San Antonio City Hall, Midnight.
He swallows his fear, as he steps into the creepy elevator that drops beneath City Hall to the secret chambers below. He has been preparing for this moment for weeks, ever since Charter Amendment B passed. He knows what has to be done.
After several moments, the elevator comes to a rest. His breathing is steady. Confident.
The doors hiss open, and the car is filled with the ashy, evil smoke that seems to follow her everywhere she goes. He steps into the chamber, which resembles a sweaty cave with long shadows dancing in the flickering light of a dozen blood-red candles.
She is there, seated upon her large throne roughly-hewn from the jagged rock of the chamber. She is dressed in her black robes, with only one skeletal hand and the tip of her round nose visible in the gloom. As he dutifully kneels before her, which he has done a hundred times since being elected mayor, Ron Nirenberg bows his head, and whispers, “I am here, My Lord. As you requested.”
“I asked to see you face-to-face, Ron, instead of using the big hologram thingy,” Sheryl Sculley, the City Manager, grumbles, her deep, Darth Vadery voice dripping with malevolence, “because I wanted to personally hand you my Job Performance Review. No surprises. Apparently, I’m doing a bang-up job.” At this, she tosses her hooded head back in a loud cackle that echoes through the darkness, sending shivers down his spine. The hand disappears into the depths of her robes, producing a crumpled ball of paper which she gleefully tosses at the Mayor. She laughs again as it bounces off his head. “Now, file that sh-t!”
Nirenberg stands, retrieving the paper ball from the floor. He clears his throat. “My Lord, there is something I must speak to you about.”
“Eh?” she grins, darkly curious. “I sensed a disturbance in your thoughts when you first arrived. Well, what is it? And make it snappy. I’m meeting Mcmanus for pho and beers at noon.”
“My Lord, I think it is time for a change.”
Her evil, tortured breathing shudders past the dank walls as he waits for her response. “What kind of change, Ron?”
“A leadership change, Your Eminence.”
“What are you babbling about?”
He takes a deep breath. “The people have spoken. They think you have too much autonomy and are overpaid. They want the power back in the hands of the City Council…and me.”
He stumbles back as she rises from her throne in a surge of rage, shrieking with the contempt of a thousand crazed demons. The sleeves of her black robe fall from her bony arms as she raises her hands to the carved roof, and blue lightening shoots from her fingertips. Several heavy stalagmites fall from the ceiling, almost crushing the mayor. “I AM THE POWER IN SAN ANTONIO!” she roars, her head spinning around and around from within her hood, “I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THE POWER IN SAN ANTONIO!”
He steadies his footing. She continues to rage, at first howling like a wolf, then squealing like a herd of wild Texas boars.
“Your time is over, Sheryl!” Nirenberg shouts above the noise. “You had it all, but you took it too far!”
“Impudent fool! How dare you call me by my first name!” Slowly, she begins to levitate above the throne, her eyes blazing yellow orbs of hate. “Tread carefully, Ron! I turned you! I can turn Brockhouse, too!”
“Your powers are fading, Sheryl,” the mayor hisses, “while mine are only growing stronger!”
“What powers? Ha! You don’t use the pisser unless I approve it!”
Nirenberg smiles. This unnerves her. The City Manager has never seen him smile. “Jackal! What are you grinning about?”
“You’re wrong about me, Sheryl,” he replies, now strangely calm. “Since B passed, I’ve been hitting the gym. You see, I’m facing a tough election in a couple of years, and you have become…a liability.”
The blue static swirls about her clenched fists, as she continues to rise in the acrid air. “A what?! Me, a liability? Maw-ha-ha-ha! Insect! Go back upstairs to your desk before I fry you to a cinder!”
Resolute, Nirenberg strikes a crazy Kung Fu pose, the green static of his young powers beginning to crackle and smolder about his own fingertips. “Resign, Sculley! I’m sick of you always telling me what to do!”
“And what are you gonna do about it? Fire me? No one can fire me! Only I can fire me!”
“Resign! Or retire! Whatever. Now!”
“You don’t frighten me, Ron! Your so-called ‘powers’ are puny and weak!”
He licks his lips. “Then you leave me no choice.”
Ron Nirenberg strikes yet another funky Kung Fu pose, the green light rising from his hands as Sculley clenches her fists. Smoke and static fill the chambers.
With a loud clap of thunder, the battle begins, as the Mayor and City Manager aim their simmering fingertips, and fire.
The blue and green streams slam into one another at the center of the chamber, causing more stalagmites and rock to fall from the ceiling.
“Resign!” Nirenberg screams.
“Arrrrgh!” Sculley groans, her powers beginning to fail. “Never!”
In a flash of light and thunder, it’s over.
The City Manager lays at the base of her crumbling throne, her robes crackling with static.
Nirenberg approaches, himself weakened from the lightening-fight. “So, what’s it going to be, Sheryl?”
“Ugh,” she groans from within the smoky garment, her voice now that of an insecure, middle-aged woman, “I…w-will…resign, as you say…but only on one c-condition…”
“Tell…those bastards…at K-K-K-KTSA that I am retiring…not resigning…”
“Um, yeah. Sure.”