A Time of Innocence | Invulnerable pt 1 ch 4

The Community grows and attracts trouble


Part I - Safe

Chapter 4 - A Time of Innocence

Gary Johannsen, city liason, reports to the community:

Plans have been drawn up and financing obtained for the purchase of the building. The owner has been approached, and seems agreeable.

[The crowd chuckles at that.]

Dr TomDr. Baker:

As already seen, good people found their best skills had coordinated purpose. Lawyers and carpenters, financiers and housekeepers, professors and clerks, happily engaged in working in organized fashion.

Some people found their old skills weren't as needed now.

Policemen who became our security guards had the easiest jobs in the world, because we were safe.

AndyAndy Walsh:

And the Doc, he got to study happiness and healthy spirits. He finds that a head-scratcher.

Dr TomDr. Baker:

Inevitably, when people bring to the group all their old skills and abilities, they will also bring along their old beliefs and ideas, at least those which withstand the transformation of security.

This was not a religious conversion, but a straw poll suggests a swing toward faith, as might be expected with such a seemingly miraculous metamorphosis. Those who believed, believed more strongly, those on the fence tended more toward faith, some doubters admitted to rekindled interest in the possibility of theological realities.

Those who sought to apply the theological to the phenomenon engaged in a wide, ongoing conversation, sorting out their respective beliefs and ideas.

Gary Johnannsen:

The owner of the building not only agreed to sell, but gave us a great deal on that -- and on the rest of the block (what was left of it) which it turns out he also owned. We have been offered a long-term lease-buy contract, from which we can all benefit, the seller included.

AndyAndy Walsh:

We moved into the Great Hall, turning offices on the upper floors into apartments.

No one recalls exactly how or why, but the idea got started to give Paul an office. A small, windowless office off the main hall has his name on the door, "Paul's office." Bare-bones furnishings. He was very nice when we showed it to him, smiled. He doesn't use it. When he's not evangelizing, he's with the young kids, or asleep in his small room above the old clinic.

Lenny Goldman, former pollster:

Among those who did not yet understand Peace, we had few friends. Those who came to know us joined us readily. Those few who knew of us only by reputation fell into three groups, roughly:

A few heard of us and appreciated what we were doing, even though they didn't fully understand yet.

Most were indifferent, if they heard of us. It was understandable; a subtle transformation, no fireworks, so average folks didn't care.

But politicians, crooked gangsters, and evil businessmen, we were noticed by them, because we cut deeply into their profits. And, as we found out, into their plans.

Kevin Ryan, former police officer turned community security guard, reports on an incident:

Two goons working for a prominent gangster-businessman (we'll just call him The Boss) came by with the purpose of using threats to force us to leave the buildings. This was our first serious clue that, as we confirmed later, the Boss had been intending to buy the slum cheap, tear it down, and build expensive high-rises. But the community got them first.

They were converted, of course, the two goons, but when they took their new-found spin to the Boss, he proved to be one of those people who could not be won over readily. However, a major rift occurred after that in the Boss's gang. Even several of his hardened lieutenants ultimately joined us.

But the two goons, who turned states evidence, were put in protective isolation. Somewhere. Alone. After a time, they must have reverted -- a first -- because they refused to testify. They claimed they had been drugged. The Boss stayed free.

One angry Bossill. by Andy Walsh, from newspaper photo