I don’t often write short stories for contests or theme issues. I generally find the timelines too short and the requirements to strict. However, when I heard about an anthology of political crime stories, I knew I had to submit.

After a week of indecision, I started a prequel to my first book, detailing how Duncan Cochrane took on Chicago’s infamous political machine and its chief architect, Mayor Richard J. Daley. The time is again the Spring of 1978. Jesse Jackson is gaining fame and influence with Operation Push. Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi are in town filming The Blues Brothers. And the river runs green for St. Patty’s Day.

Meanwhile, Duncan has just declared his candidacy for governor and is preparing to face off with Mitch Kupcinek, the Cook County party’s choice, in the primary. He fears that Chicago style politics will prevail. For two decades prior, the Machine had fixed the outcome of every election with dead voters, drunk voters, and repeat voters. Legend even held that they tipped the 1960 presidential race to JFK. In the mayor’s words, elections are too important to leave to chance.

How could an outsider, a businessman, a political novice, defeat the army of of precinct captains, patronage workers, and civil servants? You’ll have to read the story to find out.

I won’t risk jinxing things by telling you the name of the publication. I expect to hear back within a few months, but I’m hopeful that in my next missive I can tell you about the story’s impending publication.