Sally Ann Finkelstein turned sideways to the mirror. She swayed slightly, smoothed her hand gently over her tummy, tucked a curl of silvery hair behind her ear, and checked her teeth for lipstick stains.
She was a pleasant looking woman. Pleasant enough. Though perhaps more in appearance than in manner, given the effect she had on some, though she meant neither insult nor harm.
Mel often told her, before he died, that it was her Bea Arthur shoulders, and the set of her Murphy Brown chin. No matter, she thought.
By 4:00 this afternoon, Sally Ann would be the first woman president of the Sea Isle Shores Estates and Golf Association. A land-locked, gated community west of West Palm Beach, with his and hers golf courses and a free shuttle to Collins Avenue in Miami every Wednesday morning.
Sally Ann had been the first VP of the board for two years, now it was her turn.
Of the vote though, she was ambivalent. How absurd it was to care, she thought, but she did.
They were from Davenport, Iowa. She and Mel. His family were farmers. Corn. He went to law school. Taught history. She had a small pediatric practice that paid the bills. They were down to earth people.
How absurd it all was, she thought. This place. This false haven, a way-station for the once-wealthy, the privileged, pampered, and entitled: all things she felt not.
These idle old, now so protective of what they had, so filled with rectitude and assuredness, so openly disparaging of viewpoints at odds with their own.
On her way out the door, her Apple dinged. She had no more will power to resist it than a carton of Chunky Monkey.
On the screen was a red-flagged email to the Isle-Sea-It-All Google-group, the men-only group of which her husband had been a member, and whose email address had never been deleted, despite his passing over two years ago.
The note was from Leighton Bombrecht, a snowbird from Ann Arbor, and the partner of her dear friend Rona Haslett who attended their Tuesday and Thursday morning women’s Swedish sauna group.
Leighton’s email announced that Sally Ann had had ‘some work done.’ Specifically, a tummy tuck, an elevation of her already-ample bustline and, most importantly to Leighton at least, her totally cleanly-shaven private ‘you-know-whatsit.’
Rona, who had her own work done by Dr. Marvin Millstein of Miami, must have told Leighton. She had facial work mostly, and an awesome two-inch butt-lift: a work of sheer surgical perfection.
The meeting was to start in less than thirty minutes: a watershed for the women of the condo association and, now, as well for Sally Ann.
The timing of Leighton’s e-bomb was clear. She was a real and imminent threat to the entrenched male-dominated 70-something leadership. This rumor would be worse than Hillary’s server indiscretions, her very own damning Benghazi.
Word spread through the membership faster than conjunctivitis in a group of third graders at recess.
Mort Mortenson, the outgoing president read the names of candidates. Sally Ann stood and asked to be recognized but Phil Jacobs immediately called the question and for a secret ballot.
While the ballots were being passed out, someone in the back shouted, “Lock her out!”
“Out of order,” said Mort.
“Why can’t we talk about it?” asked Herm Rosenstein. “We all know what’s going on.”
“What do we know?” said Sylvia Rosenstein, Herm’s ex.
“Please, we are in mixed company here,” said a male voice.
“Oh, I’ll give you mixed company,” Shirley Breckenridge said. “We know all about you and your ogling emails and the vagina shaped ‘edibles’ you share from Girl Scouts Thin Mints boxes in the equipment shed, and the sexist body shaming comments about us you think we can’t hear with the locker room door open while you flick your wet towels at one another’s flabby fat asses.”
“That’s enough,” Sylvia called, and then, one by one, like a spontaneous flash-mob rising to sing Silent Night a capella on Christmas Eve in Grand Central Station, each and every woman, including Bebe Berkowitz, a trans woman from Tallahassee, stood at their seats and began to intone with growing intensity and fervor, “THE TIME IS UP! THE TIME IS UP!”
Fists were raised high. Women on the left linked arms with those on the right, encircling the periphery of the room, all now chanting loudly and in unison, “THE TIME IS UP!, THE TIME IS UP!” followed by “SA- LY-ANN, SA- LY- ANN!”