Chapter 5: Hyde Park, Chicago
Wulf spent that first night in the lavish condominium of his grandmother, reading. He did leave his room at one point to get something to eat in the kitchen. There was no sign of her that whole evening, it was obvious that she had gone out. The kitchen was amazing to the youth, with gleaming long counters, a huge table, and cabinets loaded with elaborate cooking utensils, china, flatware, and rows of expensive knives. The stove was enameled iron, and was more suited to a gourmet restaurant. Opening the shining, stainless steel door of the refrigerator, Wulf was surprised to see- almost nothing! There were a few boxes of leftover pizza and other restaurant foods, but nothing else.
He shook his head ruefully. For Wulf, good nutrition was key- “A healthy mind in a strong body!” is something he had learned from his reading many years since. ‘Well,’ he thought, ‘tomorrow I must get some real food to store here, and I will look around as well!’ And with that, he went back to his room. For another thing he had learned was that to fast, to miss meals when unavoidable, was actually a good thing- it trained the body and will to go without, strengthening both mind and spirit.
Wulf woke early the next morning, clear headed and sharp. After visiting the small guest bathroom, he began his morning exercise routine, which he did each and every morning whenever possible. First, some easy stretches, followed by resistance exercises that he had found in old courses in the small reservation library at home. He would flex each limb, and then move it through the full range of motion, fully flexed. Sounds easy, but the resistance the youth could generate within his own muscles was massive, and soon he was bathed in sweat. He then did calisthenics, more extreme stretching, and then self-resistance, with one limb resisting the movement of another. This is the most natural form of exercise there is, to exercise like a cat, and the result had been Wulf’s amazing physique and quickness. He went through the routine as a form of moving meditation, so totally immersed in the experience that he literally was not thinking consciously, but actually was completely in the moment.
In under an hour, he was done- refreshed, energized, and at peace. This was just what had been practiced by the ancient Greeks in their gymnasiums, and Wulf had appropriated it to great success. So far as he knew, only he and his friend Nikan were the sole remaining practitioners of this ancient art of physical culture.
After showering in the small but to him lavish bathroom, he dressed and left the condo. Going down the well-appointed hallway, paneled in dark wood, he pushed open the heavy glass door to the brilliant sunshine of late summer. He sauntered down the walkway to the sidewalk, the looked about him interestedly. How wealthy must these people be, he thought?
Just a few blocks away, he could see the massive, ivy covered temples of learning that made up the campus of the University of Chicago. He walked that way, interested to see where his grandmother worked. Everything was lavish, with rich marbles on the buildings, statues of past presidents on the grounds, set off by well tended shrubbery and massive beds of flowers. It being the early morning, he was almost alone as he walked the campus.
Gardeners and other maintenance workers looked at him curiously as he passed, a giant white youth in jeans and t-shirt; he was not what they were used to seeing. Some thought him a new worker being brought in, and others that perhaps he was one of the students recruited from some small town far away. ‘Before long,’ thought one 40 something maintenance worker with UC on his uniform shirt ‘the other kids will shame him into buying all of their expensive prep school outfits’, and then he went back to pruning the shrubs.
He tried one door to a building, but it was still locked. Turning back towards the sidewalk, he saw a black police car speeding towards him, and stopping right next to him. The window rolled smoothly down. “May I see your student I.D. please?” said the officer, not unpleasantly.
“I have none. I am a visitor here, and am staying with my- with a relative,” he quickly corrected himself.
The officer, who did not seem like a police officer at all, looked surprised, but then said “No one is allowed on the campus other than students!” Wulf noticed that his car said University of Chicago PD, and then he got it- this was a private police force, hired by the university itself! Why would a university, a temple of learning, need it’s own police department? Especially since the city of Chicago had a huge police force, as he knew from his reading before coming down here.
“I can tell you aren’t from around here, at least,” said the officer speculatively. “You don’t even sound like it, much less look like it! What are you looking for?”
“Well, a library, and a park is what I am looking for. I start high school in two days, at Hyde Park High School, and I-“
The officer cut him off- “What? Not in one of the University Lab Schools, but in the public high school!!??”
Wulf nodded, and the officer asked him, “And your relation enrolled you there? Don’t do it, go back home, that’s not possible- and your relative works here??”
Wulf explained that he could not leave, he had to stay until he was 18 with his relative, it was the law…
“Son, talk to your relation. Tell them that I, Wes Parker of the UCPD, say that you going to the public high school is not possible…” He appeared to want to go on, but decided it was really not his business, and he could easily get in trouble for what he was about to say. He wanted to say the that high school was 100% black, except for a few teachers, and that violence and crime there was off the charts. He wanted to say that this large youth would become a huge target, and probably would not last one day there. But he knew about the liberal mindset here, about what his employers at the university would do to him if they found out. They were ‘limousine liberals’, each and every one; protected from the wild levels of violent crime that existed all around their little island of privilege and wealth- protected by a well trained and funded police force of mercenaries like himself! So, he stopped himself.
“The library is the Blackstone library, up on 49th street. Not safe to walk to, not at all. Of course, the U of C library is only open to students… the best parks are over towards the lake,” here he pointed towards the east, “but be careful what streets you choose to get there.” He looked up at Wulf appraisingly, noting his huge size and musculature approvingly, but worrying for him just the same. “Just be careful, son, and keep your wits about you.” And with that, he drove off.
Wulf pondered what he had heard as he walked to the east. Hopefully he could find some green space to sustain him while he was here. But first, he was ravenous! He headed into a diner type of place as soon as he spotted it.