AC: Bush43 Dailiy Week Two

Jason Kenney jasonkenney at
Wed Jun 14 06:09:19 PDT 2006

Artifice Comics -

It's raining here in Richmond and I'm moist.  I'll just leave it at


BUSH43 #27
By Jason S. Kenney


I walked into the Palm for the first time in over ten years.  Five
minutes early and she still beat me there.

"It's good to see you," Cassandra said, as she greeted me in the
vestibule, giving me a kiss on the cheek which felt awkward and nice at
the same time.  I couldn't help but glance around, wonder who saw it,
wonder who cared.

"You make it sound like you haven't seen me in forever," I said.  "Or
that you never thought you'd see me again."

"Maybe," she said and left it at that.  "After you."

She laughed, as I probably looked as confused as I felt.

"I reserved under your name," she said, threading her arm though mine.

"You shouldn't have," I said, as we walked towards the host.  "Really."

"Too late now," she said.  "Besides, it was the only way I could get us
reservations on such short notice"

"Really?  I had no idea my name carried such weight."  Hell, any at

"Can I help you?" said the host, head held high, nose turned to the
ceiling, as if he needed to look at me through his nostrils.

"Yes, sir," I said.  "My name is Jeffery Carter; I had..."

"Ah, yes!" he said, a fake smile spreading across his face as he sprang
into action.  "Mister Carter, it is a pleasure to have you in our
establishment," he said, his hand shooting out to grasp mine for a
shake that nearly took my arm off.  "Right this way, sir, madam."

I let Cassandra follow the host, and I went behind, trying to take in
as much of the place and its patronage as I could.

Still the same group of stuck up rich and powerful or those that wanted
to be wining and dining in a place that cost much more than it really
should have.  I hated the idea of having to deal with these places on a
daily basis.

"Here we are," said the host, gesturing to a table near the middle of
the room and reaching to pull out Cassandra's chair.  A table
suspiciously well placed for all to see.

"Thank you," I said, as I sat and received the menu which had no listed
prices.  One of those establishments.  "You'd think my name would have
gotten us a little less conspicuous of a seat," I said quietly to
Cassandra after the host left.

"I didn't ask for a private table, Jeffery," Cassandra said
nonchalantly, as she unfolded her napkin and placed it in her lap.
"Besides, it's in their best interest to show off their clientele."

"They'd have seen me just fine being led through the place, but the
middle of the room?" I said, looking around, noticing a lot of folks
trying to not look like they were looking at us.

A waiter or whatever he was came up and filled our water glasses and

Cassandra smiled, as she picked up her water and took a sip.

"Jeffery," she said as she set her glass down. "Just to give you a
little advice, as someone on the media side of things, you have to have
a presence in the right areas if you are going to effectively do your

I sighed and looked at the menu again, my stomach not agreeing with
anything I saw, but I knew I had to eat something, having skipped
dinner the night before.

"I know," I said. "But, I don't have to like it."

"So, how exactly did you get the job then?" she asked, as she started
to look at her menu.

"It was forced on me," I said, finding some chicken dish that looked
good enough.

"Couldn't you have just turned it down?"

I shook my head.

"The Mayor can be very persuasive," I said, reaching for my water and
taking a sip.

"Well, you're putting on a fine show, considering you don't want to do

"I was raised by a diplomat," I said with a smirk.  "I know how to put
on a good public face."

"And, is that what this is?" Cassandra asked, a glint in her eye, in
her smile.  "A good public face?"

"You're the one who wanted to be seen out and about with me."

A waiter came by for our orders, took them, and disappeared, the water
guy coming around shortly thereafter for refills.

"So, you said you had something for me," I said.

"My, you just get straight to business, don't you?"

"I don't like to beat around the bush."

"Hmmm..."  She gave me a look like she thought I'd made a bad joke.  It
took me a moment to realize that maybe I had.

"I didn't mean it like that."

"Sure."  She smiled.  "Here," she said, as she leaned over and opened
her bag, coming out with a folder and handing it to me.  "And the
numbers and breakdowns for the poll along race, sex, and age lines, as
well as driving factors in the results."

"Wow, you went whole hog."

"It's the same info we gave the media this morning, who should be
crawling up your ass by now."

"Spoken like someone who's been reading my messages," I said, as I
looked at the first couple sheets of the poll.  Pretty thorough.

"Top part is an overall opinion of the direction of the city and the
breakdown, followed by the opinions and breakdowns for individuals.
You personally are the last couple of pages."

"I'll get there eventually," I said, closing the folder and setting it

"I can tell you if you'd like."

"And ruin the surprise?"

"You seem to poll best among eighteen to twenty-three year-olds and
people over the age of sixty."

"Best being forty percent compared to the overall thirty-five?"

"Best being that you pull forty-eight percent of the younger group and
just shy of forty percent in the older."


"You can read it for yourself.  Your problem is the other groups.
You're pulled down by the thirty-to-forty year-olds who only give you

"So, why doesn't the Mayor appeal to these people?"

"Do I really have to tell you?"

I smirked.  Fair enough.

"Why don't I?"

"Most don't know you; that's why there's a large number of undecided.
But, those that do know they don't like you generally don't because of
your association with the Mayor or for the same reasons they don't like
the Mayor, don't trust you, don't like what they're hearing, don't see
any real action, and on."

"Little I can do about that but give them time to get to know me."

"Well, your growing cooperation with the police since you came in has
really helped the whole administration out."


"Really," said Cassandra, as she took a drink of her water.  "It's the
only thing that's pulled the Mayor's numbers over twenty and is the
driving factor for why most folks who like you feel they can trust

"And, this is all before the start of yesterday's investigation?"  She
nodded.  "Huh.  But, shouldn't this be standard?  I mean, working with
the police and all, it should be expected."

"But, it hasn't been expected under Romanov, and people are happy to
see it happening."

I sighed and shook my head.

"So, the bare minimum pleases the hell out of these people?" I asked,
as I reached for my water but didn't take it, instead tapping my
fingers on the stem, as I stared through the water.

"Sometimes, all the people want is the bare minimum, especially when
they haven't gotten even that much in a while."

I nodded, her words voicing a thought I'd had for a while now.

"This city deserves more than the bare minimum," I said, still staring
at my glass, thinking out loud.  "Otherwise, what use are the heroes?"

"Are you seriously asking, or is that rhetorical?"

I looked up and saw her smile, a smile that seemed to bring me back to
focus and want to change the subject.

"I've only been here once before in my life," I said, looking around
the restaurant a bit for effect.  Still random glances our way.  Or, I
was being paranoid.  "I was ten or so.  Dinner with one of my father's
co-workers and their family.  Miserable experience.  Their kid was a
year or so older than me and a holy terror.  I mean, why do you bring a
brat into a place like this when you're trying to impress a guy you
work with?"

"Uh huh," Cassandra said, her chin resting in the palm of her hand, her
elbow on the table, her eyes staring at me with a look that said so
much and made me horribly uncomfortable in the best way possible.

"You know," I said, leaning forward. "It's rude to have your elbows on
the table."

"Is it now?"

"It is."

And, we stared at each other for a bit, her with that look, me getting
embarrassed by that look.

"So," I said, leaning back and fiddling with my napkin. "What exactly
is it that the people want?"

"What do you mean?" she asked, sitting upright, her look changing, as I
went back to business.

"Well, the people of Pacific City aren't pleased with the way the
Mayor's handling things; they must have opinions on what he could do
differently.  What does the city want from him?"


I nodded, as I grabbed my water.

"And a city council with power again."

"Another good one," I said, taking a drink and then putting my glass
back down.  "But, let's start with the elections: who would run?  I
mean, Jerrod got into office because no one trusted any of the other
political hacks in this city, and no one's really come up clean enough
to even begin to appeal to the people."

"It doesn't matter," Cassandra said with a slight shake of her head.
"If an election were held today, Romanov would lose against any former
member of the city council he disbanded."

"Any of them?"

"Well, okay, not any, but any of the ones with clout."

"Specifically Johnson, eh?" I asked, getting a hesitant nod out of her.

Frederick Johnson had run against Cliff Jerrod last election cycle and
was soundly beaten after details of his connections with various
questionable characters in Lorrington surfaced.  Nothing really stuck,
but the man was crooked as hell, and everyone believed it.

But, he was the best the city had left.

"You know who got the best numbers in a hypothetical election?"

"You're shitting me."

Her grin widened.

"I am."

"Good God," I said with a huge sigh.  "Don't do that to me."

"But, I think it's a safe bet to say that, at the moment, you are the
most popular person in City Hall."

"Yea, me," I said

Lunch was served.

"And, giving the city council power," I said as the waiter walked away
and she picked up her utensils. "I'll see what I can do."

She paused and gave me a look with a half smirk and shake of her head.

"What, you're just going to walk in there and tell the Mayor how to run
the city?"

I smiled.

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