The Small-Town Mayor
(from "Devil's Night", a work in progress)
by Piper Davenport

A letter on crisp, white paper arrived on the Governor of Michigan’s oak-covered desk. The fatigued mayor had received a telephone call from the sheriff. The wrong man was in prison. Another man had confessed to the disappearance of the young woman. A sneer had appeared on the sheriff’s face when he said this. He did not like the fact that this new evidence became apparent during his tenure. A rare morning fog disappeared beneath the chill on the windowpanes that interrupted his coffee break. On a week like this, with the nation holding its breath.

He fully intended for the prisoner’s deliverance and the opportunity for him to start a new life in a new town. He read in The Detroit Free Press about layoffs but that like everything else was temporary. They’ll be hiring again.

A factory job was a chance for someone to start again. Benefits, middle-class, training, an envied trade-in voucher, a thumbs-up from car enthusiasts, those were words that brought respect to a man. Made you feel the American Dream was obtainable after all. Hell, he thought to himself, what do I need a secretary for besides appearances? That advertising degree worked for him after all.

At first, the Governor upset him—despite what the man was known for, the Governor wanted the state to have a reputation for fairness. The mayor placed a plastic death mask on his face. He thought about the big city to the north. “God, help them.” Well, if the prisoner does cause destruction, not in his town. He would personally make sure that would not happen in a few more days. He is a man of God; a man of his word.

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