"Believe it or not, it's now illegal in this city for more than ten people to do or say anything in unison."
He chuckled. "But that would shut Pastor Simms' choir down, too. Our mayor isn't too bright, is he?"
"Well," Ifan said, "I figure it's going to be enforced about as uniformly as the statutes on financial crimes are. They'll probably just use it on us, and leave everyone else alone. But getting back to your move, what are you going to do?"
"Yes, Mr. Carver," another voice asked, "what are you going to do?"
"Oh," Carver said as he turned around, "Hi Pastor Simms. We were just discussing the mayor's hardline stance against churches. He's just declared war on religion. What are you going to do about that?"
The man's eyes widened. "He's what?"
"It's true," Ifan said solemnly, "according to the new rule, if more than ten people say "amen' together, they're breaking the law."
"After I helped to get him elected? Well, " Simms said as he turned to go, "we'll just have to see about that."
Thad, who stood directly behind Simms, hastily stepped aside while glancing back and forth between his boss and Carver, unsure of what he was supposed to do. But just as he started to ask for directions, Pastor Simms ordered him to follow.
Ifan lost his composure about the time the pastor angrily pulled out his cell phone and started barking orders at some ecumenical underling. "You are quick, Mr. Carver," he said. "Remind me never to get on the wrong side of an argument with you."
Angela murmured agreement, but she seemed a bit upset about something.
"Thanks. I tell myself never to let anyone steamroll me into something I don't really want to do, but it's not so easy when it's someone you don't want to offend, or someone with power over you." He nodded towards Simms. "The worst part about it is that when a jerk like that get's the better of someone, it boosts his confidence."
"Maybe," Ifan said with a chuckle, "that's why they call them "confidence men'."
"What do you think he's going to do now?"
"Well, with that fire you just lit under him, I'd guess he's going to threaten his buddy the mayor with his warped version of hell if he doesn't rescind that rule of his." He turned to Angela. "Is something wrong, Ace?"
"Yeah, there's something wrong." She said, glancing back towards Simms, and brandishing her cellphone. "You two just started a delicious political avalanche, and I didn't get it on video."