[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 10 028-031 032 033 034 035 036 037 038 039
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 040
Chapter 11 (9 of 10): The Mayor
Just before four that afternoon Roy and Caitlin along with Bob mounted a festooned podium at one end of the La Ville’s huge lobby, and an expectant hush descended over the gathered throng. At first scores of camera flashes popped off in a flurry of photo-taking, and then only intermittently. The police commissioner, the city comptroller, the party leaders, two CEOs of major corporations doing business in the city, the university’s vice-president for external relations, and a student representative were already on the stage. Everybody was full of smiles and hearty handshakes, and they all gave the appearance of astonished joy at having finally had this wonderful opportunity for a chance get-together. Bob went up to the mike and tapped it a couple of times, and then made the obligatory query, “Can you all hear me back there?” A murmur of assent rolled forward.
Besides the healthy turnout of reporters and camera people there was a surprisingly large crew of young people in the audience. Bob’s operatives had been busy bees. It was only early January and the university term had just started, so nobody was panicking yet about papers and midterms. “Ladies and gentlemen,” Bob’s voice was amplified throughout the lobby. “Before we get started here, I’d like to thank you all on behalf of the candidate and his wife for being here.” At the same time he gestured grandly towards the anointed couple, secretly grateful that Rae had not put in an appearance. “A few introductions are in order. You all know Mr. Mark Pulverino, our police commissioner.” The man got up from his seat, and there was a smattering of applause. “And Dr. Tranch, University vice-president for public relations.” He too stood up briefly, but the applause was muted. “And the young lady on his right is Ms. Nora Endicott, the representative from the student council at the University.” Enthusiastic clapping accompanied her rise from the chair, and she waved to her supporters who had packed the area behind the press. He quickly ran through the other notables. “Again,” he wound up the prologue to the afternoon’s little drama, “we of the Reelect-Rany Committee are honored to be holding our first press conference of the campaign here at the La Ville.” He turned and clapped until others in the audience picked up the cue. He added, without further precision, “This turnout bodes well indeed for our prospects in November.” Everybody cheered, and a few strategically placed sign carriers hefted aloft their placards commending Rany; the campaign’s own cameras, equipped with wide-angle lenses so as to exaggerate the size of the audience panned slowly over the festive audience and began purring.
“It is now my distinct privilege and special honor to introduce to you our mayor and our next mayor, Roy Rany.” This time he clapped hard, and the audience knew what to do. It was an eager and voluble reception. “Roy,” he said, sweeping his left arm back in a dramatic semi-arc and beckoning to the candidate, “how about you and your lovely wife Caitlin standing up?”
As they stood up, holding hands, the crowd went into accolade overdrive. Bob was pleased to note that all the commotion had attracted viewers from the larger lobby area with no inkling of what was going on in the hall. Flashbulbs started popping once more and motorized drives engaged. Bob held up his hands as if to plead with this enraptured gathering to modulate its boundless enthusiasm for Roy Rany, the city’s mayor and next mayor. It was like a mini-convention. “Rany, Roy Rany — Rany, Roy Rany,” the chanting started, swelling into a dull booming as more and more people caught the words. “Rany, Roy Rany — Rany, Roy Rany.” Bob and the Ranys stood as if transfixed and let the delicious sound wash over them. After several minutes of this spontaneous exuberance so carefully orchestrated by Bob’s experienced staff, Roy walked up to the speaker’s stand and grabbed a mike. “Please, good people, please.” He was dousing the fire with gasoline. A new burst of enthusiasm exploded from the crowd as they all rose from their chairs, and this time the chants were accompanied by a rhythmic stomping.
He turned sideways, shrugging his shoulders. An elated grin spread across his face as he turned back to the mike and said, “Is this a great city or what?”
More excitement and deafening noise from the cranked-up crowd.
Finally the clamor died down and people settled back into their seat. Bob was thrilled to see the large standing-room only crush in the rear of the room. “Mr. Rany – Roy – has consented to answer some questions this afternoon. We’ll begin with the press, and then we’ll entertain any comments from the community at large.” He handed over the podium to Roy, patting him on the back. “Remember to keep it short and on the path,” he whispered to Roy. “No long walks.” Roy nodded in quick assent.
A dozen hands shot immediately into the air. The opening questions were friendly and relaxed, eliciting answers to innocuous questions about himself (“I’m not much different from any one of you, except maybe luckier.”), his war service (“I gladly gave my country five years in Viet Nam; it wasn’t always fun, but I’m proud to have served.”), his relationship with his sister (“Without her constant love and looking out for me, none of this would have been possible.”), and his wife (“No man could be more blessed.”), and the nature of his hugely successful software distribution empire that had turned into a Cinderella story (“I give my sister Rae full credit for being way ahead of the curve on this one.”)
“Sir,” a red-faced stringer yelled, waving his hand, “I’m sure we would all like to hear a little more about your platform. I realize this is early in the campaign, but the polls I’ve read suggest people aren’t sure of just what you stand for. I wonder if you could elaborate for us.” He shoved a tape recorder near Rany.
TO BE CONTINUED