SHELLY REUBEN: Parking Space: A Love Story - The Plot Thickens. Part 2, Chapter 29

By Shelly Reuben
SHELLY REUBEN: Parking Space: A Love Story - The Plot Thickens. Part 2, Chapter 29

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Parking Place (fiction), part 2 The Plot Thickens

The call to Mayor Chiquita Bamberger from the police commissioner about out-of-control protesters on Chestnut Avenue heralded an end to the comparative serenity that snow had brought to The Big City.

More bad news came to the mayor’s office via her nephew Amos Goode, who had returned Burgess Meekly’s call and was told about the events occurring on Chestnut Avenue. Added to which was the kidnapping and/or rescue of their new friend Lilly Snow.

Immediately after Amos hung up on Burgess, his phone rang again.

“Yeah?” Amos barked into the receiver.

“Yeah? Yeah?” the mayor’s voice responded. “Who taught you to answer a telephone like that?”

“Sorry, Aunt Chicky.”

“Never mind, Amos. I just got an important call.”

“So did I.”

“Just now Miracle Elsie Abbot,” the mayor steamrolled, “a 311 Hotline department head, told me that she was watching the evening news, and a man being interviewed at the scene of a riot on Chestnut Avenue is the same as the man who called her on Monday morning. His name is Hector Van Hooft, and his gripe was that he could not get into what he called ‘his’ parking space.”

“Where on Chestnut, Aunt Chicky?”

“Fifteen hundred block, between 83rd and 84th. Van Hooft told Mrs. Abbot that ‘his’ space is surrounded by an ‘invisible force field,’ and he accused the City of…I don’t know what he accused us of, but he demanded that we…I’m not sure what he demanded that we do, but Miracle has it all on tape, and she’s on her way here now so that we can listen. She is one hundred percent certain that the guy who called on Monday is the same as the guy she just saw interviewed on TV.”

“What interview? What TV?”

“Haven’t you seen the evening news?”

“No.”

“Well watch it as soon as I hang up.”

“Will do,” Amos said, paused a moment in thought, and asked, “Who is this Miracle woman? Is she credible?”

“She’s worked for the City for over sixty years, which in itself is a Miracle, so I’m assuming she has super powers.”

“Good grief, Aunt Chicky. She must be over a hundred years old.”

“Eighty-two. And sharp as a tack.” Chiquita Bamberger looked at her watch. “She’ll be at my office around six. I want you here, too. And Noah Pitt.”

Another phone line began to ring.

“I’ve got to put you on hold for a second, Amos. Don’t go anywhere.”

Three minutes later, she returned to her nephew on the phone.

“That was Maid Marion,” Mayor Chiquita Bamberger said. “She rescued three people from the rioters on Chestnut Avenue. One, a girl new to the city named Lily Show. Two, Daisy something-or-another, a production assistant for a documentary film producer named Cadogan McClure. McClure supposedly engineered the protest and the riot. Three, Jimmy Christmas, a TV reporter who was covering the press conference today.”

What press conference?”

“The one called by Hector Van Hooft.”

Amos said nothing.

His aunt filled the silence. “Van Hooft is the man Miracle Elsie Abbot saw on TV. The one who’d called the 311 hotline to complain about…”

“Oh, right,” the Director of the Department of Public Works signified his belated understanding. After another short pause, he said, “Can you do me a favor, Aunt Chickie?”

“Sure. What?”

“Call Maid Marion, and have her get everything she can from the people she snatched off Chestnut Avenue: the production assistant, the TV reporter, and Lilly Snow. The more we know about what they saw, heard, said, and did, the better we can prepare for what’s coming next.”

Next,” Mayor Bamberger repeated apprehensively. “You think there will be a next?”

“I do. And we don’t want it to be dictated by this Hooligan McLure character.”

“Cadogan McClure.”

“Whatever. Noah and I will be at your office by six. We’ll listen to the audio of the 311 call, and I’ll tell you what I learned from Burgess Meekly when he called.”

“Who is Burgess Meekly.?”

“Lilly Snow’s next door neighbor and eyewitness to the events that just occurred on Chestnut Avenue.”

“When did he call?”

“Right before you called me.”

“Why didn’t you tell me this earlier?”

“Because you wouldn’t stop talking.”

“Okay,” Chiquita Bamberger, responded. And added firmly. “You’ll tell me what I have to know. I’ll do what I have to do. We’ll meet with Noah and Mrs. Abbot. And…” The mayor paused dramatically.

“Then what?”

“Then we take control of this mess.”

Copyright © 2021. Shelly Reuben. Originally published in The Evening Sun, Norwich, NY - evesun.com Shelly Reuben’s books have been nominated for Edgar, Prometheus, and Falcon awards. For more about her books, visit www.shellyreuben.com.