Oh boy- looks like a nice day out, huh? Partly sunny, not too hot. About 75 degrees. Breezy. Seems like this Memorial Day parade’s gonna go off without a hitch, doesn’t it? I can hear the Fairfield High School marching band warming up- they sound great. I could listen to them play Louie, Louie all day long. And the Shriners down there, in their fezes and their tiny cars- boy, they sure are amusing, aren’t they? Oh, and there are the Girl Scouts, all lined up with flags painted on their cheeks- adorable. Yep, oughtta be a pretty great parade. Too bad I’m gonna rain on it.
Yeah, that’s right. I’m gonna rain on your parade. Don’t like it? Tough. I’m a cumulonimbus cloud, buddy boy, so what are you gonna do about it? That’s right. Nothing. I can open up and turn on the waterworks whenever I want to. I could start a torrential downpour right here and now and stop the parade before it starts. Everybody from the VFW guys in the vintage Jeeps to the Revolutionary War Reenactment Guild would get completely hosed, and the parade would be called off before anybody even made it to Main St. Throngs of lawnchair bound spectators would scatter like roaches when you turn on the kitchen light. Yeah, that would be somethin’, but it ain’t nothing compared to what I got planned for this parade.
First, I’m gonna hover in the distance. I just want to let everybody know that I’m here. Maybe I’ll let loose with a little thunder rumble or something, I dunno. I want everybody to be anxious when the parade starts. I want every man, woman, and child to glance up just once while they’re enjoying their oversized pretzels and think to themselves: “Boy, I hope that raincloud holds off.” I like to give people hope, so that I can crush it. I’ll let the parade start. It looks like you’ve got the fixin’s for a pretty long parade here- I’d say hour and a half, two hours, judging by the amount of floats and marching bands I can see from up here. I think I’ll wait about twenty minutes- just long enough for the parade to start- and then I’ll move in and block out the sun. No rumbles, no rain just yet. More fear. Less hope. It’s a balancing act, really.
Once the mood is right- I don’t know how long it’ll take, but I’ll know when it is- then I’ll start in with the drizzles. Not too much water, though. This is a delicate stage, because I don’t want to chase anybody away just yet. Some finesse is required here. I’ll drizzle a little, then stop for awhile, maybe even let some sunshine through. The drizzle can’t be too light, because it has to be annoying enough to make people consider leaving, but not so bad that they can’t justify staying. I might make it a little heavier in some places, ’cause I want just a few people to leave so that when I let up everybody who stayed can feel proud that they didn’t chicken out and go home. That pride will be their downfall. I don’t take too kindly to hubris.
By that point, most of the floats will be in motion. The bands will have started marching, and every Weeblo from here to Greenwich will be walking through the streets, waving at their family and throwing candy to their friends. If I’ve done my job right, the atmosphere will be jubilant, because everybody will think that they have weathered the storm. Little do they know that the storm hasn’t started yet. I’ll let loose with a thunderclap to start. Remind them that I’m here. And then, I’ll unload. It’s gonna be torrential. Folks are gonna think that they’re in the middle of a hurricane, and they might as well be. I’m gonna make big fat droplets that get them wet, then mix in a bunch of tinier ones that sting when they hit bare skin. I’ll bring the wind up to make them cold, and maybe even throw in a little hail for effect. I’ll bring everything to a roaring crescendo, and chaos will ensue.
Ha ha! I can barely contain myself! Imagine- blue haired ladies carrying potato salad running for cover, children’s cotton candy melting in the rain, countless backyard potlucks and barbeques washed out! A dozen paper mache floats will become sodden and droop under their own weight until they are but crude imitations of the patriotic themes they once embodied, and the streets will run red, white, and blue with tempera paint. And then, once the mayor and his wife have fled from their booth in front of town hall, and the majorette’s batons are too slippery to spin and toss, I’ll let up. When all hope for a parade is lost, and the parade route has been evacuated, then I’ll let up and drift away. Just like that. It’ll be like I was never even here. For years, they’ll talk about how this parade was ruined and pray that it does not happen again. That will by my legacy. Fear. Raw, naked, parade-oriented fear.
Oh- what’s that I hear in the distance? Sounds like fanfare. That parade must be starting up. Time to get into position. But before I go, I wanted to let you know something- there’s not a damned thing that you can do to stop me. Happy Memorial Day.
Thanks Alex Berg for letting us use this. Alex Berg grew up in Fairfield, CT on the route of the Memorial Day parade.
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