Flash Fiction Friday – Committee

The chairman straightened his notes and gave a polite cough hoping it would silence the din of scraping chairs and chatter.

No one acknowledge him.

After what he felt was a reasonable delay, He tried again.

‘Ladies and Gentlemen?’

A brief pause and the committee members resumed their conversations. Here and there, he caught snippets of gossip, punctuated with little gasps of ‘really?’, ‘she didn’t…’ and ‘well, I never…’

‘Enough!’ he bellowed.

Backs snapped up straight. Mrs Williams from number 27 dropped her tea cup into Mr Johnson’s (#34) lap. All eyes were upon the Chair.

‘Thank you,’ he smiled awkwardly, adjusted his tie. ‘This block committee meeting is now officially open. Mr Secretary, have any apologies been recorded?’

Mr Fitzgerald, a small, balding man with round wire-frame spectacles, cleared his throat.

‘Only three,’ he said in the tone of someone expressing a greater degree of disappointed than the situation warranted. ‘Mr Davies (#104) is bed-ridden on doctor’s orders, Joyce Peterson (#137) is attending Mimi’s dance recital and Mr Philips (#15)…well, we all know about that.’

Heads nodded. Quiet tuts. Murmurs.

‘Thank you, Mr Secretary. Can I trouble you to read the minutes?’

He did and a record was made of their approval. They were bundled together for the Chair to endorse with his copperplate signature.

‘Matters arising? Only the one carried from the previous meeting,’ Chair observed. A few members shuffled nervously. He pursed his lips and sighed ‘Best cover it at the end. Does anybody have any new business to discuss?’

The chatter started again.

Mrs Williams (#27) put forward a case to grow onions on her allotment. Approved. Mr Johnson (#34) once again proposed the instigation of a ban on ball games. Approved in the absence of its biggest objector, Joyce Peterson (#137).

It continued. Each proposal made, debated and voted.

With a surreptitious yawn and quick glance at the clock, Chair called for quiet.

‘Ladies and Gentlemen,’ he started, ‘I know it’s a difficult subject but we’ve put it off long enough…Mr Philips (#15)…’

Heads nodded. Quiet tuts. Murmurs.

‘Settle down,’ Chair said. ‘We all know the circumstances-‘

Heads nodded. Quiet tu-

‘Stop that!’

Chair coughed, adjusted his tie again.

‘Thank you. Now, I’ve spoken to Dr Sander and the situation is getting worse. The disease has spread to his lungs and threatens to infect the heart muscle.’

Chatter spread amongst the members. Chair did his best to ignore it.

‘At its current rate, Dr Sander thinks he’ll succumb within the week.’

Gasps. Hands covered mouths. For a second time, Mr Johnson (#34) was bathed in tea.

Chair made his proposal, dually seconded by Peter Roberts, the treasurer. Someone, the secretary failed to record who, lodged a strong objection and a heated debate ensued.

Half an hour.

An hour.

Chair tapped his pen.

‘Look,’ he sighed, ‘someone has to make a decision. Are we going to eat him or not?’

9 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Friday – Committee

  1. Nice ending!! And somebody certainly does have to make a decision. I liked the normalcy of what appears to be a building committee meeting; minutes approved, petty issues debated, etc., until we learn of the ominous carry over item for discussion. Another great flash fiction, Chris! TiV

  2. Are you channeling Robert Bloch and some of the great writers from the Twilight Zone era? Because you do it oh so well! I am definitely a fan of Flash Fiction Friday.

    1. Thank you. I was going for a Roald Dahl ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ vibe. The most worrying thing is that, on reading the prompt, the first thing that popped into my mind was “Very English Cannibals”.

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