Something ain’t right in this town. Place even smells funny.
It was about six months ago that I blew into the Windy City. I had just escaped the draft up from Butt, Montana. But made a foul and had to spend some time in the can. Hadn’t been in the place long before I caught wind of something dirty. Didn’t take a dick to know that something awful was brewing. Hell, the whole city reeked of it. There was trouble everywhere, and I knew I would get to its bottom if I had to sniff it out myself. As it happens, it turned it’s nose to me.
Step into a speakeasy and was met by two goons, waiting– looked like for me. By the looks of it it seemed they were rearing to send me right back to where I had come from, only this time around my ticket would be single fare, one-way, packed in a 6-foot pine gift box and wrapped with nine inch nails.
When goons start muddling around for your business, never quip wise. One smart crack from you and you’ll end up with a quick crack from their fist, and if you ain’t the kind of guy who tends to be lucky, a crack on your skull. Turns out the damn goons cracked all over my face. I’m thrown into a car and next thing I know is I’m being chucked around in a cow field. Face first in dirt, told to mind my own.
Hell of a welcome to this town. Hell of a hello.
Maybe I’ve just had my head up my ass for too damn long now, but that ain’t no way to treat a stranger.
An entrance like that is going to cloud your vision some, and Goddamn if it didn’t mine. Sometimes I feel like my eyes are so clouded the damn things are crusted shut. But that day, a change came over me, like a layer of something had been added to the exterior of my face and I was powerless to change it. I see now how foul the city really is, the sourness to it, the unpleasantness, all brewed together to burden me with this nauseating feeling that I carry with me wherever I go. And this ain’t only some kind of metaphor, I swear to whatever a man might swear to, this place actually stinks. Call it the smell of greed, the smell of corruption, the smell of foul money in fouler hands. I call it the smell of shit.
The smell is everywhere, follows me where ever I go. Its in the streets, at the horseraces, in the mines, the saloons; hell, even the flowers and the pretty women reek like something’s wrong. Though they tend to stay away from me anyway, the women. Some of them, it seems, are too afraid to even look at me–a lone wayfarer in their dirt town, afraid of what an honest man like me could do–just rip the secrets right out from the bowels of this city and burst ’em wide open.
Though I ain’t one to blame ’em, I’m too afraid to even look at myself. Haven’t since I got here. Too afraid to check a goddamn mirror. Christ. Figure I might see myself adjusting, morphing into something I never thought it could be, taking on the face of a person in this city. A shit-face. Might even like it.
There’s something new about my face, I can tell: it’s hardening. There is something different about me now; I can feel it. I can feel myself changing. Makes a fellow scared to take a look at himself.
Been around here for too long now.
The whole city reeks of shit.