Thursday, November 12, 2015
Set the Record Straight
“Well, lookie here,” Gil said, pulling a folder out of a filing cabinet in the Mayor’s office. “Just as I suspected. Guess who doesn’t have a liquor license?”
Louie, deep in his own inspection of the records in another filing cabinet, snorted. “Start with a D?”
“Yeppur. Technically, the entire Pleasure Club complex lies outside the Talbot’s Peak city limits. We can’t provide him with liquor licenses or building permits or any of that fun stuff. He has to go through the county for that, and I know for a fact he never did.”
“Beaver Brothers Construction, for starters. Who do you think built the place?” Gil slapped the folder onto his desk, where it joined a growing pile of similar damning evidence gleaned from both the county's online public records and Mayor Lincoln's old CYA files. “One phone call could make his life very, very difficult.”
“You want me to make it?” Louie said, with a far-too-eager grin. “I used to deal with the bureaucrats in Jersey. I speak the lingo.”
“Not just yet. I’m going to talk to him first. Which is more courtesy than he deserves. A recall vote? Seriously? He has no authority to call for that. He has no legal authority whatsoever. Who the hell does he think he is?”
“He thinks he’s protecting the Peak.” Louie made a ratty sniff. “Like we ain’t capable of crossing the street by ourselves if Dante ain’t there to hold our hands.”
“Protect, my ass. You know he held a secret meeting with his cronies to discuss that recall election? None of them even live in Talbot’s Peak. Hell, at least three of ‘em aren’t even native to Earth. And there they are, holed up in a bunker plotting to remove a legally-elected government official under the guise of a ‘recall.’ And who’d take over the office of Mayor? Somebody he approves of? That’s not protecting the people. That’s a would-be dictator planning a coup d’etat. All for our own good, of course. Seeing as how we’re all so helpless and vulnerable without his benevolent guidance. That kind of ‘protection’ we need less than Russia needed Josef Stalin.”
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” Louie quoted. “So let him take his toys and move out. Ain’t that what Damien threatened he’d do?”
“If he does, it’s gonna be one tiny exodus. Unlike our would-be overlord, I’ve been out on the streets the last couple of years. I don’t need a census list; I’ve met our population. Over eighty-five percent of Talbot’s Peak is herbivorous. Even the omnivores aren’t going to follow a wolf. He wants to leave? Let ‘im. We’ll all be right here waving bye-bye.”
Louie made a disgusted noise. “Is this still over the state money thing? That came from the bunnies we got in Congress. Don’t he know that?”
“I tried to tell him. Or I would have, if I could have gotten hold of him. If he was so concerned, he could have called me. We could have avoided this whole mess with a simple conversation. But what does he do? Throws his weight around. Doesn’t even come at me in person. He sends his girlfriend to chew us out. His girlfriend, who has even less authority than he does, and he doesn’t have any to start with. Y’know what kind of a man does that? I’ll give you a hint. It starts with A and ends in ‘hole’.”
“And wasn’t she feeling her oats?” Louie sneered. “Like any one of us was gonna take a swing at her. Hell, I’m a rat and even I’m more of a gennulman than that. Wish I’d taken her over my knee like I wanted to, though. Little bratty cat had it coming.”
“I hope she doesn’t get too full of herself and try that with Zhere Ghan,” Gil said. “There won’t be enough of her left to stuff into a baggie.”
“Dante ain’t gonna dick with Zhere Ghan. He respects Ghan. Ghan’s a fellow predator. Not like us insignificant little rodents what need his protection and all.”
“Typical wolf,” Gil said. “Thinks being alpha automatically puts him at the top of the food chain. Man, the acorn didn’t fall far from that tree. Though he’s right to be concerned about humans. Especially this human.” Gil tapped his chest. “Everybody forgets I used to be human. I’m out here on the front lines doing my damnedest to walk the thinnest tightrope you can imagine, keeping shifters and humans from winding up in a bloody no-win fight. Meanwhile, he’s scheming and doing end runs around me and cutting me off at the knees every time I make a move he doesn’t approve of. If he wanted so bad to protect the town, why didn’t he run for Mayor?”
“Because screwing with people’s more fun.” Louie smiled. “Gotta admit, he’s good. Wonder if maybe he’s part rat?”
“Doesn’t matter. Fun’s over. We’re going to have the talk we should have had weeks ago. This time he’s going to listen. We’ll work it out together, like we were always supposed to. If he can’t do that, if he can’t show some respect for the squirrel, then he’ll have to deal with the human. And believe you me, doggie’s gonna heel.”
“Speaking of nuts,” Louie said, “Damien’s still on the loose. You want me to deal with him? Jersey style?”
“Not necessary.” Gil patted his phone. “That’s a call I did make. We won’t have to worry about Damien Hancock for at least the next fifteen to twenty years.”
# # #
Damien looked up in surprise at the knock on his door. Surprise because he was currently sitting at his desk in the office of his stronghold halfway up the Peak, with half a dozen wolves outside. There shouldn’t even be a knock on the door.
He got up and went to the door. The polite rap came again. Damien yanked the door open.
Three men in dark glasses and crisp black suits stood outside the door. His guard wolves pressed against the wall in obvious terror. They wouldn’t look at Damien.
The man at the forefront flashed ID. He did not smile.
“Mr Hancock?” he said. “We want to talk to you. We’re with the IRS.”