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Mike Sheldon knew as soon as he opened the door to his bedroom that there would be a piece of paper on his bed. At the top it would say, "Suggested Action Items for Tuesday."
He grinned. In his desk was a piece of paper titled, "Suggested Action Items for Retirement," and #1 on the list was something unspeakable he was going to do to his assistant. He'd given it to Susan up while Dennis Moran was in the office, so she'd had to try to keep a straight face while typing it.
He already knew what was going to be #1 on this list, though. It had been the same thing for the last three days. Find Ben Stein's daughter.
He shook his head. He had an entire city to run and he was supposed to worry about one AWOL college student. Carly Stein had decided to quit college in the middle of the fall semester, move to the big city and have some fun. What the hell was wrong with that?
He shrugged, sitting down and kicking off his shoes. He would do something about it first thing in the morning, at least make a visible effort. Benjamin Stein was one Mike Sheldon's biggest supporters (one of the "Dirty Dozen," as they were called in the papers). Ben Stein had delivered big bucks and big votes in both campaigns. When the more liberal of the city's two tabloids had seemed to be favoring his opponent the first time around, Ben Stein had quietly reminded him how much advertising his clothing stores bought in a year, both in the paper and on their affiliated local television and radio stations. And his arm-twisting had helped to defeat the term limits bill.
No, Mike Sheldon didn't mind doing a favor for Ben Stein. He just minded how stupid it was. So, the girl was having a fling. There was no indication she was in any kind of trouble. It wasn't like she'd been kidnapped or something.
He barked a laugh as he emptied his pockets on the little table next to his easy chair. He knew what Ben was really worried about. He was scared silly his daughter was getting some uncircumcised dick. That would be bad enough, but the word might get out and then he wouldn't be able to marry her off to that pimply kid from the family with all the discount electronics stores.
Old World morals and New World business both demanded that this girl stay at least reasonably pure. Sheldon shrugged, taking off his pants and draping them over the chair. He'd have a talk with the girl when they found her, and they wouldn't tell her father any more than he needed to know. That would be the best for everybody.
It was a basic misunderstanding of how you raise children, of course. If you put them in too small a box, they break out. It's part of growing up. You have to give them some space, or at least let them have the feeling of space. There wasn't much that Micki Sheldon did at college that her father didn't find out about, even though she was on the other side of the continent. But he didn't interfere, and he wouldn't unless she was in real danger. He'd almost acted when she'd dated that drug dealer, but she'd broken it off herself. She was a level-headed girl, she was just letting off steam, and she still had plenty of time to change her mind about law school.
Then, as he got into bed, he realized he hadn't read the rest of the "Action Items." He put his reading glasses back on and picked up the piece of paper.
He put the paper down on his bedside table and put his glasses on top of it. He shut off the light.
He would allow the protest about the pirate radio station on Friday morning. Stop it, and that Prentice guy becomes a martyr because it looks like he's been telling the truth all along. Besides, it was going to snow all night and then the temperature was going to drop. He couldn't imagine that there'd be much of a turn-out.
He'd keep them away from the actual storefront where the station had been, though. The door was all busted open and the window smashed. If they looked at that, it would only get them more worked up. He'd move them around the corner or something.
find out what happens next