I live in an exclusive gated community. Residence here is by invitation only.
Our community has a staff of hundreds. Our laundry is picked up, washed, and returned the next day without fail. Our facilities are cleaned seven days a week – even on holidays. We have free cable. The community brags a library so trusting that most books don’t even need to be checked out – just grab and go. We have a restaurant that serves meals designed by an on staff dietitian. The meals are all included, of course, at no extra cost. Alcoholic beverages are not included, but can be obtained in a variety of venues. Our inter-racial barber shop has four chairs and is open long hours with or without an appointment. Standard trims are provided at no cost, though gratuity is appreciated (and recommended if your barber is a former mobster like mine).
The community boasts an on site medical and dental staff, and we even have our own pharmacy right here on the grounds. If you make an appointment today, they might be able to see you next year, or next month if it’s an emergency such as a heart attack. The care is spectacular; you cannot die here. If your heart stops beating on the premises, you will be placed in chains, taken outside the front gate, and pronounced dead there. You’re perfectly safe inside.
Our athletic area has two baseball diamonds, four basketball, four handball, one volleyball, and one soccer field. There are two jogging tracks; one is paved and the other is dirt. We have elliptical machines, stationary bikes, and treadmills. I suggest you sign up for the spin class; it’ll kick your butt. Be sure to be with a few friends on your first visit; you don’t want to learn the unwritten rules the hard way.
We have a 0% unemployment rate. Everyone has a job. Many don’t pay anything and don’t have any actual duties, per se, but you will have a job. The hundreds of “Ghost jobs” allow the facility to be in compliance with various requirements of the authorities. Your first job will pay twelve cents an hour, but with enough time you can get to forty cents an hour!
Our chapel caters to every religion large and small, from Buddhist to Wicca with rarer flavors like Santeria and Odinism mixed in. That’s right, worship of the Norse gods is alive and well here among a small but… dedicated group. Tip: Don’t sign up to worship Odin unless your skin lacks melanin and you were invited to the community for the *right* reasons.
Most amazing here are the people you meet, and their backgrounds.
Bank robbers are, as a group, the most gregarious bunch you’ll ever talk to. They’ve a “devil may care” attitude that’s infectious. They’re always ready for some fun and never met a man they didn’t like. Tax dodgers, on the other hand, tend to be a disgruntled lot, and very suspicious of your motives. Most surprisingly, the murderers are a pretty light-hearted bunch and often have plans for the future. One such fellow told me of his intent to return to his old business. In between choruses of songs from the 80’s, he described his craft in great detail, “Yeah, I can get $15,000 for a hit. But, you gotta do it right! Not one shot, not two, I empty that muthafuckin’ clip! Tha’s my signature!” Another, rumored to have killed over a hundred and gotten away with it, would never be so crass as that. He’s a gentleman, always well groomed, friend to everyone, and at times seems to have the most pull of anyone here. He slaps me on the back everyday, and with his slight Italian accent, honestly seems to care, “How you doin’ buddy?”
For all the diverse experience, many of the folks here are pretty helpless with some basic skills. I’ve done work for them as a cobbler, tailor, and cabinet maker. So far, the cheesecake business I’m involved in has been the most profitable. We mark our cheesecakes up 300% and we still can’t make them fast enough. We get six stamps a slice and I often have no idea what to do with all the profit.
But, legal work has garnered me the most respect and gratitude. A simple motion, typed relatively free of spelling errors is a precious thing here. Two fellows even offered “favors on the outside” in exchange for my efforts. “Uhm… thanks. But, how about a box of crackers instead?” Seriously man… if you change your mind, I can get it done… “Yeah, no. Crackers are good.”
There’s a real danger that if you stay long enough here, you won’t want to leave. I’ve seen it over and again; men are terrified to leave the relative safety of this place. Some take drastic measures to ensure that their invitations are extended. One, who was within a month of losing his place here, was able to get a reprieve by beating another nearly to death. I met a man who had stayed at similar gated communities longer than I had been alive. He robbed a bank with a note, sat down outside, and waited for the kindly people who would bring him back home.