Inspired by recent events in my town of Simpsonville and with plenty of time on my hands; I imagined that I was the Mayor of Simpsonville and my first city council meeting took place in my bedroom, while I was still recuperating. With a little inspiration from my aching left knee, our city council’s minutes from December 11, 2012, and my friend Taft Matney, I think my first meeting could go like this:
“Thank you all for being here today.” I said while sitting up in my bed. “For this first city council of Simpsonville meeting under the Malik administration, just try and make yourselves comfortable and please, no jokes about my knee or my walker. I’d like to introduce my assistant just for this evening, Taft Matney whom you may know already. Mr. Matney, would you please call the roll?”
“Certainly Mr. Mayor, Mr. Hooch?”
“I’d like to start with a short prayer, would you all mind if we hold hands, maybe everyone can just circle around my bed here.”
Mr. Taggert was puzzled. “We ain’t supposed to pray, I think it’s cuz we might offend someone somewhere.”
God put his hands on his hips and glared at us then stated, “Well today we’re making an exception, if anyone’s offended then, by Me, we can just take it outside, capish?”
Heads sheepishly looked away as everyone mumbled their acceptance. Brent Musburger pushed his way next to Miss Simpsonville, reached for her hand and smiled greedily. God took Brent’s other hand, shook his head then turned to Brent.
“Mr. Musburger, I think you should switch places with Mr. Hooch please and do it quickly sir, my anger burns hot.”
Brent’s pulse quickened as he saw the fire in God’s eyes; he dropped Miss Simpsonville’s lithe fingers then quickly switched places. God winked at Miss Simpsonville then whispered “I haven’t smote anyone in weeks; it’s a new anger management technique I’ve been working on.”
I coughed enough to get God’s attention then asked if anyone would like to lead us in prayer. All eyes turned to God who shook his head no. “Seriously, that’s always uncomfortable for me, anyway I think Malik should do it, it’s his bedroom.”
I exhaled then asked if everyone would bow their heads.
“Oh heavenly Father!”
“Hey you don’t have to yell” said God. “I’m right here.”
“Oh, um sorry Father.” I lowered my voice. “Dear God…” I glanced up to see if God was looking at me. “Thank you for all the many blessings of this town and this world and I ask for patience, wisdom and a sense of humor for all of us for the next hour and beyond.”
“You’re gonna need it” God mumbled under his breath.
My bedroom resonated with a simultaneous Amen. As everyone looked about for a seat Musburger sidled to Miss Simpsonville then sat down on the peach crate in the corner. “So, you’re a beauty queen? I’m not surprised…”
From my black Ottoman God threw his hands up and fussed, “Musburger! This side of the room please!” Brent scurried across the floor and took a spot next to God. I continued.
“Mr. Matney, the first order of business?”
“Well Mr. Mayor, we should start with the monthly reports…”
The councilmen quickly exclaimed “No questions!”
I was jolted.
“Is it your knee hurting Mr. Mayor?” Miss Simpsonville quizzed with a look of compassion.
“No questions about what?” I asked. Mr. Taggert caught my eye.
“The monthly reports, Mr. Mayor, we uh, just don’t have any questions, see?”
“Uh-huh.” I bit my lip then turned back to Taft. “Mr. Matney, please continue.”
“If I go by the previous administration’s schedule from December it reads police station water fountain, discussion on a new football field, details on the city’s retreat to Newberry this February, an update from the Garden Club, a report regarding the Miss Simpsonville pageant, the Christmas parade and Christmas at the park both of which we can skip then the police department’s ticket and citation count, collision count, update on our surplus sale, street repair report and an update from our finance and sewer committees.”
I furrowed my brow and looked at the council members.
“So we’re supposed to discuss the water fountain and the garden club prior to the real meaty stuff such as the finance committee report?”
“Yes Mr. Mayor” answered Hooch. “See we wouldn’t our guests such as Miss Simpsonville here to have to sit through all those dull issues like a sewer report.”
I caught Taft’s eye and shook my head, he agreed. “I feel the same way Mr. Mayor, if we’re going to have guests that want to get in front of Council then why shouldn’t they have to listen to the sewer report? It’s their city, too.”
“All in favor?” I asked.
“Ooh! I am!” said a delighted Miss Simpsonville
“Good enough for me, from now on the city business takes precedence over the interest of our one time guests; you may have a seat, young lady.”
Musburger patted the floor next to him, inviting the right hand of God to clamp down on his shoulder.
“Ouch, OK you’re hurting me now, oh Jesus that hurts.” God rolled his eyes. The veins in his hands popped from the pressure he applied. “OK, ouch, ouch, sorry about that, I didn’t mean to take anyone’s name in vain. Mr. Mayor, why don’t we carry on?”
God looked at me and nodded his head slightly.
“Mr. Matney, I do believe-”
“So I need to wait for how long then to discuss the police station’s water fountain?”
“Oy vey!” exclaimed God.
“But God, don’t get upset but these folks been trying to get the water fountain fixed for months and it keeps getting discussed but nothing happens. Why hasn’t it been done?”
“Mrs. Kash, don’t you want to wait your turn? Please?”
“Forgive me Mr. Mayor but—“
God cleared his throat and offered, “My department, not the mayor’s, but please carry on.”
Mrs. Kash flushed with embarrassment and put her bejeweled hand to her mouth. “Oh Dear Lord I can’t believe I said that!”
In the history of throat clearing noises, the one created by God at that moment in time would have set new standards of effectiveness; that is if anyone had ever bothered to record the effectiveness of such noises. Mrs. Kash, realizing her sin, immediately passed out, her limp body headed towards my swollen knee. I grabbed the sheets and desperately tried to pull myself out of the way but there was little friction between my gym shorts and the 200 count cotton sheets. Taft gasped and Brent hollered “Look out!” My bed effortlessly slid towards the wall allowing Mrs. Kash to thud to the floor.
God winced. “Oh, that’s gonna leave a bruise” He said to no one in particular. Taft turned to him with a look of question.
“Hey she missed the mayor’s knee, right?”
I exhaled a sigh of relief and smiled. “Thank you, Father.”
Taft and Hooch went down to the floor to revive Mrs. Kash, Barndoor found some ice in my kitchen while I asked Taggert about the water fountain, maybe we could get this solved before she came around.
“Well we’ve got two fountains; I wonder which one she means?”
“Well Mr. Taggert, describe these fountains to me.”
“Well sir, one’s inside the station and the police officers use it but it’s been broken for a while; we’ve got a water service and a bubbler with those five gallon jugs. On the outside of the station we’ve got one of those old school yard jobs and that thing’s a mess. We need to yank it off but we get a lot of kids walking past looking for a drink so we let them use the bubbler inside but that water ain’t cheap.”
I took a deep breath and thought for a second.
“So Mr. Barndoor, who’s your favorite plumber?”
Oh that’d be EFG Plumbing, Craig’s the man”
“OK then let’s call Craig right now and tell him in exchange for yanking out both fountains, repairing their foundations and replacing only the fountain on the outside that he is now the official plumber of the city of Simpsonville for the next 60 days. I’ll have Richard put a link to his website on the city’s page and he can put up a sign over the outdoor fountain that says graciously provided by EFG Plumbing. All in favor?”
Mrs. Kash was coming around; God had an ice pack on her forehead, he held her hand and asked if she was OK. He removed the ice pack then wiped her forehead with his thumb, the bump that had started to form just as suddenly vanished.
“Yes, as a matter of fact, I feel fine, I uh, feel wonderful in fact.”
God and Taft lifted Mrs. Kash off the floor. Musburger decided to help by brushing off her backside, drawing the hottest of glares from God.
“Mrs. Kash, we have good news, while you were away Mr. Matney and Mr. Taggert solved your fountain issue, so perhaps you’d like to call it a night?”
“Oh my, well thank you Mr. Mayor, thank you all so much, I don’t know what to say. I do believe I would like to take an early leave but there is the matter of the City’s retreat, I really wanted to make a presentation on that, it’s going to be here before you know it, right?”
God nodded and looked my way. “She does have a point Mr. Mayor.”
The rest of the attendees nodded in agreement and gave their attention to Mrs. Kash who drew in a slow breath and fluffed her hair.
“Tonight has been so interesting Mr. Mayor, perhaps the most memorable city council meeting yet.” Mrs. Kash drew in a deep breath and straightened her broach. “Our retreat will be at the Newberry Opera House and it’s a two day affair. Everyone is welcome to attend. Sign up early because you won’t want to miss the activities we have planned, we’re gonna go fishing and take a tour of the Peterson Dairy, that’s if the weather holds.” I glanced towards God and he winked assuredly. “And that night we have dinner followed by Porgy and Bess at the Opera House. When you sign up online we would appreciate it if you would make your selection early, steak, chicken or fish. Now if everyone will excuse me, the night is young.”
Mrs. Kash smiled and made her way to the front door. Musburger jumped up and followed her, offering to walk her to her car drawing yet more ire from the Lord. “Duty calls gentlemen.”
Taft swept his arm out and smiled, “By all means Father.”
God strode out of my bedroom and as he crossed the threshold he advised us to get the chicken. The front door opened and closed. Miss Simpsonville stood up and smiled as she also took her leave.
“Mr. Mayor, thank you for a delightful evening and I believe I can just put everything into a power point and email it to you, would that be OK?”
My bedroom cracked from a blinding flash of lightning and the house shook immediately with a tremendous rumble as if being shook by the hand of God, which was entirely possible given the night’s guests.
Everyone standing threw themselves on the floor. As the rumble subsided, they slowly picked themselves up. Miss Simpsonville was clutching her heart as she tried to catch her breath. Taft stood up and brushed himself off and mumbled something about the lack of a housekeeper.
“I am not going out in that storm” gasped Miss Simpsonville.
Taggert, Hooch and Barndoor all laughed heartily. Taft offered Miss Simpsonville his right arm then patted her hand as she wrapped her left arm through his right elbow. He turned to me and winked then confided to her.
“Actually I believe you’re perfectly safe outside.”