Friday, December 10

Bermuda and Steve have kidnapped Howie the little girl's pet old man head so that they can give it to the Mayor in order to scare him into dismantling the city government and stepping down from office.

Howie the little girl follows Bermuda and Steve, the naked two-headed monster to City Hall. She cries quietly to herself. She watches as they slide the box containing her best friend ever into the big Mail slot at the front door.

Bermuda and Steve clap their hands together. "A job well done," says Steve. "Hooray!" says Bermuda.

Howie gives them the meanest look she can possibly give. Bermuda looks down at his feet ashamedly, but Steve points to the sky and yells "For freedom!" With that, they shuffle away.

City Hall is a modestly sized brick building with a small concrete parking lot to one side and a tiny dogwood tree in front. Howie pulls open one of the big double doors and enters.

"What do you want?" asks a large woman standing in the middle of the vestibule.

Howie thinks for what feels like a long time, wondering what the best thing to say would be.
While she thinks, the woman chomps her jaws several times in the little girl's direction.

"There is a box that was brought here," Howie says.

"You'll have to speak up," says the woman.

"There is a box that was brought here, to the Mayor" Howie says louder. "By accident and I need it back."

"Was it dropped in the Mail Slot or delievered by professionals?"

"Um... Mail Slot."

"Well," clucks the woman. "That'll be out back. That's where we put all Mail Slot recievals to be processed and checked.

Howie nods and turns to go.

There is a deep pit in the back where a small man in overalls is throwing envelopes. She watches as he picks up the box with her pet old man head in it, shakes it roughly, then tosses it into the pit. It falls for a very long time, until she can't see it anymore. Howie listens for the sound of it hitting the bottom, but there is no sound. "Maybe there is no bottom?" asks Howie.

The little man in overalls laughs a big cackly laugh and says "Oh, there's a bottom all right. But just barely!" And he laughs all cackly again and continues tossing letters and packages down into the darkness.

Howie scratches her chin. There's a rope that descends into the pit. Like most children, she's scared of seemingly bottomless pits, and even more scared of climbing a rope down into
one. But this is for her best friend ever, the one person who understands her, the one person who never judges her or makes fun of her or anything. And there are so many more adventures they need to go on. She won't sacrifice her friend for political ends.

Howie carefully bends down and grabs hold of the rope. Hand over hand, she descends into the darkness.

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