Costume Parade
by Charles

Dorothy leaned against a building for support. Her costume was really hot. She pulled off her helmet and fluffed her hair.

"Ma, do I have helmet hair?"

"Dorothy, you look fine. Me, on the other hand. If one more kid in glasses comes up and tells me that what's-his-name doesn't carry a purse, I'll slug 'em."

Dorothy studied the helmet in her hand. "How did James Earl Jones breathe in this thing?" she wondered.

Blanche joined them. "I swear, I have never had so many fine lookin' young men compliment me on my looks."

"That's because they think you're a drag queen, Blanche."

"Why Dorothy, I have never, nor will I ever be a drag. But it is an honor to be royalty."

Rose skipped up. "Isn't this exciting? We're going to be in a costume parade!"

"Rose, when you said this was a neighborhood costume parade, we thought you meant our neighborhood!"

"But Blanche, when I heard about this, I thought it would be so much fun!"

Dorothy looked down at Rose's basket. "I thought we talked about that. A real dog for Toto?" Toto yipped at Dorothy.

"But Dorothy! It's only right to have a real, live Toto! And besides, he's so cute!" Rose lifted the basket up and giggled as the dog licked her face.

A bored looking man wearing a headset with a microphone walked up. "Okay, Darth Vader, you're number 85. Yoda, you're 86." He studied Blanche. "You, the drag queen, what're you supposed to be?"

Blanche looked insulted. "I, sir, am Tammy Faye Bakker."

"Whatever. You're 87. Dorothy," two heads turned at this, "You're 88."

The man walked away.

"Isn't this fun?" Rose asked the others. "It reminds me of Costume Day in St. Olaf. On the thirty-first of July, everyone in town would get into costumes and take part in a parade! We had Costume Day then because it was too cold in October. But then again, it was always so hot in July. Which is why cousin Bjorn collapsed that one year I suppose."

Dorothy nudged Blanche and whispered in her ear. "Tomorrow morning, Rose wakes up with Toto's head on her pillow."

Blanche nodded.

"Better get your helmet back on pussycat," Sophia called. "The parade's starting." Dorothy pulled her helmet back on and took her mother's arm.

The four women joined the other costumed folk and waited for their numbers to be called.

"We're off to see the wizard," Rose squealed.

"Shut up Rose," chorused three voices.


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