Sleeping With the Mayor

Sleeping with the mayor


Everyone knew the subtle sound. All eyes shot to the middle of the circle, where the moonlight was caught by a switchblade springing to life in the Jamaican’s hand. "Put that away," said Larry Locke, "or I’ll take it off you and cut your heart right out of you and stuff it into your mouth."

Having spoken, the big man from North Carolina stood immobile in the dappled gloom. No-one breathed. Rasta seemed capable of anything, sweating intensely, eyes wide. Larry’s eyes were utterly placid, which was the most terrifying thing of all. He had said "cut your heart right out" as easily as he might have given subway directions.

The arch in Rasta’s back subtly collapsed. He pocketed the knife, then turned and ambled out of the circle, muttering incomprehensibly.

Larry stood alone in the circle. He had confirmed his right to rule in the ancient way. But the men could smell the gin on his breath, and the faint scent of lilac and women on his clothes. In the silence there was the unspoken question "When are we gonna get some of that?" behind every pair of eyes. Horace turned and walked away—to make a small show of disrespect, but also because he felt satisfied with the scene. Larry may have won the battle, but it was going to be a long, slow war.

To order