The companies building the high-rise condos along the canal went broke so the buildings stood there half-finished. Concrete floors rose up twenty or so stories, but only the bottom five had windows or inner walls.

It didn’t take long for someone, teens fancying themselves as Robin Hood anarchists in the city but hanging their black bandannas and Che Guevara t-shirts on the hallway coat rack at mom’s and dad’s place out in the suburbs, to toss rocks through the glass.

Some people petitioned the city to tear the buildings down, calling them eyesores. A blight on the cityscape even. But the city wouldn’t pay to fix someone else’s mistake. Certainly not after the same bankrupt condo developers paid them enough kickbacks to build in ground pools and extensions on their hillside homes.

Another group asked to make the unfinished buildings into low-cost housing. But the people living in the surrounding condos didn’t want their property values to drop so that didn’t happen either.

The fringe element suggested building vertical farms. They drew up proposals and conducted studies. They proved one building could provide enough fresh vegetables for four hundred families. They even claimed the eventual green towers could lessen the baking heat and smog in the summer.

The city delayed their decision, saying they would create a committee and view the feasibility of each proposition.

While the mean in three-piece suits leaned back in their cushy leather chairs and put off deciding what to do, the dogs moved in to the buildings.

Most came with the crusty street punks and the homeless. But they attracted more. By the end of the year, all the strays from the city had moved in. Animal lovers and soft-hearted sympathizers filled the floors with straw and food. They built plywood walls and tied down canvas tarps to break the wind all the way up.

Then the loose assembly of dogs turned into a viciously territorial and feral pack and drove all the people out.

Rumours flew left and right. The dogs attacked a little girl playing nearby. The pack ripped a man sleeping off too many bottles of wine apart. They even broke into the nearby stables and killed three carriage horses. The only thing left was one giant femur bone.

Locals called the building Muttville.

And stayed well away from it.


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