Law And Order
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It's the piccolo solo that does it.                                                                                                                            
"This meeting will now come to order!"

Mayor Langdon surveyed the city council meeting over which he presided. It was a full house, rare for the town, but he wasn't complaining. After all, they had a lot of new laws to announce.

One of the council members-Epperson, Langdon believed, stood up.

"Today," he droned, "We are announcing several new laws designed to further protect and serve the citizens of this town. Please be aware that compliance in these laws are expected, and police will strictly punish all offenders."

The laws were short, simple and to the point.

All smoking is banned on Tuesdays.

Public dancing is forbidden during daylight hours

All construction projects are to be done at the height of rush hour

Mayor Langdon frowned to himself. He didn't remember signing any of these laws into effect. Mentally, he shrugged it off though. He had been busy these past few weeks. Anyway, the council wouldn't present a law that he hadn't signed. Besides, these new laws were harmless. It was of little consequence how or when they were introduced.


Within a week, the jail was full. The police had seemingly rounded up everyone who violated these new laws, gaining fresh enthusiasm and zeal almost overnight. Mayor Langdon smiled to himself. Served those idiots right for breaking the law. If you were stupid enough to break little, useless laws like those, you deserved to serve some time to reflect on what you'd done.


The next month, there was yet another batch of laws. These seemed a little stranger to the Mayor, but he put it off as stress. Plus, these laws included penalties, saving the police the stress of having to figure out suitable punishments.

Top hats and monocles must be worn in all barber shops on a Sunday. Punishment-24 hours in jail

The kicking of bricks into storm drains is forbidden under any circumstances. Punishment-48 hours in jail

All eggplants sold are to be no less than 1 gram in weight. Punishment-100 dollar fine

The whistling of "The Stars and Stripes Forever" on Mondays from 12 in the morning to 6 in the morning is strictly forbidden. Punishment-24 hours in jail

Cigarettes must be held in the left hand while being lit. Punishment-50 dollars

Mayor Langdon settled back in his seat and smiled to himself. Some more law and order was just what this town needed, and these laws delivered it. Who cares if they were useless? They proved a point-law is law.


The jail was overflowing. The police had gone into overtime, arresting not only the perpetrators but also the surrounding people, for "aiding and abetting" lawless actions. The number of traffic accidents in construction zones also had skyrocketed, resulting in a few injuries requiring hospitalization. No skin off of Mayor Langdon's teeth, though. If people couldn't learn how to drive and obey the law, then they got what they deserved. He just wished they'd stop spreading those rumors about people released from jail with suspicious bruises…


A month had gone by, now, and more laws were still cropping up. Mayor Langdon was beginning to get a little worried. He'd have to find out who was passing these things, if only to ask them to tone down their tone a little.

Public reading on Saturdays from 1 in the afternoon to 2 in the afternoon is prohibited. Punishment-48 hours in jail

Stepping on cracks on Wednesdays from 1 in the morning to 2 in the morning. Punishment-500 dollar fine

Unapproved disposal of stone-based debris. Punishment-500 dollar fine and 49 hour jail time

Wearing suspenders in public post offices. Punishment-72 hours jail time


By this time, the hospital had been co-opted into a makeshift prison to ease some of the load from the primary jail. Construction on a second jail was stalling due to a lack of construction companies willing to work in the town. In addition, many offenders were complaining of rough treatment by police officers, even going so far as to claim physical abuse. However, another month went by, and another set of laws cropped up.

The wearing of silk underwear is forbidden on Tuesdays from 9 in the morning to 5 at night. Punishment-1000 dollar fine, 72 hour jail sentence

Bringing a kangaroo into a barber shop is illegal. Punishment-2000 dollar fine, 36 hour jail sentence

Putting a donkey in a bathtub is prohibited. Punishment-10,000 dollar fine, 24 hour jail sentence

All diplomas must be framed with at least one inch of space on all sides. Punishment-40,000 dollar fine

Blown bubbles must be no larger than ten millimeters wide. Punishment-50,000 dollar fine, 52 hour jail sentence

Skipping is outlawed on Mondays, Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 3 in the afternoon to 6 in the afternoon.


Mayor Langdon needed a walk. He had worked late that night, and hadn't been able to locate who had been pushing these laws through. In fact, he hadn't found where the laws were coming from, period. It was as if they appeared out of thin air, already approved and ready to go. Yes, a walk was what he needed.

Lost in thought, he began humming a little ditty stuck in his head. Then he walked into someone.

"Excuse me, sir," he murmured, moving to walk around. He was stopped by the hand on his shoulder. He looked up into the face of a police constable who had been deputized to deal with the influx of new laws to enforce.

"Are you aware what you were doing, sir?"

"I-I was just walking, officer"

"You were whistling a tune. Do you know what that tune was? Immaterial. I do. It was 'The Stars and Stripes Forever.'"

"I-I'm sorry, officer. I won't do it again."

"Oh, I'll say you won't do it again. You think you can just GET AWAY with SINGING SOUSA at this time of night? IN MY TOWN?"

"I'm the mayor of this town, and I say tha-"

"I DON'T CARE! YOU BROKE THE LAW, YOU SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES!"

The first blow connected with Mayor Langdon's cheek, the second with his stomach. More blows followed, raining down on him in a ceaseless fury. Staggering, he saw stars. The officer delivered a final blow to his head. Mayor Langdon's vision started tunneling, and he began a long, slow fall towards the ground. The last thing he saw was an ordinary paving brick racing toward his head at an alarming speed. Then there was a sickening crack, and he saw only blackness.


Mayor Langdon was buried in an open casket.

There were no closed casket burials allowed on Sundays.

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