The Bet

The clock shows 4 p.m., but Duluth is already dark. Thick black clouds hang heavy in the sky, rolling into one another and reforming. A dense fog snakes through the city, seeping into every alleyway and storefront. As the cold wind makes the doors of City Hall shudder, a half-naked humor columnist seizes the opportunity to slip inside the building without making a sound.

Mayor Donny Ness sits with his back to his office door, methodically plugging numbers into an Excel spreadsheet. The intruder, covered only by a thin, faded pair of plaid boxer shorts, creeps into the office with the most careful placement of footsteps. Not a rustle, not a breath, not a creak of the floor. Just perfect silence.
The typing stops, and a soft click is heard from behind the mayor’s chair. As the intruder approaches, Ness swivels around in his chair with a cocked pistol in his hand. The cruel smile on his face could curdle a gallon of milk.

Mayor Ness: I knew you’d come.

Paul Ryan: Well, I should hope so. I specifically said I was going to sneak into your office and rub my butt on the back of your neck. I printed it in a newspaper, for God’s sake.

Mayor: Yes, that was quite helpful. Thank you.

Paul: I should have known this was too easy. No secretary to sneak past, no co-workers milling about, no line of hillbillies shouting at you about unfilled potholes. It’s also very chilly in here. Was that part of it?
Mayor: No, my secretary is going through menopause. You just have to make sure to bring a jacket. And pants. Pants would have definitely been a better choice.
Paul: Well, Sam Cook and I had a bet. My buttocks on your neck, Ness. And I intend to fulfill that challenge and be crowned the best columnist in the city.

Mayor: You can’t win, you know. Sam is the best columnist. Always will be. You’re just a two-bit hack who says “vagina” a lot.

Paul: I don’t know what you’re talking about. Vagina.

Mayor: Sam owns this town, Paul. You don’t own shit. You’ve got no friends left in the Twin Ports. I’d recommend you get out while you still can.

Ness begins polishing his gun with a silk handkerchief.

Paul: Vagina.

Mayor: This is Sam Cook’s town. Nobody likes you, Paul. When you go to the deli, you’re served by people on Team Sam. When you have a drink at a bar, it’s poured by Team Sam. When you get a lap dance, your crotch is lightly grazed because Sam Cook ALLOWS IT to be lightly grazed. You should be thankful, and leave before our generosity runs out. You have no friends, Paul. But Sam? His popularity is INFINITE.

Paul: Really? I heard he gives away people’s fishing spots. Has he ever won an award for that?

Ness shoots Paul in the shoulder.

Paul: Gahh! Why the hell did you shoot me?!

Mayor: Sorry, I’ve never shot anyone before. I thought it would be way cooler than that. There’s a lot more blood involved than I expected.

Paul: I know, right?! You just winged me. What’s with all the blood?

Mayor:I know! Why does your blood have to make such a big deal out of it?

Paul: I’m diabetic, so my blood’s kind of a diva.

Mayor: Speaking of divas, you waltzed in here trying to rub your butt on me. I can’t have that. We’re trying to clean up this city, make it civil and safe.
Paul:</b> Well I hope shooting me with a gun helped.

Ness shoots Paul in the other shoulder.

Paul: Damn it! Come on, man!

Mayor: Sorry! It’s just instinct. I watch a lot of movies.

Paul: Can you put the gun down, please?

Mayor: All right, I’m putting it away.

Ness turns and opens a drawer in his desk. Paul’s eyes light up. He springs into motion like a sexy cat, tackling Ness and knocking him and the pistol to the floor. With both hands holding down Ness’ arms, Paul slowly drags his buttocks towards Ness’ face. The edge of the fabric grazes Ness’ nose.
Thunder rumbles outside. Sleet begins slopping onto the sidewalks of the city. The flash of lightning that follows distracts Paul and his magnificent buttocks, allowing Ness to perform a classic reverse half nelson move. Now in an advantageous position, Ness grabs a Snapple bottle from his desk and bashes it repeatedly into Paul’s skull.

Sam Cook enters the room and sees Paul, bloody and gasping for air on the floor.

Sam Cook: Finish him!

Mayor: What? You said you just wanted him to leave town. You said nobody would get hurt! We had a deal!
Cook picks up the pistol from the floor and fires four rounds into Paul’s face.
Sam Cook: I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further.

Cook then unzips his pants and urinates on Paul’s corpse.

Sam Cook: Second place again, Mr. Ryan. All too easy.