December howls and yowls, shapeshifter lovers.
Wow, thirty days until the end of the year...can it be? It seems unbelievable. 2015 has definitely been a hyper-speed year.
So, this flash scene happens shortly after the mayor of Talbot Peak decides to unwisely go after Dante, benevolent alpha werewolf, and owner of the Pleasure Club. Check out last week's flash scene, if you want Dante's side of the story.
Note: Mary Lou, who stars in this flash scene, is a horse shifter. She owns the *Livestock and Pet Center*, a feed store in Talbot Peak. Mary Lou was first featured as a secondary character in Her Midnight Stardust Cowboys, my shapeshifter erotic romance menage.
Mary Lou slapped the flyer on his desk. "Is this true?"
Heedless of the damage to her wall, Mary Lou ripped down the business licence hanging behind her checkout register. Seething with anger, she removed it from the picture frame in record time, then grabbed hold of the flyer Kitty had distributed throughout Talbot Peak—the one she'd just read.
The flyer presented what was purported to be a psychic transcript of Mayor Gilbert childishly going after Dante with some idiotic plan that would never work. Certainly not against an alpha werewolf.
With anger fueling every step, Mary Lou marched toward her store's double doors.
"Harrison," she yelled her manager's human name, since he was in the back storeroom, "can you take over? I need to leave for awhile."
"Sure thing, Mary Lou. I'll come up front right now." The Brahma bull shifter emerged moving toward her in his slow powerful way. "Is there an emergency?"
Figuring her face was suffused with blood, Mary Lou didn't wonder at his question. She halted, saying, "Looks like Mayor Gilbert has a cracked filbert. You seen this?" She held up the incriminating flyer.
"Nope. Heard about it though. At the donut shop." Harrison eyed her intently. "You go take care of business, ma'am. I'll hold down the fort. Don't you worry."
With a short nod, Mary Lou resumed her swift, mad-mare march through the door, and down the short flight of steps. Mentally, she put her blinders on, and made a direct beeline for the mayor's mansion.
There'd been no vote, no townhall meeting about accepting state aid. Hadn't a majority in town made it overwhelmingly clear, they didn't want anything to do with state officials and their *with strings attached* handouts. Just who in the dung-pile hell did Gilbert think he was?
Outraged, fuming to beat the band, Mary Lou leaped up the mansion's front steps two at a time. She darn well hoped the white, were-squirrel was in his office. Because if he wasn't, she was about to track him down. Demand answers. Take away his nuts...if need be.
"Mayor in?" she demanded of Gretchen, a new trainee who currently womaned the assistant's desk.
"He is..." she began.
"Good," Mary Lou cut her off. Not missing a step, she continued striding for the closed door.
"You don't have—"
"Don't care," Mary Lou interrupted Gretchen, shoving open the mayoral door.
When Gilbert didn't immediately look up at her entrance, Mary Lou halted and took in the scene. The mayor stared, as if transfixed, down at a festively wrapped box. Even from her position near the door, she could see the gift box was filled with English Walnuts.
Given folks were always sending Gilbert boxes of nuts, Mary Lou thought nothing of it. She strode toward the mayor, who remained unusually motionless. When he did glance up at her, his expression was frozen like he'd been dipped in an icy water bucket. And, his eyes were somewhat glazed.
Wondering what the heck? ... Mary Lou spared a look at the walnuts. Three pairs of dark sunglasses lay on top, along with a note written in a large bold scrawl. Something about *One good turn deserves another*.
Dismissing the curious situation, Mary Lou turned her attention on the mayor. As if awakening from a trance, he hastily seized the box, placing it in a bottom desk drawer.
"What can I do for you, Mary Lou?"
'This..." Mary Lou slapped the flyer on his desk. "Is this true?"
The dark flush creeping up the mayor's neck, and covering his face told Mary Lou all she needed to know. Not to mention Gilbert averted his gaze.
"I don't know who's gotten hold of your nuts, mayor. But this is beyond the pale horse."
"Now hold on. There's no reason—"
"No reason," Mary Lou burst out. Incensed, she planted her hands on the desk, and leaned forward. "A whole lot of us made our disapproval known—loud and clear— when you tried to pull that census crap on us."
"I was tricked. I explained that," Gilbert defended. No trace of an apology showed on his face.
"Then, why in the name of heaven, did you trust those slick-talking polecats again? I don't get it, mayor. Not for one minute." Infuriated to her core, Mary Lou huffed a quick breath in and out. "As I understand it," she pointedly glared, "Dante gave you the money, the Talbies, you needed for the faire, to fix whatever needed fixin'.
"He didn't put any strings on that money either," she charged. "You didn't owe him a thing. Except respect."
"The state put the money in the town account. They wouldn't take it back." The mayor tried a glare of his own. "What was I supposed to do?"
Mary Lou simply stared as she processed what the mayor said, what he revealed. "Really? How can a state do that? And, if what you say is true, why not expose that in the G&B Gazette?...It has to be illegal."
A smothering silence suddenly permeated the air.
"No answer, huh," Mary Lou snapped. "You know, here's my thought, Mr. Mayor. Why isn't the state, in all of its grand benevolence, taking care of people who really need help? Like the homeless in the cities. Like those who need food just to stay alive. Like the veterans who can't find a decent job."
"It was our portion." Gilbert thrust his jaw out like a kid who'd done wrong, but wasn't about to admit it. .
"Well, damn and hell, get out of the way," Mary Lou sarcastically sang. "No one here is starving or homeless, but we're gonna spend our portion anyhow. Now that's the generous holiday spirit...isn't it?"
Enraged even more, Mary Lou straightened a bit, glowering down at the mayor. "And here's another thing...what's this hogwash about Dante being a dictator?"
"He threatened a recall election if..."
"Mayor, a lot of us have been talking about a recall election ever since YOU tried to sell us down the river by giving away our privacy. Ever since YOU endangered each and everyone of us shifters and supernatural folk." Mary Lou shot forward, her face inches away from the mayor's. "What gave you that right? A lot of us have barely escaped with our lives over the years. That's why there's been a flight to Talbot Peak. But now, we're not safe here anymore, are we?"
"We have shifters in the state congress," Gilbert sullenly stated. "They're watching out for us. Linc is planning to run for congress as a representative..."
Mary Lou couldn't help herself. She reared back and whinnied a great big horse laugh. Finally containing herself, she pointed a finger. "What? Don't you pay attention to anything at all? Eighty percent of humans no longer trust the government according to a recent Pew poll? How more mainstream can you get than that...Mr. Mayor?"
"I have it on good authority..."
"Good authority. What good authority? Some politician who's lips are moving, which only proves he's a lyin' son of a gun. YOU may not be concerned with getting sliced and diced in some secret torture lab. But a whole lot of us are real darn worried about it...in case you haven't noticed that either."
On a big ole roll, Mary Lou slapped her hands on the desk. "About Dante being a dictator, I just gotta say this, mayor. There's been a couple of times I've run short on my cash flow. You know, couldn't pay the bills on time. What did Dante do? He sent me customers that tided me over. Told me he'd cover my expenses if that wasn't enough. What did he ask for in return? NOTHING! Not one favor. Nothing. No strings. He's NEVER once told me how to run my business. Not one effing word. And before you bring it up. No one around Dante has ever told me how to run my business. Or asked for one thin dime, or one favor under the table.
"Now maybe you know someone in this town Dante has leaned on, demanded favors from...but I don't. Their story is the same is mine. If they needed a hand or paw up, he gave it to them. And now, Delvezio has been bringing good deals to us, improving the way we serve our customers, and out of that, giving us higher profit margins. I call that a win-win. I sure as all hell, don't know what you call it... Mr. Mayor."
"I think this conversation is finished."
Gilbert stood up in what he must have thought to be an intimidating manner. Mary Lou couldn't but observe the odd glints circling in his eyes.
"Yes, I agree. This conversation is finished. And I'm finished with this town. But one more thing before I leave. You know, I got a business license because I thought it would help Talbot Peak. Truth is, I don't believe in business licenses. It's a form a of slavery."
"Slavery, what in the damn hell are you talking about, Mary Lou?"
Yep, Cracked Filbert Gilbert. Something was definitely very wrong, given the high strangeness of his eyes. Were those red veins trying to pop out?
"This is what I'm talking about," Mary Lou enunciated as if she was a first-grade teacher. "Licenses originated in America as a way to keep black people enslaved after they were freed. Yeah, check out history, mayor...there's a dark little secret most don't know."
"Even if that's true, it's not true now," Gilbert sputtered his words out like the squirrelly-fool he was. Or had become of late.
"No. Now it's about enslaving everyone of us, taking our money, and policing us, while pretending it's just a good business practice. These days, everyone is so ignorant, most of us just go along to get along...and believe it's a good thing. Well, I'm done."
Mary grabbed the business license she'd stuffed in her jean pocket. "Go ahead. Arrest me. Do whatever. Try to shut down my business with code enforcement. Fine me. Bring in the state enforcers... hell, bring in a SWAT team...whatever...I'm done!"
On fire with her power, Mary Lou ripped the license into the tiniest pieces possible. Inside she smiled a great big smile at the small heap they formed on Mayor Gilbert's desk. With total satisfaction warming the pit of her stomach, Mary Lou spun around and strode out of the office.
Yeah, alright. The die had been cast. She'd have to find another location for her business. On the good side, Mary Lou figured she wouldn't be the only one in Talbot Peak searching for a new location, a new home. Maybe she should start a 'help each other' group.
And horse feathers, as she thought about it, Dante had to be overwhelmed with requests for help—given the complaints she'd heard about Mayor Gilbert from her customers—and what she'd heard around town.
Yep. Dissatisfaction had grown into a landslide in recent days, alright.
Faced with a crowd of Peakites as she descended the steps, Mary Lou stopped, and surveyed their intent faces. As she slowly moved toward them, her heart soared with hope for the future.
In an act of defiance, her friends and neighbors waved Kitty's flyer. "We want answers, Mayor. We want them now," echoed throughout the gathering.
Wishing you love and passion on the wild side ~
Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance