Serious Grounds

A cozy, downtown bar and nightspot called serious grounds.

Seventies dance parties on Fridays.

Saturdays it's a gay disco.

Sundays are reserved for afternoon bug hunts by local open‑source enthusiasts who arrive carrying business cards and laptops.

(serious grounds also plays host to occasional events attended only by the resident bird‑life nesting above the dusty, vented back window)

This evening's event: the annual social for the North American chapter of the highly specialized members of AAUPCCINB.

AAUPCCINB
The American Association of Utility Phrases, Coded Characterizations & other forms of Implicative Nation‑state Banter

This evening's attendees: a collection of party‑unaffiliated, dog‑tired figures of speech and sentiment.

Name tags are unnecessary.

serious grounds is dimly, yet warmly, lit and smells of fresh beer and smoke over old beer and smoke.

Candles in glass holders flicker yellow light across tables set with small bowls of colored party‑mix.

It is a room full of chatter.

necessary measures, the bar's bouncer, distributes cocktail napkins liberally about the room.

strongest possible terms is already complaining about the “shite” beer.

“Better than last year, don’t you think?” says cautiously optimistic.

independent verification takes a thoughtful sip.

dual‑use reaches for a table‑candle and lights a cigarette.

deeply concerned pokes his head through the back door, says, “Hey, I'm outside here with gravely in case anyone needs anything.”

“Apparently,” says highly likely, “allegedly isn't coming.”

heinous crime is thankfully not coming this year.

strong indications arrives wearing a Hawaiian shirt.

“Anyone seen decisive action?” says firm response from a slouched position at the bar.

unrestricted access is already drunk.

unified response rolls his eyes.

“Wood. Concrete. Steel,” says constructive talks to himself. “Supporting structure. Dividing wall.”

failed state and lost generation step outside with joint session. “Just takin’ a walk,” they say.

“Stones. Bricks. Tuckpointing,” continues constructive talks. “Partitions. Foundations.”

“Adhesives?” says sticking point interrupting.

“Adhesives,” repeats constructive talks. “Yes, adhesives. Adhesives, laminate and insulation.”

And a voice from the screen above the bar says:

“…an agreement on a shared goal of achieving a framework for a path forward toward an outline of steps for necessary action…”

“…in order to advance the needs and requirements of established principles generated through frequent and close examination…”

“…of issues submitted and confirmed through commitments to subsequent as well as ongoing talks produced…”

“…through timely expression of those primary concerns and desired outcomes relative to existing initiatives already established…”

“…which investigate assessments and gather information in order to establish credible and corroborated facts…”

“…which can be made available to all invested parties regarding the need for…”

decisive action finally arrives wishing he'd stayed home.

necessary measures circulates the cheese platter.

regime change sucks in his stomach, says, “No thanks, on a diet.”

senior player fumbles with the pistachio nuts.

flagrant escalation arrives dressed as a giant pineapple.

look it's complicated wants to buy everyone a drink.

military strike and diplomatic solution arm wrestle.

situation on the ground watches.

targeted operation nudges coalition partner. “Watch this,” he says launching spitwads — unbelievably small spitwads — from the bar.

scrub yells from the back of the room: “Hey, my name is a verb, alright?”

suspected militant sits alone at the bar with a Piña Colada and a crossword puzzle.

proper oversight checks names on the list of attendees.

lasting peace is still a no‑show.

2017