Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Excerpts from an Unpublished Manuscript, #2

Once again, the motion was brought before the committee. The tension in the room was palpable. Seven times the motion had been presented, and seven times it had failed to pass. This despite the fact that, with the exception of one solitary holdout, the entire committee desired the proposed change. Unfortunately, the bylaws were such that any amendment to the charter’s constitution required a unanimous vote on the part of the council. Other regulations further restricted the council from voting on the same proposal more than once within a 30-day period, and so the committee’s frustration had been dragged out for the better part of a year. The monthly vote always ended in defeat, and yet the overwhelming majority always felt crushed, their hope proving most substantial whenever it was about to be dashed to pieces.

“And finally,” the chair of the committee spoke into the microphone, “we have proposal #31. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the proposal. If it’s fine with everybody else, I think I’ll pass on reading it for an eighth time. Any objections?”

Heads shook as grunts of approval rose into the air.

“Very well then,” the chair continued. “We shall now vote on proposal #31.” He held the official document describing proposal #31 high above his head. “All those in favor of proposal #31 say ‘aye.’”

“Aye,” came the enthusiastic response, a great many of the committee members nodding as they spoke and looking around in exaggerated seriousness, as if to dissuade any dissenters.

“And all those opposed to proposal #31, say ‘nay.’”

And surely enough, from the back corner, came the lone opposing vote. The rest of the committee sighed in recognition of their defeat, some of them groaning while others were too crestfallen to do even that. The chair of the committee stared down at the podium and began folding up the piece of paper he was holding. “Proposal #31 has been rejected, according to the bylaws of this charter’s constitution,” he mumbled into the microphone, his eyes never again lifting to meet his audience. “The committee may now be dismissed. The council will reassemble 30 days hence.”

As the council drifted from the room, the chair of the committee sank into a nearby chair. Somebody had to put an end to this. Something had to be done to allow proposal #31 to pass. But what? He had thought about this many times before, but it was clear that no legitimate means of adopting the proposal were available to the committee. Extreme measures had to be taken. After all, didn’t the committee members have an obligation to look out for each other? And didn’t he, as the chair of the committee, hold that obligation more solemnly than anyone else? Indeed, he did. And that’s when the chair of the committee made his decision. His mind had voted, and the vote was unanimous. He would bring an end to the proposal’s defeat. He would ensure that proposal #31 passed the next time it was brought before the council. And how would he do that? By disposing of the one committee member who relentlessly and unapologetically thwarted the rest of the committee’s plans, by getting rid of that one committee member who seemed physically incapable of voting anything other than ‘nay.’ And so it was settled. The chair of the committee would murder Hattie the Horse.


  1. Poor misunderstood Hattie!
    You crack me up. I was reading this waiting for the punchline but by the end when it started to go dark, I thought perhaps there wasn't going to be one. Phewf!

  2. I don't know what to say, except you are brilliant! I thought you must be making fun of all the current political hoopla and this raise the debt ceiling business.

  3. P S It was really wonderful visiting with Melanie and the kids today. I hope they enjoyed it. Each one of those boys is so delightful in his own unique way. And Rayne and Caius adore Melanis already...they really love her.