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It Needed to Happen

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Janet Nettles was one of the two graphic designers at the Crystal Cove Marketing Agency when Fred Jones, Sr. asked them for materials for his re-election campaign; a tv commercial, a brochure, and those yard signs, among other things.

She was just beginning work on the brochure when she started thinking about the town’s operations under Mayor Jones—the rising crime rate her main concern. The agency had been asked to create a tourism marketing plan for the town in the past. While it was admirable how he seemed to be capable of putting a positive spin on just about anything, it also seemed to come at the cost of glossing over the actual problems in Crystal Cove.

Janet knew that if Fred Jones to continue getting re-elected, crime rates would just increase more as people realised that they could get away with anything if they put on a mediocre costume as scared a couple people while they did it. She designed the brochure so that Jones would like and approve it, but no one else would find it appealing and turn away from his campaign. It was small, though. Even if the citizens became dissatisfied with Jones, they would need someone else to follow.

By the time Janet had gone to bed for the night, she decided that if no one else would step up to fix the town, she would. After all, her graphic design background helped her learn how to spin anything about as well as Mayor Jones could, and she had been in the military as many previous politicians had been.


Sheriff Bronson Stone realised his worst day had come when he had to arrest his friend, Mayor Fred Jones. Having gone home to grill himself a large steak and cry over a tall glass of apple juice. He felt betrayed badly by his only friend, and there was already someone else running for his position as mayor, so he knew any other candidates jumping in now would have to compete with a name voters were already beginning to recognise, even if she was just a graphic designer claiming to have previously been an Air Force pilot. Sheriff Stone wasn’t ready to trust her (or anyone else running for the mayoral spot) yet, though. Not even if they were as attractive as Janet Nettles.

Janet was elected unopposed with the exception of a single person writing in for Sheriff Bronson Stone. She was walking into her new office for the first time when the man himself approached her.

“I hope you know that I’m the emergency mayor in this town.” he growled at her.

“Well, thank you for stepping up after Mayor Jones got arrested. I’ll be sure to come to you if I have any questions.” Janet replied, hoping she’d be able to sway the lawman from his ways of following Jones in his plan to turn the town into a haunted attraction. She would, of course, need him to be a major ally if she was going to do anything about the town’s crime.

“I’m sure I’ll be the one asking you questions, since I am, after all, the mayor.”

“I was actually just elected as mayor. I appreciate your willingness to lead though.” she calmly responded. Janet stepped into the room and closed the door before the sheriff could continue to insist that the job was his. That could become a major problem. She would have to win him over somehow.

After brushing some unwelcome ideas from her head, she sat down at the desk and began checking email. She didn’t need her first day to be impeded by thoughts of her and Bronson getting that close.


Over the next few days, Sheriff Bronson Stone continued confronting Janet at City Hall to tell her that he was Crystal Cove mayor in his book. Janet was beginning to get frustrated by uncooperativeness when a figure with a scarf pulled over his face entered her office and told her it was time to get Mystery Incorporated back together. She knew the figure was right. If the sheriff wouldn’t help her, the teen friends would need to.


The teen group had been reunited for a couple of weeks when Janet began to suspect that Sheriff Bronson might be letting go of his grudge against her. He had forced her to come to the opening reception of a modern art exhibition.

Though she wasn’t a huge modern art fan—she preferred Baroque and Neoclassical era art, personally—she agreed to come. Janet was curious to see why he was willing to spend time with her when it didn’t involve trying to get her to step down.


It was another couple of weeks later when Janet knew for certain that Bronson was changing his opinion about her.

He was trying to prove that the teens weren’t the only ones doing anything about crime and had invited her on a stakeout at the location of an attack by a supposed ghost, but when they got there, he pulled out out candles and a picnic basket. She raised her eyebrow at the sheriff, but he put his binoculars to his face and stared out the window.

Janet wasn’t entirely sure what the point of calling it a stakeout was when they were in his squad car, but she played along when the kids asked. He might drop tell her something more if he thought she was on his side with letting the kids of their trail.

Later that night, Sheriff Bronson Stone asked her on an official date to a restaurant over the weekend. Janet accepted. It wasn’t, after all, like she hadn’t wanted it since her first day on the job.