Wilber Crowley sat on the leather couch in Lillian Morgan’s office. It squeaked awkwardly whenever he shifted his considerable weight, which was frequently. One of the men standing near the door smiled each time. Wilber tried not to move.
Earlier he had heard a knock on his hotel room door. Two men were there, dressed with the gruff sophistication of well-paid gunslingers with Peacemakers dangling from their tooled hosters. The one with the pointed cattleman hat did the talking. “Mrs. Morgan would like to speak with you.” He recognized it as a summons, not an invitation.
The door opened and an enticingly beautiful woman entered. “Thank you, Lane. You may go. Remy, be a dear and pour us a drink first.” The lead man left quietly. Remy crossed to the bar and poured two glasses of bourbon.
The woman sat down on the couch next to Wilber, offering her delicate hand. “Mr. Crowley, I’m Lillian Morgan,” she introduced herself in a sultry voice.
Crowley nervously took her hand and said, “Pleased to meet you, ma’am.” She was dressed in a colorful, slinky dress with a slit up one side, revealing shapely legs filling silk stockings topped with lacy garters. Her makeup was heavy, but tasteful. Wilber thought that she carried herself more like a saloon girl than a wealthy widow.
“Call me Lillian,” she said as she took the drinks and handed one to Crowley. “I hear you’re running for mayor. I’d like to speak to you about that.”
“Is that a problem?” he asked.
“Not at all,” she replied lightly. “If it were, I could easily deal with it, darling. Still, I don’t think you have much chance of winning anyways.”
Crowley agreed. “Ah know. Ah’ve been seekin’ an issue that might help mah campaign. Ah considered emphasizing the ineffectiveness of the sheriff’s office in dealing with the Sloane gang.”
“I think economic growth is a better issue,“ she said as she gently placed a hand on his thigh. “Don’t you?”
“Ah suppose,” he stammered, feeling the warmth on his leg spread throughout his body. He felt something was wrong; he was agreeing too easily. He reached into his pocket for his deck of cards.
She leaned closer, her perfume intoxicating him. “Don’t try to manipulate me with your tricks, darling. I had you pegged the moment you entered town.” He jerked his hand from his pocket.
“You’ve been seeking an issue, but in Gomorra it’s not what you know … it’s who you know.” She leaned closer, brushing her cheek gently against his as she whispered in his ear. “Now you know me … and I’m certain we’re going to very close, aren’t we?”
She leaned back and held her glass out for a toast, “To my friend, Mayor Crowley.”
He didn’t hesitate before clinking his glass against hers.