WHAT IT IS
Margaret Brookside was as free as a bird, as free as the squawking black bird that harassed her every morning on the way into the Mercantile Hotel from a perch high in an oak tree near the employee entrance. With Davey Doucet’s help, Margaret has secured employment as a hotel chambermaid with the intent of keeping a close eye on Rene Boudreaux. Doucet vehemently instructed Margaret not to talk to, not to follow, not to spy on, not to contact, not to interact in anyway with Boudreaux. She was to observe and only observe from a distance.
For the most part, for the first week at least, she took Doucet’s advice, but as she watched the activities in the hotel’s kitchen she got a bit bolder in her surveillance. On one overnight shift she was sneaking around the kitchen and noticed the chef’s offices were left unlocked. The urge for some serious snooping quickly overcame her and she slipped inside but before accomplishing anything a boisterous gang of men burst through the traffic doors at the far end of the kitchen dragging a wooden trunk along the floor. Margaret shrunk down behind a desk and peaked through the glass door, watching eight pair of greenish work boots drag the slimy, fowl smelling trunk across the floor.
WHAT IT IS NOT
Leaving for work in the early hours, Miles Hobbson was being watched by a sinister looking blackbird standing on a fire hydrant near the sidewalk in front of his house. The bird made no sound, but his penetrating ebony eyes made Hobbson feel uneasy…uneasy in a way that would become a harbinger of the day ahead for Hobbson.
Miles arrived at work at 6AM to a handful of protesters outside the municipal offices. The previous day he had outlined his vision for Beaver Falls and on this day, he would resign as mayor of the municipality. Hobbson knew the writing was on the wall when the Pennsylvania governor called demanding he resign, when the entire city council resigned en masse, when the police and fire department issued a refusal-of-service order to Hobbson’s residence and a city garbage truck dumped its load of refuse on his front lawn.