Maybe it’s the season but people seem grumpier during this time of year.

There have been some terse comments, snipes and outright verbal exchanges between city councilors in the past few weeks.

Earlier this month, the Rockland Public Library held an adult spelling bee as a fundraiser.

The newspaper’s crack investigative team tried unsuccessfully to get its hands on a bootlegged videotape of the event. Instead the newspaper was able to piece together the events of that evening from some of our — on rare occasion — reliable sources.

The participants were city councilors and school board members, according to our — on rare occasion — reliable sources. Mayor Deborah McNeil was the bee mistress. McNeil explained the rules to the spellers and then the rounds started.

“Councilor Brian Harden, your first word is ‘parliamentarian,'” McNeil said.

Harden paused and then grabbed a dictionary and quickly flipped through the pages until he got to the P section.

“Parliamentarian; that would be p-a-r-l-i-a-m-e-n-t-a-r-i-a-n,” Harden said. “And by the way, you can pick up a nifty dictionary at a certain Main Street store for only $7.95.”

McNeil then gave Councilor Tom Molloy the word “teacher.”

Molloy began spelling the word but Harden interrupted him to complain to the mayor that it was unfair to give him a long word while Molloy got an easy word.

McNeil gaveled him down and allowed Molloy to finish his correct spelling of the word.

The next word, “nonsensical,” went to school board Chairwoman Ruth Anne Hohfeld.

“Could I get that in a sentence?” she asked.

“Granting raises to employees during a time of severe economic distress is nonsensical,” McNeil said.

“Hey, I resent that,” Hohfeld said.

The bee continued for a few more rounds with the school board members tripping up on words such as “austerity,” “negotiations” and “concessions.”

Eventually, Molloy and Harden were the two finalists.

McNeil instructed the two to come to the podium to spell when it was their turn. Her next word went to Molloy. As he began to spell “historian,” Harden again interrupted and complained about the lack of difficulty in the words being given to his opponent.

“And, by the way, tell him to stand at the podium; oh he is,” Harden quipped.

“I’ll show you what you can do with this podium,” Molloy said before McNeil intervened.

McNeil held the two at bay and Molloy was able to correctly finish his word. The mayor then gave Harden his next challenge, to spell picayune.

“Could you use that in a sentence?” he asked.

Molloy interjected that picayune was what Harden’s comments to the mayor were on how to correctly run a meeting.

“Why don’t you take your picayune and …” Harden began before Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson approached the stage and encouraged the two warring wordsmiths to hold a group hug.

Instead, the two men began to grapple, causing a domino effect of bookshelves toppling. After the dust settled, spectators pulled McNeil from the rubble. The librarian rushed to the front of the room and demanded that Molloy and Harden turn in their library cards.

At the same time, Sheriff Donna Dennison arrived after hearing of the commotion. She was followed by the dozen or so candidates who want her job. Each of the candidates pulled out various weapons — Tasers, pepper spray and batons — in an effort to convince the public that they were the toughest on crime.

Within a few minutes, all the spelling bee participants and half the audience were being led out of the library in handcuffs, many still coughing and twitching from the police raid.

As the final spectators exited the library, the librarian commented that perhaps next year she’ll hold a wine tasting contest to raise money.

At least that is how our source remembered the event went.