A Grand Tour
I carpooled down to Philly with Drew, Ember, and a guy called Gonzo... we met up with Radical Ed, one of the first Byberrians, and Goddog, who could find his way into and out of anywhere in the Berry. I had my camera, tripod, flashlights, and water for the journey, and the Philly guys only carried six packs and cigarettes. I knew this was going to be interesting off the bat...
We entered the N group and started looking around when I noticed Gonzo started lagging behind the rest of the group. He said he partied a little too hard last night but was OK. Shortly after entering a building, I noticed a police van about 20 feet away, cruising slowly up to an open window of the room we were in. "Uh, hey guys, there's cops right outside the window" I said. At first in disbelief, Ed and Goddog looked out the window, and then casually started walking up to the third floor muttering about how the Philly PD never patrol the grounds. After a discussion about a possible tunnel connection to this particular building, they decided to see if the paddy wagon left yet. So we headed back downstairs and waited at the stairwell for Goddog to check the situation. A voice boomed over the first floor, "YOU GUYS BETTER GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE!" We did a 180 back up the stairwell, but I wouldn't consider it at a running pace... Drew described it best as a "shuffle." We descended another staircase at the other end, and crept through thorns and brush to another building, where we were safe from the police, deep inside the bowels of Byberry.
We checked out the other N buildings, a few hangout rooms they made from left over furniture, and the roof, where I saw the flash of a security car in the overgrowth. Ed assured us there was no threat as they never enter the buildings, and even if anyone did, they knew the ins and outs of this maze better than anyone out there. From here on, we could access almost all the others via boarded up passages or steam tunnels underground. Gonzo was starting to turn a pale green hue, and we became worried about his health; the temperature was pushing above 90°F and the humidity was oppressive. After much discussion, he was OK with staying in one of the hangout rooms on a half-burned couch, so we dropped him off at the makeshift "infirmary" and continued exploring.
Ed and Goddog were very knowledgeable about the complex, and courteously took the time out to write a 'points of interest list' before we met, so we were sure to see all the highlights of the place. Drew and I cracked open some brews, and had a great time exploring to our hearts content.
While walking down one of the many long dark hallways of the above-ground corridors, a loud crash erupted from the other end. A tall shadow emerged from a side passage and slowly lumbered up to us, kicking down wooden boards and tossing objects across the floor. I quietly folded up my tripod and put my hand on my knife. Perhaps sensing our unease, Ed laughed and said "Don't worry, that's just Lanky." Lanky was an extremely tall young man and he looked pretty pissed off, but actually he turned out to be friendly, at least to us... maybe because he knew our guides. So Lanky joined us for the rest of the trip, randomly kicking things and lighting small fires as we went. He recounted a four alarm fire he proudly started a few years back... I believe it included tossing a stack of flaming mattresses off the roof.
We eventually returned a few hours later, hoping Gonzo was still alive in the little room... and luckily we found him sitting upright and looking quite healthy. He said he passed out for a bit, and then just kinda hung out in there for a while. While we were discussing Gonzo's health, Ed left to take a piss and never returned. We all started roaming the halls yelling Ed's name, but he completely lost us somehow. We said our goodbyes to Goddog and Lanky as they were going back in to find Ed, and made a thorn-filled, muddy hike back to the parking lot. As we climbed out of the brush, Ed's car came flying down the lot, and he had a big mischievous grin on his face. He said he got lost somehow but made it out, and we thanked him for a good time and invited us to come back sometime and party on a Friday night at the Berry...