Contemporary Fiction Speculative

“You ever notice how we got people dressing up all the time for stuff like Christmas, those goofy red hats with a white jingle ball on top. Easter, everyone going out in these bonnets all made up with plastic fruit and flowers, rabbits handing out chocolate covered eggs. Valentines, talking candy boxes, mints with writing on them. Halloween, you choose, can be anyone or anything; they got it all covered. But take something real special, like the Fools Day, and people don’t do a thing. I know it’s one of those days when you are supposed sneak up on people, but couldn’t you do that in an outfit of some kind. Seems prejudicial to me that Fools Day can’t get some kind of design, we can get behind. That has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? Design, behind.”

“You might be right about that, but you know, I think you are looking at it the wrong way. People, the ones being played for fools, they are the butt of the joke, if you know what I mean. You ain’t careful and you can make it seem like you are celebrating the stupidity of people and I don’t think people are going to like that. Most people feel they are playing tricks on the stupid ones who fall for their tricks, making them more the fools than they feel they already are. 

So I suggest you do something different, like worrying about how come we don’t do much for Alexander Bell, or others like him. He started the telephone, and you don’t see people going around dressing like telephones. Or how about the Tooth Fairy. Got my first dollar from the Fairy, and all I ever see is some guy on TV saying he make me new teeth in just a day, while I wait in the lounge watching basketball or whatever might be on. You’re right, time we got together and started doing something for all the people who don’t get the recognition they deserve. What you got in mind?”

“I like your enthusiasm, but can’t think of a thing. You got any ideas to fill the hole you just dug?”

We sat around pulling at our hair, and rubbing our eyes, and couldn’t come up with a thing to make life better for those that needed to be recognized for all their contributions to humanity and all, but couldn’t think of nothing; so he decides to go home to think. Says it’s easier there, less distraction.

I do my best thinking, on the roof. But it was raining, so I went out in the hall and the kid Jimmy who’s always complaining about something, is out there playing with some old beat up toy car he found someplace. He don’t have any toys of his own, so he makes them up or borrows them, when nobody is looking. I guess it’s better than going without. 

I thought, what could it hurt to see if Jimmy had any ideas about what needed to be recognized. He’s only eight years old, but you can tell he’s going to be one of those intellectual types. He can read the graffiti on the walls already, not that he should be doing that, but we all learn in our own ways. 

He thinks for a minute and then says, as if he was an authority on the subject, “we should go door to door, like we do on Christmas, and combine that with Halloween, and sing songs for people about being foolish, and then ask for treats we can donate to the food shelter.” 

I could have fallen over. That was one of the grandest ideas I’d ever heard, even though I can’t sing at all, and am always embarrassed about asking strangers for things. I liked the bit about helping out the food shelter too, cause when I shop there most of the time, there ain’t a lot I like, but I tell the people there I appreciate it anyway. It don’t hurt me none, and I think it helps with the depression they see every day, tends to wear on them.

Then Jimmy wants to know what kind of songs we should be singing. I don’t know anything about music, so I told him he’d have to handle that end of it. I’d help by going down to the corner where the day laborers hang out, and see if any of them that didn’t get work, would like to go on a sing-along. Got six people and two dogs to sign up. We are going to start tomorrow cause it’s the first of April, and that’s the day we are supposed to be showin people how stupid they can be, by not supporting the local community. Buying local, things like that. 

Jimmy said he’s got an idea for what to sing, some song I never heard of, so he starts singing it for me. “When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez, and it’s Easter time too,” quite catchy, but don’t know if people are going to get the significance of it, but then again, if we worried about what every fool thought about everything, we’d never get nothing done.

Then Jimmy said we got to find some kind of costumes to dress up in, so we get noticed. I said, “we should dress up like fools,” and he says, “how’s anybody going to know the difference.” I see what he was talking about right away, so I suggested we dress up like those people who think the earth is flat, or believe aliens are coming to take us to heaven. Again he says, “How they going to tell the difference.”

Then it hits me. We could hand out notes that says, “There ain’t no fool, like and old fool.” Giving them a hint it’s never too late to get with the program. Jimmy just looks at me like I’m not well. “What, you want us to get shot?” I hadn’t thought it through. He was right, if you ain’t learned to not be a fool by the time you get to be my age, what’s the use in keeping up the façade. 

I told Jimmy to come get me if he thought of anything a bit more practical. Something we could do to make the world a better place, without calling people fools. It quit raining, so I went up on the roof, and I no sooner got seated in my lawn chair than Jimmy bursts through the door. 

He comes running over to me and says, “I got it. We could tell people to stop talking like fools, and just tell the truth.” It was good suggestion, but of course he’s kind of young and naïve. Didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but then sometimes you got to do, what you preach. So I told him straight up, “What, you want to get us shot?”

We decided by putting our heads together, to go up to the court house and tell April fools jokes to those who know better, but will laugh at anything they’ve been told is funny, even when it ain’t. Jimmy thought we could wear our regular clothes for that. Like he says, “there ain’t no fool, like the one thinking everyone is a fool, except him.” He’s pretty smart kid. Did I tell you he can read the graffiti on the wall, in the hall. Kind of like the way that sounds to. Wall in the hall, catchy.      

March 28, 2021 04:36

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