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Thursday, July 26, 2012

        Despite waking to gray skies that promised a steady onslaught  of rain and multiple achey joints, Tessa Peppers was in a surprisingly good mood.  Thinking about it, she could barely remember a day that felt so right.  As she scrambled the eggs for a leisurely breakfast, her head sketched mental, day-dream plans for the memorial park.  She wondered how long it would take to clear away the rubble, and whether they would be able to break ground within the next few weeks.  The election was only seven months away, and there was still so much to do.

        She filled the dog's water bowl, and scooped out some kibble into the matching dish.  "Here boy, breakfast is ready."  A small, West Highland terrier padded into the room, his nails clicking on the tile floor.  Sir Basil Wrath-bone III, Bass for short, wagged his tail expectantly, and looked at his mistress with brown, pleading eyes.  "What's the matter, boy?  Not in the mood for dry this morning?"  As if he understood each and every word, the little dog set to yapping.  Tessa bent down and scratched the pup behind the ears.  "Well...alright then...I guess a special treat's in order.  After all, if all goes as planned, you'll be the First Dog of Dollyville by next April."  She chuckled at her own joke, and poked around in the refrigerator, removing a chunk of deli liver sausage.  Cutting it into little bits, she scrapped the meat into the grateful dog's bowl.  "There you go, boy.  Bon Appetit!"

      Having taken care of Bass, Mrs. Peppers grabbed a yellow legal pad off the counter, and settled down to her own breakfast.  Between bites of toast and eggs, she crossed off several lines from Monday, and began to add add to her column headed with Tuesday's date.  The Picnic Committee meeting yesterday afternoon had gone exceedingly well.  She even thought she had made some head way with that stubborn, young priest, although one could never tell with the Irish.  Her husband had always said that once an Irishman dug their heels in, there was no getting through to reason.

     The pig-headed Father was, for the most part, the least of her problems.  The big obstacle had always been the property on Front Street.  With it's proximity to the train, and it's location near he center of town, it was prime real estate, and a perfect location for her memorial park.  If that damn woman hadn't been so unreasonable, the park would be near finished, and her position as mayor set in stone.  As it was, things had gotten so... off schedule.

      But now, that was all water under the bridge.  The sister was looking for a quick sale, and was willing to sell at a greatly reduced price if Tessa could produce a substantial deposit... in cash.   With $80,000 in the memorial fund, it wouldn't be a problem.  The rest she'd mortgage against her home, and   worry about what to do next when she was firmly ensconced as mayor.  It felt good to finally see things moving along as they should.  She had never planned for issues to get so out of hand, but damned if she was going let anything stop her now.  Not after she had worked so long, and so hard.  She had payed her dues.  Now it was time to start collecting.

       The buzzer on the stove timer went off with a shrill whine.  Tessa pushed the legal pad to the side, and checked the clock above the fridge.  It was just about 7:00 AM, and she only had a few minutes to get things ready.  Giddy as a young girl, she grabbed the binoculars off the kitchen counter, and dragged the kitchen chair to the window.  The little voice in the back of her head whispered at the huge  risk she was taking.  Getting caught again would surely cause additional problems.  But as usual, the heart pounding rush she felt won over the nagging doubt. "You deserve this, Tessa."  she whispered.  Seating herself in a comfortable position, elbows resting on the window sill, she pointed the expensive binoculars at a 2nd floor window next door.  As if on cue, the unsuspecting neighbor wandered into his bathroom, unawares that he was, once again, her morning's entertainment.

        "Well...a grand morning to you, Mr. Scutney."  The old woman held her breath as the man in the window shed his boxers, and leaned forward in her chair.  "And don't we look fine and fit today." She let out her breath with a contented sigh, and smiled wide.   When things were good with Tessa Peppers, the world was one happy place.


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