Queen City

On the first floor of the yacht club the cartel that controls the city meets to determine policy for the coming year. The doors are left open; the greatest secrecy is maintained, they feel, through the illusion of openness. They are kept secure by the stultifying boredom of their meetings. They are all, now, in their eighties, bent and bright with age, chattering and eccentric.

“Motion,” says the Treasurer.

“Recognized,” says the President, who wears a hat adorned with a number of lifeless brown birds.

The Treasurer stands, creaking and swaying slightly like a skyscraper in a high wind. “The stretch of highway we adopted — ” he consults his notes — “in April of ninety-four is buried under litter. We need volunteers to patrol it, or, failing that — and I, for one, am in no shape to pick up every cigarette and beer can in three miles — ” laughter — “we need to find deputies to patrol it. Move, therefore, to collect dues for the purpose of highway cleanup.” Which means, riots in the spring, martial law by winter.

“Second?” asks the President.

“Seconded,” says the Secretary.

“All in favor?”