Latest adult story: The Secrets of Liberty Mountain – Chapter 27
Alice and I took our seats on each side of Lisa has the last stragglers filed into the amphitheater and return to their places.
“Before we resume I want to thank our kitchen crew for a fantastic, as usual, flash-banquet. Well done, thank you,” Lisa said as she held her gavel in the ready position.
With plumbing and dietary needs satisfied, a soothing and comfortable afterglow had fallen over the proceedings. It wouldn’t last long but at least we were starting with an advantage. Deliberation was going to determine the outcome of this debate. Other than adding my own voice, I had no control over the discussion.
A fundamental truth of a democracy: having the freedom to speak is no guarantee you’ll win the argument.
The rap of the gavel sent a jolt of energy into the gathering and created a new life form as individual participants assumed the dynamic of an assembly; the meeting itself became a living being with a mind of its own.
“We have a membership question before us: Shall Dennis Richards be admitted as a member of the Liberty Mountain Society of Sisters?” Lisa paused for a moment as she shuffled her notes.
“Debate will continue until all parties have had the opportunity to speak or the chair determines that a consensus has been reached. At that time I will entertain a motion to call the question. A simple majority vote is sufficient to close debate. A two-thirds vote is required for passage of the motion. Are there any questions?” Lisa scanned the silent room.
“Good. Anyone wishing to speak in support, please stand and be recognized,” Lisa leaned forward in her chair and studied the crowd.
“Yes, Brenda what is on your mind?” Lisa called on the Quartermaster waving her hand in the air.
Brenda’s demeanor was confident and self-assured as she stepped onto the stage and took a handheld microphone from Lisa.
“I will vote to give this man a home with us at Liberty Mountain. He is a fellow veteran and I give him the benefit of the doubt. He is welcome to share our home,” she handed Lisa the microphone and returned to her seat.
“Does anyone wish to speak in opposition to the question?” Lisa studied the assembly and called upon the Frost Queen rising out of her chair.
“I don’t want him here. I did not work 15 years building this place to share it with a man, I don’t think any of us did. He has no place here. He has to go. That’s all I have to say. For now,” Frosty’s glare sent chills up my spine, she was not somebody to be trifled with.
For the next 45 minutes I watched in frustrated apprehension as the debate ebbed and flowed between positive and negative while the assembly struggled to find a consensus between polar opposites. The hatred of the Frost Queen stood stood in sharp contrast to Alice’s affection. StarShine, Darlene, and our supportive Quartermaster had done an excellent job presenting the case for my membership. They even won over a few of Frosty’s friends by promising to hold a special meeting and ‘kick me out the front door’ if I turned out to be an asshole.
Debate had pretty much run dry and the meeting was starting to re-plow the same ground when ‘Our Lady of the Glacier’ got in the last word. Frosty stood and made the motion to call the question. The resounding chorus of “I second the motion!” left no doubt that debate was over. The vote to end debate passed without opposition. ‘Decision-time,’ had arrived.
“I remind everyone that this vote requires a two-thirds majority for passage. All those in favor of the motion to allow Mr. Richards to join the Liberty Mountain Society of Sisters please signify by saying, ‘aye.'”
I breathed a sigh of relief when an overwhelming majority of the the Sisterhood sang out a boisterous, “Ayiii!”
The relief was short-lived when a rumble of NOs answered in the negative.
” Too close to call. I’ll need a manual count. All those voting in the affirmative please raise your right hand,” Lisa divided the room and asked Rusty to count one side of the hall while Marjorie, from the kitchen crew, was drafted as a teller to count the votes on the other side.
“Rusty, your count?”
“All those voting in the negative, Please raise your left hand,” Lisa instructed the meeting as the tellers again did a manual count.
“Two ‘No’ votes,” Rusty reported from StarShine’s side of the hall.
“Six,” Marjorie called out from the Frost Queen’s side of the room.
“Our membership being 37 and the vote being 23 in the affirmative and 8 in the negative, the motion does not meet the twenty-four vote threshold required for a two-thirds majority. Motion fails,” Lisa frowned and shook her head as she brought the gavel down with a crash that echoed off the walls like the crack of doom.
“What’ll we do with him?” a voice called out.
“Good question. We’ll take it up in 30 minutes. We stand in recess and will reconvene in a half hour,” Lisa declared as rapped the gavel on the table and quickly left the stage. The dismayed and perplexed expression on her face as she stormed toward the exit did nothing to ease my rising anxiety.
I looked around the hall as the room erupted in conversation. The majority of sisterhood was not happy with the results of the vote.”
“Now what?” I asked Alice as I wrapped my hands around a steaming cup of coffee and tried to think my way out of a box with no visible exit.
“I don’t know,” Alice comforted me with a hug, “We’ll think of something.”
One lousy vote?! I felt like the guy who busted his ass running a marathon only to trip over his shoelaces a few yards short of the finish line.
My mood did not improve when two of the women who hung out and voted with the Frost Queen, stopped by to offer their condolences. They were in their late twenties or early thirties and could have passed for twin sisters.
“We thought you were going to win, otherwise we would never have voted no,” said the first woman.
“It’s nothing personal. I don’t care if you live here but it’s Belinda,” she said glancing at the Frost Queen.
“We voted to keep the boss happy,” the first one grabbed her friend by the arm and turned to walk away.
“Yah, she’s a bitch when she gets pissed,” her companion said over her shoulder.
Great! Peer pressure once again trumps judgement.
I pulled out my pack of cigarettes and fumbled with my lighter while I walked over to the fireplace, took a seat on the hearth and lit up. No point in pissing folks off with second hand smoke, the updraft would take care of that problem.
“There you are!” Darlene shouted as she raced across the the room with Alice at her side running to keep up, “We’ve got some good news!”
“We’ve been talking to a bunch of our friends. Everyone feels awful about the vote, and we think we’ve come up with a compromise that everyone in the Sisterhood can live with, even Brenda,” Alice hugged me as Darlene kissed my cheek.
“Okay, you’ve got my attention. Tell me more,” about now I was willing to listen to any suggestion. I was stuck at the bottom of the well, maybe they had found an exit.
The flicker of overhead lights singled an end of recess. The Society’s meeting was was reconvening.
As Alice and I took our seats on opposite sides of Lisa. Madame Moderator never bothered to look up. She was the image of intense concentration as she hurriedly flipped the pages of a speckled black composition notebook. Lisa paused for a moment to read the page, smiled, and using a pencil as a bookmark, closed the journal.
I did a double take when I noticed the hand lettered title of the book: “Things Worth Remembering” A diary? Seriously?
The hall was on edge with anticipation as the audience waited for Lisa’s next move.
“Welcome again to deliberations, we have returned to business and the floor is open. Rise and be recognized so that we may better know your mind,” the gavel’s “bang!” echoed from the walls.
“Together we built this place as a shelter to survive whatever fate may throw at us. This is our refuge, our sanctuary and our fortress. We’ve poured our lives, our values, and everything we hold dear into Liberty Mountain and this Society,” Lisa rose from her chair and walked to the center of the stage.
“We’ve done well for ourselves. Now we face a dilemma, and he’s sitting over there. What are we going to do with this man?” Lisa pointed to me.
“What is your pleasure? She asked the assembly.
Right on cue there was a rustle of movement as StarShine rose to her feet and awaited permission to speak.
“Proceed,” the Moderator gestured.
“I move Dennis Richards be admitted to the Liberty Mountain Society of Sisters as an affiliate member with all the,” Alice’s daughter squinted to read her handwritten note and continued, er, with all the privileges of membership with the exception of voting and the ability to hold office.”
The twisting knot of tension building in my gut relaxed as the Amphitheater erupted in an overwhelming roar of enthusiastic approval as at least a dozen voices called out “Second!”
“Order!” Lisa rapped the hammer twice in quick succession.
“I regret the motion fails to meet the requirements of our bylaws and covenant which specifically prohibits us from considering a name for membership a second time. Motion disallowed,” Lisa announced as she returned to her seat.
The thundering din of protest and shouts of disapproval greeted the chair’s ruling as angry and confused members voiced their disapproval.
My throat tightened and I shivered as a sense of impending doom chilled my body. Alice’s eyes mirrored my fear and uncertainty while Lisa repeatedly sounded the gavel and attempted to restore order to the gathering.
Gradually the noise of unruly protest died as members looked to their leader for guidance. Lisa stood behind her chair with her arms extended and the palms of her hands held flat as she moved them in a downward call for calm.
“I understand you are disappointed, but when I accepted the position as your leader I swore an oath to uphold and defend our charter. I have no choice but to rule as I have,” Lisa said with a frown. She didn’t like her ruling anymore than her members.
“Now what’ll we do with him?” several voices called out.
“I told you we have a dilemma on our hands. Our rules require all who reside at Liberty Mountain also be members of our society,” Lisa shook her head, “That pathway is closed to us. He can’t stay here.”
“Then send him away,” the Frost Queen yelled out.
“He’s done nothing wrong. Throwing him outta here in the dead of winter is a death sentence. We would be wrong to do that. We can’t do that,” Alice broke down in tears and sobbed into her hands.
“It’s okay, we’ll think of something,” Lisa placed a comforting arm around Alice.
“Like what?” Alice asked between sobs.
“I don’t know. I haven’t thought of it yet,” Lisa said with a hug, “Give me time.”
“I don’t understand how good rules can be so bad. He’s a good man and he saved my life when we were trapped by the blizzard. I would never have made it home without him,” Alice sniffled and blew her nose and proceeded to walk down memory lane as she recalled our time together in the abandoned mine shaft.
I squirmed with discomfort as she described in excessively explicit detail our farting game and the mutual bestowing of SkyWolf and Seraina as secret names in our sweaty christening ritual.
“He’s not the same man he was when he first came to us. Our experiencesin the dark place changed each of us. I’m not the same person I used to be and neither is he,” Alice rose from her chair and nearly smothered me in a fierce hug.
“Madame Moderator! Madame Moderator!” Darlene shouted as she jumped to her feet with her arm in the air.
“I move SkyWolf be admitted to the Society of Sisters as a non-voting affiliate member.
Lisa reclined in her seat and studied Darlene for a few moments before leaning forward and brushing a stray strand of hair from her eyes. The leader’s silence was unnerving, as was the silence in the room. It was as if everyone had forgotten how to breath.
The leader closed her eyes in intense concentration for several seconds and took a deep breath before speaking.
“Martha, can you come here for a minute,” Lisa called the head of the Kitchen crew to the stage.
Lisa stood with the gavel in her hands as Martha approached.
“My position does not allow me to speak to motions before the body. To do so, I am asking that Martha temporarily assume the duties of Moderator. There is a motion on the floor and I would like to offer a second,” Lisa handed the symbol of authority to Martha.
“I second Darlene’s motion. I think SkyWolf will be a wonderful addition to our society.”
“So moved and seconded. Discussion?” Martha paused and surveyed the silent hall.
“Hearing none, all those in favor please signify by saying ‘Aye'” Martha called out.
I noticed that the Frost Queen stood silently with her arms crossed as the thundering roar of approval echoed from the rafters.
“All those in opposition?”
Again crickets as Frosty and her companions remained silent. The motion passed without objection. Thus SkyWolf was born into the Society of Sisters.
As for the unused page Lisa had bookmarked in her journal?
I smiled when I read her handwriting, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change – Charles Darwin.”
- 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