Fiction Commended — The Minutes of the Periwongle Shire Council by William Bennett
Minutes of the Meeting of the Periwongle Shire Council 28th February, 2017The meeting began at 8.00 pm.
The meeting had been closed to the public. It had been dedicated to the resolution of complaints: the items for discussion were likely to draw adverse comment from observers.
Councillors present : --
Mr D. Dugdale (Mayor)
Mr J. Whicker Mr J. Pellagra (Deputy Mayor)
Mr J. Bonnett Ms F. van Ecke
Ms B. Stein
Ms J. McDonald
Ms M. Urban
1. Allegation of Deceptive or Misleading AdvertisingThis allegation concerned an incident at the Hi-Lite Grab’n’Go Fast Food Takeaway (prop. Mr Fredrick Nurk). Members will be aware that this establishment is on the highway outside Periwongle. Its main business is with truckers travelling between Melbourne and Brisbane. And very popular it is, too.
Mr John McTrorkle had bought two Nurkburgers (with Extra Pickles) at the Takeaway. He had bought these items after seeing an advertising placard outside the Takeaway. The placard is reproduced below --
Pay for Two
Get second FREE!
On counting his change, Mr McTrorkle calculated that he would be no better off had he bought the Nurkburgers separately. He felt that he had been deceived and had approached Mr Nurk, using coarse language. The words “bloody swindler” had been used to describe Mr Nurk.
Mr McTrorkle had then been flung neck and crop down the stairs of the Takeaway. A Council Wheelie Bin on the footpath had been damaged by Mr McTrorkle’s contact with it.
Mr McTrorkle lodged a complaint with the Periwongle Shire Council.
Mr John Pellagra said that this was Charlie McTrorkle’s youngest. He was a few tiles short of a bathroom floor. Well known.
Ms Julie McDonald, who taught at the Periwongle Secondary School, said that this was Derogatory Compartmentalism. Mr McTrorkle would be better described as a Late Developer.
Mr Pellagra said non-developer more like.
Ms McDonald said that Mr Pellagra was a callous brute. Mr David Dugdale said Jesus wept.
After a short discussion, it was decided that nothing could be done about
Mr McTrorkle’s complaint, other than to advise him to buy his burgers elsewhere.
2. Animal Incident, Legal Advice.The Council’s Animal Pound Inspector, Mr John Dreedle, had been called to #23 Downes Road, Periwongle. Ms Florence Dingle, the occupant, had reported that the next door neighbour’s Rottweiler had frightened her cat, Mr Tibbles.
On investigating the matter, the Inspector determined that the dog had not frightened Mr Tibbles: it had eaten him. Mr Dreedle was then put in the position of having to tell Ms Dingle that Mr Tibbles was no more. Ms Dingle had fainted.
Mr Dreedle then approached the next door neighbour, who was, at the time, watering his garden. The neighbour had used vulgar language to describe Mr Dreedle and had turned the hose on him.
Council is still awaiting advice on this matter. Mr Dreedle’s report was returned by Fignewton McGonnigle Throckmorton & Balls, Council’s legal advisors, requesting a substitution of the words a bunch of fives and hung one on him before they can proceed.
3. Council Procedures.
• The previous year’s budget had included money to buy eight inflated sealed, plastic cushions to lessen the effect of the hard chairs in Council chambers. One of these had been unable to stand the weight of Mr John Whicker and had exploded.
The explosion had caused some embarrassment to Mr Whicker. The embarrassment was compounded by ribald remarks from Mr John Pellagra regarding Mr Whicker’s hæmorrhoids.
These remarks had been repeated in the Periwongle Express. Council members were now reluctant to use the cushions.
Council resolved to replace them.
• Mr Paul Murphy, the new owner of the Railway hotel was notified that a change of name for his establishment did not require Council permission.
Mr Whicker said that the new name, L’Maison Murph had a certain appeal. it sounded cosmopolitan.
Ms Julie McDonald said the image projected of Periwongle is that of uncultured oafs.
• Council had resolved to revise the pamphlet outlining its activities. It had been decided to make this a community project.
The text had been written by Ms McDonald. Photography by the arts students of Periwongle Secondary School.
There had been some comments on the proofs and photographs when they arrived.
Among these comments were : --
– that Ms McDonald’s text was florid beyond comprehension
– that despite Ms McDonald’s claim that the photographs were spontaneous, the Council group photo, at least, will have to be retaken, this time with Mr Whicker with his flies done up.
4. Veterinary Clinic, Relocation Opposite Fast Food Takeaway. An application had been received to relocate the veterinary clinic to the highway. Documents had been received by Council from solicitors acting for
Mr Frederick Nurk. Mr Nurk is the proprietor of a local gastronomic establishment
and is opposing the relocation.
The opposition is based on previous experience. The veterinary clinic was across the highway from the Railway Hotel when Mr Nurk was the proprietor. Adverse commentary on just where he was getting the fillings for his Nurkburgers had been made at least 3000 times, by patrons thinking they were being original.
Mr Nurk’s solicitors also cited an unrelated incident for consideration.
A budgerigar had been taken to the veterinary clinic for treatment. This had been unsuccessful and the bird had died. The veterinarian had assured the owner that a fitting funeral had been arranged for the budgie.
The bird had fallen out of a Council Wheelie Bin that had been left out for collection; the bird had been found by its former owner, Ms Florence Dingle.
Ms Dingle had been taken across to the Railway hotel in a distressed state. Mr Nurk did not wish either of these situations to be repeated.
The application for relocation of the veterinary clinic had been refused.
5. Single Lane, Road Repair Report.Three kilometers of the highway to the north of Council chambers were being resurfaced. 430 red plastic bollards had been placed along the centre line of the highway and signs saying No Overtaking were placed at either end of the resurfacing, along with a Council employee with a Stop sign.
217 red plastic bollards had been run over and squashed beyond repair.
One of the Council employees had noticed a small, nodding dachshund in the rear window of a waiting car and had made a derogatory remark on the matter. The driver’s companion had been able to stop the employee’s nosebleed.
A letter had been sent to the Council employee putting him on notice. Resurfacing of the highway was still not complete.
6. Report, Effects of Band.Members will recall this matter had been held over from the previous meeting to allow tempers to settle.
To recap : --
A Sunday afternoon concert had been arranged in the Periwongle Memorial Hall by the Reverend Burton. This was to consist of the Thompson Brothers, a country and western guitar duo. The Thompsons had been unable to attend and the booking agency had sent what it considered adequate substitute, a band called Radioactive Tinea.
The first item was a piece called I Can’t Get No Satisfaction. This continued until the Reverend pulled the plug from the band’s amplifier, a considerable feat, considering the state of his glasses.
All windows of the Periwongle Memorial Hall had been blown out; two of Council Chambers windows had been shattered. An account for glazing had been sent to the Reverend Burton. To date this had not been paid.
Several of the Shire’s working dogs had disappeared.
The entire flock of Ms Barbara Stein’s fowls had flown to the nearest gum tree and had resisted all efforts to entice them down. This had lasted for three days. They continued to be off-lay for a further fortnight.
The booking agency had been notified of the matter.
7. Report, Council Library.• One of the Assistant Librarians, Ms Elizabeth Dreedle, had been told by one of the Library users, Mr John Bonnett, not to get her wee in a froth. Ms Dreedle had told her current boyfriend, Mr Charles Sproston, of the matter.
Ms Dreedle’s description of Mr Bonnett had been inadequate.
Mr Sproston had come around to the Library, had grabbed Mr John McTrorkle (who was in the Library at the time) by the shirt front and had struck him.
Mr McTrorkle was taken to the veterinary clinic, where he was diagnosed with a periorbital hæmatoma.
Mr John Whicker said hey?
Mr David Dugdale said black eye.
• A complaint had been received regarding a raffle organised by the Friends of Periwongle Library. The prize included a jar of the Chairwoman’s quandong chutney. The winner was Mr McTrorkle.
Mr McTrorkle presented his complaint to Council in person.
The presentation was lengthy as Mr McTrorkle was wearing a tight neckbrace, in consequence of a recent injury. He was difficult to understand. The summary seemed to be that the chutney had produced the worst case of the squitters he (Mr McTrorkle) ever had in his life.
This was presumed to mean a severe case of diarrhoea.
After a short discussion, it was decided that nothing could be done about Mr McTrorkle’s complaint, other than to advise him to take the matter up with the Chairwoman.
• Council’s notice was drawn to the Library’s only copy of Lolita. The book had been borrowed by Mr Frederick Derkin, who had ignored all notices to return it. Overdue fines now totalled $674, not including inflation.
To date, four letters had been sent demanding the return of the book and payment of the fine.
Ms McDonald said the book was Erotic Quasi-hallucinationism. Mr Whicker said hey?
• Mr McTrorkle had taken the matter of his diarrhoea up with the Chairwoman of the Friends of Periwongle Library. The Chairwoman had taken
Mr McTrorkle’s remarks as a slight on her culinary skills and had struck him. Mr McTrorkle was taken to the veterinary clinic, where he was diagnosed with another periorbital hæmatoma.
Mr Pellagra said so now he’s got the set.
Ms McDonald said that Mr Pellagra was a callous brute. Mr Dugdale said Jesus wept.
Council had authorised the purchase of : --
• 217 replacement red plastic bollards.
• One Wheelie Bin with the words Periwongle Shire Council sprayed on two sides.
• Eight solid, flock-filled cushions.
The meeting closed at 9.00 pm.