
The Reporter took to the bar, ordering a glass of the club's finest whiskey. The bartender was endearing, a true showman who enjoyed his craft. They needed more like him down at Waterfront. The Reporter retreated to his notes, writing all the fresh details in his mind of the night as it progressed. The crowd grew wilder as the singer interacted with the crowd during his performance.
“Snakeskin boots on a Saturday Night! Kickin' down doors, trying to make it happen! Swing, don't miss in the wicked fight.”
The music was absolutely intoxicating. The reporter took to the floor, mixing in with the uproarious crowd swaying to the upbeat tune. He had become one with Morg City's finest party-goers.
“And then it's out, then dark, and then we'll go, sway, roll. Snakeskin boots on a Saturday night!”
With a final bow, the singer took off from the stage as the crowd began to settle once more. The reporter's legs felt weak as the alcohol began to kick in. The sanguine lights of the club did not help the situation, making him dizzy as the crowd around him continued to move.
A new performer approached the stage: a young, blonde woman, clothes red as Hell, and eyes like diamonds. The crowd adored her; Clearly she was a regular here. The reporter tried to get a better look at the young lady, but his eyes grew more blurry as her slow song went on. He had to sit down before he fell and was potentially trampled by these equally drunken clubbers. He retreated to the bar, resting his head on his arms and falling to sleep as the performer's soothing voice filled the air.
“The Black Lace Burlesque is proud to have Jessica Rose performing tonight, ladies and gentlemen! Let's have a round of applause!”