[AC] Bush43 Daily Week One

Jason Kenney jasonkenney at gmail.com
Thu Jun 8 10:14:23 PDT 2006

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

Day four has arrived! And, hey, since you're on the internet and in a
reading mood, why don't you check out Chris Munn's LUV + H8 over at
Artifice Comics. The second issue came out over the weekend and, damn,
it's a great story. If you want a good read by an amazing writer, get
in on the ground floor now and go check out LUV + H8. You won't be
sorry. Here, I'll make it easy on ya:


Who loves ya?

Now for some Bush!


BUSH43 #23
By Jason S. Kenney


"This is unacceptable, Jeffery."

Erlend Romanov didn't even look at the paper that lay upon his desk. He
didn't have to. Romanov stood with one arm across his chest, hand
tucked under his other arm that reached up and put a smoking cigarette
in his mouth. Always with the cigarettes.

"Well, that's too damn bad," I said, shifting slightly in my seat,
trying to act cool and calm but knowing I was anything but.

His eyes bored into me, as if looking for something, and I knew he was.

"Jeffery," said Romanov, tapping ash into the ashtray on his desk, his
eyes never leaving mine. "We are the ultimate authority in this city.
'We' being me and who earns the right to serve me. You had earned that
right, Jeffery. Do you appreciate your position in this city?"

I opened my mouth to speak, but he continued.

"Because I don't think you do, Jeffery. I don't think you fully
understand that the level of trust and responsibility I have placed
upon you does not makes you irreplaceable."

"Erlend," I said. "The people of this city need to see some sort of
chain of command. They do not live in a dictatorship, nor do they want
to. They want to see the police doing their jobs, and, if the people
are to trust us, we need to allow the police to do what they're
supposed to do."

"We are the police, Jeffery."

"We're vigilantes and outside of the law, and that's what frightens the
people. We frighten the people because, while we may protect them now,
we're one step away from turning on them. If we're breaking some laws,
what's to keep us from breaking others? So, we have to allow the police
to do their jobs."

"Jeffery, we've already been through this. The police and laws of this
city are broken..."

"Then, allow them to change and be fixed," I interrupted. "Because, if
you don't let that happen, the people are going to start feeling

"They are helpless."

"And, when they start feeling helpless," I continued. "They start
getting scared and angry, and they start to lash out, and, as much fun
as it may be, I don't think a riot would be best for this city right

Erlend Romanov sat silent for a bit, sucking on his cigarette.

"Let the police have their investigation, Erlend," I said finally.
"Even if it's just this once, throw them a bone."

"And when they choke on it?"

"IF they choke on it," I said. "Then you can say you told me so. But,
let them run this investigation; let them do their jobs. And, if you're
as solid on this as you think you are, if this kid was really so bad,
if this kid really deserved what he got, then the police will vindicate

"You don't believe that, do you, Jeffery?" Romanov said, stubbing out
his cigarette and standing out of his seat. "You're hoping that this
investigation shows how I do things is not best. You're hoping the
people and the police will turn against me, am I correct?"

"I'm hoping that you'll see that the system can work."

"Jeffery," said Romanov as he came around his desk, bent at the waist
and leaned close to my face. "There are very few people who would mourn
your death."

"You don't want me dead," I said, staring right into his narrowed eyes.
"You'd get bored."

He stayed like that for a moment, his face to mine, and then stood up.

"You have briefing to give, Mister Carter," he said, as he crisply
turned from me.


"Ladies and gentlemen," I said, trying not to stare directly into the
lights that strived to blind me. "I have a brief statement, and then I
shall be able to take some questions, but I may not be able to answer
many. The Mayor's office has agreed to fully cooperate with the
investigation into the death of a juvenile wanted for questioning in
connection with the murder of Louis Richards and her four year old
daughter, Haley, two nights ago."

"Jeffery," someone interrupted; someone always interrupted. "What
connection exactly does the Mayor have to the murder of Theodore

"I'm afraid I don't..."

"Theo was the fifteen year-old you delicately refer to as a
'juvenile'," emphasized the reporter, someone I could barely make out
through those damn lights.

Tina Wilson for the Pacific City Globe had been a pain in my ass since
day one. It almost felt personal. Word was that she had been seeing
someone who had been working for the previous Mayor and now found
himself unemployed, so maybe it was personal.

"If that is what you want to report, Ms. Wilson, then that is your
prerogative and that of the PC Globe. But, it is not the policy of City
Hall or Pacific City Police Department to release the name of anyone
underage, whether they be a victim or perpetrator. So. I cannot answer
your question."

"Mister Carter," shouted someone else. So much for the statement. "In
what way is the Mayor's office cooperating with the police?"

"Mayor Romanov is making himself available for questioning by the
police," I said. "Anything regarding further cooperation is between the
Mayor and the police, and I am afraid I am not at liberty to divulge
that information..."

Someone shouted out a quick "c'mon."

"...as the police are still investigating the situation, and we are not
going to do anything to complicate their efforts."

"Except vigilantism," someone tossed out, someone that didn't own up to
it, so I didn't respond.

"Any further questions directly related to the investigation need to be
directed to the Pacific City Police Department," I said. "The Mayor's
office is cooperating as fully as possible in order to allow the police
to do their jobs in a continuing commitment to the people of Pacific
City to keep them safe from harm."


A light knock on my door snapped my head up from the paper I had been
staring through for Lord knows how long.

A knock meant it wasn't Romanov. He'd just barge in. So would his
counterpart. And, I couldn't think of anyone else in this place that'd
want to see me without calling first.

"Come in," I said, as I leaned back and set whatever it was I'd been
looking at down.

I never thought I'd be happy to see someone come through that damn

"Hey, you," I said with a smile, as I stood up.

Eldritch smiled back, which was a rarity. As was her outfit: a pair of
khaki slacks and a white blouse, her auburn hair falling across her
shoulders. I was more used to her furs and New Mages costume.

"It's a little late for you to still be here, isn't it?" she asked, as
she closed the door behind her but just stood there.

I looked at my watch and finally realized how late it was.

"I suppose so," I said with a shrug.

"How's your arm?" she asked.

I looked back towards my watch but not at it, further up my arm from it
where, about a month before, she'd gotten the best of me.

"To be honest," I said, looking back to her with a smirk. "I haven't
thought about it, so okay, I guess."

"I heard you had other things to worry about that night." She started
toward my desk.

"That's putting it lightly," I said, as I started to straighten up my
desk for tomorrow's sake. "Still, got some nice scars to show off and
make myself look like a badass."

"Do you have plans for the evening?" Her voice had a hint of
playfulness that, coupled with her British accent, couldn't help but
make me think naughty thoughts. But, I knew she meant strictly

"Actually, tonight's plan was to drink until I remembered to sleep or
passed out, which would be good enough," I said, looking up to her. I
hadn't realized she was right there, across the desk from me, feet
away. And, the look in her eyes made me hesitate.

Was this strictly business?

"I mean, that is, uh..." I found myself very uncomfortable. "Unless you
have a better idea."

Her smirk told me that maybe she did. Where the hell was this coming

"I have an idea," said a new voice to the room but one all too familiar
to both of us.

Anna Romanova stood by the door and smiled behind her cigarette.

"Pacific City Tonight needs a statement concerning your precious
investigation for their ten o'clock news," said Romanova, as she
studied the end of her cigarette. "They're expecting you..."

"To say the same damn thing I said earlier this afternoon," I
interrupted with a glare. Romanova's eyes turned to mine, her smile
widening slightly. "Who arranged for this?"

"I did," Romanova said.

"Then, you can call them back or whatever you need to do and unarrange
it," I said, turning my attention back to straightening my desk.
"Anything I have to say on the topic I said earlier today, and the more
I go out there and repeat myself, the worse we look." I looked to her.
"The worse YOU look."

"And, will I look better for canceling?" asked Romanova.

"They're the media," I said. "They're used to the brush off. Or even
better," I said, looking up real quick at the thought. "Feed them

Romanova stood silent, taking another drag off of her cigarette,
waiting for me to explain myself, I guess.

"He hasn't spoken out on this yet, and, if this is going to look like a
joint effort between us and the police, he needs to say something. Even
if he says the same stuff we've been saying or the police have been
releasing, you're at least putting a new face on it. Besides, that PC
Tonight chick, uh..." I snapped my fingers, as I tried to recall her

"Linda Bishop," said Romanova with an exhale of smoke.

"Yeah, Bishop," I said. "She's a bitch. Let Commissioner Jordan get
grilled by her for a bit. Let him sweat. Maybe he'll turn around and
put more pressure on the police to work with you better."

"Isn't he already putting pressure on the police?" interjected

"Not enough," I said. "Not for my liking. Or yours, I take it." I
looked to Romanova who didn't do anything but smile at me.

"And, you said you wouldn't be cut out for this job," she said after a

"I'm not," I said, giving my desk one last look and figuring it'd do
until tomorrow. "That's why I just handed the work off to someone

"And, have you called Miss Trellis?" asked Romanova with a gleam in her
eye. The awkward transition in topics was purposeful, and I caught
Eldritch shift a bit out of the corner of my eye.

Strictly business.

"I have not," I said. "Nor am I planning on it."

"You will, Jeffery," said Romanova, stepping toward my desk and
stubbing her cigarette out in the ashtray. She blew out a final cloud
of smoke and smiled at me. "I want you at that event. And, I want her
on your arm. You know you do, too."

Her smile could not have been more predatory.

And then, she was gone.

"Well," said Eldritch after we both had stood there for a few moments
of uncomfortable silence. "I guess I'll let you go."

"Eldritch," I said, making her pause as she opened the door and turn
back to me. "Maybe sometime next week we can get together, maybe spar a

She smirked a bit and nodded.

"Good luck with that drinking thing."

And then, she was gone.

"Thanks," I said with a sigh to my empty office.

Drinking sounded like Heaven at that moment.

I fished my wallet out of my back pocket and searched for the slip of
paper that had dictated my Saturday night.

And, there it was. Seven digits.

I stared at it, one hand hovering near the phone, waiting.

"I am sick of being used," I said aloud to the world that never seemed
to listen.

I crumpled up the number, tossing the little wad into the trash, while
I crammed my wallet back into my pocket and left for the day.

Yeah, a drink sounded damn good.

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