The Mayor’s Broken Ribs: A Short Story

“I’ll tell them I broke them in a cycling accident,” he said, surveying the room, inventorying the damage. His ribs hurt. GD, they hurt. He had broken two, no — ah, em-effer! — three ribs. The safe was open — okay, Tom, think about that later — and the coffee table was broken from where Jim had “fallen,” haha, through it. And that was about it. Nothing he couldn’t contain. Well, except the safe, and no, no, he could not think about that now.

Tom leaned against the edge of his desk, its top now a modernist sculpture (title card: “Post-Fight,” paper, wood, coffee — $2,000), and called Chris, his chief of staff. He picked up on the third ring.

“Well, it finally happened. I know. I know, godda — okay, okay. Sorry. No, I don’t know. I’m fine. More or less. Can you call the Morning News? Yeah, Rudy — if you can. I think cycling. I don’t think anyone would believe anything else. Maybe basketball, but I’d need witnesses. No, really. Chris. Chris! I’m fine. I’ll see you the morning.”

Tom winced as he reached under his desk. As he felt for the bat, he looked at the now-broken table. Schutze had sprung up like a GD cat after the Mayor threw him onto the oak table and bounced out of the office. Tom had to assume he was near a computer right now. With the papers from the safe. He shuddered and pulled his pin-striped jacket tighter around him, as if an imaginary northeaster had just blown through.

This would all be over in two days. If he could make it that long. He shoved the remnants of the coffee table into his coat closet and swept the top of his desk into the trash. He looked around one last time. “Good enough,” he thought, as he poured two fingers of Jack into his coffee, and tucked the baseball bat under his coat. Two more days.

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