This week’s #writephoto prompt is here, now being run by KL Carey, on Sue Vincent’s behalf
The Eastwick Parish Council members took their seats and stared across at their opposite numbers. Since the merger of East and West Eastwick’s municipal functions, trying to reach any decision had proved impossible. A hung council had seemed to be the best way to start, ensuring that the old money Easterns balanced the nouveau Westerns. So far three meetings had been proposed, the first failing because the Easterns refused to agree the date proposed by the Westerns and the second for the reverse reason.
Decisions were needed, however and this impasse couldn’t continue. Barney Bloodclotte wanted his application to build an abattoir in his back garden determined, while Hugh Parsimonious declared that the diversion to the footpath that ran through his sunken hot tub needed to be decided before someone drowned. Priscilla Defaide and Percival Unguents needed the council to say if they could hold a multi-gendered mindfulness sheep shearing conflagration on the Village Green during the county’s Most Bigoted Village competition week, while Oswald Dogbreathe sought funding for the refurbishment of his unicycle to enable him to restart the ever popular peripatetic bunion donation collection scheme.
Under pressure from both communities, the eight council members applied to the county council to appoint a co-ordinator to facilitate the first meeting. Jennifer Dulle had run many meetings and considered herself an expert. She had looked at the list of issues, created an alphabetic agenda, dispatched comprehensives notes with each item setting out what she considered to be the likely points for discussion and set the time and date. Third time lucky. The venue had proven tricky since the East Eastwick scout hut and the West Eastwick church hall were both rejected as ‘reeking of unconscious bias’ hence the setting in the one place that was common to both parts of Eastwick, the village green.
Having welcomed each of the eight delegates, Jennifer moved to the end of the table and sat. ‘Ladies and…’
Two hands shot up, one from each side. ‘Yes?’
As if each had practiced with the other they both said, ‘Point of order.’
Jennifer swallowed back her irritation, knowing it was best to let these sorts of group have a little rope and then… ‘Please go ahead.’
The woman to her left began. ‘Who is…’
The woman to her right chipped in, ‘…the chair?’
Jennifer paused, nonplussed by the stupidity of the question. Still, one had to try and be patient even as one’s patience was being tried. ‘I am.’
The two women looked at each other. ‘You can’t be.’ ‘It’s not in the standing orders.’
They both nodded, almost surprised to be in agreement. A tentative smile broke across their lips.
‘I think you’ll find that as an employee of Li…’
“You’re not a resident of East Eastwick…’
‘Or West Eastwick, are you?’
‘Well, no, that is true…’
Woman number one nodded at woman number two. ‘There you are.’
Woman number two nodded back, ‘Exactly.’
‘It has to be one of us.’ ‘Not you.’
‘I. Am. The. Chair.’ Jennifer, who never went anywhere without her gavel, rapped the table. Eight pairs of eyes looked at her. She wasn’t going to be defeated by these petty minded little upstarts. ‘That all agreed?’ She was pleased that she managed to mix just the right amount of confidence with a dash of condescension.
The eight pairs of eyes exchanged glances. Eight heads nodded. The two spokeswomen stood and each rummaged in their bags. ‘On three, Dorothy?’
‘Don’t mind if I do, Daphne.’
The two woman withdrew wands and in a blink of an eye and a smattering of Latin, smoke enveloped Jennifer Dulle. When it cleared, Jennifer had disappeared. The two woman paused. Then the seat at the end of the table shook and turned an angry shade of pink. ‘How dare you?’ Jennifer’s voice emerged from the seat. ‘Let me out.’
Carefully, Daphne and Dorothy picked up the seat and moved it away. ‘Don’t worry dear,’ said one. ‘You can now be the chair for as long as you like.’ Said the other. ‘We’ve work to do,’ they said together.