Chapter 6 : An unexpected guest

It’s at that very moment that the Big City Lord Mayor and her entourage walk into the Club function room. “Hi ya all!” the elderly Lady Mayor says, with a beaming, white, toothy smile and overly rouged cheeks. She is met with stunned silence. Followed by the mass clatter of sharp and spherical projectiles being dropped to the Lino floor. Prez vaults over the Bar stockade and lands with cat-like dexterity, crouching with one knee touching the floor, both hands extended and clasping the Lady Mayor’s hand, his head bowed slightly forward in deference.

“My Lady, Your Worship, what an unexpected honor u bestow upon us,” Prez humbly says. “If only u had told me that u were coming! Ignore this rabble u see before u, this is but a trifling matter that I shall soon have sorted.” Lady Mayor: “Awww thanks hon.” She gives the room a once over, as mallets, bats, boules, bowls and balls are hastily being hidden away from sight. Chairman taps the App on his mobile, and the Eye in the Sky’s sides silently fold up as it glides back to its original position, overlooking the Bar. “Yes,” Lady Mayor says out loud, to all and sundry. “I can see how this historic club has fallen into a tragic state of disrepair, thanks to decades of neglect by uncaring socialist governments.” Contriving a frown of concern that would make a Channel 7 Newsreader proud, she continues: “And that’s just not fair on all of u dedicated Members!” The frown relaxes into a well rehearsed look of despair, with an audible sigh: “Unfortunately, this is a State Government funding matter, and not in my jurisdiction.” Serious frown again: “But rest assured, I will do everything I can to support your efforts to get well deserved State Government funding. I’m in your corner. This I promise to u!” Prez: “Bravo! Hear! Hear!” Lady Mayor again smiles, points into the distance and waves: “Hey Chairman, good to see u are still in the ol’ game of politics! Why u cannot find somewhere without Greens, I’ll never know. Come and join the blue blood Liberals, and make a real difference!” “Haha, nah,” Chairman dismisses her jibe with a wave of his hand, “This is great fun. Grassroots stuff. Real people, with real issues. Well, mostly.” Lady Mayor, again to everyone: “I wish I could stay longer with u all, but I am flat out promoting our new, local tourism initiative, the Fractal Historic Roots Trail. “The enterprising folk at the Barnum & Bailey Bar are putting on a gourmet sausage sizzle fundraiser that I must now attend. After that, there’s a VIP cocktail reception in my honor at the historic Esbend Hotel. It’s invitation only, of course, but you’re most welcome to come to the Esbend and wave to me on the red carpet!” As she turns to leave, Lady Mayor whips out a colour chart brochure from her handbag: “Oh by the way, my partner has a printing and marketing consultant business and can help u with your heritage color makeover. I’ll just leave this here for u because of course this is completely separate to my official duties as the Big City Lord Mayor.” Again, the huge smile. As she heads out the door: “Oh and guys make sure they do something about the marble floor …” At that point, Snow darts out of the handicap toilet and straight towards the Lady Mayor’s departing entourage. Snow blurts out: “Lady Mayor, I’ve got a fabulous tourism marketing idea for u!” His words begin to trail off as he quickens his pace, trying to catch up with the even greater quickening pace of the Lady Mayor. “Let’s run a line straight from Fractal tram station to my Snow Shack out the back! We’ll call it the Snow Line and …” Chairman: “Ok folks, that pretty much wraps it up. I declare this AGM closed. Let’s now head to the Bar for free drinks – on the Club!” There’s a roar of approval! Prez: “That’s outrageous! It’s no way to run an AGM! This Bar is now under the control of the Fractal Club Stockade blockade! We demand meaningful talks with a representative of the independent Members of the Board of Management!” Chairman: “Fair enough. C’mon everyone, free drinks at the Downstairs Bar!” An even greater roar of approval sweeps the Meeting Room and all head for the door to downstairs. Behind the Bar Stockade, the Rebels are glancing nervously at each other and the clock on the wall above them. They know that the AGM Free Drinks is for a limited time, and the seconds are ticking away … 10 seconds … 15 seconds … Then as one, they rush out the door, to the Downstairs Bar, leaving Prez behind. “Yes, good thinking,” Prez yells after them! “You guys go get supplies while I man the Stockade! And grab me a pint with a handle!” At the Downstairs Bar, the crowd begins to surge forward. Bar Manager to Scottish Barmaid, as he edges towards the front entrance: “Umm I have to go outside and … collect empties!” Scottish Barmaid mutters: “Grrrrreat!” Then she declares to the thirsty throng, in as loud a voice as she can: “Oi u lot! Cos of Budget cuts, this year the free drinks has been cut from half an hour to 20 minutes!” As the outcry of disbelief is quickly turning to anger, Scottish Barmaid reaches beneath the Bar, pulls out the still smoking defibrillator and slowly places it on top of the Bar next her. “So, anyone got a problem with that?” Almost in unison: “No.” … “Absolutely not.” … Fair call, we all gotta do our bit for the Budget.” … “That’s for sure.” … “I agree.” …

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