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The Circle

Chrissy stormed past Alert, Duncan’s old secretary, who was remonstrating with her as she went straight through into the new Mayor’s office. She still had the key in her pocket. She slammed the door behind her and locked it.

Chuck looked up from his desk.

“Hello Chrissy. What can I do for you?”

“Bastard!” she shouted.

She stood with her back against the door.

“Now listen Chrissy. I can understand you being…”

“Upset? You don’t know how upset I am yet.”

Chrissy pulled out a small gun and pointed it at Chuck.

“Chrissy. Look, I don't think that's a good idea. Those old guns go off by accident. They got no safety catch.”

“Good. That’ll be my excuse.”

“What do you want? You need money?”

“Oh no, I want to see you scared, I want to hear you grovelling.”

“This isn't going to achieve anything,” Chuck stammered. “It won't make any difference.”

“You take away my husband's job. You take away his dignity, you take away my dignity. You humiliate him on TV and you're well on your way to breaking my marriage. A little revenge wouldn’t come amiss. And don't pick up that phone.”

“You know Albert’s hearing all this. He’s probably calling the police right now.”

“Yeah. Your buddy Shaw. Is there anyone in this town whose palm you haven't greased to get into this office? Is there anything you wouldn't have done?”

“Chrissy, come on. This is politics, you know. I was only doing what I thought I ought to. I haven’t exactly won all round.”

“Out front!” Chrissy waved him to the empty seat in front of his desk. “Where I can see you. There. No, Chuck-a-luck, darling, you just don't get it, do you? Politics isn't about doing what you want. It’s about making people’s lives better, not destroying them, not taking their dignity away.””

“Chrissy, please. I know you're upset and angry. Just lower that gun and we can talk about it. Listen, there's something I've got to tell you. As far as revenge is concerned, Duncan’s already got it for you.”

“He had nothing to do with your fire.”

“I had nothing to do with his parents. There was something funny going on, Duncan tried to tell me. In any case…”

“What are you talking about then?”

“My son, is your son. Well, half yours.”

“What do you mean?” Chrissy waved the gun threateningly.

“I wasn’t going to tell you. Too humiliating. I’m sterile. Kandie wanted another baby. We went to Phoenix. I found out whose sperm they used. I had to.”

“This is such crap, what are you talking about?”

“Kandie was frightened it might be Tom Bussey. He was there at the same time. They denied it, but they let things slip about Phoenix philosophy. They try to match up peoples’ status and IQ. So you put top dog with top dog.”

“Like the Nazis. Hitler.”

“You can only match the top industrialist in this town with the Mayor”

“You twisted, perverse, sanctimonious piece of shit. I expect you want me to feel sorry for you now.”

“They used his sperm to make our baby. I had to find out, He’s already got Duncan’s grin. And lungs. I'm infertile, he's your son, well half yours.”

“Does Kandie know?”

“Not yet. I haven’t told her. He always fancied her. Never did anything much about it.” Chuck paused, “How do you think I feel about that? Humiliated, emasculated. I’ve lost my job, my factory, my life’s work, my virility and been cuckolded by my business rival You might just as well shoot me now. Or give me that old pistol, and I’ll do it for you. He should have been our child, looking back. Now shooting your half son’s father would be just like shooting Duncan.

“Oh, Chuck, darling. What a mess we’re all in. What should we do now?”

“We were just on different sides of the same fence, and it all went wrong. I’d like to put things right. We should all fuse together. Become one family of friends.”

Chrissy started to lower the gun. Suddenly there was a noise on the stairs outside.

“Open this door!” Goldentooth shouted.

“No!” Chrissy screamed. “We’re still talking.”

Three shots rang out from Goldentooth’s gun. The door flew open. Chrissy panicked. Her gun went off.

Chuck lay collapsed on the floor, a patch of red on his chest.

“You fucking stupid bitch!” Shaw shouted, “Get a medic now!”

Chrissy ran over to Chuck who was sprawled in front of the desk. He was struggling for breath. Chrissy put her arm around his head.

“He's trying to say something.”


“Leave me alone!” Chrissy screamed, “You can grant me that can't you?”

He died as she was trying to give him the kiss life.

Of the bullets that hit him, two were from Goldentooth’s gun. One was from Chrissy’s. Her shot was in his knee cap.

Accident or Irish revenge?

The clock started to chime down the hall and everyone stood immobile in the Mayor's office. The American flag fluttered in the wind.
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