Accidental

I was sitting in the crowd waiting for the town 4th of July parade to begin. The anticipation was mounting. Kids were running around in the street, giggling and being cute. Parents were sitting serenely in their chairs and chatting with their friends and neighbors. Street performers were taking advantage of a delay in the beginning of the parade to earn a few extra coins for their balloon animals and acrobatics.

Then, the cause for the delay soon became clear. A police cruiser was approaching and I could hear a message being broadcast through its PA system.

“…are being asked to not set off fireworks while the parade is in progress. This will include poppers that do not require being lit to make a sound. Due to the animals in today’s parade, spectators are being asked to not set off fireworks while the parade is in progress. This will include poppers that do not require being lit to make a sound. Due to the animals in today’s parade, spectators are being asked to not set off fireworks while the parade is in progress. This will include poppers that do not require…”

Following behind the police car were a cadre of police officers. Every 100 feet or so, a pair of officers would break off from the group and take up a position; one on either side of the street, facing the crowd to keep the unruly mob in check.

As the officer closest to me –about 20 feet away– arrived at the point he would be manning for the next hour, a staccato volley rang through the disgruntled murmuring of the throngs of parade-goer’s.

The cruiser stopped, cut off the recorded announcement and reversed slowly. Pulling even with the now hyper-alert officer on foot, the policeman in the car announced, “Will the person responsible for that reckless display please come forward?”

A moment passed, then another. The nervous tension of the multitude grew. This particular department had a reputation for aggressiveness; they even lost a police brutality lawsuit earlier this year.

Then a young boy of around six or seven stepped forward. Placing his wrists together and holding his hands up towards the officer outside of the cruiser, he said, “It was me, sir. I dropped some trying to put them in the bag. Are you going to take me to jail now?

© 2012 by What I Desired to Say….

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