The Ruricolist is now available in print.

Fable of the Mayor

This island was no island: it had been a hill in the park before the flood. It was so small and brambly that the man there could not even pace. He loosened his tie and stared over the floating wreckage, searching for a boat or a helicopter. Surely someone was coming. He had picked this spot as the safest in the city on the very day he vetoed the appropriation for a new floodwall.

He was free, now. All the evidence was gone: no paper trail for the prosecutor, no assets in his name for his wife’s lawyers to seize. He was like Noah on Ararat: when he came down from the mountain, all his problems would be gone.

He leaned back against the tangled branches, soft and creaking, thick and restful as a cradle here. He lit a cigarette, dragged, and threw the match onto the water. It landed with a hiss.

There was just enough time, before pain erased all thought, for him to notice that one of the things which had risen from the drowned city to float around his little island, was an oil slick.

Moral: A betrayer can never relax.