A Barbarian in Chicago- Wulf!

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Chapter 10: Blackstone Library

The next morning Wulf was up early, as was usual for him. He had found in his life that going to bed early and awakening early was most beneficial for both his mental, and his physical being. This was the last day before the start of school, and he was determined to do more exploring. His grandmother Nora must have come home quite late last night, and never awoke until late morning, having arranged for all of her classes to meet in the afternoon. This worked for Wulf!

He started off with a big pile of eggs that he had bought the evening before. He had had to look around a bit before he found a store that sold good eggs and meat from pasture raised animals. Finally, he asked his new friend Gabe Hakulani where he got his produce for his restaurant, and he steered him to a small health food store. The prices were high, he thought, but he also knew that good health was paramount, and top quality food was still far cheaper than doctor bills. Wulf had never been to a real medical doctor in his life, and planned to avoid it forever if he could. For anything short of acute trauma, like a gunshot wound or severe automobile accident, he could tell that they were largely useless- they only treated the symptoms of disease, not the causes. They knew nothing about health.

The youth had stocked his grandmother’s almost empty refrigerator with loads of fresh and frozen organic vegetables, pastured butter and cheese, grass fed beef and free range eggs. He would dearly miss the wild game he had thrived on for his whole short life, but he would approximate his healthy wild diet as best he could in this urban zoo- for that was how he was beginning to view his current urban environment. He saw his fellow urban dwellers as poorly managed zoo animals, totally used to living in an unnatural, man made concrete environment, with bad air, barely drinkable water, and terrible processed foods. Sadly, they didn’t even have a clue as to how humans were meant to live, and all the natural incentives for a healthy, self-sufficient, and productive life in the wild had been removed and perverted by bad governmental policies. He would just have to make the best of it for the year…

After eating a large quantity, he stopped at Gabe’s Grub, sitting on the stool at the counter as before. Gabe smiled broadly as he entered, and began to mix up a similar concoction to the one from before. This time he varied the veggies to different varieties, and added in ginger root, cinnamon, turmeric and other spices, along with apple cider vinegar and kefir. He finished off with a large beet, and blended it all together, presenting Wulf with a large RED Smoothie when it had finished spinning in the big blender.

“For my youngish frien’ Wulf!” he said happily. “Keepin’ ya healthy, that mah job now!” Wulf smiled his thanks, and drank it down in a few long draughts. “You have good appetite, that sure,” said Gabe, pouring out the rest of the canister into the now empty glass.

Wulf handed him some bills, nodded, and was back out on the street. He was heading north on Ellis avenue, intent on finding the library in town. He knew it was far north, and he remembered that the private policeman from the university force had warned him not to walk. He ignored the advice, since he was a self-directed young man, following the promptings of his own adventurous spirit, and his own notions of right and wrong. He was a free man, in a supposedly free and equal country, and he would go where he would, when he wanted. He would give free passage to any man who ventured into his woods back home, and he expected the same treatment from urban dwellers as he passed through their strange land.

At first, the way north was well-tended buildings, and nicely kept small lawns. But the farther north he went, it got…worse and worse. After a few miles, every person he saw was black. ’Why was this,’ he thought, ‘since all he had heard since he’d been here was about multiculturalism and how wonderful it was? If that was so, why were the races of people totally separate?’ It made no sense to him, and he resolved to look things up about this and other things puzzling him about his new environment in this Blackstone library.

Many were the challenging, hostile glares directed at the large youth as he walked, peering about curiously as he went. Most seemed to take his curiosity as an affront, but none pressed the issue, probably because of Wulf’s sheer size and appearance. He never looked back in anger, but merely had an impassive, no-nonsense look about him that was somehow warning in and of itself. He was like a lion walking past the dens of jackals.

There were burned out and broken street lights and windows, and all the residents seemed oblivious, lounging about as if all was well. Why did they not repair their own environment, their own dwellings? It made no sense whatsoever to the clean-limbed youth as he trudged onward. Perhaps he could look that up, as well!

Finally, when the sun was directly overhead, he saw it, a large, actually beautiful building from long ago, when Chicago’s south side was the shining crown of the city! It arose like a jewel in a pile of dirty gravel, since the surrounding neighborhood was badly decayed now. Wulf climbed the stone stairs, and passed through the massive pillars flanking the doorway.

Inside, it was a wonder of architecture from when the word meant something real- the building was nothing short of gorgeous! A large vaulted ceiling with a rotunda inlaid with metal rose over all, and mahogany furniture and bronze lamps made for a luxurious reading room. Lines of computers stood to the side, and Wulf trod on an Italian marble floor. The room was remarkably uncrowded, and the youth knew he had found a source of real wealth, knowledge, and comfort in this otherwise crumbling city.

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