Legal Theft Project: Underworld

Every woman in Evanston over the age of twelve owned a red dress. Every man over thirteen owned a blue suit. Every cat was white. Every dog was black. Houses came in white, tan, and grey in blocks of three or alternating. The landscaping was impeccable and orderly. Everyone crossed at the crosswalks and cars never sped. To fly over Evanston was to fly over a dollhouse of a town. Immediately visible for its manufactured identity and immediately dismissed for its dullness. Which was just how the inhabitants liked it.

Underground, away from the prying eyes that drifted through the chem-soaked skies, the inhabitants of Evanston lived a different life. Entrance was granted to all in red dress or blue suit. The uniforms stored at the entrances in the basements of common areas, the library, city hall, the police station. Once shed of the uniform a closet opened, and a world of possibilities unfolded. Clad however they wished, the inhabitants of Evanston entered the other world. Where order, conformity, and fear were unknown. Quiet nooks for extended study, loud dance floors with flashing lights, computer terminals, restaurants, sporting rinks, and theaters all cheek by jowl and jumbled together in the echoing twisting caves. People joked about the facade, but the strict division between what others saw and what you did was a wonderful joke. Occasionally you got a tourist who suspected something, but once they’d had a taste of the world below, someone offered them a piece of pie that tasted like comfort, or they slipped on a red dress and followed some locals below ground, they didn’t come back. The sheriff’s department shook its head at the folly of tourists and posted more generic warnings. But if you looked in their eyes, you could see the smug glint. What Evanston took, Evanston did not give back.

I stole this first line from Kathryn awhile ago. See what she’d written For the Worst Days.


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