|Mayor Thunder And The Battle To Save Oapville|
|By Trace Edward Zaber|
|et me tell you a little story, and for those die-hard fans of Historical Fiction, I will even put my characters in an historical setting.
Picture it—America, 1860 (were you surprised?), in a small midwestern town I will call Oapville, that sprang up on January 1 of that year amongst the rolling hills, dense forests, lush soil, and sometimes rocky banks surrounding the always-precarious Literary River. Almost instantly, Oapville began flourishing, though modestly, to the great surprise of many, none more so than its founder and mayor, whom I shall christen Mayor Thunder.
Now, Mayor Thunder, despite his name, was a rather outgoing, good-humored sort, a writer of poetry and prose, who had a roguish dash about his countenance and was considered out-and-out handsome (but only by those who imbibed lustily in moonshine). And although he had no experience at mayoring (since he had spent much of his adult life traveling the country in two-bit musical troops), Mayor Thunder did have a vision, and in the months prior to founding the town, had located a group of other like-minded people who not only encouraged his efforts, fed his dreams, but contributed to the towns struggling first days on the planet. And to these exceptionally talented individuals, Mayor Thunder was forever grateful.
At first, things in Oapville seemed comfortable. Sightseers eventually wandered into the area bearing gifts, and they came from all over the globe—England, Canada, New Zealand, and even that mysterious land of Oz. A few of the curious moved in permanently, while many of the others visited often or sent the occasional contribution. All in all, the majority of the townfolk seemed satisfied with the humble efforts of Mayor Thunder (to his vast relief) although a few did claim he was nothing but a tyrant with a bad attitude. (Thankfully, these neer-do-wells absquatulated to pastures anew with my...err...I mean, the mayors blessing.)
Oops, sorry, now where was I? Oh, yes, Oapville. Anyway, Mayor Thunder, in an effort to attract even more settlers to his struggling yet promising burg, posted notices of what Oapville had to offer potential citizens in numerous journals—albeit, smaller presses, since the high-falutin Yahoos in the big, bad cities all but ignored his postings—and gained even more sightseers-turned-settlers. But of greater importance, the Mayor enlisted the aid of Oapvilles staunch citizens and visitors and advisors, whose word-of-mouth, grassroots campaign to promote the town became the golden key to its continual growth. Once again, Mayor Thunder was forever grateful.
But then came the stormy month of April—when the stranger came to town.
Since the character is based on a real person whose last name sounds like either a bad Hungarian meal or an over-the-counter laxative, I will simply call him Mr. Otis. Now, Mr. Otis, in all fairness, was not an evil man, just a tad naïve. Indeed, he arrived in Oapville with what Mayor Thunder honestly believed were good intentions. During his short stay, Mr. Otis—a man from whom thousands of people around the world sought advice on where to visit for entertainment—invited Mayor Thunder to add Oapvilles name to his growing roster of sites...err...towns where Oapville could gain supporters, visitors, citizens, and in the meantime, perhaps even garner a sparkling reputation. Needless to say, Mayor Thunder, without any hestitation whatsoever, jumped at the strangers generous offer.
Alas, this was a grave mistake.
Little did Mayor Thunder realize, you see, that Mr. Otiss solid method of promotion would have more holes in it than O. J. Simpsons alibi. Little did Mayor Thunder realize that he would be drawn into a perpetual nightmare of scoundrels, scalawags, and lowdown shecoonery on the grandest scale. Additionally, little did Mayor Thunder realize—and this is the saddest part—that at least one of those rascals was actually one of Oapvilles frequent visitors. A shame. Also sad, is that before things went totally awry, Mayor Thunder sought aid from neighboring towns and villages, and for the most part, received it. Surprisingly enough, however, several leaders in adjacent communities (other like-minded leaders whom Mayor Thunder believed would sympathize with his efforts) actually scolded him for even daring to ask their citizens for help. Some even went so far as to then reprimand their own citizenry who volunteered their strength, believing that Mayor Thunder should battle the forces of evil on his own.
(It was no small satisfaction on Mayor Thunders part when he saw how quickly the citizens of those neighboring towns and villages rebelled against their leaders...indeed, to this day, all remains frightfully quiet since the official chastisements were offered.)
And if all of this wasnt bad enough, Mr. Otis, when informed of the wicked deeds in his mighty kingdom, claimed the nefarious attempt to ruin Oapvilles reputation was simply an illusion, that Mayor Thunders imagination must have been working overtime, since no one in his technologically advanced world could have ever tinkered with his fail-safe system. Even when confronted with proof positive of dastardly doings, Mr. Otis turned a blind eye and continued to sit in his higher-than-high throne, refusing to admit the possibility of falsehood and claiming insanity on the part of Mayor Thunder. Well, Mayor Thunder was not so insane that he did not immediately pull his postings from Mr. Otiss good-for-nothing hands before Oapville became a den of ill-repute.
Now then, you might be wondering if, at the apex of this turmoil, the loyal citizens of Oapville came to Mayor Thunders aid? The answer, folks, is a joyous YES! This, more than anything, told Mayor Thunder that his efforts were not unappreciated. Indeed, when he saw their outrage, and the way they hastily wielded their pointy and lethal weapons, ready to do battle for the struggling yet promising town of Oapville, Mayor Thunder had never felt such elation. And once again, he was forever grateful.
But live and learn, is what I always say, and Mayor Thunder learned several valuable lessons....
First, that there are individuals in this world who outwardly don an intricately-fashioned mask of support, yet when push comes to shove, reveal their true colors, who waste time reprimanding, profess ignorance, and add more fuel to a fire instead of supporting a town nestled beside the historic Literary River that they, themselves, claim is what sustains them.
And second, and of the utmost importance, that 99.9999% of Oapvilles citizenry, visitors, and advisors were, and still are, the most upstanding and supportive people in the world. They are passionate souls, willing to fight to the death for their chosen cause, talented individuals who volunteer their time, muscle, and powerful voices when the going gets tough, trustworthy people whom anyone would proudly call friends. And when Mayor Thunder was reaching for the matches and had almost convinced himself to torch the town himself, they were the people who came through with a vengeance and convinced him otherwise.
He was, and forever will be, grateful.