Amos Goode raised his head. His aunt, the mayor, looked at him. Their eyes met in alarm. Amos turned to his best friend, Noah Pitt, who made a motion as if to stand, but Chiquita gently pushed him back into his seat.
“Thank you, Daisy,” she said. And then, “Amos? Noah?”
Amos laid down his pen.
“Noah and I anticipated all of this, and we’ve come up with a preliminary plan.”
He got to his feet.
“It’s based on the assumption that this Cahooligan character is going to draw people to Chestnut Avenue to incite violence for a movie he intends to produce.”
Amos walked around the desk and he changed places with his aunt. He paused for a moment. Then, satisfied that everyone was listening, he continued, “This is what we’re going to do.”
Fifteen minutes later, he again changed places with Chiquita
Mayor Bamberger said, “Thank you, Amos. You give nepotism a good name.”
Once again, everyone laughed. Even Mouse Meekly and Noah Pitt.
Briefly, the mayor made eye contact with each occupant in the room. She said softly, “Never for a moment doubt that I appreciate all you are doing.”
She addressed her nephew, now back behind her desk.
“Amos, you are in charge of tow trucks, the parking lot, and vehicle retention and retrievals. I am pre-approving overtime, so bring in as many people as you want.”
She turned to her nephew’s best friend.
“Noah. I want you and your truck on Chestnut Avenue for the duration. You’ll plow any snow that has to be plowed, move any objects that have to be moved, and do whatever else Amos needs. Bring along Lilly Snow. We need her there because she’s the only one of us with magical powers.”
Lilly shook her head.
“Magical. Mythological. Metaphysical. Electromagnetic…whatever,” Mayor Chiquita shrugged. “Only you can get into the parking space. You will be Noah’s co-pilot. If he gets hungry, bring him a sandwich. If he gets thirsty, bring him a Coke. If he gets bored, tell him a story.”
She reached a hand out behind her back, Amos slapped a stack of papers into it, and she thrust them at Lilly.
“I also want you to tape these flyers to every parking meter and lamp post on that block.”
“Today, you and Noah are a team. Okay?”
Mayor Bamberger pointed a finger, first at Daisy Dalrymple and then at Burgess Meekly.
“You two are going to man the phones.”
“What phones?” Daisy asked.
“At the 311 Resource Hotline. Mrs. Abbot, the department head, will meet you there. All inquiries about cars will be directed to the Hotline. I’ll give Mrs. Abbot a script for you to follow, and she will show you what to do.”
Without a pause, Chiquita turned to Maid Marion.
“And you, dear friend, will you please chauffeur Jimmy Christmas in your inconspicuous turquoise Coupe de Ville to wherever he wants to go?”
Maid Marion winked and gave the mayor a thumb up.
She shifted her eyes to the TV reporter, “Jimmy, I’m not telling you what to do, but you’ll probably want to re-interview everyone from yesterday’s press conference. That would include Hector van Hooft, his meter maid sidekick, and the little imbecile from the Community Planning Board.”
Chiquita checked her wristwatch.
“Six forty-five. Thirty-five minutes until sunrise.” She clapped her hands twice and added in a voice that was almost a song, “Off with you now. Places to go. Things to do. People to see. City to save.”
Copyright © Shelly Reuben, 2021. Shelly Reuben’s books have been nominated for Edgar, Prometheus, and Falcon awards. For more about her writing, visit www.shellyreuben.com