2nd City

Things Were Good When We Were Young

THE CHICAGO WORKING Chapter 1

Our story began with an old man. Simon Ellsworth, new next-door neighbor to the characters, apprehends them one morning on their way to the Lake, telling them of Chicago’s bloody, blistering history. He speaks of Burnham and Root. Of Angelic whispers and the thundering voice of the El. He speaks of gangland violence and political machination. He speaks of ghosts, literal and metaphorical that haunt the gridded streets. Of the river. Of the lake. Of the fire.
The characters help his nurse move the remainder of his belongings inside before they continue to the lake, where they spend a day kayaking and swimming.
On returning home, Tycho stops to chat with Richard, Ellsworth’s layabout live-in nurse, who’s enjoying a bowl, about the medicine that Ellsworth has access to. Apparently the old man’s dying of cancer and has been for almost a decade. When Tycho gets back inside, he hears a ticking sound. He digs through his closet to find a shoebox of old stuff from his mother, including his grandfather’s pocket watch. The piece is strange, with three faces and numerous hands that move at different rates. Tycho had always thought it was broken, but now it ticked away. Duchamp didn’t care for it, though, growling at it, and Tycho put it back in the box.
Don calls his girlfriend, and Ethan hits the books. The productivity doesn’t last, however, and Don, Joyce and Tycho set out for a night on the town, dragging a reluctant Ethan along.
They hit up a club in Wicker Park where a friend of Tycho’s who used to be a member of the headlining band meets up with them. This is Elsa. She has pink hair. Elsa and Tycho drop X, Don and Joyce drink, and Ethan figures in for a penny, in for a pound and gets uproariously drunk. Tycho falls over at some point, Ethan accidentally trips over him and starts a fight (a rare Dramatic Failure!), and the next thing we know, everybody’s been kicked out and are on a bus back towards the Red Line.
They get home, Tycho takes Duchamp out, Ethan starts scribbling some nonsense about the golden ratio (which he’d been reading up on) before passing out, and Don and Joyce retire to the bedroom. Tycho and Elsa make out a bit before falling asleep on Tycho’s shag carpet.
Sometime later, Tycho is awakened by the ticking coming from the other room. He goes to his bedroom, digs out the watch, and lets it sway back and forth in front of him. It almost seems to glow in the faint light, and it leaves tracers in his drug-addled vision.
Meanwhile, Don wakes up and stumbles from his room and takes a leak. On his way back, he glances into Ethan’s room, sees Ethan’s not there. He goes to the living room and finds Ethan staring into the night, oddly lit by a bright orange glow.
“The vesica piscis opens.”
Ellsworth’s apartment is in flames.

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