Never really thought about it, but I know it's truth as a fishing vessel captain. Some lighthouses guide you to port while others warn you to stay and steer away. Even though the vessel is "safe" in port, is the captain and crew really looked after. That port could have a scoundrel fish buyer who economically bleeds the boat, and families working her, dry.
This paragraph really hit me, as it might apply to a list of places I know. At first, I know what you are going to think it's talking about.....and that I am implying that very thing.... but you'd be assigning your thoughts to me.....;-)
That is not the building talked about in the story... or is it?
This paragraph captivated me, as it reminded me that every place with a shingle out front, is really about marketing or managing control over something. Could it be anything else? I'm wondering.... and still musing over my list.
"However, it was an undecided sort of building in certain ways. Its brightness would have some liken it to the aforementioned lighthouse; but was it a pulsing warning to stay away, or was it a beacon of life glistening in the sun and offering refuge? Most men couldn't decide and neither could Mike. These two options being unreconcilable, a duplicitous feeling emerged in most onlookers. They began to feel that one or the other, warning or welcome, had to be a lie; an attempt to cover up the truth. If it truly was a place of life, then the lie of warning was sent out to keep others away so they wouldn't have to share their riches. If it was truly a warning of danger, then the appearance of life was a lure to entice prey into some sort of snare. Either reality was untenable to most and so they simply avoided the place altogether. And yet, in spite of that, it should be........ But there is another explanation that Mike briefly pondered in his strange musings about the street. Perhaps the vitality and life of the place were acquired by feeding on the life of others. After all, Perth was in real estate, and all the successful Realtors in town had their hands in the new economic growth along the highways —the very developments that were sucking the life from Main Street In that case, both the vitality and the ominous flavors of the place fit. Even the lighthouse metaphor took on new zest with this outlook; it was surely a beacon—but of cannibalism and hypocrisy. In any case, one had to wonder how amongst such death, this one business could be so healthy?."
( M. C. Lang. The Bastard Tree. Pg 154)