The other members of the Deerton City Council were gathered for the meeting. On the right side of Linda, there was Karl Obendorfer, owner of the Rifle Rack bar, who wore the same ball cap he always did, matching it with a blazer for the occasion. Ann Muncie, the general manager (or, as she liked to say, “general manger” because all were welcome) of the Baptist Church, was to Karl’s right. Though not the preacher, no preacher had ever lasted more than two years at the church, so she was as good as.

On Linda’s left, the other two council members were filing in. John Watterman, the owner of TubeTron, was in his usual suit and tie; he instinctively wrinkled his nose on seeing Karl’s outfit. Gilbert Sanderson brought up the rear; a teacher at Deerton High, Linda could never remember what subject he taught, only that he’d been elected as a single-issue candidate to help pass the school bond issue. When that had failed, he had largely become a gadfly, raising issues the others had an unspoken agreement not to broach. Linda shuddered at the three-hour discussion that had emerged from Gil asking to rename Slashing Creek. That shocking name, inherited from an old logging camp or “slashing,” was the only thing besides the Roundhouse Festival that brought any tourists to Deerton.

Linded looked over at Mr. Margrave, who was hovering nearby with papers and taking notes. The other councilmembers didn’t react to her presence; she might have been Jane for all they seemed to care.

“Looks like we’re all here, so let’s come to order,” Linda said. “Now, you should all have an agenda-”

“I want to know why the warehouse was demolished,” Gil said.

“New business comes at the end, Gil,” Linda said. “You know that.” As the council’s most prolific generator of new business, she certainly hoped that he did, anyhow.

“It was demolished without permits, notifications, bids, or contracts,” Gil continued, as if the mayor hadn’t said a word. “I went out there today and it’s just a grassy field. Like there was never a building there in the first place.”

“I can field that one, Mayor Soderquist, if you like,” said Margrave.

“Oh, uh, by all means,” Linda said, relieved to not have another knock-down drag-out fight with Gil over something that had already happened.

“The proper permits were filed and bids taken through a new state apparatus designed to discourage corruption and waste,” Margrave said. “The contract went to a scrapping company upstate, which works very efficiently. You might have heard of their work disassembling the bridge upstate in Omaniwak. They re-sod the area afterwards to prevent heavy metal pollutants from leeching into groundwater.”

“I’d like very much to see the paperwork on that,” Gil said. “It didn’t look like any sod had been put down, it was like a mowed field.”

“Come on now, Gil, I’ve seen some sod jobs that look natural as all get-out the next day,” John Watterman said. He should know, with what was by Linda’s estimation the second-nicest lawn in the city.

“Also, who cares?” said Karl. “Miss, did the City of Deerton pay for the demolition of that warehouse?”

“No it did not,” Margrave said.

“Well there you go. Eyesore removed, for free, and they even planted grass,” Karl said. “You get that paperwork, Gil, you should write them a thank-you card.”

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!