Wednesday, February 18, 2015

City Council Meeting

The Santa Cruz City Council meeting attracted all the flies to the kitchen of despair. The Meat of Democracy was rotting in the sun, all concerned parties filled the city council chambers with blood in their words, one even wore a Roman Toga to draw attention to the ridiculous formal dress of the Council members. The weighty  "Hegemonic Fashion Dictator" insult was hatefully directed at the Mayor as he walked into the chambers followed by cheers and smug nodding on the part of frustrated street zealots. Only the Meth Kingdom was not represented at the meeting because the junkie emissary had been delayed at the railroad trestle. As preliminary introductions were being recorded this emissary was smoking in dreamy bliss from a glass pipe in the shadows of a pile of creosote dipped railroad ties. He was content, even triumphant, the potent smoke made his eyes bulge and his lips swell but his pride transformed from a wriggling worm in the mud to a muscular werewolf on the run, leading the furious pack through a moonlit forest, chasing prey boldly, gnashing at the bony legs of fear, enveloped by lust. His head fell against a sticky wooden railroad tie but he felt nothing but his claws sink into quivering flesh during the foggy hunt.

In the council chambers the smug council members looked down at the restless crowd, thinking silently that this was a trademark of Democracy, this noble tradition of lords and servants; masters and slave; Royalty and Peasants. The spectacle aroused them sexually because their superiority was so evident, their power, their calm in the face of a sea of discontent. All would be resolved by the end of the meeting, all the procedures would be honored, from decay would arise progress, from chaos would form the future because they had been elected to office and they had risen as a unit to vanquish the multi-headed monster of fear and discontent and disloyalty and...

Bearded Bob opened the double doors with such force that a breeze of awe swept the council hall. He did not immediately enter the hall, instead standing in dramatic back-lit suspense like he was waiting for complete silence before entering. A king is not elected; a king is announced by the reverence others have for him and such was the reverence stirring the cavernous City Council chambers, brezing through the flag and cheap green curtains, through the abundant hair of the street zealots and business owers and police officers and accountants and lawyers. Bearded Bob's lurking minions mingled behind him, holding the virtual train of his imaginary velvet robe, awaiting his command. Loathed, respected, villainized, worshiped was Bearded Bob, but not ignored. His hulking presence predicted a philosophical showdown in this cathedral of debate.

"When everyone is seated, we'll go ahead and get started," said the mayor with practiced contempt. He would have the final word and no one else, as was his power.

The crowd seethed with impatience and the mayor coughed loudly to proclaim his superiority over the toading, illiterate masses. These tired field hands and their reek of sweat in the halls of magnificence irked Mayor Kensington. It irked his sense of dignity but also heightened his appreciation for the divide between anointed royalty and filthy plaid pant peasantry.

Bearded Bob and his minions calmly entered the chambers and took their seats on the agnostic pews. The mechanical drone officers marched to the doors and closed them.

"Call to order," announced Mayor Kensington. 

From where Oggy was sitting in the far left corner of the room he would've been able to hear the Mayor begin his preliminary roll call and the Pledge of Allegiance that led to the forced eviction of several activists who loudly protested the pledge as being "anti-god" and also of paradoxically "blending religion and state in unconstitutional proportions". But Oggy did not hear or pay any attention to the wrestling and dragging and pitiful cries for justice from those who were carried out of the room because Oggy's focus was transfixed on the wood grain of the bench in front of him. 

How, he wondered, had the carpenter allowed this particular piece of wood to be used when the wood grain was not parallel with the room? It angled down toward the floor to the right and did not match the slope of the room. So, the wood grain was inappropriate for this use, but the manufacturer, probably an Amish work camp product, had used it anyway and it had ended up in this room and now there was no ignoring it. He leaned forward...

"If you could put a book or maybe I could go outside and find a branch..." whispered Oggy in the ear of a woman sitting in front of him.

"I told you before," she snapped back, "I'm not lifting the damn bench so the wood grain will be parallel with the wall. Stop asking me."

Oggy swallowed and his right eye twitched, "I appreciate that, but do you not see how exceptionally antagonistic this particular wood grain is to geometry and theology and...?"

"No, I do not," answered the woman. "And if you ask me again the I'm going to get one of the drones to remove you."

Oggy sat back and the more he tried to ignore the wood grain, the more it attracted his attention. It galled him and irked him until his chin quivered with frustration. He turned to the man seated to his right and found it was a homeless man sleeping underneath a blanke, snoring. So he turned to the man on his left.

"If they had know that this exact bench would be put here, in this room where the slope of the building is very geometrically uniform... You see how distinct the corners of this room are? Other rooms have shadows and the angles are not as prevalent, the light accommodates inharmonious wood grain and sloppy aesthetics, but here it's quite obvious that a different grain of wood should've been used. You'll agree?"

Staring straight ahead the man replied, "I have no idea what you're talking about, sir. I recommend you ignore it or move to another bench if it bothers you so much."

"But no matter where I move the angle of the grain will still not match the angle of the walls. You see? I can't just ignore it!"

Oggy's voice rose to disquieting volume and several people hissed at him, which brought a wave of shame crashing around his emotionally bereft heart, he covered his face with his hands and pushed his eyes forcefully into his skull.

"It doesn't match!" Oggy sobbed into his hands, but the volume had diminished so those surrounding him settled in to rehearse their vitriol-filled speeches for when public comments started. Oggy kept his hands over his eyes for the remainder of the meeting, weeping softly, mumbling quietly about geometry and philosophic authenticity.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.