Phillip walked along the cobbles of Bluebell village, with a radio tucked under his arm. Presently, he came to the town hall. He went inside to see the mayor and seek his advice.
The right Hon. Mayor Rutger sat behind his desk, looking at the world outside. He looked as though he were trying to start work on a piece of art but just wasn't getting the inspiration. His eyes turned to Phillip and he stood up.
"Good afternoon, Phillip. What can I do for you?"
"Well, Mr Mayor, I was just wondering if you knew anyone who's handy with electronics."
"Electronics? Why is something wrong?"
Phillip would have thought that it was obvious. Generally, when people who have a radio tucked under their arm, and they ask you if you know anyone good with electronics, then it's a telltale sign that their radio needs to be fixed.
"Well, there's something wrong with my radio. I let my cows out to graze then went to listen to today's weather report, to make sure that it wasn't going to rain. All I seem to get is static."
"Well, I'll see if I can find the business address of a repair man for you."
Rutger scanned the desk for his file of business cards. There was something rather sloppy about the mayor today. Phillip had always known Rutger to be on the ball as far as running the town went. Rutger, having found the file at last, opened it up, flipped through a few pages and pulled out a card. He passed it to Phillip.
"Here, they should take care of everything."
Phillip's eyes scanned the card. His eyebrows sprang clean off his face.
"I don't really think these people can help me, sir."
"Because this is the address of a funeral parlour."
Rutger did a double take.
"Oh good heavens! I'm sorry! My mind is just not on my work at all today!"
Phillip scratched the back of his head, watching the old man rummage through his file in his panic stricken state.
"Is something bothering you? Can I be of assistance with anything?"
The words slipped out of his mouth without him thinking about them. Phillip's biggest weakness was his inability to pass by a problem and not try to help. In fact his daily inspection and answering of the town message board earned him the reputation of local agony aunt. In his free time he would have liked nothing more than to go fishing, court the local beauties or just sit around drinking coffee, but thanks to his chronic case of Dudley Do-Right syndrome, often found himself on the receiving end of some request.
"Well, you see, the church roof is leaking. The roof has more holes in it than the plot to a Michael Bay movie. The problem is, I only found about it after I solidified the plans for this year's budget."
"Can't you just revise the plans?"
"I can't. I've already sent a good deal of the money off. Besides, the builders have already started doing their road works."
That was going to be very inconvenient when Phillip went riding to Konohana. There's nothing more frustrating than when you're riding along, you're in a hurry and all off a sudden more useless road works come up, blocking off part of the road and enforcing single lane traffic. If it was a main road, he could understand, but why the hell were they putting traffic lights up in a forest?
"So basically, I need to find a way to raise money for the repairs."
"Maybe you could have a concert here at the town hall and sell tickets." Phillip subjected.
"That's not a bad idea. The problem is Mikal's away for the summer. But I do like the idea of selling tickets for something. Come with me into the study."
"What about my radio? Where should I put it?"
"Oh? Oh! It'll be safe behind the desk. Now come! We must have a brainstorming session!"
They went into the study and the mayor poured a pot of tea.
"Would you like a tea or coffee?"
"I'll have a cup of tea please."
They sat at the table, hot drinks in hand with pens and paper ready to make notes: it was like the sort of detective work you'd see a middle aged amateur sleuth (or a very laid back police constable) doing in an M.C. Beaton novel.
"Now, what can the main event be? What would people be willing to buy tickets to go and see?" Rutger asked.
"Well, sometimes over in Konohana…"
Phillip paused noting that Rutger's finger clenched very tightly around the handle of his tea cup and his pinkie coiling inwards to make a fist. Mayor Rutger of Bluebell and Mayor Ina of Konohana were still in the midst of a conflict. If Phillip hadn't met Rutger's wife Rose, he would have sworn that the two mayors were a married couple. They certainly bickered like one.
"Go on." Said Rutger.
Phillip cleared his throat before continuing his anecdote.
"Well, sometimes at Yun's teahouse, they do talent nights. The last time I was there, Reina (she's a botanist) and Nori (her granddad owns the seed shop) got the biggest applause with a song and dance number. The song went…well, the lyrics were all in Japanese, but I think the song was called Sweet Magic."
"I can't say that I've ever heard it. A good song, was it? You said it got the biggest applause that night."
Phillip sat back. A somewhat lustful grin spread across his face as he remembered the dance.
"Yes, but having two beautiful girls singing it with a well coordinated dance routine certainly helped."
"A song one can't understand the lyrics to won't be to everyone's tastes. But I like the idea of a cabaret. It's certainly more sophisticated than a karaoke."
As the brainstorming session went on, the conversation went from entertainment, to food.
"A five course dinner would go down a treat." Said Rutger.
"I suppose I could donate some ingredients. I usually harvest a lot of onions in the summer time."
"You grow tomatoes around this time of the year as well, don't you?"
"Yes, that's right. Onions, tomatoes, corn…"
They continued the discussion and made more notes.
"So, what do we have for menu ideas?"
Phillip looked at his notes.
"I was thinking about a herb salad, if I can get my hands on some lavender. Then I think tomato soup, since I grow a lot of tomatoes in summer. For the appetizer we can make roasted mushrooms, since we can easily get a lot of mushrooms that grow in the wild. Then we have marinated fish for the main course and strawberry shortcake for dessert."
"Splendid! My mouth is watering already!"
Phillip's own stomach gave a whimpering growl.
"Now that you mention it, I'm starting to feel a bit peckish myself. I just remembered that we missed lunch."
His eyes went to the clock in the corner of the room. His mouth dropped open in horror.
"It's night time! My cows! My hens! I'm supposed to get them back in the barn by nightfall! They hate being left out after dark!" he ran over to the chair and snapped his coat on.
"Sorry sir, but I have to run!"
"I understand. We can talk more about this tomorrow."
Phillip ran down the hallway to the front door of the town hall. As long as he got home soon, everything would be fine.
It could be worse. At least it's not raining He told himself.
It could be worse. At least it's not raining
It could be worse. At least it's not raining
As long as he kept telling himself that, he could focus on getting home. He shot out of the front door.
At least it's not raining
At least it's not raining
At least it' not…
After few feet of running his brain finally registered the cold, wet tingling sensation in his hair and clothes.
He looked up as the rain clouds themselves were mocking him.