Monday, September 14, 2015

With Great Power ...

Louie burst into the Mayor’s office and stalked right up to the desk. His belly, still covered by his chef’s apron, arrived five seconds before the rest of him. “Vern. I got a bone to pick with you.”

The newly-appointed Deputy Mayor swung his feet off the desk. “Boar or bison?”

“Don’t get cute. I wanna know what the hell you think you’re playing at.”

“When it comes to Talbot’s Peak, I don’t ‘play’ at anything.” He gave Louie’s apron a close, suspicious scrutiny. “Um … you’re not armed, are you?”

“Not now. Them wolves you got stationed downstairs confiscated my cleaver.”

“What wolves? You mean my grandsons?”

“Dirty pool, Vern. You know damn well I ain’t gonna hurt no kids.” Louie advanced another menacing step. His belly pressed into the rim of the desk. “Enough with all the BS’in’ around. Knock it off or else.”

Vernon gazed mildly at the furious rat. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“A health inspector, Vern? You sent a friggin’ health inspector? To Rattigan’s? My kitchen’s cleaner’n yours, and you damn well know it.”

“I heard rumors of a bug infestation. Even the cleanest kitchen can—”

“Yeah, but I got backup. You know Cecily? My prep cook?”

“You mean that girl with the enormous—”

“The one with the big schnozzola, yeah. She’s an anteater. She allus sweeps the place after closing. We ain’t had so much as a gnat in months.” He leaned his bulk against the desk. “You ain’t the kind’a wolf what likes to throw his weight around. What’s going on?”

“I told you. I heard rumors. I take the population’s safety seriously.”

\Louie suddenly grinned. Vernon shoved back from the desk to put more distance between them. A grinning rat isn’t something you want to see looming over you.

“This is about the waffles, ain’t it?” Louie said, still grinning. \

“I swear before Lupa, I have no idea—”

“Uh-huh. We put a gourmet dinner waffle on the menu. Word starts gettin’ around. Alla sudden Mr. Deputy Mayor is doling out health inspectors. Trying to shut me down.” Louie’s eyes narrowed. “I smell the missus behind this.”

Vern bristled. “Elly had nothing to do with this. She would never stoop to such underhanded tactics. On the other hand, she is … concerned that your dinner waffle has become so popular. She has her own waffle recipe, of course, and the flapjacks, but still.”

“G’wan. What’s to worry about? We ain’t in competition. Rattigan’s don’t serve breakfast. Hell, even you don’t serve breakfast at the Grease ‘n’ Grill no more. Nobody can go up against Elly’s flapjacks. We don’t even try. She don’t serve dinner, either, so we don’t go head to head. I got one friggin’ breakfast item on the menu, and I serve it after she closes. What’s the big deal?”

“The big deal is that we tried your dinner waffles the other night. By ‘we,’ I mean Elly and her children. They had the spinach parmigiana, I had the cheesesteak. I made the mistake of commenting on how light and perfect the waffles were. Just the right amount of crunch.”

“Oh shit.” Louie backed away from the desk.

“Oh shit indeed. Poor Elly nearly burst into tears right there at the table, and her brood—well, you know Bo and Hannibal, and Mary can be as vicious as a predator in defense of her mother. They never even said a word. Just glowered at me, all the way home. Three guesses who slept on the couch that night.”

“It was your own damn fault.”

“I’ll cop to that. But then I started hearing word on the street about how delicious your waffles are. Even worse, Elly was hearing it. I had to do something. I want to sleep with my wife again. And walk down the street without getting butted by bighorns.”

“And you, being Deputy Mayor and all … ”

“With great power comes great temptation to use it for one’s own ends.”

Louie scrunched up his nose. “I don’t think that’s how the quote goes.”

“That’s how it goes in Talbot’s Peak. I don’t suppose you’d consider … ?”

“I ain’t taken my waffles off the menu. They’re too popular. But maybe … ” Louie sighed heavily. “Look. I like Elly. She knows her way around a kitchen. She wants to come over and talk shop … I ain’t handin’ out my recipes, mind, but I can allus drop a couple hints. What she does with that’s up to her.”

“Thank you. I’m always eager to keep the peace in town. Especially within my own family. Anything else I can do for you?”

“Yeah. You can tell me what the hell you’re doing in here when it’s almost time for the lunch rush … ” Louie’s voice trailed away. He suddenly burst out laughing. “The Grease ‘n’ Grill got shut down, didn’t it?”

“The health inspector decided to check out the Grease ‘n’ Grill and the Bighorn, as long as he was in town. He found the groundhog guts.” Vern made a sour face. “Dog-damned human health inspectors. What happened to Franco? He was the best.”

“He retired. I know what you mean. Nobody sniffs out dirt in a kitchen better’n a jackal. ‘Less it’s a rat.” He clapped Vern on the shoulder. “Tell you what. We’ll go over to the G’n’G and I’ll tell ya what youse is doing wrong. I know what humans look for. Anything needs cleaning, hell, you got two kids downstairs who don’t got nothing better to do than play with a cleaver.”

“Play with … ?” Vernon’s face went white. He shot out of his chair.

Too late. Beyond the windows, one of the trees in front of City Hall began to sway. Loki and Thor yelled in chorus, “Timmmm-berrrrr … ”


Serena Shay said...

LOL...oh Vern and your big wolf mouth. Just remember, Elly's are the only flapjacks, pancakes, waffles or any breakfast carbs that are any good. All others suck, even if they don't.

These wolves tend to get themselves into quite the pickles when they flap their traps! ;)

Savanna Kougar said...

lol... what Serena said! Glad Vern and Louie are on the same page right now... great idea about the anteater shifter... if the human inspector becomes a problem, it might be time to talk with Kitty... she and her team will give 'em a dose of *stay out of Talbot's Peak* medicine... and Vern just might be on Kitty's scratch list, since he called for a state inspector... we'll see.

Pat C. said...

It's not Vern's fault the old inspector retired and got replaced with a human.The human was just doing his job. Though a shifter would have understood about the guts, unless they weren't labeled and dated.

Now, about that fallen tree, and whoever's car it landed on ...

Savanna Kougar said...

Kitty will let the inspector slide as long as he doesn't become a pest... she doesn't start trouble, but she certainly finishes it when necessary... she and her team that is...

Uh oh, Loki and Thor might need some of their mom's magick to fix that situation...?

Speaking of a fallen tree... I now have a fairly large tree that was dead, but was wrapped by huge vines... that fell across my gravel drive during a thunderstorm... the cool thing is, is looks like a natural beautiful arch... I'm gradually cutting and sawing off limbs so I can finally move it out of the way... 'cause you can't drive past it... no problem for me, but when I need a delivery, it will be... however, the neighbor might get to it first... he likes to use his big boy toys. I'm fine with it staying for awhile... I don't have to worry about unwanted company driving up to the house at night.