Day 23 – The Lottery

No one was quite sure how the tradition originated, but for as long as anyone could remember, the town of Habburdash was ruled by lottery. On the first day of every year, the names of every person in town would be put into a giant mason jar, and whoever’s name was picked, that person was in charge for that year.

Any brief perusal of the Book of Mayors would show you that the system certainly had its failings. Just read the entry of Tina The Pink, so named because, being only seven when she was given nigh-absolute power within the city limits, she had an unmistakable affinity for the color. She made certain the town wore it while she did. The following year the buildings were quickly repainted, except for the schoolhouse, which looked quite charming with a rosy exterior. Tina was now forty and had long since moved to Millwater, but any time she came back on a holiday, residents were all too happy to remind her of her short but notable reign.

But the problems she caused were child’s play – in a quite literal sense – in comparison to the year of Randolph The Worst. Despite the decades of rulers that followed, no one came close to deposing him of that title. After his suffering citizenry investigated this man who had drifted into town at exactly the right moment, it was discovered that he had only recently escaped having been institutionalized for his affinity toward rather unpleasant things. The residents wanted to call the authorities to retrieve him, but he forbade it, and orders were orders. Plus they were only seven months away from him leaving office.

Habburdashers would retell these stories again today, on Election Day, hoping that it was going to be an interesting year, laughingly reassuring each other that things couldn’t get stranger. The entire populace held its breath for a moment as the slip of paper was retrieved from its jar. The current mayor, Anderson The Fair, read out: “Apollo Blankenship.” The Blankenships exchanged looks, not quite sure how their German shepherd’s name had been placed in the lottery. Yes sir, this was going to be an interesting year.

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