This story is inspired by the graineries found in Tunisa and in the near future we hope to have a photo or two to give you an idea of their form.
Bernard Amade



Letter to Moma



Well you know how bad I wanted to live in one of those "granaries".
Upon my arrival I had the luck to find a place at "Alveola formosa heptentrion" (city dwellers do love long names for their whereabouts).

The first things that struck me were the smell (I don't even notice it now!) and the solicitude of my neighbours.
One wanted to cook for me, the other wash my linen, one even wanted to iron it (how old fashioned!). Well, in one hour I was offered all sort of services for every physical or metaphysical need you could imagine.

To live in such a place you've got to accept the rules and "keep the things going". It struck me that I didn't possess sufficient money or talents to buy, barter and keep the social intercourse to an acceptable level.

Being a student I imagined that I could set up some sort of information query service. Vadim the hugger argued that I wouldn't probably get a big practice since you can get as much information as you want through cybsurf or gossip in the usual places (by which he meant the cafés). He told me to wait and see: soon enough my own natural trade will pop up.

Uncle Snobol told me that I'd get accustomed to all this, and that in less than two years from now all these people will get on my nerves, and I will gladly move somewhere else.

My place is built with just two components: a "c" and an "F" block.
Both have the usual vault shape.
The "c" is the small one, it's the private part where I can sleep at night; the previous tenant installed a toilet there, which is a good idea since I couldn't get accustomed to the public ones. The "F" is the big one, that's usually the place where you set up your public trade.

It's amazing to think that with so few industrial components (I've heard there are only about thirty of them) you could build zillions and zillions of combinations so that you could hardly find two look-alike places.

I have heard that the word "granary" comes from real granaries in old Tunisia where the design originated. Ours is build around a gourd shaped atrium one end being opened towards an "avenue granary" (that's one with access to public transportation) and the other to a small intersticial garden we share with yet another alveola. It's funny to think that this simple urban design had never been tried before in history though it paves space with an almost regular pattern of slightly differing elements.

In the center grow four big trees and five younger ones. Children (and adults too!) play in the rumpus area. Everybody is under everybody's scrutiny Since all the stairways and suspended passages that link the individual vaults look onto this central square, everybody is under everybody's scrutiny
That's sometimes annoying but crime is at an acceptable level and consists mainly in petty larceny, fistfights, and tax evasion. Since adultery is doing fairly well too, one could imagine that there are ways to retain some privacy.

The design rules for the buildings are very simple: you pile up prefabricated vaults in whatever way your whim dictates and you try to link them with whatever access components are left in your warehouse BUT YOU CANNOT USE ELEVATORS! (except horse-powered ones for the very rich!). So the heigth is somewhat limited except for some buffs who want sun, wind, physical exertion and live above the level of the velum that covers parts of the central patio.

At the top of all this are the "totems". Every granary is proud of it's totems: these are real artworks that mix chimneys, vents and antennas in unique and sometimes startling designs.

And this is the very place where I found my natural trade.

As a Kobold, I am immune to vertigo, and so I wanted to go there and have an unusual look at the city.
I found the place swarming with stray cats.

Vadim the hugger explained the whole thing to me: people love to be hugged, or to have a warm purring cat by their side, but they cannot stand the responsibility of raising an independant minded animal. They buy cats and throw them away of their cubicle when the kitten has grown into a full powered nuisance. The best thing for them would be to have a totally passive and warm "cuddley dudley".

The idea somewhat caught my fancy, and I began to implement it.
You know how animals have always loved me. So I go at night in the totems and wait for the cats to come to me.
They meet a swift and painless death.

With Vadim we've rented a lab at the university (there seems to be plenty of unused ones). It has big freezers and a vacuum machine so the smell is OK. The meat we sell to Sala the caterer: it is boiled, poached, stewed, curried, wan-tuned, sautéed, sushied, roasted, bar-b-Qued, shish-kebabed, chili-con-carned, etc. according to the various tastes of his clients.

We've mastered the art of stuffing cute little obedient pets. They're warm too (with the help of a small implanted electric device). So business is going at a brisk pace.

You was right, Mum, the city is a place of opportunities.