Walter Mencken 10:15 a.m., Dec. 13
Once upon a time in The Land of Pink-tiled Roofs, the landed gentry of the Village- by-the-Seawall were unhappy. The carriage lanes running through their village had become cluttered with oversized Leisure Wagons. They were often left standing overnight, taking up precious room for the parking of Beemers, the upscale chariots of the village aristocracy, and often blocked views of oncoming traffic.
Castle owners complained the eyesores threatened their quality of life, pointing out many Leisure Wagons belonged to strangers from lands beyond the Village-by-the-Seawall. Some whispered the LWs were being used as permanent quarters by vagrants, posing a health and safety risk to the village.
Responding to the grumbling, King Hallmat assembled the Lords and Ladies of the Longtable. A meeting open to all villagers would be held to consider a new law. It would sharply restrict visitor parking, but allow local villagers to continue frequent use of public space to load their own LWs to visit other villages that would benefit from the pleasure of their company.
The night of the meeting, a parade of peons spoke their pieces before King Hallmat and the Lords and Ladies of the Longtable. Most were permanent residents of Leisure Wagons. But they didn't sound like your typical good-for-nothing vagrants who were a threat to the village. All of them assured members of the Longtable they were law-abiding and living in an LW out of necessity, not choice.
After the speakers had their say, King Hallmat declared the new law was all about Leisure Wagons, not homeless villagers. He didn't suggest they eat cake, but he also didn't follow up on the suggestion by one of his royal minions that maybe village leaders should address the specific needs of those who spoke of their plight that evening.
The King did vow to consider the request of one village owner of an LW, who complained his annual vacation plans will be disrupted by the new law if he isn't allowed more time to load/unload his vehicle on weekends. King Hallmat revealed he is an LW owner, himself, and thinks maybe the law could be amended to accommodate the villager's vacation routine.
As for the other members of the Longtable:
Lady Farout expressed deep sadness for the homeless.
Sir Burnblack boasted of his great generosity to the homeless and that the Village-by-the-Seawall is such a wonderful place to live one must earn one's right to live there.
Sir Packedhard awakened long enough to observe "a lot of thought" had gone into "this," but it may need a little "tweaking" over the next year.
Lady Hardwood sniffed, "I reject the idea that this city is not a caring community."
After the King and his Longtable voted unanimously to approve the new law, peace and goodwill returned to the fortunate in the Village-by-the-Seawall.
Richard J. Riehl writes from LaCosta. Contact him at email@example.com