Chicken Little Was Right

>The east end of downtown may be dead, but now it's getting deadly.

A Dallas Observer reporter was padding down Commerce Street the other day, on his way no doubt to pick up some super-important highly damning records--or smokes, whatever--when a chunk of the defunct Mercantile Building nearly squashed him.

Calm yourself. It wasn't Buzz. We wouldn't break your heart by dying before our time--at least not sober.

"The Merc," as people way older than Buzz call it, is that tan brick monster with the clock tower permanently set to 1963. As said reporter was walking by the deserted hulk, a 3-by-3-foot, several-inch-thick chunk of green stone came crashing down from five stories above.

The reporter happened to be Tom Korosec, who last year wrote a story that suggested that, as developments go, the retail, residential and office project around American Airlines Center seemed more likely to bear fruit than competing plans to redevelop the area around The Merc.

Coincidence, you say? Oh, sure, and JFK was killed by one crazed man with a gun, rather than the more plausible conspiracy among the CIA, LBJ, Trilateral Commission, the Mob and Castro. Honestly, some people will believe anything.

Korosec had just passed the spot on the sidewalk where it landed with a level-orange-alert ka-boom. One more glance at eBay before he departed his dreary cubicle and Korosec would have been toast. Or perhaps a crepe. The decorative 1960s-update-kinda-stone came down with such force that big round splinters whistled halfway across five-lane Commerce.

"What a town!" Korosec told Buzz. "If I were Boeing, I'd move to Chicago, too."

Considering that Korosec wrote this week's cover story about problems with police Chief Terrell Bolton's administration, that might not be a bad idea.

When he made his way back to the office about an hour later, Korosec noticed someone had cleaned up the shards and tacked up a piece of bright yellow tape around where his body would have been found.

A few days later, we tried calling the Houston-based owners of the landmark that almost turned him into a piece of downtown history (minus the plaque), but nobody seemed to be in.

Not to worry, though. As a regular pedestrian on downtown's mean and deserted streets, Buzz has some other phone numbers. Somewhere--we know we've got it here somewhere--we wrote down some mean-as-shit, quasi-ethical plaintiff's lawyer who advertises on the back of the No. 76 bus. A lawyer who advertises on buses: Buzz is certain that guy will know what to do.

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams

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