It wasn’t your typical day at the Stillwater city council.
The big boss–Mayor Gina Noble–was away, which meant everyone could loosen their ties, let their guards down, and be a little naughtier than usual.
No one was more determined to have a good time than Vice Mayor Pat Darlington, who, as the substitute teacher for the day, brought a surprise for the class.
“We are so excited to have Eliza Neal,” to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. “She is…I’ll let her tell you later. But she is going to lead us.”
What a teaser! What could she possibly be that the vice mayor isn’t telling us? A vampire? A Belieber? In fact, we’d have to play one of Darlington’s twisted games to find out.
“May I ask you a few questions?” the vice mayor kindly gazed upon the bespectacled child. “Eliza, what year are you in school?”
“Umm…” Eliza said, clearly pondering this hardball question. “Fifth.”
The vice mayor feigned surprise. “Fifth grade?! I was gonna say high school.” The room chortled at this witty banter. “What is the favorite book you had this summer?”
“It’s actually a series,” Eliza responded cautiously. “It’s called Warriors.”
“Warriors.” Darlington narrowed her eyes. “Is that violent?”
Once again, the room erupted in laughter, including Eliza.
“Unless you say cats fighting…yes,” Eliza conceded with a giggle.
The vice mayor straightened her back. “Well, I might just have to read that in the daytime, not the night.” This was quite the comedic routine, and the audience was eating it up. Now that the duo had loosened things up, Darlington had a final question.
“I think that she has a riddle for us. Do you have a riddle for us?”
“Yeah,” Eliza remembered. “Where do you park a camel?”
“Is that specific to the city of Stillwater or just in general?” the vice mayor deadpanned to further cackles.
Eliza gave away the punchline. “In Camelot!”
“Oooohhhh, that’s a good one,” Darlington remarked dryly. At this point, the crowd was definitely open to having Eliza and the vice mayor do some sort of “Who’s On First” slapstick routine. But the first rule of showbiz is “always leave them wanting more.” So Eliza took a bow and the council got back to the lesson plan.
It turns out, there are other fun things in Stillwater besides the city council meetings–and the visitor’s bureau chief eagerly rattled them off in a PowerPoint presentation: the Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum, Mid-Continent Kennel Show, and the All Aboard Polar Express train.
“You may not know that we’ve secured reindeer that will be in town” for the Polar Express, she bragged. Which would mean “a majority of people being around a reindeer for the first time in their lives.”
But rumors of the reindeer had been swirling around the Stillwater airwaves.
“I can’t remember who was talking about the reindeer,” Councilor Miguel Najera pondered, before a stroke of realization. “It was Kylie! ‘Cause she said ‘live reindeer’ and Steve [Daniels of ‘The Morning Scramble’ 105.1 FM] said, is it gonna be ‘dead reindeer’?!”
The head of the visitor’s bureau smiled knowingly. “We’ve been saying that because eight out of 10 people think they’re mystical creatures. They don’t know that they’re real!”
“They are,” murmured city manager Norman McNickle. “They can fly.”