The Eternal Mayor - Part III

The next month's meeting, however, was the high-water mark of Battling Bob's political career. The public attended in force, and it was a happy crowd. Some wonderful things had happened in Walnutwood between meetings. Every streetlight in town was working…not a corner of Walnutwood was left in darkness. Streets were clean, many potholes were filled, and shiny new stop signs could be found at every dangerous intersection. The people of Walnutwood were overjoyed, and one after another they stood to thank their nervous and befuddled town council. They, too, had seen the wave of improvements which swept through town virtually overnight. They were befuddled because they had no idea what happened, and nervous because they had no idea how much it would all cost. Only Bob seemed at ease, and he was taking long pulls from a flask, something everyone pretended not to notice.

The first citizen to speak was Betty Sidewell, the elderly woman who'd complained about her burned-out streetlight at the previous meeting.

"I'd like to thank George Witherspoon and his crew for coming out last Saturday to fix the light," she said with a wide smile. "It was a wonderful thing to do. I can walk my precious little Patches now without tripping on the sidewalk."

"They came out when?" sputtered Big Jim Clancy.

"Why last Saturday, right before lunch!"

"Saturday? You're sure it was Saturday?"

Betty nodded, and walked a big platter of cookies up to front of the room and handed them to Clancy. "Could you see the boys get these?"

"How long were they there?" asked Lucas Winthorpe, who was quickly ciphering all the overtime in his head.

"About four hours, I suppose," Betty replied.

"Four hours to change a bulb!" Winthorpe cried.

"Heavens no," Betty laughed. "They had to fill some potholes, sweep the street, and clear out the blocked sewer grate around the corner on Elm Street."

"George," Fred Appleton cried, "Explain this! Who authorized all this overtime?"

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