A long running conspiracy bubbles below the surface of the story in the fifth Frank Nagler Mystery, DRAGONY RISING.
This is how the coup was planned:
“Ramirez opened her computer screen to show the start of an old-style video.
“This looks like it was recorded on an older camera, possibly on tape and converted to a digital file. It’s really dark, badly recorded. The visuals are uneven and the sound drops out from time to time. I cleaned it up some. But… Frank … It’s that meeting, from 2006 in Dubin Place.”
The still image on the computer showed Ollivar, Dancer, Carlton Dixon, Tallem, Bernie Langdon, Dan Thomson, Taylor Mangot II and a blonde woman at his side, her face turned from the camera, possibly Rachel Pursel. The backs of heads filled the front bottom of the shot.
Ramirez hit play and the video jerked to life.
“All right, to finish up, here’s where we are. Ray…where’s Ray, okay put your hand up. Good. Ray’s in the planning department. All our applications will go through him, and the inspections. They’ll be the cleanest fucking inspections you’ve ever seen.” A general laugh. “Same in the fire department. Duval is working on a few “accidents.” He’ll inspect them, of course, and declare them solved in such a way that the insurance companies will have no questions. We have real estate and legal people who will handle property transfers once the settlements are complete. The properties will be consolidated under a variety of companies controlled by Mr. Mangot. That’s the first step. The police have others. Dancer?”
Dancer stepped forward and nodded. “Yeah, look. There’s some guys we’re gonna have to deal with. So if you’re working with someone one day, and the next week he ain’t there, don’t worry and don’t ask questions. If ya get asked about it, play dumb. ‘Sol died? I din’t know that. Sorry to hear that.’ We don’t need heroes. Just do your job.”
Ollivar shifted to the front of the crowd again. “Thanks, Dancer. Heed that warning. Do your job. This is not a frontal assault on Ironton. This is a takeover. Quietly. With stealth, not brawn. It will require patience. It’s the model we will use to move forward, town by town. Now, you all have heard about Article 256-2006? It is an article that will consolidate the power of Ironton’s government in one person. Councilman Bill Weston – Stand, please Bill, thanks. – Bill is our first player, newly elected. He has introduced Article 256. It did not get a second, and therefore no vote. But we planned for that. It will be reintroduced, and gain a second, but fail again. Then again, and add another vote, and again, until one glorious year, it is passed into law and signed by the mayor of our choice.”
Ollivar: “Thanks. Our leader Carlton Dixon has a few words.”
A shuffling of bodies. Handshakes. Embraces. Raised fists.
“Thank you, Jesus. People think revolutions take place on the streets, are loud, violent things. Crowds with torches and bricks and flags threatening overthrow. That is theater. Revolution are ideas, formed and refined in meetings like this, in meetings your ancestors held a century or more ago to take power back from the new folks who wanted it. Your ancestors stood up and said, no. No to the pollution of their lives. No to the slippery degradation of their beliefs. So they rose up and took back the purity of their lives.”
Dixon help up one hand to silence the murmured approval. “Society and its creation, government, at times rot. Such is that time. But society is a pile of rocks strapped together with the dreams of believers like you all. It is time to seek out the dreams that have putrefied. Pull out the loose rock, weaken its hold on the faulty structure. Pull one and it leans, makes a hole; pull another and it shivers, another, and it falls. Find your rock, that weak crumbling rock, brothers and sisters, and pull.”
A cheer filled the room. Dixon smiled and gently motioned for the cheering to cease.
“You will not see me often, but you will know the time has come when you hear me referred to as ‘McSalley.’ Think of it as a code. There will be an event of destruction. It will be a distraction, and while they try to solve it, our work will go on. Also know this: When this gentleman reappears in Ironton, it has begun.”
Dixon pointed to the far corner as out of the shadows stepped McCarroll.
A cheer and an uncertain, “Oohh.” Then another sound.
Ramirez shut off the video; McCarroll’s blurred face shimmered on the computer screen.
“Is it really that easy?” she asked in a tortured whisper.