"The mall used to be a place where people came to shop, eat, and honestly, socialize outside the house with friends. I decided that we can make it that again."
"Nothing's free at Junktown. Looking costs you, asking costs you, and if anyone's offering you free, turn and run. But you need anything, anything at all, you can buy it here."
The majority of people living in Junktown are adults (30s+) who were in their 20s when the bombs hit. There are some younger, some older, and some very young, but these are the people who a) not in the blast radius when the bombs fell, b) were able to survive the fallout/illness/sickness, and c) were able to survive by finding food and water. Junktown does have more children than most other settlements, and that's because there is an infrastructure in place to house children and keep them out of harms way. There are some older folk as well, brought in by their families, and there are other families were were created when singletons (or couples) were brought together and they decided to marry in Junktown. Currently, there are several women (about 3-5) who are pregnant, about ten or so children (most babies or toddlers that were found during the aftermath), more teens, most adults, and then demographics start trending back down again. There are different ethnicities, and in this point of time there is a wealth class difference between people who own stores and those that work in the area (selling food at the stall vs. owning teh food being sold). When Junktown was started it was mostly the shop owners selling their own wares, but now they can afford to hire people to work for them.
The "law" of Junktown is whatever Dale says. He rules the area with an iron fist, but allows the merchants to "rule" in the area of their shops. He requires taxation from each shop at the end of the week, and he uses those items, "money," and food to pay for other parts of the building (upkeep), and the services that he knows people need (daycare, medical, etc.). He has plans to make Junktown into a proper town, but for now, it's become the "must go to place" for getting items.
First layer of defense are the walls of the mall. After that, most of the defense comes from people in Junktown defending the place. (Some of the worst attacks on the area have actually come from "drifters" masquerading in the selling/shopping sections - it's a point of contention between people as the whole lifeblood of Junktown is the process of buying/selling, and that means they need to work with people they don't know, which in turn means that attacks like this are likely to happen). Most of the other defenses come down to baseball bats (found in the sporting goods store) and other individual weapons.
Industry & Trade
Most of the inhabitants own shops for a living and either sell items or services. There's starting to become a group of people that work for those who own the shops/services, but this is split between family affairs (having a kid run the shop) and hiring a worker. This can also come down to guild/factions and if the shop is a part of one or not. Trade is most important - for example, entry into Junktown isn't free and requires *something* of value (or that can be of value). Of course, water/food/supplies are instant entry items, and Dale has decided that when a person enters, if the item is over a certain bit of value, they can be given credit. (That way, he reasons, even if they have next to nothing to spend, he can still absorb that into Junktown).
The mall is three floors high, with two large department stores at the ends, and built in a long rectangle shape (nothing fancy with the shape). There are lighting fixtures (that don't work anymore), sky lights are mostly used to keep people onto a day/night schedule. There were places on the floor for benches (kept), plants/trees (mostly not kept since there is no good way for them to be kept alive), and water fountains (not kept either, since there is no electricity to keep them going). Where the plants use to be are (when possible) planted vegetables from a gardening store in the mall. The water fountains were drained, but there is still not an idea to be used with them. There are worries that the soil would be missing nutrients if they used the area for food as well, but there is no good reason to keep water in them either. The food court is still were items are served, though they needed to trade the modern overs for firewood overs. The area can be a little smoky, but they've been able to solve that problem. There are plans to pull up the parking lot and use the soil there, but those are future plans.
There are four "districts" in Junktown, and not every drifter is able to have access to them.
- Residential District
- Shopping District
- Selling District
- Services District
Guilds and Factions
There are several factions in Junktown. The most well-known and powerful are the Treasure Seekers (who were a group before Junktown and beat Dale to the mall by a few hours [upon hearing a rumor that someone was going to take over the mall, they decided to bring their force there and be a part of "something new, something bigger."]). The other "guilds" are less merchants and more the types of merchants - the sellers have guilds, usually along what items they sell (food with food, clothing with clothing, etc.) and services has a guild too (less by the service offered since there are only so many people that cut hair or look after the children). There are talks about forming a security guild if things get much busier/bigger in Junktown, but for the moment it's mostly made of militia.
History states that on one early winter day in 1960, Dale Whiote decided that he didn't want to live in a small house anymore. It wasn't efficient in this "new age" since he had to leave and brave elements to visit his neighbors, sell items, and pretty much do everything. The previous world, he decided, was over. He started making his way to the mall, slowly, telling people along the way his grand plan for living in a group setting. If people wanted to sell, they could come to the mall. If they wanted to buy, they could come to the mall. His days, he insisted, of meeting the other person, were over. At the same time, since he was slowly building up a group of people to follow him and do the "busywork," rumors reached the ears of the Treasure Seekers. Peggy got everything together and poured on the speed to get to the mall first. When the two groups met, it was with Treasure Seekers "holding" onto the mall (as best the small group could), and with a slightly larger group behind Dale. Peggy pointed out that he could try to take the area by force, but that it wouldn't end well for either of them. Instead, she offered a trade. Her faction/guild to be allowed within the walls, and for them to receive "perks" to be discussed as a reward for giving over their mall without a fight. One of the perks, she told him, would be that their group would be the only junk collectors allowed to operate within the mall. Dale agreed, and the mall was on its way to being transformed into Junktown as people know it today.
Points of interest
There are several points of interest in Junktown (at least to those who don't reside there).
- There a giant animatronic "toys" that were set up to entice people to come to the mall. They don't work now, but when the question came up of taking them down for scrap metal, the unanimous answer was no (because people enjoy the blast from their past).
- Dale is the figurehead of Junktown; Peggy is the hidden power of Junktown. Cross her, and might as well start packing for a new place to live and trade.
- One of the residents taught the others how to make "ice cream." It's a rare delicacy, and not the treat that many people expect when they imagine it. But it requires boiling water, sugar or fruits (which are still hard to get), and then refreezing the water, so this is only available in winter (and it's expensive enough that it's pretty much a treat only for the residents in Junktown). [There are plans to have fruits ready, to both dry and use in cases like this, but those are future plans].
- Junktown allow the residents to wear very nice looking clothing (they took it from all the shops). However, they also have a "clothing rental" service for people who want to remember what it felt like (living in the pre-war times).
Most of the people who visit the area are "tourist" in that sense, but nobody visits for tourism. There is usually a purpose for why people visit Junktown (either buying, selling, or hoping to find a home).
The architecture of this area is from the mid-1950s. There are (non-working) lights (globe-shaped) hanging from the ceiling, there are carpets all along certain areas of the mall, and tiled sections along other areas. There were sections for greenery, but many of them have died out due to not being watered enough, and a lot of the planters have been moved to the designated "green garden" area to hopefully get vegetables to grow indoors. For now many people are trying to relive the older days as they live in the mall and they don't move around much of the decor (though shops have been cleaned out and converted into family or group dwellings).
There is a freshwater lake nearby, but it's about two miles away. For now the mall is surrounded by a concrete covered parking lot (though there are not that many cars since people left the mall when the bombs fell).
Most of the natural resources that come to Junktown come on the backs of traders, though there are talks about ripping up the parking lot and planting food and trees (these remain in talks since it's such a future concept that many people can't plan it at the moment.