Breaking New Ground: From the Continuing Adventures of Mayor ShinnickeSubmitted by electrictoothsyndrome at 2014-01-07 20:16:10 EST
Rating: 1.52 on 19 ratings (27 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
This wasn't his fault. That's all he kept saying to himself.
It wasn't his fault the two feet of snow came. It wasn't his fault it took the road deptartment half an hour to send someone over to clear a spot for the media and all the hardhat-donning bigwigs. And it most definitely wasn't his fault he was now trying to hold a groundbreaking ceremony on a frozen lot. This thing was scheduled weeks ago. How was he to know it was coming a blizzard? He didn't watch the news anymore. All they ever did was make fun of him on the news. Of course the fun-making wasn't overt, but in their own manner, the wolf pack of town journalists had begun to turn on him. They smelled blood.
'Look at the Mayor, he's goofed up again...look at the Mayor, he gave $200k in incentives to a company who builds perpetual motion machines and skipped town...look at the Mayor, his exercise video made him look like a doofus.'
That wasn't his fault either! His city had been named the 'fattest city in the country', a title he inherited from his predecessor. It wasn't his responsibility to make all these lazy fucks exercise, yet there he was, pretending to give a shit, wearing tight pants that made his balls hurt and made him look like an aging Richard Simmons. He didn't need this shit - dancing along to a "chicken fat" song with firefighters, policemen, local TV personalities, and 12-year-olds. The salary wasn't even competitive with other cities of similar size, but in his heart of hearts, he knew he wasn't really worth $90k anyway. $60k maybe, but not 90.
The first spade blow tossed up a few tiny chunks of gravel and ice, but the only thing dug up were nervous laughs and more self-doubt. But in spite of his otherwise complete lack of vision and qualifications, he was a skilled public speaker. He had that going for him. That's how he'd gotten elected after all...talking...albeit mostly out his ass.
A quick quip later - something about this ground being no harder than his opposition on the city council - and everyone was laughing and willing to entertain another cringeworthy attempt. Again he drove the shovel into the compacted snow...and again...and again. Not a single photo-worthy chunk of black dirt.
Another nervous smile and off with the coat. This was war.
He thought back to his high school days and all those embarrassing photos - him in bow-ties, him in Future Leaders of America, him in student government, him on the debate team. They actually came close to winning State that year. But nobody cared, including him. None of that was really his own choice anyway. His dad made him run for Class President. His dad made him wear bow-ties to school. His dad wanted him to be a Senator, or maybe even President. But what had he become? A lousy, overpaid Mayor in the fattest city in the country.
It had taken months to get to this stage in the project and he'd be damned if a little ice was going to ruin his first real moment of triumph since taking office. This convention hotel was going to be the thing he was remembered for.
Sure, people did a lot of crying and moaning about the subsidies and the 20-year decline in the convention market and all that blather, but this town needed a convention hotel downtown, thats what the consultant he hired to tell him that had told him, and by god they were going to get one! And when they got one they would remember his name. It might say 'Doubletree' on the outside, but people would know this was his hotel.
Both hands on the shovel now. No more Mr. Nice Guy.
He raised the shovel blade the height of his yellow hard hat and with all the desperation he could muster, thrust it downward into the compacted frost.
Pieces of earthen shrapnel went flying out in a v-shaped pattern before him. Errant shards of gravel, sand, bum's needles, and god knows what else pelted the row of VIPs.
A collective gasp went up. Then a series of screams...
Back when he used to actually watch the local news, back when he was running his successful campaign, he remembered thinking how much he'd like to fuck Sarah Conners, the hot Channel 7 anchor who always touched the arms of his well-tailored suits before and after interviews and who always looked into his eyes intently while he answered her questions about this boring policy or that senseless issue. He remembered how beautiful and blue-green her eyes looked, eyes like a Capricorn Sea. He remembered how sexy she looked in those turquoise dresses and heels. He imagined soaking with her in a hot tub at his new Doubletree. He imagined taking her to a business convention.
But now Sarah Conners was crouching on the ground, her face buried in her hands, her beige leggings buried in off-white snow, muffled screaming. A piece of razor-thin glass was lodged in one of her beautiful Capricorn eyes, probably a chance remnant of the perfectly good hotel that used to stand on this very spot, whose demolition some attributed to bad planning, others attributed to political patronage and cronyism. But none of that was his fault, just as this was not his fault!
As the snow beneath Miss Conners began to look like a cherry gas station snow cone, the Mayor stood stone-faced and slack-jawed. After a long pause in which he felt numb and cold as the solid earth, an ambulance carried away the wounded and probably scarred reporter. The remaining VIPs and media people turned to look at him. They expected him to pull this back from the brink with some quip and a smile. They expected him to put some kind of bookend on this disaster.
He pursed his lips, removed his bow-tie, and removed his yellow hard hat.
Driving home, listening to Pink Floyd on his stereo he thought, 'maybe I'll take up guitar instead,' as Roger Waters sang:
"If you should go skating
On the thin ice of modern life
Dragging behind you the silent reproach
Of a million tear stained eyes
Don't be surprised, when a crack in the ice
Appears under your feet
You slip out of your depth and out of your mind
With your fear flowing out behind you
As you claw the thin ice"