It is May 15, 1999. Around eight in the evening, to be exact. Lukewarm rain pounds on the dirty streets of the city. Traffic lights, gone dark from the stray bullets of the gang wars rock gently in the gusts of wind the bring no relief from the baking summer heat wave. Along the walls, past the drifts of reeking plastic garbage bags piled up since the second week of the Waste Management strike, graffiti artists have scrawled cryptic messages on the bricks and iron-barred windows of the brownstones. The homeless the shuffle in their black, brown and gray over-coats are both victims (of poverty and mental disease) and victimizers for the (rare) single women that hurry down the streets hoping to be passed over for easier prey.
On 42nd street the whores are bathed in neon light from the vertical signs, crowded together above the dark mouths of the adult theaters. Police cars, whose only function seems to be cleaning up the messes after they happen, prowl the streets and law abiding citizens often fear them as much as the criminals.
In the lofty offices at the tops of the sky-rises the powerbrokers battle with each other while the city below the smog-line writhes and dies like a body riddled with cancer. The Madison Avenue executives sell serenity, beauty and non-existent hope to the desperate. At the same time, the Wall Street's raiders plunder and burn an threaten to drag the rest of the city down into their inferno.
On the West Side, the papers scream, the gangs have begun eating their victims while disenfranchised kids from good families form gangs near the finest fashion stores to savage those who buy the clothes they can't afford themselves. The TV cameras are rolling and they bleed and lead every evening at seven-o'clock...and again at eleven. The bloodshed is sandwiched between the filth-spewing smear campaigns for the upcoming mayoral election and the Star Power talent show, which already has would-be artists stabbing each other in the show and knife-fighting at the auditions.
You're in your apartment, holding a newspaper in your hands. As you read it, you feel more and more desperate. The neo-nazis are getting more and more aggressive. Just yesterday, there was a two-hour gun battle between them and the police. The neo-nazi leader stated that bullets couldn't stop him. The people on the streets were, for the first time in a long while, hoping that the police wins. At the same time, the police themselves are rumored to have be racketeering shops and dodging all internal affairs investigations. They also ignore the three serial killers loose on the town and the cannibalistic gang which calls itself the Heavies. On top of this, the publicly corrupt mayor just got reelected. Suddenly, something in you breaks. You put down the newspaper. The desperation disappears and you are instead filled with resolve and anger. You realize that if you don't do something to change things, then they won't.
Outside, the city trembles in the all-too-quick summer shower as the baking heat comes to oppress you again while the black stormcloud streaks remain in the sky. The city is dying. Your city is dying. And the people have given up hope.
You. Have. Had. Enough.