Nothing could have prepared me for the shocking twist in this week’s Lynn city council meeting.
A mild bit of controversy confronted the council right out of the gate: whether to give one convenience store a wine and malt beverage license.
Witnesses rotated to the podium like they were on a carousel, impressively arguing their case in no-nonsense, rapid-fire succession.
“I’ve known the owners at least 60 years. They’re a reputable family,” a man in a tan suit nodded.
“I work in the area and think it would be an improvement. That’s it,” another man grunted.
“I really think we have enough liquor stores,” countered a woman wearing a crucifix around her neck. “I’m sorry, but that’s how I feel.”
“Too close. Very close,” a rival liquor store owner complained with arms crossed.
With each side fielding an equally compelling roster of testifiers, what would the council decide?
“This issue has come up a number of times,” a gravelly-voiced Councilor Peter Capano rubbed his eyes. “There’s just very strong neighborhood opposition, so I’d just make a motion to deny this.”
The rest of the council fell into line and unanimously shot down the license.
Council President Darren Cyr shoved his glasses onto his forehead and gazed across the chamber. “Any other business?”
“Motion to adjourn–” one councilor spoke up.
“No. I…no,” muttered Cyr strangely. “I wanna say something.”
From the back of the chamber, a man began speaking out of turn. Cyr instantly grew livid.
“HEY, JEFFREY! QUIET,” he screamed, slamming the gavel against the wooden desk. “IF I HAVE TO SAY IT AGAIN, I’LL ASK YOU TO LEAVE.”
Cyr braced himself on the podium. “As council president, this is probably the toughest moment that I’ve had,” he stared solemly at the ground. “I’m gonna ask Councilor Trahant to make a statement.”
He sniffed, then continued in his thick Boston accent. “I’m gonna stand beside him because he’s my brothah. He’s my friend. I’ve known him since I was five years old. I respect him more than I respect any other man.”
Oh, god. What horror is about to befall us? This feels like something out of a mob movie where someone gets 86’ed.
Councilor William Trahant hugged a tearful Cyr.
“Well, this a tough way for me to get up here, but I gotta do what I gotta do,” Trahant nervously gripped the microphone. “As everybody knows, about six months ago I had a pretty bad heart attack. I’ve got a leak into my valve and I need a little more time to rest.”
The room was dead silent as Trahant glanced from face to sympathetic face. “I’m so sad I have to leave. You guys–” he began to cry as Cyr rubbed his back. “You guys did everything for me. You’re like family.”
Other councilors wiped their eyes. Trahant hung his head and searched for the right words.
“I just gotta get better. And I’m gonna get better. I love you very much.”
He received a standing ovation as he stepped down, hugging everyone on the trek back to his seat.
“May god have his hand on you, Billy,” called out President Cyr over the applause.
“Love you, Billy,” Councilor Brian LaPierre whispered.
Final thoughts: For easily being the saddest meeting I’ve seen, I give Councilor Trahant 10 out of 10 “Get Well Soon” cards.