The Town Meeting was called to order by the moderator, who also happened to be the town clerk. After dispensing with minutes and administrative what-nots, an agenda for the night was read. First item on the list was controlling student behavior in the downtown area after hours.
Bart Phelps promptly strode to the microphone and made a motion to strike “after hours” from the agenda item. The motion was approved with a very small margin of “yea’s”.
After Bart cleared the microphone, Angela Bellows asked to be recognized and went into a long diatribe against the use of police power in dealing with the youngsters. She actually kept calling them youngsters throughout her time at the mike. Angela was famous in town for inviting individuals from the town’s homeless population to sleep at her house overnight so they could be more comfortable. So far she has lost a big screen TV, her toaster oven, her mother’s afghan, and one of her cockapoos. Some of the fading lost dog signs are still visible on poles throughout the area.
Angela was on the third iteration of her “We were all young once” speech when time was called by the moderator, and you could hear the entire room heave a great sigh. She yielded the microphone reluctantly.
Angela’s arch-nemesis, Frank Maser, approached the mike and actually asked to be recognized. Since everyone in town recognizes Frank anyway, he was asked what was on his mind. Frank was no fan of the local police department, due to several run-ins involving the first, second, fourth and tenth amendments to the Constitution. He was one to stand up for himself, that was for certain.
Frank proposed that the town and university police be issued Tasers and stun grenades to be used at the discretion of the officers. His five-year plan for wresting control of the streets back from the little bastards was greeted by the town folk with stunned silence for a second, and then a lone resident toward the back of the meeting room applauded quietly before being hushed by his better half. With thirty seconds left on the clock, and being one to not waste a chance to rub anyone’s nose in it, Frank got at least the rudiments of corporal punishment and stoning in just before the buzzer sounded. He was smiling as he sat back down in his seat. The seats on either side of him had been quietly vacated while he’d had his say at the lectern.
After a short adjournment for refreshments, and to allow those who still partook to step outside to vape on their e-cigarettes, the meeting launched in to a rollicking discussion of the merits and/or futility of the proposals. Most upright citizens of the town didn’t want to do anything except either move or make the students disappear quietly in the dark of the night. Frank leapt to his feet to volunteer, but was hauled back down by a police officer sitting strategically behind him. He launched into a discussion about the suppression of his rights, but was met with a bland uncaring stare by the officer who turned out to be the only one in the crowd who was armed.
When it all wound down, the meeting adjourned without decision. It had gone the same way for the past five years. No one in the crowd was sane enough or brave enough to propose something rational, so the polar opposites of Angela and Frank kept leaping to their feet to berate their town for not caring enough to do the right thing.
On the way out, many of the crowd walked past the downtown bars, witnessing the behavior that they all wanted to contain but lacked the collective will to act. Many forgot to scrape the bottoms of their shoes before getting into their fuel-efficient cars and turning on the evening jazz. The smells of the students would linger and serve to remind the people of the town that there was something they had forgotten to do.