Author: Bryan Pastor
Far from the city center, where the lights are so dim that stars can be seen, lies a rare view, a stand of trees. The trees, of which kind had long been forgotten, poked their yearning branches high above the squat gray monotony of the surrounding tenements, tendrils of living fire that suggested life could thrive, even among the concrete and asphalt.
To the locals, the trees were a source of great civic pride. The sheltering branches provided everything they needed. During the summer, it was a cool place to gather. In the winter, it was the setting for great snowball fights. Regardless of the time a day, people could be found, meeting, discussing, playing cards or chess. As heated as any discourse may have run, always, always it was followed by a handshake or a pat on the back. Not the least amount of romances began beneath the gentle boughs; the trees heard many voices whisper sweet nothings, though not a single tree was blemished by initials carved in a moment of passion. Under the trees was where people gathered when one among them passed. The trees were the heart and soul of the community.
“What took you so long, where’s your crew?” barked the dark-haired man in the blue suit, despite the sun being hidden by the surrounding building, he wore sunglasses.
“No crew.” The foreman announced, holding his hands up.
“What do you mean no crew?”
“None of the locals are willing to do the work. Say the trees done belong to anyone.”
“They belong to me.” The man in the suit barked back. “I have a deed right here that says so.”
He stomped around for a few minutes.
“Fine get a crew from out of town.”
“No can do.” The foreman replied. “The union rep told me he would make our lives very difficult if we tried to go around him.”
“Get me a chainsaw. I will do it myself.”
The foreman retrieved a chainsaw and a can of gas. The man in the suit snatched it from him and skulked off into the trees.
The moment he stepped beneath the swaying leaves the noise of the outside world faded to silence. A car passed on the street beyond, but for all he could tell it was a ghost. Undeterred by the sudden change, the man in the suit marched on until he found a small tree, barely a sapling. All he needed was one. Once the community understood that he meant business about putting up the off-tracking wagering parlor then they would play.
He took off his jacket and hung it on a branch, before kneeling over the saw.
“Can I help you?” A voice asked, it seemed to come from every direction.
“I know how to work a saw.” The developer replied.
“That’s what I am afraid of.” The voice replied, now right in front of him.
“Listen, pal.” The man in the suit started. He began to rise, but stopped. He was staring at someone who looked exactly like him, putting his jacket on. The man reached for the inside pocket and retrieved the deed. He looked the papers over and smiled.
“Hey you can’t…” the developer started, but was cut short as he felt himself lifted up into the canopy.
A few minutes later, a man in a blue suit emerged from the trees, carrying a chain saw and gas can.
“On second thought,” he explained to the foreman. “Maybe its better these trees stay here for a while longer.”