The mood in the room was somber. After hours of heated debate, the decision to ban all internet usage from the Town of Norwich was final. Some had stormed off into the pleasant evening air prior to the vote, realizing they had no ability to alter the outcome, while others simply stood in disbelief.
On Monday night, after a heated emergency town meeting called to address a recent hoax involving a ludicrous giant sinkhole and a separate underground community, the final result was the loss of internet liberties for all Norwich residents.
Only a handful of attendees appeared satisfied, happy to be free of the confusing stories. But most were incredulous, worried about the future of the town.
"How did it come to this?" asked one resident, clearly shaken by the outcome. "When did we lose our ability to think logically and act independently? This is so ridiculous. That story was so obviously a joke, why are we even having this meeting?"
Others were more appalled at how the decision came to pass. While the loss of online privileges was certainly not an obvious outcome at the start of the meeting, the biggest surprise of the night may have been the scrapping of the entire system of town governance due to a long-forgotten bylaw.
While the Selectboard members were unanimously against the measure, they were defeated by a mysterious elderly man going by the name of Winston, wearing clothing not seen in this area for centuries. Winston had originally called the meeting, holding the Sacred Stone of Ompompanoosuc, and he alone made the final decision. According to town legend, the stone grants the owner supreme powers over all Norwich town matters.
"Our hands are tied, that stone is legit," sighed Selectboard member John Pepper. "I don't know who this Winston is, but the town answers to him now. Anybody looking for a hidden agenda might want to look into this Winston guy."
"John need not worry," Winston smiled. "It’s clear our town is under attack. Until we understand what is going on, and how best to address this problem, we need to stay in control. We can't just let problematic headlines ruin our way of life," he warned, caressing the stone gently as he disconnected Norwich from the grid.