Gold, Chapter Sixteen

in by

“Why didn’t I know about this?” asked the Supervisor.  She was standing behind her desk in her City Hall office, looking down at a copy of The SF Lightning Bolt.  “If you want my help you’re supposed to keep me informed.”  She peered over half-glasses at John, whose body overflowed in the armchair facing the desk, like an oversized bean bag that’d been stuffed into a too small piece of furniture.  He shifted uncomfortably.

“It’s a good thing,” he said.  “It’ll put pressure on Chester to sell to the right party.”

“And who,” said Rebecca, as she picked up the Bolt with the tips of her fingers and deposited it into a blue receptacle marked “recycle,” taking a tissue and rubbing her hands with it afterwards, “would that be?”

“The highest bidder, of course,” said John, leaning forward.  “We’ll have them work against each other…”

“And what will we get?  I mean, the community?”

“Millions,” said John.  He paused a few beats.  “Towards affordable housing.  And, with the idea of a turning the property into a park on the table I’m sure we can get a contribution to renovating Jackson Clubhouse.  Plus, we’ll make some new friends.”

Rebecca sat down, and templed her fingers.  “John, who do you work for?”

“Uh, I’m just trying to do what’s best for the community.”

“No, I mean, who pays you?  I’m truly curious…”

“Well, that depends…”

“In this case,” Rebecca had softened her voice to the tone of a kindergarten teacher asking a student to read a difficult passage from a children’s book.  “Who is paying you in this case?”

“Um, well, I’m in negotiations with one party, and have been paid a small fee by another party to, um, make strategic introductions.”

“Which parties?!” Rebecca shouted.  “Stop talking about “parties!” Tell me names!”

“The biotech company,” Chester stammered.  “I’m talking with them, working out a contract.  Representatives from the wealthy family paid a one-time fee, but I’m negotiating with them…”

“And the park idea?  Who came up with that?”

John smiled, like a kindergartner who had just successful read a multi-syllable word.  “That one’s mine,” he said, “Working with some community advocates.  You’ve gotta push these things just right to get the most out of them…”

“Meaning your girlfriend; she’s the community advocate,” said Rebecca.  “Okay, John, keep me in the loop, about everything.  Now get out.”

After a short struggle with the chair, which almost won, John stood up.  “Right.  I’ll keep you informed.”  He paused.  “Do you care who gets the property?”

“Whatever’s best for the community,” Rebecca said, her eyes locked on the computer screen sitting on her desk. 

“Okay,” said John, who shuffled towards the door.

“Oh,” said Rebecca, without looking up.  “Get me a Mercedes as part of the deal.”  She glanced at John, whose hand was on the door knob.  “Kidding!”  She looked back at the screen without smiling.

“Right,” John mumbled to himself, and exited the office.

Each month the View publishes a chapter from Gold, a serialized tale of politics, capitalism, and corruption in San Francisco.  Previous chapters can be found on the paper’s website,  Advertisers or supporters interested in sponsoring future installations, or publishing the final manuscript, should contact