Plantman was surprised, but not shocked, to find The Mayor’s office decorated entirely with imitation plants. He brushed wax leaves with his trusty feather-duster. He tested the moisture-content of tinsel soil, clipped plastic Ivy with imaginary scissors.
The Mayor sat quietly at his enormous desk, playing with a wooden sculpture of a bull with the sword of an unseen matador jutting from its side.
At last the Mayor spoke.
“You’ve been a very naughty Plantman, Plantman.”
“I? How so?”
“I know all about you.”
“Everyone knows me. I’m Plantman.”
“Which is precisely why you should be setting an example for The City’s Young, not corrupting them.”
“I’m Plantman. I tend the indoor flora of The City. I’ve corrupted no one.”
“Your association with the so-called ‘Indian,’ Fire Bush, is very disappointing.”
“Fire Bush harms no one.”
“Fire Bush is the leader of a nefarious cult. Everywhere I turn I see young people, The Missing Young, with hair died green. They should be home with their families. They should not be dying their hair any color, at their age, much less green. I’m having him arrested.”
“On what grounds?” demanded Plantman.
“He is the pied piper of The Missing Young. A cult leader. A corrupter of Youth. A Viral Deviant. I want him off the streets.”
“But Fire Bush is never on the streets. He preaches in the parks.”
“Yes, yes. Very well, then. The parks. I want him out of the parks. And as for you, Plantman. . . “
“Watch yourself, for you are watched.”