Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Bookends (01/30/14)
TITLE: Rumor Has It
By Brenda Rice
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Mayor Ima Crook, a lifelong resident of Shadyside, USA graduated top of her class, but she was always plagued by suspicion of wrong doing. Once during her reign as Miss Shadyside rumors had her helping herself to funds she raised for a local charity. I guess she thought charity began at home.
Shortly after her inauguration Ima was accused of using city equipment for personal gain. Seems she commandeered the city’s Welcome Wagon to haul mushroom compost to her vegetable garden. But after weeks of heated discussions at city council meetings, Bonnie Sue head of the Welcome Wagon committee gave up the fight. The gossip mill was sure Bonnie Sue was paid off with a load of compost for her own garden.
Midway through her term Ima was accused of discriminating against men. She had hired women for every position that became available. The street department, sanitation department, police and fire departments were now mostly women. To make matters worse, all men still working for the city were harassed constantly.
One man reported to the daily paper “Rumor Has It” how he was forced to dig ditches by hand in freezing temperatures while the mayor watched. Mayor Crook defended herself by explaining the ditch digger was out of service and the drains from the jail’s toilets were frozen. She had no other choice. As for watching him, she was concerned about his welfare so she followed along in her SUV.
A reporter from the daily paper stated in his weekly article that he felt the mayor had been less than honest about her motive and concern. He said he knew for a fact the drains were not frozen because they had backed up in his yard that same day.
The day after that article ran in the paper a help wanted sign appeared in the window of the newspaper building. Rumor Jones was hired immediately. The sign also read, “female only”.
A year later, Mayor Crook held a press conference to address her progress during her first term. “Ladies, women and girls, since I took office Shadyside has hired 20 women to fill positions formerly dominated by men. I’m happy to report our sanitation department now sports bright pink coveralls, pink caps, pink gloves, pink boots and bedazzled sunglasses.
“Our street department’s uniforms are pink skinny jeans with pink and white polka dot shirts, pink boots and bedazzled sunglasses. Our police officers are wearing pink skinny jeans, fuchsia button down shirts with coordinating pink leather belts and holsters. And pink pearl handle revolvers are now standard issue to all officers.”
“Your Honor, may I ask a question?” Rumor Jones, reporter with the daily paper called out.
“What is it Rumor?”
“How are the male police officers accepting the new uniforms?”
“Not very well I’m afraid and finding skinny jeans in pink for men is proving quite a challenge.”
“How do you plan to handle the situation?”
“To be fair, I think all the remaining male officers should be terminated and their positions given to women. That would solve the uniform situation immediately.
“At this time, I would like to address something the media has said about my political career. If you read the papers or watch the news, I’m sure you have heard the talking heads (male) saying that my term as mayor has been bookended by crisis. That is ridiculous. Shadyside is not in crisis and neither is my administration.
“One more thing, if your husbands are involved in those picket lines around the city hall and I find out about it I will have you put in jail. Women must stick together. If you can’t control your own husband . . . well . . . shame, shame, shame.”
“Mayor Crook may I ask something?”
“If you must, Rumor.”
“Isn’t that your husband leading the picket line?”
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