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Big Al's Last Blast

28 pages27 minutes


February is the month to celebrate dead presidents. Frank wanted to celebrate a few more presidents himself, especially the green, paper presidents of Jackson, Grant and Franklin.
February was a slow month in the mortuary business. For Frank’s funeral home, February was deathly quiet, literally, that is, until the untimely demise of one of the more notorious, local dignitaries came to pass. Frank took special pleasure in the death of Al Swanson, the sixteen-term mayor of their community.
Al was a tyrant. In a larger metropolitan area they might have politely called him an autocrat. In a third world country he would have been a dictator or even an iron-fisted, authoritarian despot. But in the small community of Bollinger Mills, Al was nothing but a mean-spirited, loud-mouth bully, a common street thug with strong connections and a weak conscience. Intimidation secured his repeated election victories (often running unopposed) to the office of mayor where his personal greed and unchecked corruption could be cloaked under the protective facade of "official city business."
Al’s ego was as large as his physical stature. His imposing frame and excessive body weight, along with his obnoxious obsession for inflating his self-importance awarded him the nickname, “Big Al.”
Big Al always got what he wanted. Always. Big Al forced his personal agenda through the city council with subtle personal threats and often outright, physical coercion with blatant suggestions of violence and bodily harm.
When he said it was, “Don’t worry about it, it’s just business; nothing personal,” people knew it was personal and should take him seriously. They knew it was wise to obey his impulsive whims. People found it easier to comply with Big Al’s desires than to contradict what would be inevitable. To acquiesce was more pleasant than the alternative.

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