[AC] Bush43 Daily Week One

Jason Kenney jasonkenney at gmail.com
Mon Jun 5 09:09:02 PDT 2006

Artifice Comics - http://www.artificecomics.com


Bush43 #20
By Jason S. Kenney


They weren't happy to see me. Not that I could blame them. I wasn't
exactly happy to see them either. Though it was nothing personal. More
a distaste for why I was there.

I flashed my ID and ducked under the police tape. Yeah, I had an ID
now. I needed it since I was here without the mask.

Man, this would be so much easier with the mask.

But, that's not why I was here.

That's not what Romanov wanted me to do.

Hell, four weeks in, and I still had no idea what Romanov really wanted
me to do.

"Officer Self," I said to the man I made a beeline for.

He closed his eyes for a moment, breathing deep as if to collect
himself, which I figured was exactly what he was doing, and then he
opened his eyes and waived off the cop he was talking to.

"Carter," he said, which almost made me wince.

Damn, this would be so much easier with the mask.

"Looks like a straight-forward gang bang," said Self as he looked
toward the sheet covered body he was talking about.

He still hadn't made eye contact with me.

"So, I don't think this one will involve you," Self finished.

God, I wish he was right.

"Actually," I said, walking past him and toward the body. "This is one
of ours."

"And, what makes you say that?"

I stopped and looked over my shoulder to him, finally forcing him to
meet my eyes.

"The Mayor was involved."

Self closed his eyes and leaned his head back, breathing deeply once
again and then bringing his head back down with a smirk.

"Great," he said. "Then, you can tell his honor, her honor, whatever,
ITS honor that they should be proud. They killed a fifteen year old."

Great, indeed.

"Good luck spinning that one."


For the last four weeks, my life had been a living hell.

For starters, it felt like someone had shoved a rabid ferret into my
stomach, and the little bastard wanted out very, very, very bad. And,
that was an improvement.

For seconds, I was now gainfully employed. Against my will.

It's not that I didn't want a job. I did. I'd been unemployed since a
robot kicked my ass and threw me into an asylum last October. I hadn't
gone six months without a job since before I was legally able to work.
And, while I wasn't exactly eager to return to working behind the
counter at some cheap late night Chinese takeout joint, I certainly
wasn't too keen on the new job.

Though it's not like I was given the option of turning the offer down.

Not with a sword sticking through my chest during I guess what you
would call the interview process.

Public relations for the Mayor's Office.

Erlend Romanov's lacky.

I got to make the excuses when he messed up.


You'd be surprised how much the Mayor could screw up in four weeks.
And, it's not like there was any training for this, unless you count
the baptism by fire.


"Yes, Jeffery?"

I imagined him with that smug smirk spread across his face, taunting,
laughing, as if my very existence was beneath him. I wished like hell I
could rip it off his face. If he wouldn't have killed me halfway there,
I probably would have tried.

"So, how exactly do you want me to approach your sanctioned murder of a
fifteen year old?" I said in my City Hall furnished cell phone, as I
looked at the sheet covered body, doing my best to avoid the cluster of
media types just outside the police tape.

Romanov sighed on the other end, frustrated with my little mind, how I
couldn't possibly comprehend the world like he did.

So, enlighten me.

"Theodore Potts killed a pregnant mother and her four year old daughter
last night just because he wanted to see if he could get away with it."

"Where?" I asked, as I fished into my suit coat's inside pocket for a
City Hall furnished notepad and pen.

"Ask Officer Self," said Romanov. "And, tell him that there is a
videotape of the whole thing sitting on his desk."

Videotape. Which means someone recorded it. Watched it happen. And did
nothing to stop it.

"Did you let them die?" I asked into the phone, finally looking over to
the media, my face probably in a look of shock.

"Time for you to earn your paycheck, Jeffery."

And, he hung up.

I cursed softly to myself, as I tucked the phone and notepad back into
my coat. I looked around real quick and saw Self talking to a couple of
other cops and made my way towards him.

"Excuse me," I said, interrupting their conversation. Self did a good
job at keeping a straight face. "Officer Self, do you know of a double
murder last night, mother and daughter?"

The two other cops that were in the conversation exchanged glances and
then looked to Self. I'm not sure if that's what they had been talking
about, but it was certainly on their minds.

"Why do you ask?" asked Self.

I looked back to the body and paused.

Fifteen years old.

This wasn't right.

"This kid did it," I said, turning back to Self. "So the Mayor says."

"The Word of the Lord," said Self, shaking his head with a small smirk.

"Self," said a new face to our little group, getting everyone's
attention. "Media's clamoring for a statement."

All eyes turned to me.


This was the part I hated the most.

The media is ruthless. Especially to the self installed Mayor and his
administration. Some outlets in town are less hateful than others, but
none are favorable of what Romanov does. Hell, what Romanov is.

So, my untrained self was to be thrown to the wolves to explain what
the Mayor was doing and why he was doing it. Or, rather, not why he was
doing it but why the people should accept it. There is a huge

Dealing with the media was a pain day to day when I gave briefings with
prepared notes and statements.

Now, off the cuff and not even knowing the entire situation?

Oh, this was going to be fun.


I held up my hands, as I approached the crowd, a feeble attempt at
halting their questions.

"Ladies and gentlemen, please," I said, squinting slightly as my eyes
adjusted to the lights forced on them.

There was a chorus call of shouts, some my name, others just questions
blurted out, as if I'd understand them, embrace them, and answer them.

"I won't be answering any questions tonight, just..."

"How about a statement then?" shouted a voice from the crowd, its sound
mixed with that of similar questions from others.

"...a statement," I finished, looking around to make sure they were

"The police are currently attempting to positively identify the
deceased, but at this time we are certain that this was, in fact, a
situation involving one of the city's science heroes." I held up my
hands again to stop the few questions that were suddenly shouted. "The
Mayor's office is completely involved and will cooperate fully with the
police investigation.

"I'm afraid that's all I've got, folks. As I said, I won't be answering
any questions at this time, but we will keep you posted as this
investigation continues."

Some people still didn't get the point about questions and shouted out.

"We'll let you know," I said, and I turned away from the reporters,
ignoring the few who shouted after me, some with choice words.

Officer Self stood waiting, arms crossed, a glare as I approached.

"The Mayor's office will cooperate?" he asked, as if he didn't hear me
right the first time.

I nodded, as I just stared at the sheet covered body.

"That's a first," he said with a dismissive snort.

"And, it won't be the last," I said, looking to him briefly and then
back to the body. "This city's got to trust us if we're going to
protect it."

"Us who?" asked Self. "Us me and the police, or us the Mayor's Office?"



There was a certain way Romanov had taken to running this city. Not
quite with an iron fist, but not exactly in the most cooperative of

The police and their investigations were a nuisance to the Mayor, an
inconvenience he put up with only so the people wouldn't completely

But never had the Mayor's Office actually cooperated with an
investigation before.

If a science hero was involved, that's where it ended. You accepted
what you got, and that was it.

At least, that was the way Romanov had taken to running the city before
he "hired" me.

Game on.


"Jeffery, you know as well as I do that there are no investigations in
these situations."

I stood silent, as Erlend Romanov smirked at me, that damn smirk, and
rocked back and forth in his chair, cigarette bouncing in the corner of
his mouth as he spoke.

"Our activity is the law; there can be no questioning of that."

"There is a justice system for a reason," I said, like I had said many
times in the past with much the same result.

"And, we are that system, Jeffery."

Romanov stood and walked around his desk, stopping in front of me.

"They have had ample opportunity to stop and leave, Jeffery. Every
piece of filth in this city is here because they have chosen to be, and
for that they will suffer the consequences."

"They are citizens and human beings; they'll get due process."

"Jeffery, we are this city's protectors and heroes. We are the law and
those that protect the peace. I will not have our hands tied because of
a broken system that allows these things to reoccur."

"We must work within the system if we hope to earn their trust."

"I don't need their trust, Jeffery."

Romanov turned away and headed back around his desk, staring out the
window behind it.

"You need their trust if you can hope to protect them. The city's
afraid of us right now," I said. "We can't help people if their first
reaction to us is fear and hate."

"Respect, Jeffery," said Romanov without looking at me. "They respect
us, and that is all we need from them."

"Have you ever spoken with them? Have you ever dealt with anyone in the
city face to face?"

"I deal with you," Anna Romanova said, looking over her shoulder,
suddenly standing where Romanov once was. "Every day."

The Mayor was two distinct people. I think. I never quite figured out
exactly what he/she is. I just dealt with his randomly changing to her,
and vice versa, as if nothing happened because, well, that's how they
acted. You get used to it after a while.

"I'm not the people of this city. You need to interact with them,

"And, that is now your job," she said, turning to me with a grin.

"And, I'm doing that."

"No, what you're doing is attempting to dictate what this office will
do, and that is not the way it works, Jeffery."

"I am simply trying to ensure that this office does what it is supposed
to do."

"And, I say what it is supposed to do, Jeffery, not you."

We stood silent, staring at each other, Romanova smiling, me tight
lipped, trying very hard not to lose my cool and thereby my head.

"Seeing as how you've already got the ball rolling on this, we'll play
it through," Romanova finally said, as she sat. "If the police need
anything from me, I'll provide it. But, this is your responsibility,
Jeffery. You are the go to guy on all of this, and you will continue to
keep me updated as to what is going on.

"But this is a one time thing. And, from here on out, you will only say
what I want you to say."

"If all I'm going to do is parrot what you say, what do you need me

"Your pretty face."

She smiled big at that. I didn't.

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