“…and in local news tonight Artist F. Lamar Dollison has died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Dollison showed up attempting to reconcile with his girlfriend Bethany Greggs at a tenants meeting to discuss the city’s decision to convert Millford Estates into luxury hotel “The Millford” as part of the city’s Urban Renewal and Expansion program headed by Councilman Ford. After Greggs refused to leave with him, he reportedly pulled out his .32 caliber revolver and shot himself. Investigators say Dollison has recently experienced harsh criticism for his work at an art showing for the esteemed Tres Noire Gallery over the weekend. He had also been removed from consideration for a $200,000 contract to provide artwork for the newly redesigned “Millford” and was given the news preceding the incident. Services for Dollison had not been planned at the time this report was given. Now let’s turn to Mary Weathers with a look at our local weather and traffic. Mary…”
“Damned media always giving too much information with subtle inaccuracies. She said a mouthful, but it sounded like I was at the tenant’s meeting with them.” Councilman Ford uses his remote to click the television off. He gets out of his oversized mahogany leather chair and walks over to the bar, reaching for his cognac. “I have a meeting with the investors first thing in the morning. Then with the city.” He pours the cognac and extends an offer to Keagan Trudeaux who refuses with a shake of his head. “Damned prick probably staged this on purpose because he was withdrawn from the art deal.” The Councilman takes a swig of cognac. “The way I’m thinking, this could go either way.”
“Yeah. Hate to do this to you, but let me be the voice of reason here.” Keagan eases further back into the couch. “The truth is that for what we’re planning, and what the investors had in mind, this bit of publicity could put the project on hold at best. I mean, luxury suites at what has become a crime scene? The one thing that we were pushing that had us in the running was that the crime stats were low. And eventhough this guy offed himself, I just don’t think it’ll sit well with what we’re hoping to attract.”
“They don’t necessarily have to know. How many people research if a renovated business was once a part of a crime scene?” Councilman Ford is pacing while taking swigs of his cognac. “Damn, this was my major reelection ticket. And I want to attract some higher income residents! These poor, disadvantaged nobodys are comfortably parked at the expense of our city’s progress. Now, I might not get them out of this district with this deal, but believe me I will eventually make this what I want it to be.”
“Councilman,” Keagan playfully scorns. “What a way to talk about your cherished voters who have elected you to represent them.”
Councilman Ford stops pacing as if that comment has sobered his conscience. That is, until he notices the malicious grin on Keagan’s face. He quietly chuckles as he returns to his mahogany leather chair. “Keagan, the people elect someone to represent them. Make decisions on their behalf in their ignorance. He places his glass on a coaster and reaches in his pocket to retrieve his lighter and a cigar. Whether they realize it or not,” Councilman Ford rests the cigar on his lips and lights it, taking a long, deep draw before exhaling a thick cloud of smoke and returning the lighter to his pocket, “ this move is actually what’s best for them. We’ve already seen evidence of that. Violence has penetrated their community. They no longer feel safe there. They’ll want to move.”
“And we’re just the people to make them understand that.” Keagan smiles.