Before I could react, we were somewhere else. Where? I had no clue and I was certain he wouldn't tell me.
"You could have warned me," I grumbled, looking around. We were in a small, but well-furnished, living room. "Yours?"
"For the time being." Luca went over to a desk in the corner of the room, came back with a laptop, then sat in one of two armchairs facing a stone fireplace. He gestured for me to take the other chair.
"Okay, let's hear what you have," I said.
Luca nodded, and a moment later I heard several men talking. I recognized Farnham's voice. They were discussing the upcoming election, specifically the candidates for mayor.
One of the men said, "We have to make certain our man wins, no matter what it takes."
"It won't be easy," another man replied. "With five people on the ballot, including the incumbent…" His voice faded out momentarily. "What do we have that we can use to damage her reputation?"
I figured the 'her' was a councilwoman who had decided to join the mayoral race.
Farnham replied, "I'm not worried about her. She's running a distant last in the polls. The mayor is the problem. He's got the backing of the Businessmen's Association, among other groups. We have to—" Again, Luca had missed the tail end of whatever was being said. I glanced at him to see him shaking his head.
"They were seated halfway across the room from the bar. If they lowered their voices, or turned away..." He shrugged.
"I can see that would have been a problem. Do you know which of the other three candidates is Farnham's man?"
"No. They only talked about him as 'our man'."
Luca played the rest of what he'd managed to record before they'd discovered he was there.
It was damned all, and, as he'd said, Farnham's candidate wasn't mentioned by name. Actually, no one was, as they were trying to figure out a way to deal with the mayor—to the point of one of them suggesting he have a fatal accident. Farnham quickly put the kibosh on that idea, saying it was asking for trouble of the wrong kind.
"Now what do we do?" Luca asked when the recording ended.
"It would be nice if I could get into that room and set up some bugs, but I know that's not happening. I wish you knew which one is his stooge."
"I'm not sure 'stooge' is the right word—and I don't," Luca said. "But you could find out easily enough, once you meet all the candidates."
"Just what I want to do, attend campaign rallies," I muttered, even though I knew he had a point. "Of course, there's one big stumbling block, when I figure it out. It's not against the law for a shifter to run for office."
"I know. In the first place, since he's doing it without revealing he's a shifter, humans would not be happy when they found out. It is illegal for a shifter to run for office without letting it be known he is one. That would end his run for mayor."
"Why didn't other shifters let that information out when he first decided to run? It seems to me they'd love to have their own candidate in the race."
"What part of humans would not be happy didn't you get?" Luca replied scathingly. "Like I said, he'd have been screwed then, and more so if it came out now."