On the table today at the Inmates Committee (IC) meeting, chaired as usual by the stern Mr. OCD: a roster of complaints from elderly
female tenants. Naturally, complaints are dealt with in camera
... in confidence, and with the utmost discretion.
Dominic may be harbouring a raft of East Europeans in his suite. Complaint comes from our own IC member Bella who no doubt keeps her eyeball to the peephole on her door. She catalogues a troop of suspicious strangers loudly coming and going at unacceptable hours speaking an indeterminate foreign language. Bella resents anyone who does not speak Canadian English. Bella is not a frequent complaint-submitter so we consider her memo thoughtfully.
It's Mr. OCD's ultimate task to beard the problem. To keep his notes orderly, he leads the discussion by querying genders and incident times.
"Gypsies!" says Bella, "Bad news! They're casing the joint."
Mr. OCD: "Men or women?"
Bella: "Men! But a woman comes sometimes."
Luther: "I've seen her in the elevator, good-looking broad."
Mr. OCD: "Times?!"
Bella: "She always carries a very large bag."
Thomas the Brave murmurs, "Shoplifting bling."
Ms Etoile: "Darlings, you've got her mixed up with Archie's hooker."
Ophelia: "Oh no, she's not a hooker. That's McElroy's girlfriend. Poor thing has horrid late working hours."
Ms Etoile: "She's a hooker, Ophelia! Have a good look next time you're up close!"
Ophelia glares at her.
Bella (losing her confidence): "Very scary men. I heard they dismember people!"
George: "Starting with you, Bella, given half a chance. And then they'll clean us all out."
Bella almost chokes on her indignation. Takes a deep swig from her
medicine water bottle.
Luther: "Ha, George! Then you better hide your so-called heirlooms."
Performance Subcommittee Assistant (waking up): "Not the same woman at all."
Mr. OCD raps on the table for intervention: "What evidence do we have?!!"
Gonzo: "How do we know what they're up to? Can we get Sandor to translate?
Ms Etoile: "Translate what, you idiot?"
Bella brightens up: "Good thinking. We can tape what they're saying."
Ophelia: "Sandor's not a gypsy."
George: "Nor is he available after 5 pm."
Ms Etoile: "Deep in his Pálinka bottle ..."
Bella: "Well, I can't understand his English."
Luther: "Bella, get a videocam."
Thomas: "Sandor might start drinking with them."
Bella: "You think I'm going to let them see me?! How can I ― "
Mr. OCD: "We have a full quota today! NEXT!!"
A delegation. Consisting solely of hell-bent Daphne, the
self-appointed, long-winded guardian of FEC
decorum. She wants the lobby notice board removed as a fire hazard
and stop messing with the staledated obituary notices she pins up and
why can't the concerts start half an hour earlier and who is
responsible for cat pee outside her door. The litany is greeted with
palpably indifferent silence until Ophelia pokes George who is
nodding off again.
George (sleepily): " ... she's a gypsy, all right ... "
Thomas (mumbling): "Get the hook. Stage left."
Ms Etoile finally yells, "We'll take care of it, Daphne. Bye, hon ...".
Mr. OCD: "NEXT!!"
A letter from Sally threatens to sue for irreparable damage to her dress on Festivus night. Sally says her lawyer is on it as she speaks/writes. Furthermore she will dig up a receipt (incredibly expensive) from Cleeves for said dress and full compensation must be in today's equivalent funds. Sally may be 90 years old but she's nobody's fool.
Performance Sub-Committee Assistant: "I move we make a reasonable offer to the poor soul."
Luanna (protesting): "That store's been out of business for forty years!"
Luther: "So has that cow."
Bella: "Highway robbery."
Ophelia: "She got the dress at Value Village!"
Gonzo: "Strike that motion!
Performance Sub-Committee Assistant: "Struck."
The litigation spectre has permeated the atmosphere, sour looks being exchanged. Mr. OCD clears his throat and folds his notes. It's clear an executive decision has been made.
Mr. OCD: "Certain matters shall be passed to upper levels in the Chain of Command to deal with. Meeting adjourned!"
A scramble for the door. Ms Etoile can't wait to spill the beans about the gypsies.
Another feckless day in the life ...