“Homeland Security is saying we need to get the photographers off Race Street,” the Denver Police chief said. “That entire neighborhood is on top of the coal tunnels. No one can get in, so I don’t see why this is suddenly a problem.”
“What did you come up with?” the Denver mayor asked the city attorney.
“A constitutional amendment. Freedom of the press.”
“God damn it! This isn’t news. It’s harassment … stalking at best! We’re talking about Celia Marlowe’s daughter and her husband. You remember Val? She waited tables at the Wynkoop.”
“I know Val. She interned with us in high school,” the editor of the Rocky Mountain News replied. “What did the other mayors say?”
“They feel powerless against the hoard of press. I’ll tell you this, though. At least one mayor said it’s good for business.”
“Of course. That’s what the Los Angeles Police chief said. He said every time they get rid of the paparazzi, the business owners complain.”
“Anyone complaining?” the mayor asked.
“Dean, Pete’s son, called a couple times. He’s had their vehicles towed from his lot. He would be very happy if they left and never came back.” The police chief paced the office. “The LA chief said the best we could hope for was that Miss Lipson would leave town.”
“I’m not going to kick my dear friend’s child out of town,” the mayor said. “God damn it. Valerie grew up here. She’s one of us. That’s not to mention what her parents have done for the city of Denver! Why don’t we let Homeland clear them out?”
“That’s like telling the world: ‘NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT RIGHT HERE!’ They come in with Black Hawks and soldiers. No fucking around,” the police chief said. “With the Democratic convention in a month, we don’t want Homeland involved.”
“There is one thing we could do. When is the city council meeting on this issue?”
“Tomorrow morning,” the mayor said.
“Let’s call immigration. That’ll fuck with them for a while,” the city attorney said.
“Curfew’s at 11 p.m.,” the police chief volunteered.
“Do it,” the mayor said.
“He … he fired me,” Jill said. “He just called me in to f-f-fire m-m-me. He said I … I …”
Her words were lost in her sobs. Jacob stroked her hair until she was breathing again.
“I thought you worked for Mabel,” Jacob said.
“He … he … t-t-tricked her out of t-t-the company. T-they have a c-court date this w-w-week. I was just holding on until … until … Oh God, Jacob, I lost my job!”
Jill buried her head in his shoulder. He returned to stroking her hair.
“She got the company in the divorce, but he … he …” She wept into his shoulder.
“You work for Ashforth Pipe Supply?” Jacob asked.
“Your mom got me the job right out of high school,” Jill said. “N-n-now I … I … I’ll never be able to pay you back … Katy will starve … I’ll lose her for sure. Oh my God, where’s Katy?”
The retelling of Denver Cereal, Volume 1, continues tomorrow…
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