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Created by Diane Brown, Buena Beach is an online soap opera, giving up all the juicy details of some of the hottest guys and gals of Buena Beach, a small town in Southern California. Check back everyday for a new episode here on HelloBeautiful.com.

The Voice

Above anything else, City of Buena Beach Mayor Hanan Certig prided herself as being a mayor of the people. She was, after all, a person…so why not be for the people? For if she was for the people, she figured, than who could be against her? That was a chant she repeated over and over in her head each morning before getting up to perform the very important mayoral duties as assigned her by the great people of Buena Beach.

And what a better way to be for the people than to mingle with the people, right there in their environments? So it was with great satisfaction (with herself) that Hanan had her driver drop her off an entire half block down from the Buena Beach Café so she could mosey on down for a cup coffee and an afternoon scone. There were, however, a couple of other purposes in this wonderful “down with the people” scene she was about to create. Objective One for the visit was really the main objective behind most of her public appearances – to stage a photo opportunity. Hopefully, the headline would read something like: Mayor Hanan Supports Local Café, although Frankie, the photographer she had planted at one of the tables inside, said he had no control over headings, captions, or stories.

Objective Two might require a little more cunning on her part, but she was up to it. For months now, she’d been trying to figure out a way to get five minutes of face time with Mario’s wife, Cynthia. She’d even contrived an entire event the week before with the sole intention of finally having an excuse to meet her. But instead of Cynthia, Mario (her supposed protégé) dragged along his dim-witted assistant, Sandy. Despite the incident, Hanan still learned about a valuable piece of information that evening – that Cynthia was now employed part-time at the Buena Beach Café on weekday afternoons, hence her current journey for java.

To her alarm, there wasn’t much of a clamor accompanying her arrival. A few people lifted their heads, momentarily distracted from their laptops, textbooks, or phones, but not much else. Well, that’s fine. Really, she didn’t need any distractions interrupting her time with Cynthia.

“Hi, there. How can I help you?”

“Ahh, yes. I’ll have a large cup of your house coffee – room for cream, please – and a maple scone.”

“Okay. Will that be for here, or to go?”

Good question. If she kept her order in, it would give her more opportunity to spark a conversation with the young lady behind the counter, even prettier in person than in the pictures Mario’s shown her. “Here. And would you be a doll and heat that up for me?”

“Sure. That’ll be $4.75.”

The triviality of their exchange led Hanan to think that, perhaps, Cynthia had no idea who she was. “Oh, you know what? I’m a few cents short.”

“Oh, that’s okay. I can throw in some change for you. No problem.”

Damn. She just had to be sweet, didn’t she? “No, no. I wouldn’t want you to do that. Is there not a tab here under the mayor’s office?” Of course, she knew there wasn’t any tab; no one was giving the mayor’s office any sort of credit these days, after becoming notorious for forgetting to pay bills.

“Oh, are you with the mayor’s office?”

Hanan laughs, feigning embarrassment. “Well, it looks like I’ll have to get more photos of myself out there.”

And on cue, a thirty-something man in a Lakers jersey rises from his comfy chair by the door and begins snapping Hanan’s picture. She gets in three poses favoring her good side before demanding, “That’s enough!”

“Sorry, Mayor Certig,” the small town snaparazzi says before grabbing his paper cup and heading out.

It takes her a couple of moments, but then an expression of recognition appears. “Oh my gosh! You’re the mayor. Mayor Certig.”

“Yes, yes. It’s me. Down here, hanging with the people. Coffee and scone.”

“Hey, don’t even worry about it. It’s on the house.”

“Why, thank you. Thank you very much.”

That little entry was all Hanan needed to initiate a nice little chat with the barista. In mere minutes, the two cover health insurance, Cynthia’s desire to get pregnant, the upcoming presidential election, and tampons. With a little more small talk, Cynthia finally fesses up that she’s been a little frustrated about the amount of time Mario’s been putting in at the office with special assignments for her.

“Waaaiiittt a second,” says Hanan, acting skills on level 10. “Mario? You’re…you’re Mario’s wife?”

“Yes, it’s me. Cynthia,” she admits. “But things are better now. And after meeting you – well I certainly understand why he works so hard trying to impress you.”

“Well, that’s nice of you to say. But I could stand to ease up on him a bit. It’s too bad you weren’t able to make it to my get-together last week.”

“Oh, yah. I had to work. It was my first day here.”

Hanan nods. “Yes, Mario told me.”

Cynthia frowns, reflecting. “I know – I felt so bad for Mario. He told me how he had to go all by himself, poor baby.”

Huh! Poor baby, my ass. I suppose, however, it wouldn’t be appropriate to tell her that he wasn’t lonely at all; that his pasty little assistant didn’t leave his side the entire night. Perhaps some other time. “Yes, well unfortunately, most men lack the sort of confidence needed to roam solo around a room full of prominent, important people. He did mention that you started working here because you’re…bored?”

“Yah. I stayed home for two years doing basically nothing. I’m ready to do a little something more with my time.”

Just the break she was looking for. Pulling out a business card, Hanan says, “Well, if you think you might want something with a little more teeth, give me a call. I’m looking for someone to fill a seat we have available on the Parks & Beaches Commission.”

“Parks & Beaches?” Cynthia asks, tentative. “I don’t know. My husband works for that department. Isn’t that sort of a conflict of interest?”

“Dear, it’s not a conflict unless you feel conflicted,” Hanan says with a wink. She’s a little unsure what to think of the mayor, but Cynthia smiles anyway and takes the card. “Think about it. Just give me a call with your decision. It would be great to know by Friday. Or sooner.”

Cynthia nods. “I’ll think about it.”

“Wonderful.” Hanan gives the counter a hearty pat, then asks Cynthia to make her order to go instead. She’d spent enough time with the people – she was ready to get back to her other people, the ones on her staff who took care of her each and every need and told her how young she looked.

As she heads for the door, Hanan pauses for one final and dramatic wave goodbye before saying, “And, Cynthia. You probably won’t want to mention this to Mario. Not yet at least. Okay?”

Hanan doesn’t even wait for a response. She doesn’t need to. She already knows Cynthia’s answer.

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