THE DISTRICT MANAGER
Genre: Political Suspense
Publisher: Dead Tree
Date of Publication: June 30, 2016
Number of Pages: 266
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“Doing the right thing means you don’t eat”
So begins the sweltering narrative of District Manager, Mason Dixon, a haunted man serving Texas House District 100. After a constituent reaches out to his office with disturbing information about twisted activities going on in district, Mason finds himself drawn into a game of cat and mouse with a malevolent entity.
While these events unfold, Mason begins dating a county judge’s assistant. Brenna is a single mother who is ready to start the next chapter of her life. Can she and the stoical Mason connect? Or will she become collateral damage to his unorthodox, occupational hazards?
Mason soon finds that the danger has reached the highest ranks of the district, and that the century-old structure where he offices is not haunted, but instead possessed by an all too real menace.
Can a man who is profoundly broken restore order when the very core of order itself has been corrupted?
“Matt Minor knows Texas politics from the inside, and he weaves a devious tale of deceit and death and even a little romance. Buckle your seat belt and hang on for the ride.” — Bill Crider
Doing the right thing means you don’t eat.
I should have known this almost universal of maxims. But I refused to acknowledge it. I steered and stuttered my way through traffic, distracted along the way by a series of dead dogs that filled consecutive ditches. I love dogs.
After winding through an arbor of live oaks that shrouded the wealthy streets, I arrived at the scheduled meeting at the Fort Bryan County Courthouse…
Introductions are in order, and when it’s my turn I stand and give my name and occupation, “Mason Dixon!” I declare, knowing that those in the room who don’t know me will think it almost strange, maybe somewhat comical. “I’m the District Manager for House District 100!” My boss, the state rep who I work for, signals discreetly with his hand for me to sit down…
I can’t help but dwell on the meeting I’ve just left as I head east into the big town. No matter what its good intentions, government is a bully. The collateral damage nearly always disproportionate to its benefits. But something happens to people after they get elected to office. In reality, there are no good guys. Maybe at some point in the past there were, but not anymore.
The closest thing to a good guy is me. And what is it that I do?
I’m Mason Dixon—really. I’m the District Manager for House District 100. Nobody knows what I do, and that’s the beauty of it. Nobody sees me coming. And what do I do? If you’ve got a problem with a government agency and can’t get anywhere …if you’re tied up in red tape…maybe I can help. It doesn’t matter if you are having trouble renewing your driver’s license or a family wants to see a loved one, one last time before they die in prison. I will go to bat for you. It isn’t political—far from it. Some English author once said, “Heroism begins where politics ends.” That’s me. Nobody knows what I do. I can help anyone, anyone but me that is…
When I finally pull up to the District Office it’s getting dark out. This sucks. Why? The D.O. is haunted. No bullshit, it’s creepy. Our office is housed in the center of Fort Bryan, in the historical district. The building we rent is as old as anything for fifty miles. It’s situated in a complex of buildings, constructed around the turn of the last century. The D.O. is in an old bank, in fact. The walls are several feet thick. They had to be, so as to withstand a dynamite attack. The place looks like a citadel. All the buildings on our block are connected in typical early twentieth-century fashion. What’s interesting is that they are connected by a labyrinth of internal passageways as well. I’ve only ventured their stairwells on one occasion—too creepy. Anyway, according to local lore, the building that the D.O. sits in was once held up, with several people getting killed. It’s said that it’s haunted by these victims. I fucking believe it. We share the place with an oil and gas company, but this late nobody’s here.
I keep the engine humming and hang back after I roll into the slanted parking space across from the courthouse. I’m waiting…waiting for the politicians to siphon into the historical structure. I don’t want to get stuck talking to anyone I don’t have to.
I’m not wearing a suit—thank God—but a rather cheap, white, short-sleeved golf shirt and black slacks. Still, I can feel a significant sweat stain on my back as I enter the building. One of the benefits of working for a state official is that you can bypass nearly any security. I flash the sheriff’s deputy my badge and skip the metal detector altogether.
The meeting is at the top, on the fourth floor. This is an old structure and the air-conditioning kind of sucks. As I climb the circular steps, I haven’t stopped sweating. I ascend upon a display of the Six Flags Over Texas. The cigarettes have caught up with me I guess, because here at the top I’m out of breath.
“You need to lay off those things, Mason!” the assistant prosecutor comments, his voice echoing into the recently restored rotunda. He’s loitering in the spherical lobby and thumbing his cell phone. Like all prosecutors’ side men, he lacks any sense of the political, he’s a plain asshole, in fact. We have an understanding: I don’t like him and he doesn’t like me. I enter the meeting room, squeezing past his suited, unaccommodating bloat.
My boss is already there and is sitting towards the front of an immense wooden table with other officials from the area. He nods in acknowledgment of my existence. The remaining seats are filled with different experts: a few cops and several county elected officials. The assistant prosecutor snakes the last available seat. I pull up a spare chair. After assessing this cabal, my attention is drawn towards the large expanse of bookshelves that line the length of the opposite wall. The shelves are filled from floor to ceiling with tan, hardback editions of the Southwestern Reporter, an old-school legal resource from the days before computers.
Introductions are in order, and when it’s my turn I stand and give my name and occupation. “Mason Dixon!” I declare, knowing that those in the room who don’t know me will think it almost strange, maybe somewhat comical. “I’m the District Manager for House District 100!” My boss, the state rep who I work for, signals discreetly with his hand for me to sit down.
I am distracted as the meeting fires up. From the corner of my right eye, I notice a figure enter the room. She pulls out a chair and gracefully sits down. I turn my head towards the entryway where she is presently sitting, as proper as in a pew. It’s Brenna, the county judge’s assistant. She’s staring right at me with a giant smile across her rosy cheeks. We have met before. Here at the courthouse, in fact. I felt something then. I feel it now.
Matt Minor presently serves as a Chief of Staff in the Texas House of Representatives. He has worked as a political campaign manager and is a well-regarded public speaker. Matt has authored official state publications, oversees syndicated editorials, and is a speechwriter and district radio legislative commentator. Prior to his life in state politics Matt was a professional musician and entertainer. Matt’s hobbies are centered on the arts, including the craft of poetry, an interest that has brought academic recognition and numerous awards.
His first novel, The Representative was an Amazon Political Fiction Bestseller the summer of 2015. It was accepted and archived into the Texas State Legislative Library. In April of 2016 The Representative won an IPPY Gold medal for Southern-Region Fiction.
Matt Minor resides with his wife Stacy on their ranch property in Wharton County, Texas. He lives in Austin during legislative session.
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