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21 May 2007 @ 09:57 pm
Theatrical Muse: Week 179: Question 179  
Name: Dr. Sid Hammerback

Fandom: CSI: New York

Word Count: 1409


Write a ficlet inspired by the following quote: "What most people don't seem to realize is that there is just as much money to be made out of the wreckage of a civilization as from the upbuilding of one… There's good money in empire building. But, there's more in empire wrecking." Rhett Butler, Gone with the Wind (Margaret Mitchell).


If the world was an empire, then New York City surely had to be one of the jewels in the crown. The city that never slept shone brightly, always, in the face of joyous occasions or extreme adversity. It twirled brilliantly as it raised forth new life in the continuation of its people, and when old things fell to dust, there were so many beings there that it was almost ensured that whatever it was, or had been, would be remembered, even for a little while. New York City had a rich history, a clockwork patchwork of unused streets and abandoned railway lines, of people and things and places that no longer mattered or served the purpose that had once been their due to give. Constantly it wrecked parts of itself which then rose out of the ashes, reformed and shiny phoenix new. An old office building suddenly became prime apartment space, old coffee cans were taken from one antiques shop, and became the chic new pencil holders and door weights of the modern day.

The Big Apple was a fond re-user of old things given a new twist on life. People now translated from one job they had grown tired of, to a new job that occupied them more, brought them more money or joy. All knowledge built up was released as people found their niche, their corner, their little hidey hole to function within anew. They keep functioning and moving, so that the city that they loved in and lived in, would keep turning, as it did, a slow snicker snack, snicker snack, clitter clack, clatter click. People created vast reservoirs of things to be recalled, places to be recognised, and they felt no issue, no qualms, over abandoning them, mostly or all, to continue onwards with their lives, turning and spinning, in a new direction.

The City had a siren cry to some people, similar to those of other cities with a dark underbelly, Las Vegas, Miami, that caused all sorts of problems. It cried to some people, come, come, find fame, find fortune, find success, and to others, it gave a dark resolve to strike out at others for certain failings, the cause or effect of which might not have even been that clear. Oh yes, New York City was better than it had been, the streets were safer, the alleyways not always filled with detritus of both the human and rubbish kind, crime was, somewhat manageable, but the city had a disease that could not be cured. As long as it lived and turned and was inhabited by people, it would not stop causing pain and suffering to others, even though, on the whole, it was a mostly bright and cheerful place.


Sid Hammerback had spent the majority of his life, given a sliver of time, in New York City. He had grown up, from child to adult under its beatific smile, been raised from young to older, handled gently by its, every now and then, mangled, twisting hands. He had once made his money building up the reputation of its cooking elite, working with talented Chefs, as one of them himself. He had helped to draw crowds and to create culinary spectacles, until one day, he too had translated himself to somewhere else, professionally, and had become a Medical Examiner. While he did occasionally drift into the raising of spirits and hungers, the upbuilding of delight put into food on a plate form, he now made most of his money as a result of the wreckage of civilisation. He now benefitted, in a way, from the people who responded to the siren song, dashing themselves against metaphorical rocks, murdering others as they themselves sentenced their body and mind to government imposed imprisonment.


“I suppose, what he says is right.” Sid said, sitting hit upon a pile of pillows placed strategically upon a window seat. Gone with the Wind dangled from his fingertips, Butler’s words ringing through his head. Marianne lay on the carpeted floor below him, her head on an embroidered pillow as she stared ambitiously at the ceiling.

“Empire building is slow.” he said, leaving her to follow on.

“And it takes more time and just as much money...” Marianne replied, then leaving the thought for him to continue on, their back and forth style befitting of two people who could practically read each other’s minds, they had spent so long together, friends, lovers, family.

“Compared to breaking it down and letting people scrape away what’s left for even more profit.”

This thought hung in the air before the woman shook her flame coloured hair out from her ponytail and let it fan over the richly embroidered pillow surface.

“Empires take time, money and careful planning to the successful. You have to use up every bit of everything and not waste it.” she said, just lying there, breathing, being beautiful.

“But in empire destroying, anything you can do that hurts it, is a success. Then, when you break apart all those pieces, when you destroy people and things, bits fly off, and nobody cares where they go because nobody is around anymore to notice what happens.” he replied and smiled, grinning suddenly.

“But we prefer the building, don’t we, at least, the sane, non-criminally minded or intentioned of us do.” he said, dropping from his perch on the pillows, down to the floor, lying suddenly behind her, matching his breath to hers.

“It is prettier.” Marianne replied, and they laughed, leaving all philosophy and musings behind in their closeness, their togetherness. Outside, New York City continued, snicker snack, clatter, clatter, bump, and as they both breathed together, they mindlessly counted down. One less breath left in life, snicker snack, one less breath left, clatter, clatter, one more breath they’d never have back, bump.


In the event of 9/11, surely those people who caused it, benefitted and profited from the destroying of part of New York City, somehow, in some way. Those inhabitants of the City that never slept, saw and witnessed the downfall of part of their civilisation. Because they weren’t inclined in such a dark way, it was not them who profited, but them who suffered when the vultures who had come picking, drove the planes into part of their home. That very day, terrible people profited from downfall, but, the Big Apple didn’t stop from this horrible happening. It mourned its loss, it tried to save its people who were in danger, and as expansive and as multifaceted as they were, it did succeed somewhat. Then, with a head held high and with much distinction in the moment, it picked itself up and it continued building an empire, a jewel within the crown.


Sid Hammerback didn’t care for profit or loss in the building or downfall of an empire. He was just a normal man, with an abnormal mind, with a wife and two children, who liked indulging in naughty and mysterious activity and predilections. He had built decades building his empire, had spent years loving Marianne, and eventually, some years, being a good father, always an honest player in New York City’s funny, twirling game of life as he knew it. Then, one day, this carefully built and lovingly constructed empire, came, in parts, crashing down, because people beyond his control, those very terrorism intended vultures, had wiped his wife and children out in the blink of an eye. A facet of thousands of facets within the city, rooted to it by a bond created when it had become his home, he picked himself up, eventually, and continued on, building a newly formed empire out of the dust of his old life.

He continued. Like New York City, he would not be stopped. Empire building or empire destructing, profit or loss, he would continue. He had once had a great someone, some people, to live for, and while people like that remained still, the memory of those he had lost, drove him onwards, spurned him forwards. If he fell to dust, just because of that terrible destruction of part of his home, then his empire, his fluid translation within, and appreciation of, New York City, fell with him. So, if he could live, he would live, and the spirit of greatness, that all body filling twist of joy and pain that his home gave him, would continue within him, because he was not yet ready to give it up.
 
 
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