carly part four: uncle mike

This story started here.

It had started to snow.

"Jesus, Mike, put on a hat at least."

Mike Sheldon didn't even react to this. He just stood on the roof of City Hall, his arms folded and his scarf moving slightly in the chill breeze as he smelled the clean, cold air.

It was after ten, so the curfew was in effect, and there was nothing moving that he could see except for the flakes of snow falling slowly to the ground. In two hours it would be midnight and the blackout would start. Sometimes, when he was up that late, he came up here to watch that as well. It was pretty impressive to see the whole city go dark in the space of a few minutes.

The Mansion House where the mayors usually lived had been bombed about six months before, and he had moved into a basement room here in City Hall while it was being repaired. But, during that time his wife, Gloria, had finally died of the cancer which had been taking her with agonizing slowness for two years. After that, he couldn't see any reason to move out of his basement room and back to Mansion House even when the repairs were completed. He was comfortable in his room, he had his jazz records, and his radio for baseball games in the summer. His daughter Micki was away at college. He supposed he'd move back when she came home that summer, but summer was a long time away.

"Chief, I brought your hat."

He turned around, suddenly aware that things had been happening. His assistant had called down to his secretary, Susan, and she had brought up his hat.

It was a lot of foolishness, of course, but people started acting strange when you were the boss. He'd long ago resigned himself to it. He took his hat and put it on, but his mood was ruined and he turned and climbed down the stairs to his office. Susan came down after him, blowing on her hands, and he watched her as she pulled off her wool hat and shook out her long, dark hair.

"Why are you still here?" he asked.

She shrugged. "Dennis thought you might want something."

Mike Sheldon shook his head. Dennis Moran, his assistant, was becoming almost too much. "Don't even take off your coat," he said wearily. "I'll get a cruiser to take you home. And from now on, don't stay late unless I ask you to."

She nodded, smiling, and unzipped her long coat so she could sit down. He pressed the intercom on his desk as she slipped off her shoes, wiping the snow from them. "Dennis?" he called, and then continued without giving the man a chance to speak. "Get a cruiser to take you and Susan home." He released the button as the other man tried to reply.

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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