Picture 3

Disclaimer: Story and characters are mine.

The Parade



"No! This won't do! Crime in this town is up, the economy's bad, and people are losing their jobs left and right. We're gonna be a friggin' ghost town soon!" the mayor of Templeton banged his fist on his cherry wood desk in frustration. He continued to his aide, "This winter's going to be long enough. We need to find a way for folks to blow off a little steam." He looked thoughtful. "They need something to look forward to, but it has to be something that won't cost too much. This town's barely in the black as is."

After a moment's silence, the mayor's aide spoke up. "Sir, I might have an idea. How about a parade? There'll have to be a little overtime pay for the police, but people love a parade. Anyone can participate and they can make their own floats out of any kind of junk that's lying around." The aide paused, quickly thinking of some other selling point. "It'll also give the town a reputation for being green."

"Not bad, Roberts. Let's run it up the flagpole and see who salutes it."

* * *

The sky was a washed-out blue bordering on white, but the bad weather held off, for which Kate, a mounted police officer, was thankful. She hated working overtime, would've hated working in the rain or snow, and particularly hated crowd control duty. She anticipated a day full of things she hated that could push her buttons. However, as she slowly rode her horse, Rocky, back and forth along the side of the parade route, she found herself smiling when people greeted her. Almost everyone in the town participated in the parade, and there was a good-sized crowd from some of the neighboring towns as well, but everyone was having fun and didn't get out of hand, which made Kate's smiles even brighter. Although she always kept her eyes moving, she unexpectedly found herself having fun.

At the end of the parade, the crowd lingered for a few minutes before they left. One middle-aged man had a can of beer in his hand and Kate didn't think it was his first, but he didn't look particularly drunk, either. He was dressed in jeans, a shirt with a flame design on it, and a black cowboy hat, and yelled from the crowd, "Save a horse! Ride a cowboy!"

Kate laughed and kept her smile when she yelled back, "Save a cowboy! Ride a horse!"

She looked across the parade route to the other barrier that people were lined up behind. Kate noticed her new neighbors, Jessie and her little daughter, Lynn, and Lynn was waving a Polaroid that her mom had just taken.

"Hi! I didn't know anyone still had those," Kate started, referring to the Polaroid camera.

"Yeah. I love old cameras."

Lynn waved the photo impatiently, desperately wanting Kate to have a look. Lynn idolized Kate ever since she found out that Kate was a policewoman. Jessie picked Lynn up so Kate could reach the photograph. "Whatcha got there, squirt?"

Lynn squealed with excitement. "Look!"

"Wow!" exclaimed Kate. "That's a pretty good picture of Officer Rocky and me." She studied it for a moment and made a move to hand the picture back to Lynn, but Lynn declined.

"For you."

Kate smiled. "Really?"

Lynn nodded solemnly.

"Thanks, squirt!" Kate ruffled Lynn's hair and stuck the picture in her jacket. "Did you like the parade?"

"Yeah. And Mom's taking me to Rae's. Wanna come?"

Jessie looked a little embarrassed. "I don't think she can, honey. She still has police things to do."

Kate didn't want to intrude on a family dinner, but she didn't like Lynn's disappointed look, especially on a fun day. She asked, "Where's Ted?"

"Out of town on business."

Kate looked at the little girl again. "In that case, if it's not too late and it's okay with your mom, I can meet you there in two hours. I have to get Officer Rocky back to the stables and take care of him."

"Sta- sta-bles?" asked Lynn.

"The horsie garage," Kate explained.

Two sets of eyes then eagerly focused on Jessie who laughed. It was only just getting to mid afternoon and was still a little time before Lynn's dinner time. "Okay."

A big and a little smile broke out on two faces. As Kate turned away, she sighed happily and thought that there should be more parade days.


Have you thanked your Bard today?  Please Feed The Bard.


Back to the Challenge

Back to the Academy