Back when 2,500 people a year were being murdered on the filthy streets and subways of the city, when crime and drug abuse were everywhere, when taxes could only go up and businesses could only go out of the city, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse decided it was time for them to take over.
And so, the Four climbed onto their horses and set out for the city. It plainly belonged to War, Want, Pestilence and Death.
But when the Four arrived at the gates of the city a man stood in their path. Just a man. Just one man. He looked the Four in the eye and said: “fuggedaboutit”. The man said “you cannot enter. Not today and not ever. You shall not pass”.
The Four were astonished. “You cannot block our way,” said Death. “We already own your city”.
“Have you not seen the poverty?” Want asked, “the businesses being driven to bankruptcy? The people struggling to make ends meet?”.
“Haven’t you seen drug abuse, filth and crime on every street of this city?” asked Pestilence.
“Haven’t you seen the daily battles between the street gangs and the mob?” demanded War. “We are already in your city. We own it”.
“No, you don’t,” said the man, “and if you are already here, then it is time for you to leave”.
The Four were astonished again. It is not as if the man was anyone important. He was no crack dealer, no gang member, no mafia don or union boss. He was only the mayor. How did he think he could drive the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from the city?
But the mayor stood firm. “That’s the old way of looking at things," he told them. "You must be thinking of my predecessor.
"This town doesn’t belong to the street gangs.
"This town doesn’t belong to the mob.
"This town doesn’t belong to the union bosses.
"It’s my town. I’m taking it back.”
The Four Horsemen chuckled to themselves and rode away. They would be back another time. They would be back soon.
And yet, that is not how it turned out. They thought the mayor was just a blowhard. They thought it was all talk.
They thought wrong.
He did take his town back. He did clean the streets. He did bring taxes down and bring businesses back. He did take on and defeat the street gangs. He brought the murder rate down by 85%.
The Four Horsemen looked elsewhere.