In the bottom of the eighth inning, Mayor Tom Menino left his seat and made his way down into the bowels of Fenway Park to wait. It was only a matter of time at this point. The damage had been done to the Cleveland Indians’ starter and bullpen. The offensive onslaught by the Red Sox bats removed all doubt – Boston had bested Cleveland to clinch the American League Championship and a berth in the World Series. Celebration erupted on the field, in the stands and on the streets. Flash bulbs and car horns filled the sky with light and sound, and the city celebrated. As the champagne was liberally sprayed in the home locker room, Menino and Manager Terry Francona spotted each other during post-game press conference. They nodded and separately made their way out of public view before the reporters could descend on either of them. There was more important business to attend to. They both knew about the hidden tunnels under Gate B; how could they not, they met in that exact spot three years earlier.
“Good to see you again, Tito,” the Mayor said, as they walked up to the silver control panel. “I trust you brought it.”
“Likewise, Tom. And of course. It’s not like 2004 was that long ago,” Francona said with a half-smile.
From a duffel bag slung across his shoulder, the Red Sox skipper produced the American League Trophy and handed it to Menino. The Mayor took a moment with it, tracing the emblem with his thumb as if he was making sure it was the same as he remembered. Francona pulled down two of the levers on the panel and a series of gauges and monitors sprung to life.
“Looks like the old girl is ready, Tom. Do the honors.”
Francona moved out of the way as a wide slot in the bottom of the panel slid open. The Mayor took a knee and peered inside. The mechanisms and gears were pristine, untouched and unchanged since the last time he fulfilled this particular responsibility of his office. Menino slid the trophy in, and the sound of locks uncoupling and springs coiling accompanied the action. He gave this giant key a half turn and stepped back.
“Good luck next week, skipper.”
“Thank you, Mr. Mayor.”
There was bedlam on the streets just above them. Of the thousands celebrating at the corner of Van Ness and Ipswich, not a one noticed the blinking red light at the tip of Ted William’s bat.
The pager on Paulo’s belt started to vibrate. The janitor took one hand off the maintenance cart he was pushing and unclipped it from his belt.
“WS – Plan 1”
He knew he didn’t have a lot of time. Paulo tucked the cart into the nearest maintenance closet and sprinted for the nearest stairwell. Already, he could feel a rumbling from somewhere deep within the City Hall. He bounded up two flights and down the corrider, flipping open his pager to reveal the hidden viewscreen.
“Wally,” the janitor whispered into it as he ran, “are you in position?”
The Green Monster’s smiling face came into view. He was already wearing his goggles and headset, and nodded cheerfully.
“I’ll be there in thirty seconds.”
Paulo swiped his badge through the keypad next to the only secure “Equipment Storage Room” in City Hall. He hit the top button of the two and the elevator whisked him off to the cockpit. He pulled his nametag off his uniform to reveal the Red Sox logo under it and removed his own headset from a cubby within the wall.
By this time, City Hall was no longer a building, since buildings do not ever stand up. The goliath steadied itself upon the massive legs that had been folded up under it for three years. A pair of concrete and metal plated arms extended out from it’s sides and the hand at the end of each balled into a fist. Three hundred feet tall it stood, and it craned it’s head around to scan the heart of the city.
The rear door of the cockpit opened and Paulo climbed into the seat next to Wally. They exchanged a silent handshake and began working the controls. The body of the robot responded below them, and they began taking a wide loping strides west on Cambridge Street. They were too high above the plaza to hear the cheering.
“This is Mayor Menino to Boston-1, Mayor Menino to Boston-1. Come in,” the voice crackled over Paulo’s headset.
“We’re reading you, sir. Boston-1 is active and fully functional. And Wally says hello too.”
“Good to have you two at the helm. And not a moment too soon. The Wells Fargo Center has just popped up on our radar just outside of Framingham and is closing on the city fast.”
“Not to worry, Mister Mayor. We’re on it. We’ll pound that lumbering mailbox into the ground and take the fight all the way to Denver.”
“Glad to hear it, men. Best of luck.”
“Go Sox, sir.”
And as The Walking City celebrated it’s champions at Fenway, the city’s walking champion strode out to war…
The 2007 World Series: As Exciting As Giant Robots Fighting Each Other!