Dread on Arrival

Dread on Arrival by Claudia Bishop

Book: Dread on Arrival by Claudia Bishop Read Free Book Online
Authors: Claudia Bishop
“Town’s going to follow what the Chamber wants to do. Always does. Figure I’d start with you, since the Chamber will probably follow your lead.”
    Quill blinked. “They will?”
    “Funny that they do, isn’t it? You keep the worst minutes of anyone I ever met, but you keep getting reelected as Chamber secretary, year after year. And folks seem to listen to you.”
    Quill was momentarily diverted by a familiar grievance. “I don’t even run for secretary. I don’t want to be secretary. I mean, every two years I tell you I’m not running and every two years people write me in on the ballot and I go ahead and fold and end up doing it.”
    “People like you. Even if you are a nitwit about the minutes.”
    “Oh.” She could feel herself blushing. “Um. Well.”
    “You don’t push, see. Anyone can run right over you, and people like that.”
    “I doubt that,” she said indignantly.
    “You think? It’s a fact. Now me, not many people can run right over me.”
    Quill thought of several replies to this and rejected all of them. “That’s true.”
    “I’m not all that likeable, though.”
    “I like you.”
    “Yeah, but you’re a pushover. You like everybody. Except that Carol Ann.”
    “Speaking of Carol Ann …”
    Marge was in steamroller mode and rolled right over this. She hunched over confidingly. “There is a direct relationship between success in business and the likeability factor, if you will. The more likeable a person is, the less chance they have of making it big. It’s a constant surprise to Betts and me that you’ve managed to hang onto the Inn all these years.”
    Quill rubbed her forehead. She was getting a headache.
    “You ought to read more of the Wall Street Journal. You think anyone loves Rupert Murdoch? One of the richest men in the world and definitely the toughest son of a gun in the valley.” She sat back and slapped her hands on the tabletop. “Anyway. I don’t give a rat’s behind about being liked or not, but when I set out to do something, I do it. I’m fixing to be the next mayor of this town, and you’re going to help me do it.”
    “So this isn’t about the parking meters. Not really.”
    “I need a popular platform, and getting rid of those parking meters is about the hottest political issue in town at the moment.”
    Betty Hall came up to the table, balancing a plate of eggs in one hand and a coffeepot in the other. She didn’t say anything—she never did—but she put the plate down, poured Quill a cup of coffee, then gripped Quill’s shoulder in solidarity.
    “We’re on it, Bets,” Marge said. “She’s gonna go for it. She’s gonna design the campaign poster, too. I’ve got Harvey lined up to do the printing on it. We’re having a strategy meeting right now.”
    Betty nodded and stumped away. Quill looked at the special; two perfectly poached eggs on a bed of freshly sautéed spinach. The whole meal was drizzled with hollandaise. A round of golden potato straws nestled in one corner of the plate. She picked up a forkful and put it down.
    “I’ve been thinking about a campaign slogan.” Marge shoved her plate to one side and put her elbows on the table. “This People for Free Parking has got a ring to it, there’s no doubt about that. But I’m thinking there ought to be something catchy, too. A slogan, like. You know what I mean?”
    Quill felt herself nodding yes.
    “Tote bags are big. You remember those tote bags up to the academy?”
    “The ones with Monsieur LeVasque’s face on them? Everybody remembers those. They were gross, Marge. And Madame LeVasque had to recycle every single one of them after he … um … died.”
    “Good PR, though. I’m thinking I should order a couple of thousand totes and with the right kind of message my face would be all over Hemlock Falls. Maybe a replica of the ballot with a big red check on my name that says Park It Here. And underneath, one of those little sketches you do at the Chamber

Similar Books

Red Sand

Ronan Cray

In the Name of Salome

Julia Álvarez

The Clippie Girls

Margaret Dickinson

Northern Lights Trilogy

Lisa Tawn Bergren