Meeting Notes

by T.L. Sherwood


Board of Education

Regular Business Meeting Agenda

June 21, 2016

1. Call to Order

I stare at the flag and mouth the words. When was the last time I pledged myself to anything?

2. Approval of Agenda

What are we going to do? Say we object to the way these meetings are run? Is that up for debate? I say, “Second.”

I agreed to see Pete after this meeting. A drop by. If it doesn’t run too long.

3. Public Expression

It’s easy to tell how deeply a person feels about a thing by which microphone they use. The one in front is favored by the spouters. They bitch. Complain. Blow off steam and leave after they’ve had their say.

At first, I thought the people going to the side mike were shy, and some are, but they have more complex thoughts. They stay. They come back to meetings to see if we’ve changed anything. They are the dangerous ones.

I wonder which microphone Pete would choose.

4. Old Business

Oh, good. I haven’t heard quite enough about the canopy that fell down. Just fix it. Simple.

Nothing’s simple. All lines must be filled in, proper channels followed, only approved contractors allowed to bid.

5. New Business

Pete and I have been friendly towards each other, but are we friends? Do I want to make this into something more? Does he? It’s a brilliant excuse though. We’d been discussing Robert Olen Butler. Pete said I could borrow his copy of “A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain.” Like I don’t have my own copy.

6. Public Presentations

Eagle Scout does good. Now we get to hear the details. This will be in the paper. I could pull out a bottle of gin, pour it into a glass, top it with vermouth and drink it right now and no one would notice. All hail the man-child in a handkerchief who planted a garden in back of the Elementary School.

I wonder what Pete looks like in just a handkerchief.

7. Reports

Shoot. Me. Now. Yes, you all did your little parts well. I’ve read your summaries. I really don’t care if the Principal at Reeseville seemed enthused about the idea of merging with this district. Even if it happens, our enrollment isn’t going to go up by that much. Also don’t care if your audit committee found no mistakes. The private firm did. Thank God two members with reports are absent tonight or I swear I’d bleed through my ears.

I second something else. Let’s get on with it. I think I want to get it on with Pete. Maybe. He’s so tall. And that dark curly hair…

I should table this.

12. Adjournment

What the hell? I look around. If I fell asleep or drooled, no one seems to have noticed.

I say, “I so move.”


The gavel slams.

Have I reached a verdict?

Well, it probably wouldn’t hurt to stop by Pete’s…just for a minute…

T. L. Sherwood is the Assistant Editor of r.kv.r.y Quarterly Literary Journal. At Literary Orphans, she serves as a fiction reader, book reviewer, and interviewer. Her recent work has appeared in New World Writing, Dime Show Review, and Jellyfish Review. She is the 2016 Gover Prize winner and her blog can be found here: http://tlsherwood.wordpress.com/.

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Meeting Notes”?

In February 2016, I enrolled in Kathy Fish’s Fast Fiction Workshop and this story was written in response to the seventh prompt. While the characters were amusing, I thought I was done with them. Severely frustrated after trying to land an agent over the summer, I gave up and decided to write flash. And I did, but the flashes kept featuring these characters. Once I had about sixty pieces, I realized I had a new book and started to fill in the gaps. While not included in Near Eden, New York, this story is the genesis for it and I could not be prouder that “Meeting Notes” found a home in the Journal for Compressed Creative Arts.


Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

Matter Press recently released titles from Meg Boscov, Abby Frucht, Robert McBrearty, Tori Bond, Kathy Fish, and Christopher Allen. Click here.

Matter Press is now offering private flash fiction workshops and critiques of flash fiction collections here.


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