Don’t mess with the Madam

Madam Fannie Porter vs. Mayor Hicks: Excerpt from The Last Bordello


“Pull the reins back, Mayor. Sadie’s not evil. Wouldn’t hurt a fly.” He was using Sadie as an excuse, a reminder I hadn’t moved into the mandated zone a stone’s throw down the road.

“If she could pull a knife on a man who harmed a friend, what measures would she take if she thought she had been wronged? It’s no secret she hates the temperance women.”

True. “What are you getting at? Do you still think that just because she found a yellow scarf, she’s guilty of a crime? Had something to do with the missing girl?”

“It’s likely.”

“It’s preposterous. Now, is there anything else?”

“She was there at the meeting. You know it as well as I do.”

“That’s no secret.”

“Too bad for her it’s not.” He stood, approached the front door, and yanked his jacket off the hook. “Not looking good for her. Nor for you and this place.” He waved an index finger around the parlor like a gun. “I’ll be watching.”

I didn’t escort him to the door, but watched him exit at the same time thunder rattled the porch. Good. For all I cared, he could glide back to the office on his own slime.

Two sets of eyes peeked over the swinging doors and into the parlor. “Okay, nosy children,” I said and joined Meta and Reba in the kitchen. “What happened to those good old days when Bryan Callaghan was our mayor?”

“We’s been scorched by a stinkbug, that’s what.” Reba palmed her newly straightened and gelled hair.

Meta’s expression remained grave. I had the feeling she felt a kinship with the missing girl.


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