Today is the day our regular readers have been looking forward to: a chance to meet one of the inhabitants of Numoeath. Our interviewee will be Henry Sutcliff, Mayor of Maldon.
I’ll set the scene before we meet the man himself. The mayor’s residence is situated just behind Maldon’s town hall, only a couple of minutes’ walk from the town square. Like the town hall, it is built from stone: this is in contrast to other buildings in the town, which are wooden. It’s one of the larger buildings, and I suppose it’s the largest residential building. In addition to housing the town’s leader, it has offices, meeting spaces and storage of files. It’s the only building I’ve noticed to have decorative carvings — you can see them round the front doorway — which make a change from the functional but sturdy construction of the other buildings.
Inside, the mayor has led me into his office, which is stacked high with piles of paper, some of which have cobwebs on them. I’m trying not to sneeze. He seats himself behind a rather battered wooden desk while I cautiously perch on a wobbly wooden stool across from him.
The mayor is, I guess, in his mid-fifties and has a rather harried expression on his face. He keeps tugging on the golden chain around his neck, which I take to be his chain of office.
Intrepid Correspondent (IC): Mayor Sutcliff, many thanks for agreeing to this interview. How long have you been mayor?
Mayor Henry Sutcliff (HS): Nearly two years now. The town has really flourished under my leadership.
IC: That’s good to hear. I’m sure it will continue to do so. What changes have you implemented since you took up office?
HS: Changes? Uh… the population has increased. Yes, there are more citizens than before. Thanks to my hard work.
IC (laughing): Don’t tell me you’ve been responsible for that all by yourself! I’m surprised you have the energy for this interview.
HS (reddening): That’s not what I meant! I meant that Maldon has become more attractive for immigrants, because of its strong organisation and advantageous living conditions.
IC: Ah, so people are attracted to move here from other settlements.
HS: That’s right. Because we can provide them with the environment they need to be valued members of the community.
IC: Can you tell me how many people have moved here since you took up office?
HS (frowning): Hm… two. Some uncultured woman from the boonies, calls herself a herbalist, and a snot-nosed kid from the same village.
IC: That’s it? Two?
HS (hastily): I’m sure there are others. Those are just the two that come to mind.
IC: I see. Valued members of the community.
HS: Is there anything else you’d like to interrogate me about? I’m a busy man.
IC: Moving on, can you tell me about yourself personally? Did you grow up here?
HS: Yes, absolutely. I can’t imagine why someone would want to move away from where they were born. It’s against the natural order of things.
IC: But you just stated you encouraged immigrants because Maldon’s a better place to live.
HS (pulls out handkerchief and mops brow): Did I? I meant that it’s natural for people to want to better themselves, but people should accept their role in society.
IC: I see. Thank you for your time.
HS: I’m sure you can see yourself out.
At this point, the mayor picked up his quill pen and started to write in his journal. Seeing no further reason to remain, I departed. Maybe we’ll have more luck with our next interviewee.