Bakers Dozen

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Bakers Dozen

From the offices of The Honorable Curtis ‘Fitz’ Slocum

Two Rivers Mayor and Acting Chief of Police

February 13, 2004


Kindly take care of the attached.


Mayor Slocum

Lester ‘Porker’ Hogg ran his thumb over the embossed seal in the mayor’s expensive letterhead and cursed under his breath. The memo was dated the previous Friday and had taken the entire weekend to make its way across the hall from the mayor’s office. ‘Fitz’ as he preferred to be called, was the only one in town who still used the nickname, ‘Porker’ when addressing Lester.

The nickname originated 20 years before when the two had played together on the last football team the town had fielded. Thinking of that fateful day in the shower, Lester shuddered. ‘Fitz’, a 200 pound tackle, eyeing Lester, a 135 pound guard, had pointed out that Lester had a hard on. “That’s a porker,” Fitz had declared.

Like the raised letters on the mayor’s new stationery, that day in 1984 was indelibly etched in Porker’s mind. In addition to being the last football game to be played in Two Rivers it was the last day either of the boys would see their fathers alive. Porker’s father, as a member of the fire department, perished in the fire that leveled the mill, leaving only the irregular foundation at the edge of the mill pond where two rivers came together. Curtis Slocum Senior, manager of the Fitz Yarn Mill, committed suicide that same night.

Until the night of the fire Fitz and Porker had only been acquaintances. Coming from different economic spectrums and different parts of town, they had little in common. But the fire brought them together; they now had something in common. They vowed to return after college to look after their widowed mothers and to look after the town.

Over the next four years they remained friends, seeing one another during school vacations to renew their vow. Rebecca Fitz Slocum was financially independent and did not need much looking after but Porker’s mother, Mary Ann Hogg, was getting by on her deceased husband’s small pension. Fitz spent his summers relaxing while Porker did repairs on his family’s old home.

The mill fire had taken its toll. The town they returned to was quite different from the town they had left only 4 years before. Mill workers had moved away, reducing the population from 2000 to 1000 and reducing the need for most businesses in town. All that remained was one general store, one bar, one church and one real estate firm. The high school was closed and the fire department was now manned by volunteers. Two Rivers was becoming a ghost town.

Fitz had a job, he would take over his mother’s business interests. Porker had no prospects for work but he intended to fulfill the commitment he had made to his mother and to Fitz. He started by painting the old house he and his mother would share. There was no other work in town. Banks had foreclosed on many of the homes vacated by those who had moved away. The business district was in shambles. Prospects were dim.

Just as Porker was putting the finishing touches on the paint job, Fitz was elected mayor of Two Rivers, an unpaid part time position. At his first meeting with the board of selectmen, Fitz told the three men of the vow he had made with his friend, Lester ‘Porker’ Hogg, their plan to look after the town. Young Fitz Slocum was congenial fellow. Even with the town’s meager budget, he convinced the board of selectmen to hire Porker as his administrator. Like the town’s budget, the salary would be meager.

They made a strange pair as they surveyed the rubble and made elaborate plans to revitalize their home town. Fitz had gained forty pounds while in college. Porker had grown a handle bar mustache and gained 6 pounds. Seeing to his mother’s business interests required frequent travel, Fitz left Porker to ‘handle’ things.

When Fitz married in 1990, Porker was his best man. As the years passed, the mayor and the selectmen placed more and more responsibility upon Porker. In order to save money, positions were phased out until Porker became the town’s only full time employee. He prepared the town budget, issued tax bills and attempted to collect taxes on real estate that had been vacated and abandoned.

He wore a number of hats. As collector of taxes, Porker foreclosed on property with outstanding taxes. As building inspector he proclaimed the property uninhabitable and issued contracts to dismantle buildings that were deemed hazardous. As street commissioner, he often made the decision to close streets rather than spend the town’s funds on repairs. After a time he issued contracts to have them dismantled.

The mayor and the three selectmen were happy with Porker’ ingenuity and the way he conducted the town’s business. Porker was a devoted son, making his mother as comfortable as possible on his scanty salary. He devoted his time and energy to a declining town.

Then, three things happened to turn Porker’s life upside down. A four lane highway that şişli escort would come very near Two Rivers was built. The state declared an audit of Two Rivers’ books. About this time, Porker’s mother died.

Having fulfilled the commitment to his widowed mother, Porker decided to resign from his position and made plans to leave Two Rivers. By going elsewhere he could easily triple or quadruple his present salary. He would get away from his home town, possibly meet someone with whom he could settle down. At the next selectmen’s meeting he gave notice that a replacement should be found because he would be leaving. The selectmen said they would accept his resignation as soon as the audit was completed.

Irregularities were found. The audit took years to complete, keeping Porker chained to the job. Seventy-five percent of the contracts had been issued to one Seth Tucker, a general contractor. The city council pleaded ignorance to this, saying that Lester Hogg had awarded all of the contracts in question. Porker explained that Seth Tucker was the only contractor with a dump truck and jack hammer who would bid on the jobs. All other contractors had left town during the real estate boon of the eighties.

By 2003, with the new highway completed, Two Rivers had suddenly become a very desirable place to live, being between two cities that offered employment, it was a convenient commute to both. Houses were in demand. Porker had issued 250 building permits and the town’s population had doubled. Seth Tucker became a prominent developer of new sub divisions.

Now, in 2004, the audit complete, there was talk of hiring a town manager and Porker was packing his bags. He rubbed the Mayor’s seal on the expensive stationery, typed by the mayor’s new full time secretary who had been too lazy to walk the memo across the hall. Instead, the memo had gone through the mail department which was operated one hour each day by the new part time janitor.

The attachment, a pink telephone message, had been stapled to the memo.

Mrs. Margaret Potash had called the mayor’s office at 4:30 p.m. the previous Friday to complain about her house number. There was a telephone number and an address, 13 Cornbramble Road.

Cornbramble was a Seth Tucker development. Porker had been there often to perform inspections as the 25 homes were constructed. He recalled a conversation with Seth who wanted to know how to number the houses. Porker had said to number them one through twenty-five with odd numbers on the left hand side of the street. There would be no need to skip numbers for future use because the town’s new zoning by-laws were very strict with regard to lot sizes. Porker foresaw no additional homes on this street. He also recalled that Seth had bought the land, a corn field with brambles along the back fence, from one of the selectmen.

Now that new town business demanded they meet weekly, the selectmen had voted themselves a raise in pay. Porker had been excluded from the pay raise because he would be leaving soon.

“Mrs. Potash? This is Lester Hogg, I’m the street commissioner of Two Rivers. The mayor asked me to look into your complaint.” Porker had chosen the title that seemed most appropriate to the complaint as he understood it.

“Mr. Hogg? You’re the street commissioner?” The voice was soft spoken, timid.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“I was expecting to hear from the Mayor.”

“Mayor Slocum asked me to see if I can help you Mrs. Potash.”

“It’s my house number, Mister Hogg. When I bought it there was no number but now that I’m moved in….will…it’s a number I just can’t live with.”

Porker looked at the telephone message again and noted the address: 13 Cornbramble. “Mrs. Potash, the houses on that street have been assigned numbers. Your house is in the center of the block. There’s nothing I can do about it now. I hope you can understand.”

“NO, I CAN NOT UNDERSTAND,” the voice had suddenly taken a gruff tone. “You have to do something, if it means assigning new numbers, so be it.”

“There’s really nothing I can do, Mrs. Potash,” Porker said calmly, trying to console the new resident of Two Rivers.”

“You may not have heard of me, Mr. Hogg, I am a reporter for the Springfield Times. I can make life very difficult for you and your fair city. You may also want to advise Mayor Slocum that I’m angry that he did not return my call.”

Porker recalled the name. “Maggie Potash” was a hard hitting reporter for her paper. Springfield was the city to the east, recently connected to Two Rivers by the new highway. ‘Indeed, she could make life difficult,’ he thought. But he would be leaving soon, with the audit completed the selectmen could not hold him any longer. He was tempted to tell ‘Maggie’ what she could do with her house number.

“I have a condition known as Triskaidekaphobia,” her voice had calmed, she was pleading. “Mister Hogg, I can’t go out of my house, I tried. When I backed my car down my driveway and saw the number on the side of my house, I froze. Mr. Hogg, kağıthane escort I’m a prisoner in my own home. I can’t go to work.”

‘If she can’t go to work she can’t make life difficult for me,” Porker was thinking to himself.

“I may not be able to go to my office but I can write my column here at home,” she said as if she was reading his mind. “I assure you, Mister Hogg, if something is not done in the next fifteen minutes, my column tomorrow morning will be your worst nightmare.”

“If I may be so presumptuous, it sounds to me that you need help, Mrs. Potash,” Porker offered.

“I certainly do need help. I can’t leave my house. I’ve waited here all weekend for your mayor to call. There is nothing left to eat: I’ve run out of food. Yes, Mister Hogg, you can help. Bring me some food and while you are here, take that number off of my house.”

Porker considered the predicament. He could not remove the house number. Town By-laws prohibited such action. He was still considering his options when a stern voice interrupted his thoughts.

“Mister Hogg?”

“Yes, Mrs. Potash.”

“You’ve wasted five minutes. You have ten minutes.”

Porker slammed down the telephone. No female reporter was going to threaten him. Yet, what if his name appeared in her column the next morning? What if the selectmen blamed him for the bad publicity? Could they make him stay until the situation was corrected?

A sudden thunderstorm slowed Porker down as he drove to the only store in town that sold groceries. He dashed through the store, picking up bread, milk and eggs. By his estimate he had less than five minutes to get to 13 Cornbramble Road. As he pulled up to the garage a sinking feeling came over him; he was late.

The side door opened and there she was. Maggie Potash was a striking woman, more beautiful than the caricature he had seen above her column in the Springfield Times. Long dark hair flowed easily around her angelic features, the soft jawbone, the punkish nose, the succulent lips and the dark amber eyes.

Fascinated by the creature in the doorway, Porker stood in the downpour, getting more drenched.

“Come in, you won’t harm anything, it’s just the mud room,” Maggie insisted.

She took the groceries from him while Porker stood on the ceramic tiled floor, dripping, watching her move. Her lithe upper body swelled to a pronounced sway at the hips, filling out the black matador pants she wore. Returning to the hall, she saw how soaked he was, water dripping from his wet clothes.

“I’ll get a towel,” she offered. He watched her move again, spellbound, the cheeks of her ass accentuated against the fine fabric.

Handing him the towel, “Give me your clothes, I’ll throw them in the dryer,” she ordered.

Porker looked at her in disbelief. He was a public servant, here to avert what could easily render a black eye to the town. He had brought her something to eat. Somehow, he had to explain that he could not remove the number from her house, then he would leave.

She insisted. “Give me you pants and shirt, Mister Hogg, I’ll dry them for you.”

“Mrs. Potash, I need to speak with you for a few minutes, then I’ll be on my way. My clothes would just get wet again when I go back outside.”

“Give me those God Dammed clothes!” Maggie Potash spoke with a resolute tone that could not be mistaken. She was determined to get his pants off.

“Maybe your husband has something I could put on,” Porker suggested, thinking that Maggie would get the hint and leave while he removed his clothes.

“I have none of my husband’s clothes in this house,” Maggie said, watching him reluctantly begin to unbutton his shirt she thought, ‘his clothes wouldn’t fit you anyway.’

He handed her the shirt, revealing fine blond hair on his hollow chest. Drips of water were even falling from his handle-bar mustache onto the mud room floor. Porker had only gained six pounds since playing high school football. She did a double take as the pants came down. What is that between those chicken legs?

“Can I get some breakfast started for you while you dry the clothes?” Porker asked, hoping he could take refuge behind the kitchen counter, thankful that she hadn’t demanded that he give her his jockey shorts.

“What did you bring me?” Maggie called from the laundry room.

“Bread, milk and eggs, how do you like them?” he answered, squishing his way to the open kitchen.

“Ah, scrambled will be fine, I’m starving.”

She laughed when she saw that he had dawned one of her frilly aprons. It hid his front but from the rear it gave her a perfect view of his narrow hips and that ‘THING’ seemed to be growing between his skinny legs. She sat at the counter, trying to respect his privacy but sneaking peeks at his bare back and how his prick stretched the tiny jockey shorts.

“Are you socks wet? I can still add them to the dryer,” she offered.

“No, they’re fine,” he said, hoping she wouldn’t hear the squish in his shoes every time taksim escort he moved.

“What about your shorts, did they get wet?” she said, just to see how this man who had taken over her kitchen would react. She was curious about him. She had not seen a wedding band, ‘no wonder,’ what woman would want that handle-bar mustache and those toothpick legs. Still, there was something about him that fascinated her. As a writer she took notice of the most minute detail. She wondered if she could have noticed the detail between his legs if she hadn’t got him to take off his pants.

Porker sat a plate of scrambled eggs with toast on the counter in front of Maggie. Then he poured a cup of coffee, saying that he would go check on the dryer. She watched his skinny ass as he walked toward the sound of the dryer, still wearing the apron, squishing his way.

His wallet and comb had been laid out on top of the dryer. While waiting for the cycle to finish, he combed his hair.

“You have a crumb on your lip,” he pointed out, taking a seat on a tall stool next to Maggie. Fully clothed, Porker felt confident. He would deal with this woman and be on his way.

“Where?” she asked, turning to him. She had wolfed down the eggs and toast too fast, hungrily disregarding her Miss Manners training.

“Right…,” he said, moving his thumb over her lip to flick the crumb away.

“Do you always make breakfast for your constituents?”

“My job is not an elected office. I don’t have constituents but I don’t mind cooking for a beautiful woman.”

“Are you flirting with me? You don’t actually think that a carefully worded compliment will deflect my charge against this town do you? I would never have bought this house if I had known the house number was going to be thi….thir….thirt….that number.”

“I guess Seth didn’t think about putting the house numbers on until the other day when he asked me how to number them.”

“He asked you about the numbers? That means you’re responsible for giving me thir…thir…the number. I’ll be sure to name you in the law suit.”

He swiveled the seat to face her, “law suit? you can’t do that, I was only recently cleared from an allegation. I….I’m….I’m leaving here….”

Maggie turned to face him, placing her knee between his legs, a toe on the bottom rung of his stool. “Oh I can, Mister Hogg, and I will if you don’t make this right by giving this house another number.”

Porker winced, watching a sly smile appear on her lips and thinking, ‘she’s about to kick me in the nuts.’

“You really should get some help with your….your…your condition, Mrs. Potash.”

“I have help, Mister Hogg, I have you. Now if you will excuse me I have a column to write.”

Head down, Porker started toward the door.

“Mister Hogg?”

“Yes, Mrs. Potash?” Porker said turning.

“I can get by with eggs for lunch but for dinner, unless you can have the number changed by then, I think I would like something more substantial. Why don’t you surprise me?”

Brenda Mae, the mayor’s new full time secretary, did not know when Fitz could be expected. Brenda Mae was new in town, having moved into one of the new homes with an ‘uncle’. She tantalized Porker with her long fingernails and sexy voice.

Porker telephoned Seth Tucker to advise him that the odd numbered house numbers on Cornbramble would need to be changed. The Potash home would be assigned number 15, number 15 would be assigned number 17 and so on. Seth was dubious, saying he didn’t think that could be done.

Porker explained the problem in detail, even telling Seth about Maggie’s condition, Triskaidekaphobia.

“A what?” Seth asked.

“She has a phobia about the number 13. She can’t leave her home because she can’t get past the number without having some sort of attack.

“That’s simple, we’ll change the number,” offered Seth.

“To what?” Porker ask, wishing it was that simple.

“Well, you’re the one that assigned the numbers. I don’t see how you can expect me to take care of your mistakes,” said Seth.

“Seth, you should have had those numbers on the houses long before they were sold. Mrs. Potash says she would never have bought the house if she had known it was number 13.”

“Sorry, Mr. Hogg. I’m very busy getting another development under way. You’re going to have to dig yourself out of this mess.”

‘I don’t recall issuing a permit for that road you’re having built,’ Porker thought as he hung up the phone. ‘And you’re going to need building permits for each of those new homes you are about to start. I hope I’m still here when you decide to come by with the applications. Maybe I’ll stick around.’

Porker spent every spare moment trying to contact the new Cornbramble home owners with odd house numbers from 15 to 25. Of the six houses, he was only able to speak to three, all housewives who said their husbands would have to decide if their house numbers could be changed. The wives were not keen about the idea, having ordered new stationary and given their new addresses to friends. There was also the utilities to consider. Mrs. Combs at number 21 foresaw a mix-up with bills going to the wrong address. “I don’t want to get the electric bill for that big house next door,” she said.

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