At home, Mayor Tribe sat in his comfortable gaming chair playing “Fortnite” on his Xbox when he noticed something peculiar on his security camera monitor. A Mud Lick Sheriff’s Department cruiser had pulled into his driveway, lights activated.
“Will someone see what the fuck’s the problem?” Tribe yelled to no one in particular. Switching his game off, he studied the security monitor. Deputy Ernesto Miranda was now visible at his front door. Miranda carried a duffle bag and sported an N95 mask and gloves in addition to his uniform.
“How can I help you, Deputy Miranda?” Mayor Tribe asked.
“Got a package for you, Mayor Tribe.”
“Can’t you leave it at the door? Contactless delivery and all?”
“Sorry sir, you’re going to need to sign for this one.”
Quietly cursing under his breath, the Mayor left his “Mayor Cave” and headed for the door.
Mud Lick is a small town, and folks in it aren’t prone to fits of hyperbole. That’s probably why, when citizens swear they could hear Mayor Tribe’s voice howl “MOTHERFUCKER” that day. there’s a stitch of truth to it.
Mayor Tribe sure didn’t hide his fury to Deputy Miranda.
As for the deputy, he didn’t really care about the mayor’s tirade. He had a job to do.
Sheriff Roy was expecting the call from Mayor Tribe. He still feigned surprise when the mayor’s voice came through over the phone.
“Mayor Tribe! To what do I owe the pleasure of your call?”
“Cut the shit, Roy. Why is that goddamn mental midget of a psychopath in my house, and why did you send Miranda to my home with him and his bag full of clothes and coloring books?”
“You mean Deputy Tyrone?”
“Yes, goddammit. What is he doing raiding my pantry and ruining my kill-death ratio on “Call of Duty?”
“Sounds like pretty standard fare for Deputy Tyrone.”
“Stop dancing around the point, Sheriff. Why did you send him to my home and what is with this letter you had Francine type up?”
“The letter wasn’t Francine’s idea. That was from the CDC.”
“Do what now?” the Mayor sputtered.
Sheriff Roy eased back into his desk chair. “You remember that book-signing event in Tuscaloosa with that Wolff fella you wanted to attend?”
“Well, turns out one of the President’s biggest fans wanted to pay his ‘respects’ to Mr. Wolff. And turns out Deputy Tyrone, in a moment of pure luck, fell on the numbskull and caught him with a loaded revolver that had ‘MAGA’ engraved on the barrel.”
“That’s all well and good. Why am I being punished?”
“Well, when they got the perp processed, it turns out he tested positive for the COVID, Mayor. And you were in contact with Deputy Tyrone enough for you to qualify in the contact tracer’s mind as being potentially exposed.”
“Wha…” Mayor Tribe turned white. He was, for once, at a loss for words.
“Yeah, remember when you had to get in the squad car to get back to your motorcade? Deputy Tyrone was in the vehicle. CDC says twelve minutes in a 24-hour period counts as exposure enough for a required quarantine.”
“Deputy Traylor was driving. Any reason why he’s not here too?”
“Oh Traylor’s got a cabin he’s gone to for quarantine. Deputy Tyrone’s only got his mama and she’s in the target demographic. So we took a vote and decided the two of you get to be quarantine buddies. Won’t that be fun?”
“Well, the CDC people said I could assemble my own panel of experts, so me, Francine, Deputy Miranda, and the four employees I had to put on administrative leave when you pulled my funding made the decision.”
“I said I was sorry! I told you it wouldn’t happen again!”
“Rules are rules, Mayor Tribe. Now I left you enough coloring books and clothes in the duffel to get you through November 3, but Deputy Tyrone will be ready to leave by the first since technically a couple of days have passed since the exposure according to the CDC people. He’ll eat sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches with the crust cut off. Tyrone doesn’t care much for peanut butter’s taste.”
“I’m stuck in here with that maniac for two weeks.” Mayor Tribe whispered in fear.
“Oh, he’s not that bad. Just make sure you lock up any guns or sharp objects. And he loves video games, so the two of you should get along nicely!”
“What if Louise needs to stop by for something?”
“Well, Mayor, your secretary’s fine to come by, but then she’ll get locked in with both of you. You two are adults. I think you can make the decision if you want to keep her in quarantine with both of you.”
“What if I made a personal donation to the Sheriff’s Department to get your men whatever you needed?”
Sheriff Roy laughed. “You’re fine to do that, Mayor, but it won’t buy your way out of quarantine. Public health matter and all. And I’m sure you care enough about your constituents to keep them safe from a potentially lethal virus, right?”
Mayor Tribe slumped over his phone in defeat. “You’re right, Sheriff. I care. In this together and all.” He then hung up the phone.
Every Mud Lick Sheriff’s Department employee erupted in laughter when the call ended. Sheriff Roy’d sent an all hands email to his office when the call started and put the Mayor on speakerphone.
Mayor Tribe left his house to vote on November 3. He looked visibly older than folks remembered, almost as if he’d aged ten years in quarantine.
Tribe jumped at any loud noises and wore incontinence underwear for a week after quarantine ended, as he’d taken to soiling himself whenever someone said, “Squeal, Daddy!”
Mud Lick’s townsfolk were surprised when Mayor Tribe announced his devotion to the Lord, Jesus Christ. In a public address, he announced plans to take a leave of absence to attend a “Bible Study Retreat.”
This wasn’t surprising to Sheriff Roy in the least.
“Scumbags always seem to find Jesus in moments of crisis,” he’d quip whenever asked about the Mayor’s change of heart.
Happy Halloween, everyone! Enjoy the holiday however you choose, and remember: no matter how bad your week’s been, at least you’re not shut in with Deputy Tyrone.
See you next Friday!