2017 Erotica story: The Secrets of Liberty Mountain – Chapter 24
The stern rap of Lisa’s opening gavel muted but did not extinguish the murmuring voices of dozens of private conversations.
The posture of the Colony’s leader appeared poised and relaxed as she held the gavel in the ready position with her elbow bent at a forty-five-degree angle for several long seconds as she waited for silence. Beneath Lisa’s placid surface I spotted a ripple of anxiety, as she unconsciously polished the gavel’s wood handle with her thumb.
I’ve called enough meetings to order over my lifetime, the job of moderating a meeting was as thankless as it was important. Folks who don’t know better think the chair is the ruler of the meeting. Not true. In a democratic assembly, the meeting members rule the gathering under the guidance of leadership and the organization’s bylaws.
The meeting’s power resided in its decisions and not in its deliberations. The chairperson’s job is to help guide the gathering toward a consensus, or at least a majority vote to empower a course of action.
Over the next several seconds, all eyes turned toward Lisa as pools of conversation evaporated into silence and the assembly hall became as hushed as a sanctuary’s congregation gathered in prayer.
I had to respect Lisa’s skill as a parliamentarian. She relied far less on the weight of her gavel as she did on the authority of her personality to bring the meeting to order. At the moment of maximum silence, she brought the hammer down with a flourish and slammed the gavel down on the sounding block. The resounding crack of wood on wood echoed throughout the hall.
“This meeting of the Society of Sisters is now in session,” Lisa looked around the room, smiled, cleared her throat and spoke the ritual words used to open every formal gathering of the sisters, “All those wishing to be heard, rise and be recognized so that we may better know your mind.”
“The purpose of today’s meeting is two-fold,” she paused and turned to face Alice.
“First, as a Board of Inquiry, we will examine the circumstances involving the loss and recovery of Hunter-One,” Lisa pushed her chair back as she rose to her feet, leaned forward with her hands braced on the edge of the table,
“The second agenda item is more, err, delicate. Against our will, we have a man living with us. What are we going to do with him? Lisa scanned the faces of the assembled sisters.
“This isn’t a rhetorical question. We’ve got a problem, and he’s sitting right there,” Lisa turned and pointed her finger at me.
“What are we going to do about this man?” Lisa asked as the rising chatter of the sisters became a din of noise as the implications of her question became apparent. Great! She had just dumped the question of my future into the collective laps of the sisterhood.
Lisa looked into my face, and we made eye contact. To compensate for my hearing loss, I had become fairly proficient at lip reading. I’m certain she mouthed the words, “Don’t you worry” as she looked at me. Either that or she had just whispered, “You’re fucked.”
“This tribunal will render its decision on Mr. Richard’s future status after we have concluded the Board of Inquiry. As always, Rita’s Rules of Order will govern the conduct of our meeting. We have a sacred covenant to respect each other and keep each other safe. We are our sister’s keepers. Are there any questions before we proceed?”
I licked my dry lips as the circular muscles of my sphincter clamped shut while my testicles crawled into my body and my bladder shrunk two sizes. A, “Oh shit!” feeling came over me, and I suddenly needed a bathroom break. My future had become the prize in a high stakes chess game with unknown pieces and uncertain rules.
I pushed my chair back, climbed to my feet, and faced Lisa and asked, “Excuse me. May I ask a question?”
My sudden movement took Lisa by surprise. She took a half-step backward, “Of course, what do you want to know?”
I glanced around at the roomful of fully dressed women and turned to Lisa, “Can I use the restroom before we get started?”
The rising tide of tension crested and broke as waves of laughter washed over the room.
“We’ll take a short recess to allow Mr. Richards to attend to his needs. While I escort him to the toilet we will stand in recess,” Lisa declared as she tapped the gavel. “We’ll reconvene in five minutes.”
As Lisa led me out of the MultiMedia center, the woman with the rust red hair appeared at our side.
“Just a friendly escort,” she laughed and raced to catch up with us.
From the bulge on her hip, it was my guess our new friend was carrying a weapon.
Lesia glanced at our new companion and looked at me, a fleeting grimace crossed her face. I didn’t want to read too much into a glance, but I had the feeling she didn’t want company.
“Wait here and keep an eye on things,” Lisa said to our chaperone as she led me to a restroom a few doors down the corridor.
“Be quick and listen,” Lisa hissed as she pushed me through the doorway.
“No time to talk. Stay calm, stay cool. Just be yourself. Everything will be fine. Trust me.”
Lisa’s “Trust me,” remark did little to ease my growing sense of anxiety, and her suggestion to be myself made me laugh. I had long since given up trying to figure out who I was. Instead, I decided to be normal by ignoring nine out of the ten voices in my head.
“Need any help in there?” our escort asked as she stuck her head through the doorway and looked around.
“No. I’m good,” I answered as I started to fiddle with the zipper on my pants.
The woman with rust red hair walked over to me, “I’ll wait here, hustle it up,” she said as she leaned against the frame of the open stall.
I turned my back to her, unzipped, and started to piss.
“Since we’re getting to know each other, please tell me your name so I can call you something else besides, ‘Hey you,'” I said over my shoulder.
“Sure, everyone calls me Rusty.”
Rusty escorted Lisa and I back to the meeting room, and if she had followed me any closer, we could have shared the same underwear. I checked my watch and let out a low whistle of appreciation; the leader’s sense of time was stop-watch perfect. She beat her five-minute deadline with fifteen seconds to spare.
We took our seats at the table, and as Lisa reached for her gavel, one of the women from the kitchen crew hurried forward and, using her hand as a shield, whispered something in Lisa’s ear. Lisa nodded a couple of times before saying, “Okay, good. Thank you,” as banged down the gavel.
“Recess is over, and we are back in session, sort of. We’ll pause for another five minutes for a coffee and beverage break so graciously provided by Marjorie with the help of StarShine and Darlene. Thank you sisters.”
Lisa stood and placed her hands-on Alices’, and my shoulders, “both of you need to grab a coffee or beverage. This is going to be a long haul.”
We watched as she followed her own advice and joined a small group of sisters milling around the coffee parked by the room’s entrance. I had to smile, she tried to wait her turn but wherever she stood became the front of the line. Rank has its privileges.
Serena’s hand squeezed mine as we approached the gathering of thirsty sisters. I returned her grip with a squeeze of my own. She gave me a half-smile as I whispered, “Don’t worry.”
“Coffee, tea, or me?” Darlene said with a naughty wink and a giggle as she handed me a steaming cup of coffee prepared just the way I like it. Cream with more sugar than seems reasonable. What I don’t drink, I pour on my pancakes in the morning.
A couple of women waiting their turn watched our public display of affection with a look of annoyed curiosity. One of them pointed at us and whispered something to her partner, and they laughed as they walked away. I couldn’t tell if they were laughing with us or at us. For all I know, they could have been laughing at the price of sheep shit in Seattle.
“This is for you mom,” StarShine gave Alice a kiss as she handed her a fresh cup of Java. I also noticed StarShine and Darlene were striking up a considerable amount of conversation with their coffee customers. I knew Darlene well enough to appreciate her marketing skills. I had a hunch they were lobbying on our behalf with the apparent support or at least acquiesce of the Society’s leader.
The coffee-wagon opening gambit must have been Darlene’s brainchild. It was the oldest political trick in the book: give something free to the voters before they vote, and maybe they’ll think well of you when they fill out the ballot. Folks are reluctant to bite the hand that feeds them.
I felt a tugging at my sleeve and turned around.
“Time to get started everyone, coffee break is over,” Lisa instructed as she guided us back to our seats.
As the three of us took our places, Lisa tapped her gavel, checked her notes, and leaned into the microphone, “We’ll start the Hearing of Inquiry at the end and work our way back to the beginning. The images we are about to view will put the subsequent testimony into context,” Lisa swiveled in her chair as the huge ultrahigh-definition television screen came to life with a vivid crystal clear view of a snow-covered mountain slope as the drone skimmed over the trees and followed the contours of the land.
Suddenly the forested slope gave way to a dizzying view of the valley below as the drone cleared the crest of the ridge. The images were clear and sharp enough they produced a stomach-dropping sense of vertigo as the drone soared into the open air space above the snow-covered valley.
At the upper left corner of the frame, a smudge of dark smoke drifted across the blue sky. The drone’s camera searched left for the source of the smoke and centered on an island of blazing evergreens in an ocean of white and two tiny figures trudging away from the inferno through the snow.
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 2
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 3
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 4
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 5
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 6
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 7
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 8
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 9
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 10
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 11
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 12
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 13
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 14
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 15
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 16 T
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 17
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 18
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 19
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 20
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 21
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 22
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 23
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 24
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 25
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 26
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 27
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 28
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 29
- The Secrets of Liberty Mountain - Chapter 30