Lucinda: Mistress to the Mob

Official website of the in-work novel…..


Cicero, Illinois

June 2009

Looking At A Property


             I had no clue what I was in for.

             I drove my Escalade through the streets of Cicero, Illinois looking for the address scrawled on my memo pad; searching for an older storefront building with small upstairs apartments.

             “There it is.” I parked my truck along the curb.

             I have done these sorts of inspections many times. After years as a successful construction contractor I sold my company to a conglomerate, offering me both the time and cash to do anything I choose. I enjoy buying older, distressed properties, renovating and either re-selling or renting them. Every property is different and each has its idiosyncrasies.

             I shut off the engine to the monster SUV and glanced through my paperwork.

             Built in 1910; Property has been vacant for about two years. Two storefronts on the ground floor of about 1100 square feet each; upstairs has four small efficiency apartments on each end. Requires renovation to meet current codes. Local folklore indicates this building may have been owned by the mob and used to house front businesses in the ‘20s and ‘30s. “Could be an interesting marketing angle.”

             I exited my vehicle and walked toward the brick façade, flat roofed structure which was obviously in need of work.

             With windows and doors boarded up, a lock box with keys was located on the handle of the front door to the right storefront section. I scanned my notes for the combination, turned the knob on the dial, opened the box, removed the keys, closed the box and then unlocked the padlock from the boarded-up door.

             I toured the right storefront area. Remarkably well preserved for being vacant two years; it’s surprising the local gangs and hoodlums haven’t overtaken the place.

             Needs new walls, flooring and ceilings; will need to re-wire and plumb to meet code; just like the paperwork said.

             I re-locked the door behind me, and was drawn to another outside door. I unlocked and opened it, exposing to my view a long, straight staircase.

             I ascended the darkened flight, noticing the staircase itself was solid. Walls need painting in here, too: could use a new finish on the stairs, or maybe some carpeting; nothing unexpected.

             At the top was a hallway; I could go either left or right. To the left were doors; facing each other from across the narrow corridor; about halfway to the end. I walked that direction and opened the first door to my left. I saw a small room, basically a sleeping room. Needs the same repairs as the rest of the building; could use a light fixture for the ceiling, as well.

             The room across was basically the same, as were the others on this end of the hall.

             I walked to the other end of the hall to inspect; More of the same.

             At this end of the hall was a door that opened to a community bathroom containing two porcelain sinks, right next to each other, two makeshift stalls with toilets, and a shower stall. I turned the handle on one of water faucets; only gurgling air escaped.

Still has the old three panel wooden doors with skeleton locks. If they were in good condition they’d be worth retaining, but they’re too far gone.

             “One more room,” I said under my breath. The place is a mess, but the price is good, so it may be viable.

             I approached the last remaining door on the second floor, not at all prepared for what awaited inside.


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