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Revitalization, My Lovely: Chapter Eight
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 him. But Slotsky comes back as a vengeful zombie. They do him again. No luck. Terry and Lara disappear mysteriously. Slotsky is elected mayor, via a huge turnout by the dead community. McConn appointees start dropping like flies. Lara surfaces in witness protection. Boy Scouts find Terry McConn's body in a ravine. Or do they?

Chapter Eight

August 23, 2006: The feds had busted Mayor Bob Slotsky. No biggie. Slaugertonians were used to seeing pols do the perp walk. To the point where they rated them for form and performance. Mayor Slotsky scored well on the latter; he looked straight into the news cameras and proclaimed he was "eager to face the charges and clear my name". But he lost points on form. As the feds hustled Slotsky off, his rotting trousers gave way and dropped to his ankles, turning a smooth shackle shuffle into an awkward stumble. To make matters worse, a cameraman from Cable News 88 caught him cursing zombie traditions. Telling his lawyer that always having to wear the #@%$#& clothes he croaked in was a #@%$#& drag and a half.

Bob Slotsky was Slaugerton's first zombie mayor. The city's body politic, both breathing and non, blamed his corruption bust on the national conspiracy to disenfranchise the dead community. Like Slaugerton Herald-Union editor Bix Blanc put it "politics is a dirty business". What bothered people more than the arrest was its impact on Slaugerton's image-- and its property values. Which thanks to a city hall backed blitzkrieg of FHA mortgage fraud, were finally on the upswing.

Slaugertonians also knew about the conspiracy to shaft cities. Slaugerton, the second largest city in New Jorksacutt and the seat of county government, had once boomed. Then Henry Ford invented the automobile. At first cars seemed harmless. Even benign. They carried hicks into the arms of the city. But eventually those cars reversed direction. And carried blue collar strivers away from machine pols and slums. Slaugerton movers and shakers got wise to the plot too late. Their descendants were more savvy. Anyone suspected of being inventive was given a fast Henry Ford outta town. Meanwhile, in Dee Cee, Slaugerton's reps went after urban sprawl hammer and tongs. Declaring it a national threat besides which obesity and bird flu paled.

Brew Barn Blues

"Change that %#$@&*# channel" said Slaugerton County Exec Frank Tusk. The TV over the bar at the Peanut King Brew Barn was tuned to Cable News 88. Slotsky's perp walk was being looped every half hour. As was footage of Slotsky and Tusk marching arm in arm at the last Slaugerton Pride Parade. Flanked by Slaugerton's finest. Most of whom were now zombies. The news mimbo was blabbing how Mayor Slotsky had made it a priority to recruit the living dead. And how, after Police Chief Kram tragically incinerated himself smoking in bed, Mayor Slotsky had appointed a zombie to fill his shoes.

Bartender Mike Testirolla was a moonlighting cop. When not slinging drinks or fighting crime, he flipped real estate as Officer-Next-Door LLC. Sergeant Mike had been a Kram man. He resented zombies swelling the cop crop and being bumped to the top. He liked seeing Slotsky's pants drop. But he changed the channel for Tusk. Sergeant Mike was nothing if not diplomatic. Besides, law enforcement rumor had it that a big bad was headed Tusk's way.

Mike's brother was the Brew Barn's owner of record. The real owner was Sal "Coochie-Coo" Adobo. Adobo's interest was hidden. As was his interest in every HUD buck used to revitalize the strip of downtown bars known as the "entertainment district". Wags at the Slaugerton Economic Development Agency (SEDA) called him Don CDBG*. A title Adobo himself used when dealing with anyone looking to launch in the sea of liquor. When talking drugs he wore a different hat, one that looked like a cop cap. Half the force was in Adobo's can; Chief Kram had been his man.

"Reporters are nothing but vultures." Sergeant Mike snapped his mung rag at the TV. The laff track on a syndicated rerun of "Who's The Boss" guffawed in agreement.

"They din have to hoomilate him that way." Tusk was feeling the effects of a couple dozen drinks.

"Awwwwwwwww" chorused the canned TV audience. Live-in hunky housekeeper Tony was having a heart-to-heart with bodacious boss Angela's wispy son. Telling him how to stand up to bullies.

Tusk continued to soliloquize. "Me and Slotsky came up together. Hell-- we were frat boys at St. Coochie Coo. Back when it was St. Mary's. Before Adobo made that huge #@&%*&$ endowment."

The artificial audience sniggered salaciously. Angela's randy old mother Mona had caught Tony in the kitchen wearing nothing but an apron. The laffs turned hysteric when Tony skidded across the freshly waxed floor and collided with an antique bust.

"The #@&%*&$ feds don't really have anything on Slotsky or anybody else. They've been poking round Slaugerton for years."

"Too bad life can't be like a television show, Mr. Tusk", said the man who'd just seated himself on the next bar stool, "with everything neatly resolved in a proscribed time frame."

Tusk peered at the guy through an alcohol haze. He looked kind of familiar but Tusk couldn't make him. Was he some ax-grinding constituent looking to hold him to a campaign promise about a pothole or tax cut? Shit. Like he always said, politics would be great if it weren't for voters.

"What'll it be bud?" said Sergeant Mike to the stranger.

"A cup of joe" said Federal Agent Dale Cooper "and if possible, a slice of cherry pie".

To be continued...

Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff

"Report to the field office tomorrow. Gun clean, badge polished, suit pressed."

The Autobiography of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks Productions, Inc. 05/91

*CDBG stands for Community Development Block Grant. A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program meant to address blight and improve social conditions in deteriorated or borderline neighborhoods. The program is popular at local governments levels because of the leeway given in allocating CDBG funds.

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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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