Cordrey walked down Main Street like he owned the town. He didn't. Not really, but the way things worked in this little corner of the world, he might as well have. Borgan Falls was in a remote part of the state. Cordrey had connections with the County Sheriff's office, and that was just as high as control went out here.
If Cordrey was okay with what you wanted to do, it would be okay. He'd see to it that no trouble came your way. The State didn't pay attention. No real trouble happened out here to make their little town cross the governor's radar.
"Oh, Mr. Mathers, do you have a minute?" An attractive brunette was speed walking to catch up to him, her cowboy boots clacking on the pavement. Cordrey turned with a smile. "Always a minute for you, Gina."
She returned the smile with no thought and reached into her back jeans pocket. "Thanks, Mr. Mathers." She had pulled out a folded piece of paper. "For your next campaign." She handed him the folded check. "From my husband and I."
"Why, thank you Gina. And thank Paul for me. Elections always pop up faster than I expect." He chuckled in that phony "someone's watching" way. "I appreciate your support."
"You have the support of everyone at 'Heels Up', too, Mr. Mathers. Don't forget we're having that party this weekend. You and Connie are welcome as always." It was a formality. Cordrey and Connie Mathers would never be seen in Gina's bar on the outskirts of town. But the "party" was after legal opening hours and Cordrey would keep the officials cool about it.
He didn't know his own son was expected to be there. His son was part of the MDMA supply chain throughout the region. Dad was so busy accepting bribes and greasing palms that he didn't know what happened in his own house. Most others in town knew his wife was taking her own bribes and favors, but she kept that from him. Squirreling it away, Gina thought, but for what no one knew.
Further down the street, a greying woman with ample hips under her peasant skirt popped out from a store front as he passed. "Mr. Mayor, please! Five minutes of your time!" She had harassed him every day this week, and at least once a week for over a month prior. Usually he didn't stop to chat.
Cordrey plastered his most sympathetic look on his face - he thought. "Mrs. Plummer, yes. I have just a moment before I'm due in chambers." He called his office "his chambers" even though he wasn't a judge, not a lawyer, never majored in political science. He was good at the game of Politics though, and therefore had become Mayor Mathers.
His smarmy smile didn't fool her for a minute. "Mr. Mayor, you must do something about the vandalism in this town!" Mrs. Plummer was the proud owner of the only IGA in town. If you needed groceries in quick order, you went to her. For high volume shopping most people drove the 15 miles to the box store in the next town. Everyone utilized the IGA, but her business was one of the holdouts that didn't grease the Mayor's palm, and therefore her concerns were often unheard.
"Mrs. Plummer, the police are quite busy and understaffed due to budget cuts. If you catch the vandals on camera, maybe we can do something about it. Without any evidence, it's a bit of a witch hunt, don't you agree?" His eyebrows raised in feigned concern. She sighed and folded her arms, frowning. "Have a nice day now, Mrs. Plummer." Cordrey tipped his hat to her and continued up the street to his office.
He was not accosted by Mrs. Plummer on the street anymore for the next three months.
One night at dinner his wife dropped the bomb that she'd heard someone was opposing him in the next year's election. "Connie, my sweet, my most illustrious campaign manager, tell me, who will I be running against this year?"
Connie was cutting her steak, looking down at her plate as she said, "Um, Geraldine Plummer, actually."
He burst out laughing. "Wow. That relic? We'll bury her."
Connie raised a forkful of meat to her mouth. "Not 'we', my sweet. I'm managing her campaign this time."
The instant frown was a shadow of the shock he felt. "What? No you're not. You're my campaign manager." She was a rain-maker, very good at what she did. She had managed higher level campaigns before she fell in love with Cordrey and opted for this rural life, managing his campaigns and household for years.
"I'm your wife. I'm Geraldine's campaign manager." She chewed a moment, looking at him, then smiled. "Don't be offended. It's not personal; it's politics."
Thanks for visiting my #AtoZChallenge! All month I'll be writing flash fiction, with the theme "Audience Participation".
Now it's your turn, lovely audience member. Do you have a writing prompt to suggest? Don't worry about choosing a letter of the alphabet, just leave me a word, a thought, a place, a concept... anything! and I'll add it to the list.
My "Personal Politics" story came from the prompt "Politics" provided by Iain Kelly of IainKellyWriting, in a comment left on my M post, here. I never talk politics, so I was hesitant to take on the subject, but I'm letting my readers call the shots!