Milton Stilton accepted the news that he'd been elected Mayor unemotionally. The young boy, the runner, who'd been sent with the news felt that it was rather weird; after all, if you'd gone to all that trouble and expense to persuade people to vote for you, shouldn't you at least smile when you heard that they had? Milton was unconcerned though. He had spent his childhood preparing for his career as a lawyer, and his first case had been one he'd brought against his parents for the cruelty of his name. The presiding judge, Justice Neckles, had noted in his summary that Milton was very intense, but had found in agreement with him. Being elected Mayor was just another step in his quest to extract suitable vengeance on the people who'd brought him up. With the Mayoralty possessed, he would start bringing political pressure to reinstate the death penalty. He was dimly, in some small, locked, sane corner of his mind, aware that his parents might very well be dead before he could have them legally killed, but the larger, cackling, less stable part of his mind had plans even so.
"Well boss," said Samuel, leaning back in his chair so that it balanced on just two skinny steel legs. The chair creaked and the legs bowed under his weight, testament to the cheap office furniture that Milton had bought, as Samuel was thin enough to occasionally substitute for the goalpost in his weekly five-a-side football game.
"Well what?" said Milton. He hated that Samuel would start a sentence and forget to finish it.
"Well boss," said Samuel again. "We won. You're Mayor now. I should be calling you your Worship or something, right?"
"Your Worship is for priests and judges," said Milton. "Perhaps Your Excellency would do?"
"I'm not going to, of course," said Samuel as though Milton hadn't spoken. "You'll still be Milt to me."
"Absolutely not!" said Milton, who knew what the unfortunate abbreviation of his name meant, and hated that only slightly less than he hated his parents. "I forbid it, canonically and without exception. And I mean it, Sam! I will kick up a fuss!"
Samuel's chair creaked again as it rocked a little, its occupant thinking back to the trial, where Milton had, at one point, produced evidence against his own mother of bestiality.
"Right," he said. "Only, it's not like you've got a lot of nicknames, Milt – on."
"I don't want nicknames," said Milton. "Nicknames are are attempt to create a clique, a little group of like-minded individuals who want everyone else to know how chummy they are."
"Friends give you nicknames, Mil," said Samuel.
"I don't want friends either! I'm Mayor now, not Mr. Friendly. Friends only ever want things from you, like money, or favours, or sympathy."
"Well, I guess they are things it would be unreasonable to ask of you," said Samuel. "Here, how about Mr. Cheese? Mr. Big Cheese?"
"NO!" Milton went pale when he was angry, which was unfortunate as his veins showed up bluely and often resulted in people saying, very quietly after he'd left, that Stilton was perhaps a very good name for him.
"Oh well. Fine, what are you going to do as Mayor then? We won't get the council documents sent over until tomorrow, but is there anything on your own agenda?"
"Of course, we have a manifesto. We're going to make people happy," said Milton. "We're going to clean this town up, and provide people with heroes. Someone for someone to believe in."
"Why will we need heroes if we've cleaned the town up?"
"We don't, so they'll be cheap to employ and we can get them to do useful things, like help old people and dispose of the homeless."
Samuel's chair landed back on the ground and the legs splayed a little further out, bringing him a little closer to the floor. He pushed some papers aside on his desk and found the manifesto that Milton was talking about. As he flicked through it, the chair leant back again, and balanced on two legs.
"This isn't the one I sent to the printers, Big," said Samuel after a moment. "There weren't no pie charts in the one I sent to the printers."
"I recalled that one," said Milton, staring off into the distance. "It wasn't sufficiently on message. Don't call me Big. I know what you're alluding to."
"You should do, I just told you. What message was I not on, then? I don't remember our message being about ridding the streets of anyone unsavoury. What's that mean? Savoury's a herb isn't it?"
"We needed to be more hardline. I won't get the death penalty reinstated on the strength of reducing taxes and improving rubbish collection."
Samuel turned the pages of the manifesto, looking for page 7 where the rubbish collection had been. Now those pages declared that the Mayor was starting a war on rubbish, and would be arming the bin-men. Samuel turned a few more pages, and there was the Mayor's new policy on children: they should be mourned and not celebrated.
"Seems like your manifesto is all kinds of death penalties," he said, thoughtfully.
"Yes. And I shall give them all up if the basic death penalty can be reinstated," said Milton. "It's a cunning ploy I stole from a Marketing Director."
"So when you said dispose of the homeless...?"
"That's exactly what I meant. Everyone should search for the hero inside themselves, step up, and support the cleanliness of our streets. After all, cleanliness is next to Godliness."
"I'm not sure there are any heroes who do that kind of thing, boss," said Samuel.
"Then we shall find some! You can be my first!"
"Allergic to spandex and rubber," said Samuel quickly. "Annoys the missus no end, all the kinky stuff has to be... well, really kinky, if you get my drift."
"No," said Milton, who at thirty-nine was still a virgin. "Well, you don't have to wear spand–"
"People have to be able to identify a hero," said Samuel, cutting him off. "Look, ask that PA of yours to do it. She seems like a stup– nice girl."
"Anna-Marie?" said Milton. "Perhaps. She could be Colostomy-woman. I always thought there should be a superhero called that."
"That's nice, boss," said Samuel, picking the manifesto up again and turning the pages, looking for a way to change the subject before Milton could elaborate any further.