Chapter 2: The Mayor Stops For a Snickers Bar or Something

Tom realized, suddenly, that he was hungry. More like starving. His stomach felt showroom-quality, brand new, 100-percent devoid of food. He turned into the first 7-Eleven he saw without even tapping the brakes, without even realizing he was going to do it. Screeching into the parking lot like that was dumb and he knew it. He sat in the car for a full minute, long enough so that anyone interested in who was making such a scene would have gotten bored and went back to their Big Gulps or whatever.

He looked in the rearview mirror and smoothed out his hair; there was some dried blood on the back of his hand. He scratched at it — not his. Tom laughed softly to himself, but not softly enough. His ribs stabbed at him under his jacket. His hand found the grip of the baseball bat reflexively, and tightened around it. GD Schutze. He let go of the bat, and braced himself against the armrest to get out.

Even with his head ducked down as he entered, the clerk recognized him, doing a not-subtle-but-trying double-take. The Mayor didn’t meet his gaze. He walked down the middle aisle and pawed at a few candy bars. He was so hungry, nothing sounded good. And then, there was the clerk, right next to him. Tom noticed just in time — the clerk was about to poke him in the side, the bad side, to get his attention.

“You’re him, right?” Tom did his best to look confused at the question. “Mayor Leppert, yes? You came to our church, remember — before the election? Yes, yes! Mr. Mayor! How are you?”

He knew Carol would hate him for what he was about to do, but right now, he didn’t really care about the election. There was time to glad hand later, to fake interest in this guy’s story.

“Yeah,” he said, not smiling. “It’s me. And you know what? I’ve had a long day. And I’m about to start on a long night. So why don’t you go back to doing your job and I’ll go back to doing mine, which now includes making sure your church gets as many code violations as I think we can get away with without people questioning my relationship with Christ.”

The clerk stared at him. Tom stuffed a dollar in the clerk’s shirt pocket and unwrapped a Snickers.


  • TLS

    Writing fiction is hard.

    • @TLS: It is! But not if you 1) don’t care and 2) just try to badly copy Elmore Leonard.

  • Daniel

    Might I suggest a little badly copied Conrad as a thickening agent?

    I tried to break the spell–the heavy, mute spell of the Trinity River–that seemed to draw him to its pitiless breast by the awakening of forgotten and brutal instincts, by the memory of gratified and monstrous passions. This alone, I was convinced, had driven him to run for Mayor, to the front of the horseshoe, towards the gleam of world-class bridges, the throb of hot female councilmembers, the drone of construction equipment on Woodall Rogers; this alone had beguiled his unlawful soul beyond the bounds of permitted aspirations.

    • @Daniel: God bless you, sir. God bless you, indeed.

  • Tr

    might have helped everything if the post were he writing the exact same thing about one Zac Crain as mayor.

    • Eh probably not. Can’t write about myself without cursing.