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Chapter 2: The Kidnapped Mayor

Mayor Flord awoke sitting in an uncomfortable wooden chair. He looked around, but saw only darkness. He tried to stand, but found he was firmly strapped in place. Slowly, he began to remember what had happened...

He had been sitting at his desk, doodling in the margins of some paperwork, when the windows behind his desk suddenly shattered in a shower of stage glass. He heard a voice behind him say, "Grab Flord; I'll bag him." He tried to turn around, but strong arms gripped him from behind, holding him steady.

Quickly, he pressed the intercom button. Before he could speak, a damp sock was placed in his mouth. The intercom crackled, and he heard Mary's distorted voice say, "Yes, Mayor Flord?" He tried to call for help, but the smelly sock prevented him from doing so. Then a large paper bag was put over his head, and he was lifted from his chair. Mary's voice went on: "Mr. Flord, did you press the button by accident again?"

He was fighting to get the sock out of his mouth. It was starting to make him feel very sleepy. "Yech!" he said as it came free.

"Okay," said Mary. "Just let me know if you need anything."

He tried again to call for help, but his strength was fading, and he passed out...

Now, he heard voices again. "One dog with relish, hold the Mayor." It sounded far off, but he recognized the same voice he had heard in his office. It was a wicked voice, hardened by years of bitterness and contempt.

"You want cheese on that?" said a second voice. This one sounded adolescent.

"No, you fool!" shouted the first again. "Let me in the back room!" The voice was somehow familiar, but Mayor Flord couldn't quite place it.

"Uh, okay." There was the creaking of a door, and Mayor Flord could see some light around his peripheral vision. He realized he was wearing a blindfold. Another light clicked on, and he heard the door close. He felt hands untying the blindfold.

Mayor Flord found himself blinking into the glare of a bare bulb suspended from the ceiling. Three figures stood around him in the shadows. One stepped in front of the light, so Mayor Flord could only see the man's dark outline. "Mayor Flord," the voice said, "what a surprise. Here I was, expecting to have a nice, private meeting, and what do I find but Sputum City's three-term mayor tied to a chair in my office. Now, what's a person to do?" The man paused. Mayor Flord could hear him smiling. "I see you're puzzled. You really haven't figured out who I am yet, have you?" The smile stretched wider.

"You're in the Crime League, aren't you?" Mayor Flord replied. "Sputum City won't give in to your demands, whoever you are."

"Not so fast, Mayor. You assume too much. The Crime League has always demanded ransom for your safe return. For all their collective brain power, the Crime League is a sloppy bunch of misfits. Things will be different from now on. I'm whipping those misfits into shape. We haven't made any demands for your release, and we're not going to."

"No demands? No ransom? What do you want?"

"Revenge! When you remember who I am, you'll know why. See you later, Phil." With that, he turned and left, taking the others with him. Mayor Flord heard one of them say to the leader, "Are you sure this will work, boss?" Then they were out the door, and the voices were too muffled to understand.

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