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Old 01-05-2011, 04:18 PM
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Default Fiction - Land of the FREE - Short Story



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Land of the FREE
By Josiah

Part 1

No one knows how it started. No one know when it started, but at some point it did start. Was it because of stories from grandparents to grand children about better days? Was it from a rebellious generation that just wanted to fight against the status quo? Was it actually an organized grassroots effort that started the change? No one knows, but it was growing.

No, that is not right. It was not growing. To say that it was growing conjures thoughts of a child or tree starting small and getting bigger. This was not the case. It had been this way before many years ago. It would be better to choose another word. It was not becoming something that it never had before so growing would not be the word. Maybe one should say that after many years of slothful sleep that it has finally awakened.

Loren Landow was a man of distinction, rich, powerful and a success. Well, as much of a success as this medium sized Southern city has ever seen. “This ought to be pretty easy,” he had told himself time and time again. He would start the ball rolling by meeting with the City Commissioners one at a time. I am sure that they will ask me for something in order to win them over but the newly elected members had just taken their place. This was the perfect time to start working on them.

First would be the longest standing member of the board. Mr. Sonny Franklin has been on the board for three terms. You don’t stay in office if you don’t know how to please as many people as possible and Loren was sure Sonny would know how to play the game.

Loren walked through the door of the commission office and addressed the woman behind the desk. “Hello there.”

“Hello. How can I help you?” the thirty something attractively figured woman asked. She was dress in a pencil skirt and blouse with a little blue name tag labeled “Brittany Vann.”

“Mr. Landow to see Mr. Franklin. I have an appointment.”

The man was shown through the office door and introduced to City Commissioner Franklin. “Aw please, call me Sonny.” The commissioner sat behind his desk and continued, “Now what is it that I can help you with Mr. Landow? You said something to my assistant about a new business in our city?”

“Yes, sir. Mr. Franklin I wanted to talk to you today and give you the opportunity to bring a flood of revenue and assets to your fair city.”

“I am listening please continue.”

“Well, sir we are talking about the planning and implementation of one of the premiere attractions in the state. Just imagine if you will ….” Mr. Landow continued the song and dance. He had it worded perfectly. He had practiced the discussion many times in the past to get the right phrases to say to blend over (or completely leave out) the bad parts and only focus on the benefits to the city. Money and revenue was the key focus and one that he knew well.

He mentioned the water park where children would play and the amphitheater where concerts would be held. He then blended in to the restaurants and the small inn situated on the backside of the property. Then he turned to the enormous amount of revenue brought in by the two story Bingo Pavilion located at the front of the property.

“Bingo?! You mean gambling?” questioned Mr. Franklin

“Well, now sir you have to know that gambling in it’s traditional sense is illegal throughout the state, but we think that we have found a loophole in the law allowing for bingo to be offered to guests as long as it benefits a charitable establishment with SOME of the proceeds. We plan on bringing in automated machines that will allow the visitors to enter a dollar into the machine and randomly selected …”

Mr. Franklin spoke a little more forceful now, “Loopholes? You mean the clause written into the law to allow nonprofit organizations to have small games of bingo to help benefit their organizations?”

“Well, yes. We would just be doing it on a much bigger scale and of course we would be paying our fair share toward several charities in this area as well as our portion of tax revenue to the city and county budgets,” continued Mr. Landow.

“How much would your fair share be to the charities?”

“Oh we figure we should be able to give say 10% of the take to them. According to our projections that should come out to be about a half of a million dollars the first year of operation. As well as a similar amount being paid as taxes.”

The commissioner squirmed in his chair a bit, “I don’t know. It sounds like you are trying to stretch the law a bit Mr. Landow. I think maybe you should find another city. It is very plain that the writers of the law that you are looking at never expected it to allow a gambling facility to open up in this state.”

The visitor took a breath then looked at the commissioner as he smiled and pulled out and envelope. “Mr. Franklin is there anything that we could contribute to you in order to change your mind? Say something like the contents of this envelope?” Loren Landow laid a plan while envelope in front of the commissioner containing more money than the man’s salary since he had been in office over the last six years.

The older commissioner opened the envelope, took out the money and fanned it out so he could look at the bills. The man actually sort of over exaggerated holding the money a little high into the air. “So how much money is here?”

“Well, let’s just say ‘enough’ and if it is not enough we will make it enough.”

The commissioner smiled and shifted in his seat. “Now son what would you be wanting for a wad of cash like this?”

“Your vote sir. Just allow us to get the ball rolling and if we can’t get it built for some reason then you get to keep your contribution and we will take the loss on the deal.”

“What about the people. You know they call the South ‘the bible belt’ for a reason. Most of the people in this area do not want gambling of any kind.”

“Well, once we get it built it will be harder for them to speak out against it. They will be seen as some kind of nuts. I mean why would they have not spoken out now at the beginning if they did not want it here? As soon as the commission gives their approval we can have this thing built in a few months and then after that there would be very little they could do to stop us.” Mr. Landow sort of giggled to himself.

Just then a knock at the door and the door swung open. Three armed police officers came through the door hands on their revolvers. Immediately to the rear was his assistant trying to peer over the men’s shoulders. The first immediately addressed the visitor. “Please keep your hands in plain view sir.”

Mr. Landow reached for the envelope. “What is this? What is the meaning of this?”

Mr. Franklin kept his seat. “Mr. Landow these men are here to take your into custody. Lieutenant, please have the District Attorney contact me immediately due to bribery and conspiracy charges against Mr. Landow here. Brittany get State Senator Davis on the line and lets see if we can stop up this loophole before another piece of fungus tries to take advantage of it.” The woman turned back to her desk.

“Wait. I didn’t bribe you. You have no proof of that.”

“Actually, you could not be more wrong.” Mr. Franklin turned to the Lieutenant again. “Have security make a copy of the 3 security cameras in my office and send those to the DA’s office as well.”

Mr. Landow stood up as the officers handcuffed him and escorted him to the door. “You haven’t heard the last of this. My lawyer will own this town when this is over.”

Mr. Franklin paused, “Mr. Landow you asked me why didn’t people speak up against things they might not like in this city in the beginning of when they started.” Another pause, “Because that is WHY they elected ME. I am THEIR servant sir and as long as they do not want harmful businesses in their city I will do everything in my power (granted to me by those very same people) to keep those harmful businesses out.”

The commissioner nodded to the officers and they escorted the visitor out the door.
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Old 01-05-2011, 05:28 PM
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Rain23 Rain23 is offline
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Thoroughly enjoyed this story. Nice to see some decent values being upheld. I would like to think post SHTF it will play out like this when we're all haggling over things like the right to have gardens, small stock in the city, etc. as things get harder and harder. Sometimes it only takes 1 good person standing firm to make a difference, especially if that person is willing to do the hard work and take the flack of a responsible position.
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Old 01-05-2011, 07:31 PM
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Moose711 Moose711 is offline
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I wish our federal government was like this... sigh
We wouldn't be in the boat we are in now.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:48 AM
223shootersc 223shootersc is offline
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thanks for the uplifting story
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:53 AM
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Thanks for another great story. I've always enjoyed your writing.
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Old 08-02-2019, 09:37 PM
texican2 texican2 is offline
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Nice short story....

Texican....
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