In 1995 preparations began for the celebrations marking the passage into the next century.
The town council decided, amongst other commemorations, to rename Churchill Street.
After weeks of debate, and no obvious solution, the mayor used his casting vote and the street was renamed END CENTURY.
It took 4 years to make the street sign because a consensus was needed on the overall shape of the sign, the height of it, the type font and a suitable kerning between the letters.
Council meetings were held to decide whether the words END and CENTURY were to be in the same font. Some council members favoured Highway Gothic but others insisted that as this was the font used on American signage, a common font used in British street signs such as Rail Alphabet would be more appropriate.
The trickiest discussions were on the relative sizes of the chosen font. Should END be bigger than CENTURY?
It went to a sub committee, because no-one agreed on size differences between the two words.
Debates raged for several months.
Luckily, during the summer recess, council members met at the local pub and when the conversation drunkenly turned to the END CENTURY debate they decided just to flip a coin.
Heads for CENTURY larger than END and tails for END larger than CENTURY.
The mayor was vexed by this childish behaviour, and was also irritated that he hadn’t been invited that evening. In a memorable speech, he reminded council members that there were far more pressing matters to debate.
Unfortunately his speech was flawed by a casual racial slur and his position, as mayor, was put to a vote of confidence.
As his party had a solid majority, the confidence vote went in his favour.
The matter of the END CENTURY street sign returned to discussions in the sub committee and the matter was forgotten for a while.
Autumn came, the clocks went back and the relevance of Halloween in council matters took precedence over existing council business.
Towards the end of the year there was a review of outstanding council business and the END CENTURY folder was reviewed.
Council members complained about the delay. A reprimand was inscribed in the sub-committees minutes and the matter returned to the full council.
This was at the beginning of November 1999 with just a few short weeks before the end of the century.
The sign was erected and a naming ceremony was performed as part of the end of century celebrations and the passage into the year 2000.
23 people attended. Mostly from the council but two couples and three children, one in a bright pink buggy were present.
The mayor made a short speech. There was supposed to be savoury biscuits and a glass of sparkling wine but the caterers hadn’t been notified.
There was enthusiastic hand shaking.
A private property notice was also placed behind the street sign.
To this day, the inscription in spray paint, “Fuck the Council”, remains.
A new short fiction challenge for me. This time in 500 words or less, and also using a photo as a challenge. This one is called Foto Flash Fiction and it is also hosted by the fabulous Donna B McNicol. Thanks Donna!