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Revitalization, My Lovely: Chapter Seven
The story so far: In the post industrial city of Slaugerton, New Jorksacutt, Mayor Terry McConn and local development lovely Lara Tremor, discover political consultant Bob Slotsky wearing a wire. They kill Bob and dump his body at the dump. Slotsky returns as a vengeful, blackmailing zombie. Terry & Lara do him again, using methods recommended by FHA mortgage flipper and zombie master Alkar Y'Hut. But another slip up ensues. Terry and Lara disappear mysteriously. A special election is held. Bob Slotsky becomes mayor, thanks to a huge turnout by the dead community.

June 11, 2006: Witness protection was a bitch. Ex local development lovely Lara Tremor-- now known as Linda Twitch-- put the last touches of make-up on her new face and ground out her cigarette in the bathroom sink. At the seedy, extended-stay hotel where the feds had her stashed, ash trays were as long gone as room service.

The sink was mock Victorian. So was the rest of Catatonga Falls. A down at the heels New Jorksacutt resort town turned Medicaid reservation. Where indigent old folks, paranoid schizophrenics, and substance abusers rocked (some much faster than others) on wide verandas of once grand hotels and took in the still grand mountains. Their enjoyment of the view only disturbed by thrice daily trays of Wonder Bread, Hawaiian Punch, and assorted meds.

Leaving for work (telemarketing sub sub primes) Lara/Linda pushed past a gaggle of nurses dispensing meds. Their prison labor jumpsuits bulged with pilfered pills. A paranoid schizophrenic rocker made a stab at getting Lara/Linda's attention. She dodged nimbly. Years of chairing public input sessions and community charettes had honed her skills. How she missed her quasi-public days! As Lara/Linda sputtered off in the tin can the feds called a car, her mind turned to happier times-- when she was top exec at the Slaugerton Local Development Corporation. She and Mayor Terry McConn were rolling in HUD bux. Usually at local motels. After telling some blue collar neighborhood an eminent domain revitalization was headed their way, she'd head off to hook up with McConn. By the time she got done imitating the panicked reaction of the nabe's residents, McConn would be begging for it.

"Shit!" Lara/Laura punched the buttons of the cruddy car radio. The only island in the static was a 24/7 news station.

"This just in from Slaugerton" the newscaster's voice had a lip smacking edge.

"Another drive-by in Hams End" thought Lara/Laura with a mental yawn.

"The body of former Mayor Terry McConn has been found in a wooded ravine in Van Slauger Park. A troop of Boy Scouts made the grisly discovery early this morning while on a nature walk. The body was identified as McConn by current Mayor Bob Slotsky, who rushed to the scene as soon as he was notified the dead man might be the former mayor. Though exposure to the elements made identification difficult, Mayor Slotsky recognized his old friend and one time protégé by his personal effects."

Lara/Laura's lip curled like a caterpillar prodded with a stick. "Slotsky was always a fool" she said aloud, and exited off 15B.

Later That Evening

"Drinks all around" Mayor Bob Slotsky was buying. The college crowd at the Peanut King Brew Barn cheered and applauded. Though a zombie, the mayor was a regular guy-- mourning his buddy by throwing a party! The pols clustered round the bar lifted their glasses in rye acknowledgement. Bartender and off duty cop Mike Testirolla poured like a thunderstorm in the Catatonga Mountains.

Slotsky was top of the world Ma. Now that McConn's body had been found and identified, there'd be no more whispers the ex mayor was off somewhere, spilling his guts into federal ears. Speaking of guts, the last button on Slotsky's pants was hanging by a thread. For the billionth time, he cursed the archaic laws of zombiedom that forced him to wear the clothes he croaked in. Yesterday, his fly had given way right before a couple of feds came to see him at city hall. Luckily, he'd managed to cover his gaping zipper with a copy of the city charter. As for the feds, they seemed mainly interested in Ray LaVeal, director of the Slaugerton Housing Authority, and his use of CDBG funds. Slotsky figured he'd covered LaVeal's butt as deftly as he covered his own fly. LaVeal, a McConn appointee, now owed him. All in all, there was a lot to celebrate.

"Mister Mayor!" State Rep Jed Puptue clapped Slotsky on the shoulder. A cloud of moldy dust set him coughing. After a hit of hootch Puptue hacked "get the taxpayers to buy you a new suit" and moved off.

"Don't let that bigot bother you, Bob" Governor Herb Kuspitor was avuncular. Almost unctuous. Facing re-election, he wanted the dead vote. Hell, he needed the dead vote. The other party had managed to stitch together a reform candidate from body parts supplied by a crony board member at the New Jorksacutt University of Medicine & Cosmetology. They'd jacked the "reformer" into life with doses of lightning, and now the thing was lumbering around the state racking up support with lines like "me want good government" and "me love little guy". If the body politic bought it, Kuspitor would be dead come November.

Kuspitor began to pitch Bob Slotsky on running as his lieutenant governor. Slotsky played coy but in his head he was shouting YES. Once in the state house, he'd be on his way to becoming New Jorksacutt's first zombie governor. Next up? America's first zombie president!

The college crowd groaned. The big game on the TV over the bar was being interrupted by a news flash. Though obscene catcalls drowned out the news anchor, the trailer on the screen screamed: Startling New Developments in the McConn Case...

To be continued.

Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff

"No man is dead till he's dead."

Francis Beeding, The Twelve Disguises, 1942

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Copyright (c) 2006 by Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff. This material may be freely distributed subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License. This license relieves the author of any liability or implication of warranty, grants others permission to use the Content in whole or in part, and insures that the original author will be properly credited when Content is used. It also grants others permission to modify and redistribute the Content if they clearly mark what changes have been made, when they were made, and who made them. Finally, the license insures that if someone else bases a work on this Content, that the resultant work will be made available under the Open Publication License as well.


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