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stories

A Short Story

“Hey Allie!”
“What’s up Bill, I haven’t seen you around”

Allie Barnes lived in an underground garden apartment in Chicago’s Near South side Douglas neighborhood. Only the top windows had a glimpse of sunlight. These living areas sprung up in Chicago around the time the city raised it’s streets to allow for drainage and sewers, being so close to Lake Michigan.

Chicago really is special and Bill always seemed to come back to soak in the biggest city in the Great Lakes Region. Some people often don’t experience the surrounding areas around Chicago. Cities surround the great lakes and it is quite scenic with the region experiencing all the seasons of the year. Allie and Bill met in 1910 in New York after immigrating to America from Europe.

William Reilly, or Bill, took a medium sized steamship out of Queenstown, Ireland and successsfully made it to the port in New York. It was on the streets of New York when establishing himself in America where he met Allie.

She was getting her hair cut at a street stall by a very nice Irish boy in a mob controlled immigrant neighborhood. The mob earned their money by running outlets for Gambling, Drinking, and Prostitution. All cash businesses. Bill took one look and said hi. They decided to find each other as they were both planning to settle in the Tropical Tundra of Chicago.

Before he settled, he took a grand tour of America. Bill took railroads, carriages, bicycle across the American frontier and that lifestyle grew on him. It became easy for Bill to learn how to make money on the road and he became friendly with the mob. They often had jobs for him to do and he always knew how to spot these grey market business men. Because he traveled he became a messenger and ally to mobsters trying to share information and spread their enterprises to more territories.

Allie also was friendly to the mob, and she worked for a man named Al Capone, who some say was rising in the ranks. Allie noticed Al was good with money and thought he had potential to be a great business leader. Bill often visited Allie at her restaurant and Speakeasy in the evenings.

“What’s the special for lunch, Allie?” Bill asked.

“BLT Sandwich, with cheddar cheese, loads of crispy bacon and heirloom European tomato, with french fries”, she sold him immediately on the special she could tell in his eyes.

“No wonder Alphonse pays you more than me!”

Douglas was a growing neighborhood being so close to the Chicago downtown. Downtown Chicago was destined to be a metropolis even larger than it was after the immigrant boom. The numerous rail lines both commuter and freight were destined to be a nursery for industrialism. The restaurant Allie worked at was called Jack Gibbon’s Gardens and she took a train to get their from her apartment in Douglas.

Bill was back in Chicago after smuggling money for gangsters across America. Money was a precious commodity and the American dollar was growing in value around the world. Bill found that people had different values of money the more cities he traveled to. Very often he could find food for half the price in the back roads and farms of towns.

On the train to Jack Gibbon’s steakhouse to meet Allie Bill noticed a weird hidden door behind a dumpster in an alley he could see from his place on the train. He decided to check this door out later tonight after his meal.

“Allie, I saw two men pushing a dumpster in an Alley, then they disappeared, climbed into the street and came back 5 minutes later with two bags and two guns.” Bill explained

“That’s normal, even Al has hideouts across Chicago to store his money and inventory Bill!” Allie replied.

“This was weird Allie, I’m telling you we have to check it out… Will you come see if we can figure out where the hole in the street goes?” Bill wanted a friend to explore something that could be dangerous.

Bill and Allie got off at the Light Rail station by where Bill thought it was.

They walked to the dumpster, Bill found the whole in the ground. He lifted the man hole covering it and climbed down. Uneventful, he couldn’t see much in the dark tunnel. He felt his way through the maze of brick supporting walls.

Bill yelled back to Allie that it was safe and she entered to.

“Welcome to the underground, underwater railroad back to Europe!” someone yelled from down the tunnel.

“What the hell?”

“Ya, the mob built an underground, underwater railroad from Chicago to Europe!”

“That’s far out man!” Bill hollered back.

“I don’t want to go back to Europe, can we go to China?”Allie asked.

TO BE CONTINUED MAYBE