THE CORRIDOR, is a novel about a hot-tempered young idealist, AARON DALTON, who battles drug dealers and slumlords on the dangerous streets of 1980’s Detroit. Attached is a short synopsis of The Corridor, a story that will appeal to readers of urban stories with an historical focus on the struggles of rust belt big cities and the extraordinary people who persevered in trying to save their communities and themselves.
This is Aaron’s last chance to get it right, to outrun his ghosts and build a new life among the ruins. Hired as a community organizer and assigned to work in the poorest neighborhood in the poorest city of America, Aaron soon discovers why he came to a place most people were running away from.
When an old woman he’s been helping is murdered by a drunken landlord, Aaron quickly learns he isn’t the only one outraged by her murder. He’s joined by a group of locals who know first hand the soul crushing effects of racism and poverty. But this time, they decide to fight for a little justice or failing that, revenge will do.
Despite their skepticism of Aaron’s motives, that he might be just another in a long line of white do-gooders, they place their doubts aside, and for a while the group is successful in defending their neighborhood from milk and burn slumlords.
Aaron meets Sydney Washington, a fiery college student, but as their relationship blooms, he watches helplessly while one after another of his new friends fall victim to violence or compromise.
Desperate to settle accounts, Aaron comes up with an idea to end the nightmare he helped create, leaving his friends and Sydney fearing that he might soon end up behind bars or worse.
Time as a community organizer
In Defense of Fairy Tales
I grew up in a Sears kit house, on a purring muscle car street. Lincoln Park, a company town just south of Detroit, invented by Henry Ford to house his assembly line workers, was where I learned to never turn the other cheek. Called Downriver by the locals, this smoggy strip of modest bungalows and belching factories with a party store on every corner was a vast amusement park for budding delinquents.
Growing up in the sixties, most of my friends were good Catholics, sons of second generation Polacks and Dagos. Our fathers all worked in one of the steel mills, auto plants, or tire manufacturers that scarred the shoreline along the river. We knew from the smell and the fire that this life wasn’t for us. After high school, some of my pals even volunteered for Vietnam to avoid the endless night of the factory floor. But not me.
Rich people, the kind mom married into after my dad died in a car crash, who lived north and east of 8 mile, pitied and mocked us for having to live in little boxes downriver from all the shit flowing out of the factories that made their wealth possible. We were white niggers to them. But we didn’t know any of that growing up. Not until we were old enough to drive across the city limits to other worlds, did we discover what we had been cheated out of and more importantly what we had been spared.
Ask anyone who knew me to give a one-word description of my character and you might hear: “whore” or “poser,” a “know-it-all” or “fanatic,” a “con artist” or “murderer” or maybe all of the above. But there’s more to this story than a few flawed personality traits. I did some good in the Motor City; took a few slumlords down a peg or two. I couldn’t stop my friends from getting killed, but nobody could call me a tourist, that’s for damn sure. I bled like everyone else, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. Not all fairy tales have happy endings.