[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
001 002 Prologue 001-002 003 004 005 Chap 1 003-005
Chap 2 006 007 008 Chap 3 007-008 009 010 Chap 4 009-010 011 012 013 Chap 5 011-013 014 015 016 017
Chap 6 014-017 018 019 Chap 7 018-019 020 021 022 023 Chap 8 020-023 024 025 026 027 Chapter 9 024-027 028 029
030 031 Chapter 10 028-031 032 033
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 034
Chapter 11 (3 of 10): The Mayor
On the former side was money, lots of money, the life-blood of any political campaign in modern America. He had plenty of financial support from the local political establishment and the city employee unions. Most of the top rainmakers in the private sector were in his corner and their solid contributions said so: lawyers, construction firms, paving companies, garbage collections – that vast herd of any large American city feeding at the trough of public contracts and services. And there was always his own considerable fortune, not to mention Caitlin’s. She was ready to put up with another four years as mayor’s wife in the expectation that when this coming term, which he would win, was over and done with, it was on to national politics for both of them. Oxley, one of the state’s U.S. senators, had recently announced his retirement in four years, and Caitlin and Roy had, in their way, already begun to run for that office. He was still good-looking, almost youthful, and he still knew how to make a good suit look better. He was photogenic, as were his wife and children. Standard issue for the media version of the perfect family. And he would start a rigorous exercise regimen today. No more booze, just meat and yogurt.
All this on the plus side.
The column of negatives was a bit fuzzier.
He’d had to let go the campaign manager for his first two elections. The man’s greed had grown positively indecent, and in the brazen course of carving out empires of private enterprise under the public umbrella of the Rany machine he’d finally drawn the drooling attention of federal prosecutors living high off the post-Enron hog. Thank God it now looked as though none of that slime would stick to the administration. This new man, Abernathy, was a micro-managing Caligula, was running a tight ship, and was probably worth the money. But Jake Mohre, his cryptic link with the many fiefdoms of city politics like police, fire, roads, and so forth, could turn into a complication. Rany was grateful for his get-things-done ethos but questioned some of the ethics involved. Like Cassius, Mohre had that lean and hungry look, all right, and he thought too much — such men are dangerous. Too much personal ambition there. And Roy really would have to watch his own drinking, and other aspects of his private behavior that could flush the whole campaign down the toilet. Along with the booze, he’d simply have to give up that seductive item from Aspasia’s. He simply had to.
Roy sighed, and turned off the stream of water.
He opened the door and a fog bank of steam created a halo effect around him as if he were a hero emerging into the light. Too bad the photographers weren’t around to capture this emergence of the great man. Caitlin noted in a corner of her mind that he’d have to watch his weight, but was still a very good-looking guy whether you factored his age in or not. For some reason she’d never quite understood, he got a big kick out of toweling off in the nude in front of her, letting the equipment slap back and forth with noisy ostentation.
They’re really all such peacocks, she thought, chuckling inwardly. Pea-cock-s. That’s a good one.
A heat-seeking missile when it came to locking in on his moods and thoughts, Caitlin watched him intently from the sofa while pretending to only the mildest interest. To hide his discomfort, he went over to her and nuzzled the vee between her shoulder and neck.
She gave him a reassuring hug.
“I’ve got to get ready. Bob wants to do lunch around twelve thirty, and then it’s meetings before the news conference at four.”
“Don’t forget the coffee, honey,” she reminded him.
He drank some, still standing there in the nude. “You going to be O.K. the rest of the afternoon?” he asked.
“I’ll be just fine,” she answered.
“It’s important you’re there with me at the press conference. Can do?”
“Of course I’ll be there. Do we have dinner plans?”
“Fluid as of now. But you’re coming along, right?”
“Sure, Roy. I’ll be ready. What would you like me to wear?” He would never tell her, but he had once told her it pleased him when she asked. It was a small price.
“I’ll come back up here and get you shortly before four. Now I’ve got to hustle,” he said and pecked her on the cheek before turning to the fussy business of dressing.
It was perhaps a bit early, but what the hell? She fixed herself a Bloody Mary from the well-stocked bar and sat down in one of the luxurious fauteuils that dotted the bedroom. She always enjoyed watching her husband power-dressing, an amusing display of his shaky narcissism in action.
“Hey, baby,” he said as he saw her. She was reclining in a lazy slouch, drink in hand, watching him with half-closed eyes the way a well-fed cat might deign to look at a mouse it could have had a lot of fun batting around before the kill.
Now he was all cheer and eagerness to follow up his triumphant announcement of the previous evening.
“Well, not what I was hoping for,” she purred.
“Huh?” He followed the line of sight her eyes had established on his crotch. “Oh,” he laughed nervously. “Yeah, up, I get it. But no time now, honey. Bob’s waiting for me downstairs. Maybe later.”
She ignored the facile lie.
“Roy, we’ve got to talk,” she said after a moment.
“Talk? About what? Can’t it wait?’
“No, it can’t.”
He wrapped a towel around his pelvis and sat down on a chair beside the bed. He leaned forward on the edge expectantly, the body language unmistakable in its insistence that he had very little time to give her.
“What happened last night?”