A.J. Walker


Sitting Comfortably

Mid Week Flash #209 - 21.07.21

Sitting Comfortably

Mike was preparing for a meeting with the councillors. He thought the argument would be a fifty fifty call if he performed poorly; but he’d confidence he could turn it his way. Sarah would vote with him. Her soft spot for Mike was obvious: she’d always voted with with him even on contentious issues. He was equally sure though that David would vote against him for the opposite reasons. Not once had he voted with Mike even on what should be slam dunk decisions.

God, he hated council meetings. But he’d signed up to Adrienne’s retainer and he couldn’t say his time was more valuable than what she was paying.

He’d only have to work on Darren and Emma. He’d done his homework, and although both were of an environmental bent they were thankfully also occasionally pragmatic.; unusual for those that called themselves environmentalists.

Handily he knew a fairly cute environmental consultant from the golf club and she’d helped him out with some of the arguments; for the price of a slap up dinner and some wine (and a little half baked passion he’d already forgotten). So when it came to Agenda Item: 14.1 ‘
The Removal of Waste from Highland Wood’ he took the lead. ‘I’ve been having some thoughts on this and can say I’ve changed my mind several times. Personally I thought we should find the funds and remove all the waste from the wood. An old mouldy sofa is just not natural; it’s our duty to look after our environment. It’s hard to argue against.’

Sarah and Emma nodded, whilst Darren looked impassive and David looked like he was about to argue the opposite case: so far, so predictable.

‘Then I thought about the reality - and went to the wood.’

David’s eyes narrowed. He’d only ever seen Mike interested in items like nightclub licences; never the environment.

Mike then pulled out some pages from a folder. ‘Here’s a map of the location of the areas of waste, including that damnable sofa, along with some photos.’

The councillors shook their heads. It never ceased to amaze them how rubbish, which could easily be dealt with in the normal scheme of things, could be discarded so callously. It made the blood boil of all but the most hardy and heartless of bastards; even Mike thought it was wrong - so didn’t have to work too hard on his act for once.

‘Have any of you seen the infamous sofa’

They all shook their heads. Mike wasn’t sure if that was a positive or negative. He’d have to sell it sight unseen.

‘It’s horrible to see what our constituents can do to our own community. I was quite emotional when I saw it. It took me a long time to find the sofa. It’s deep in the wood - which you can see marked with “S” on the plan.’

‘Not an X, Mike?’ said Emma. ‘Then again I suppose it’s not treasure.’

‘Indeed. I had to sit down when I found it. It was so deep in the woods I was tired and sweaty. It’s a bloody mystery how it got there. And there lies the rub. It’s deep into the wood. I’ve spoken to the environmental consultant about removing it.’

‘If we have to do it, we have to do it. Morally surely?’ David said.

‘Side park the morals for now. It’s not our doing after all. The consultant said we’d cause more damage to the wood - to the environment - by removing it. She said it was not an eyesore because it’s impractical for people to find it. It took me over an hour: and I knew about it!’

‘Sounds quite reasonable. How much are we paying this consultant?’

‘Nothing. She’s a casual acquaintance. But she talks sense and seems to know what she’s talking about.’

‘Free: that’s my kinda price.’ David said. Mike knew he meant it - some of David’s backhanders and freebies were embarrassing: he never paid for toilet roll.

‘Anyway, she said we could easily argue that the environmental damage of removing it would be significantly greater than the benefit of removing it and that nature could do our work.’

‘And it would save the council thousands:’ Said David. ’QED!’

It was the first time David ever voted the same way as Mike. The decision was unanimous: the sofa was left in-situ to be enveloped by the wood. It was indeed rarely seen - which was good for Adrienne as her contractors had hidden a body underneath it.