Imogen jumped off her bike, letting the gizmo fall down with a loud sad clank; and ran into Ms. Flora's bakery, making convulsive wiggling movements with her whole body. She was not having a fit; she was trying to adjust her messenger bag.

"Morning, me duck," Ms. Flora greeted her from behind the counter, and received a muffled moan from Imogen in response, who was now holding her wallet between her teeth, while rummaging in her bag in search of her mobile. "Slept in again?"

Imogen spat out the wallet on the pristine counter.

"Morning. And yes. But to my defence, I'm the only person in the town whose boss doesn't sleep. At all. I think our mayor is a vampire," Imogen repeated her usual joke.

"Let me know if you ever catch him hanging from the ceiling," Ms. Flora gave her the usual response; and Imogen finally fished out her hysterically shilling mobile from the bag.

Her boss's voice rushed into her ear. He had no habit of greeting her, or giving any sort of preface to his requests. The cogs in her brain shifted, with a mournful screech and a plea for caffeine; but while Ms. Flora was carefully putting the scones and buns into a box for Imogen, the latter was already required to understand what Mr. John Oakby, directly elected mayor of the town of Fleckney Woulds, wanted; and where the 'cursed papers' were!

Balancing the bag, the phone, the box, and the wallet, Imogen left the bakery, still jerking her shoulder to stop the bag from sliding; while humming, confirming, and giving directions to the said 'cursed papers.' After the trouble, in his opinion, clearly worthy of the Interpol search was solved, she stared at her bike.

"Every bloody morning..." She sighed; stuffed the wallet in the bag; fixed the bag; stuffed the phone in her pocket; picked up the bike; loaded the box in the basket; climbed the bike; and pushed the pedals. "Damn Dracula..."

***

Mr. John Oakby was pacing his office. Imogen squeezed in; his deadly glare brushed at her – she didn't take offence, it was clearly aimed at the person on the other end of the line – and she started organizing coffee on the side table.

"Yes, sir, I understand, but as the mayor of this town... No, sir, I'm not a councillor, I'm the mayor. Fleckney has a directly elected mayor, and I've been holding the position for the last three years.... What is it? No, sir, we aren't hippies. It's a practice that spreads through the country more and more each day following the Local Government Act of 2000... Yes, sir, I am serious..."

Oakby looked at Imogen with the theatrical exasperation; and she readily rolled her eyes, showing she shared his sentiment completely.

Oakby pushed his hand into this hair, messing his already mussed dark curls.

"No, sir, I'm not one of 'them from the big city.' I was born and bred in Fleckney, and..." He was once again interrupted, and stopped in front of the window, his unseeing eyes on the brook and green hills underneath. Whatever was said made him only more irked, and he pressed his forehead to the glass.

To prevent the loud thuds of the head into the glass, which always followed next, Imogen grabbed a cup of coffee, walked up to him, and pushed it into his large, long fingered hand.

He opened his mouth to no doubt snap at the other person, but by then his favourite cheese scone was in his other hand – Imogen had moved the phone onto his shoulder, which he unconsciously pressed with his ear, frowning and listening to the droning gentleman. The maneuver required a small hop from Imogen; the man was taller than six four. Imogen gently cupped his elbow and pushed his arm up. Oakby automatically bit into the scone near his lips.

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