Tessa’s Hiccups Persisted

  • k-avatarthe man with the severed leg
  • just another Tuesday
  • couldn’t actually read the sweatshirt
  • (just “Uncle Terry” being Uncle Terry)
  • partially tattooed on his elbow

Tune In Next Time Part 13                             Click Here for Earlier Installments

Tessa’s hiccups persisted as we cruised the darkened back streets of the city. I knew Michiko had enemies, and her unsubtle car might draw unwelcome attention on the boulevards. I was grateful for the narrow lanes I had to guide the huge car through, because the tight quarters demanded my attention, kept me from becoming too distracted by what those hiccups meant.

“Oh, crap,” I muttered.

“The parade,” Tessa said.

Where our tiny side-street debouched onto the main thoroughfare, sawhorses and hay bales blocked our path. I approached the barrier slowly, thinking we might be able to shift things aside and sneak through before the parade began.

And in any other town that might have been reasonable. But the weekly Macabre Misfits parade was in full swing, as it would be for 24 hours. To the double-M, this was just another Tuesday.

There wasn’t room to open the car door, so I rolled down the window and climbed out. Jugglers were passing, throwing mannequin limbs back and forth. I hoped. The man with the severed leg in his hand glanced at me, and although I couldn’t actually read the sweatshirt he wore I did notice a subversive slogan partially tattooed on his elbow.

Tessa had emerged as well, and the man seemed surprised to see her.

“Hi, — hic — Terry. Sorry we’re late,” she said, dropping me a wink. “Think your troupe can sorta — hic — vamp for a while so we can get our — hic — float out of this alleyway?”

The man bowed to us, then rallied the rest of the jugglers to hold a space in the parade while we got the barricade out of the way.

“He — hic — does this every week,” Tessa explained. “My third cousin or something, but he’s older so — hic — I always thought he was my uncle. The — hic — limb-juggling is his passion (just “Uncle Terry” being Uncle Terry). Shall we?”

The parade was even heading in the right direction. But it was so slow.

Tessa’s hiccups persisted.

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