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Demifiction: "The Gaslight Goes Out" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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Demifiction: "The Gaslight Goes Out"
This is the first perk unlocked for the June half-price sale in Polychrome Heroics, which just crossed the $100 threshold. \o/ It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series, and precedes the stories that [personal profile] dialecticdreamer has posted about Torrin.


"The Gaslight Goes Out"

Monday, March 10, 2014
by Jessica Kane



The popular Gaslight Restaurant and Lounge burned down on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Located just outside Rapid City, it has been a gathering spot for local citizens and bluegrass musicians for many years. The building also housed a collection of antiques from the mining period.

By the time firefighters arrived, the flames had already filled one third of the building. The effort to douse the fire was hindered by lack of water. Buildings in this area draw water from private wells instead of public water lines, so no fire hydrants service the vicinity. Firefighters had to rely on tanker trucks.

By Monday morning, the Gaslight had burned to the ground. Despite valiant efforts by the Rapid City Fire Department, little remained but smoking rubble. An investigation is already underway, although a detailed examination of the ruins must wait until the site has cooled completely. However, preliminary reports suggest the cause as arson inspired by civil unrest.

Recently the Gaslight has become a source of controversy in a town torn by divisive politics. Several altercations in the last few years have alleged discrimination against people with special abilities. Complaints to the National Hate Crimes Office claim that restaurant owners sympathize with certain hate groups and have committed acts of interpersonal violence including ambient abuse. Unfortunately, this corresponds with the area's historic challenges in race relations. Photographs of signs reading "White Only" and "No Indians Allowed" from embarrassingly late dates have continued to distress the city's more progressive members.

The matter came to a head on Saturday, when a supervillain known as Hot Rodd took exception to a "No Soups" sign at the Gaslight. According to witnesses, he ignited first his hair and then the rest of his body while arguing with the staff of the restaurant. Hot Rodd left the premises shortly before the police arrived. However, the building caught fire not long after closing time. Hot Rodd remains a prime suspect in this possible arson, due to a sign left in the parking lot which read, If I can't have it, nobody can.

Business owners are reminded that establishments open to the general public are expected to serve everyone. Anyone concerned about the growing unrest may visit the SPOON website to browse pages on fostering healthy interactions between people with and without special abilities. Activism is an important part of civic engagement, but arson is not a recommended technique. Keep cool, Rapid City!

* * *

Notes:

Hot Rodd (Roddney Hogwood) -- He has pinkish-fair skin, blue eyes, and short messy hair of light brown. He is short and rather pudgy. Hot Rodd hires himself out to various supervillains as a minion, primarily for intimidation work, but he also does arson. Tough and streetwise, he makes an effective criminal. He also loves to party. Among his hobbies is cooking things he can heat in his hands using his superpowers, like campfire foil meals and snacks on a stick. Hot Rodd is suspected of burning down the Gaslight Restaurant and Lounge in Rabid City.
Origin: As a boy, he liked to play with matches. His parents were always warning him, "Be careful, or you'll set yourself on fire." He set himself on fire -- and developed superpowers.
Uniform: The cheapest clothes he can get. Hot Rodd shops almost exclusively at thrift stores. He sees no point spending money on things he'll just burn up anyway.
Qualities: Good (+2) Barehanded Cooking, Good (+2) Party Animal, Good (+2) Streetwise, Good (+2) Supervillain Minion, Good (+2) Tough
Poor (-2) Low Impulse Control
Powers: Good (+2) Fire Powers
Motivation: Selfishness.

Campfire cooking offers ingenious ways to make many recipes. It forms the foundation of barehanded cooking among people with Fire Powers or similar abilities.

* * *

I am not picking on Rapid City at random. It has a well-earned reputation for violence and racism, not to mention remaining openly segregated. I have personally seen a "No Indians" sign there in the mid-1980s, and we raised a fuss about it.  Indeed, when I printed this for my parents, they both remembered that incident.  I have heard reports that such signs still appear. So this post is a little piece of payback for that sign.

In local-Rapid City, the popular Gaslight restaurant burned down in 2013. In Terramagne-Rabid City, the Gaslight was owned by forks and burned down by a supervillain offended by the "no soups" sign in the window." In classic villain fashion, they left a sign reading, If I can't have it, nobody can.

1 tanner of property damage = $10,000,000

"The Gaslight Goes Out" features a restaurant/lounge burning to the ground. Most restaurants in South Dakota only run a few hundred thousand, but a few are in the $1-2 million range. This one was large and famous, so .1 tanner is plausible for the building. However, it was also crammed with pioneer antiques, probably at least $1-2 million worth. Figure around .3 tanner total.

Tanker trucks can serve various roles. Some people argue that all firetrucks should carry water, especially if the service area includes a lot of territory not piped for fire hydrants.

Prejudice and discrimination pose serious problems. Know how to reduce prejudice and avoid discrimination. Here is a community guide to fighting hate.

Activism is an important form of civic engagement. Learn how to become an activist.

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