Monday, April 28, 2014
Hail to the King
Nick was getting better at sensing when his privacy was about to be violated. He hastily dumped the ruler in his desk drawer and actually looked busy when Ziva burst in. That look on her face got his figurative tail wagging. “Something I can do for you, honey? Preferably on top of this desk?”
“Oh my dog, oh my dog, Nick, you have got to log onto TalTube right now!”
Instantly Nick groaned. “What’s Penny done now?”
“It’s not her this time, it’s—oh, never mind.” Ziva commandeered Nick’s laptop and logged on to the Talbot’s Peak video site. “Just watch.”
The video took its time loading. Nick didn’t find it worth the wait. A bunch of guys in Rattigan’s, drinking beer after hours. Louie was going to roast their asses. No, probably not, because that was him off to the right. Nick recognized the rat by his full belly and chef’s hat. Somebody was recording them on a cell phone. Nick heard a woman giggle, but there were no females in sight. She must be the one with the phone.
Suddenly the picture swung to the left—a bit shakily, with an “Oooooo!” from the woman and a "Steady as she goes there, Bets,” from Louie. The picture came into focus again, on—
Nick sat up. “Is that Hizzonor the Mayor?”
Ziva tittered. “Keep watching.”
That was indeed Mayor Gil. He had a mop in one hand and a beer stein in the other. The mop must be for cleaning up all the product he, Louie, and their buddies had sloshed on the floor. Gil raised his glass to the males off-camera.
“Ladeez an’ gennulmin!” Louie’s voice bellowed. “The King o’ Rock an’ Roll!”
Gil dumped his stein on the bar—fortunately, it was empty—and took the mop handle in both hands like it was a mic on a stand. He held the end of the mop to his mouth.
“Well, since my baby left me
I found a new place to dwell
Well, it's down at the end of Lonely Street
At Heartbreak Hotel—”
Nick shot off his chair. Papers and a stray ruler scattered. “Holy mother of dog. Are you kidding me?”
“Good, isn’t he?”
“Lupa scratch my fleas, he sounds just like him! Y’know, if he puffed up his hair—”
“He’s doing the dance! He’s doing the dance!”
“Willya look at him grind those hips! That is one limber squirrel.”
Gil gyrated across the floor to the gang by the register. He threw one arm around Louie’s shoulders and sang into the mop,
“Well, if your baby leaves you
You got a tale to tell
Well, just take a walk down Lonely Street
To Heartbreak Hotel
Where you will be
You'll be so lonely, baby
Well you'll be lonely
You'll be so lonely you could die.”
“Thank yuh,” Gil said to the camera while his audience applauded. “Thank yuh vurrah much.” Then he slid the length of the mop handle down to the floor. Louie made a grab for him and missed. “Oops,” the rat said. He didn’t sound all that sorry about it.
The picture was shaking, probably from the laughter of the woman holding the camera. “You boys are too much. Now where’s Tom Jones?”
One of the other men got up. He sang into his mug, “It’s not unusual—”
The video ended abruptly. By the sudden tilt of the picture, Nick surmised the woman must have dropped the phone. Not hard enough to break it, obviously. Or to save Gil’s reputation.
Ziva held her stomach. “Oh. Oh. Oh. I’m gonna hurl.”
“Not on my desk. Trash can.” He grabbed one and held it out to her until the crisis passed.
Ziva recovered swiftly. “Poor Gil. If this ever got around … ”
“Yeah.” Nick grinned viciously. “It’d be a crime.” He called up his extensive mailing list and, with absolutely no remorse at all, hit “Share."
# # #
Some hours later, people passing by City Hall heard a full-blooded scream from the Mayor’s office, followed by a semi-strangled, “Louie, you son of a rat!” Other words were forthcoming, but these are best left unrecorded.