The room was regal for the Midwest.
There were plaques and awards on the walls, and shelves full of unread books. A typewriter sat on the desk, the newest, best, and lightest model, given to him by the local paper on the day of his mayoral victory. Tobacco smoke lingered, thanks to all the cigars stuffed into the ashtray. The moonlight was bled away by the incandescent bulbs that were installed only a few years ago, after the boys came back from France.
“It’s Roosevelt, I’m telling you.” The mayor took a long, nervous drink at the seat of his desk. “He gets elected, and he gives these fucking Communists ideas,” he said as he set the glass down. He poured himself another with the decanter on the desk. Sweat was pouring through his collar, which was loose. “Why can’t they just go to work like everybody else?”
The chief of police sat across from him, uncomfortable but buttoned up. His back was ramrod straight. “Mister mayor, it’s dynamite out there. You got to bring them both to the table.”
The mayor looked up at the ceiling, like he were trying to find God. “I told you, we don’t need anybody at any tables.” He stabbed his finger at the chief on the beat of his words. “Your boys need to disperse the crowd.”
The mayor glowered. “Mister Mayor will do fine.”
“Mister mayor, I told you before” said the chief as he swallowed. “We’re not strikebreakers.” Continue reading