HEADLINE STORY: AN UNLIKELY HERO

News Report, May 24, 1865 – The day started out as any ordinary sunny spring day in Fantasy Land but by noon the town was in a frenzy for the news was out that 9 year old Mary Andrews had lost her lamb, Snowflake. Mary had Snowflake for only a few months but they had become attached to each other immediately, so much so that he followed her to school every day, even though Mary knew it was against the rules.
Teacher Sarah Johnson had this to say: “Mary’s such a lovely girl and Snowflake is so sweet with his fleece as white as snow. I didn’t mind the fact that the lamb followed Mary to school because she always tied him to a nearby tree but today for some reason he followed her right into the classroom. As you can imagine all the children wanted to do was laugh and play.” Pressed for more information, Miss Johnson went on to say that she took Snowflake outside herself and tied him to the tree but when the children went out to play the lamb was nowhere in sight.
The three blind mice who live across the road from the school became rather indignant when questioned about the incident. “Of course we didn’t see anything, you fool! We’re blind as bats! But we did hear some strange noises near the tree shortly before the children came outside.” When asked to described the noises one mouse said “It sounded like pulling or tugging” while another thought it was more like a snapping sound. The third mouse added “There was definitely a scuffle of some sort. Poor little Snowflake.
Mary’s parents, Abigail and Wyatt Andrews, rushed to the school to console their daughter. Mr. Andrews was visibly upset to learn that the teacher had taken Snowflake away from Mary. “She had no right touching that lamb. She’s a school teacher, not a farmer and has no idea how to tie a proper knot. She should have asked Mary to tie Snowflake to the tree like she always does.”
Moments later Little Bo-Peep arrived on the scene and was asked her opinion on the incident. “Well, I’ve been a shepherdess for a long time now and if there’s one thing I know it’s this: If you leave them alone they’ll come home wagging their tails behind them.”
By mid-afternoon all the town’s residents had gathered at the school and formed search parties to look for Snowflake. Even Humpty Dumpty was there, sad and terribly broken up. In all my years as a reporter I’ve never seen such an outpouring of support.
A new development as Hansel and Gretel just arrived at the school. “Wait! We think we can help!” they cried and tearfully reminded those of us still at the school of their traumatic encounter with the evil witch who held them captive in her gingerbread house. “We all know how much Snowflake loves herbs” Hansel said. Gretel added “They’re growing all around the witch’s house. Snowflake may be headed there. If the wicked witch catches Snowflake he won’t stand a chance.”
With great trepidation we entered the forest and came upon the witch’s house. There she was, all gnarled and bent over, dragging a bleating Snowflake behind her. “Stop!” the witch shrieked, “I’ll kill him right before your eyes!” Suddenly, Humpty Dumpty ran up to Snowflake and grabbed him from the witch’s clutches. Snatching Humpty, the witch cackled “Fine! Take your precious lamb! I’ll feast on scrambled eggs tonight!” and she disappeared into the dark forest with Humpty.
Such an act of bravery by Humpty Dumpty! He was indeed a good egg. 

NAR © 2020

POOR ALTHEA’S BOY

A fictional newspaper report

Bronx, New York – Sirens tore through the silence last night as police responded to a robbery on Corsa Avenue, a quiet street of middle class two story homes. 

Police approached eye witness Jasper Gardener who gave this account: “I was out walking my dog when a guy came running down the front steps of this house. He was in such a hurry he practically knocked me down.” When police asked for a description Mr. Gardener said it happened so fast he didn’t get a good look at the guy,  just that he was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt. 

The homeowners, Carl and Louise Swanson, apparently arrived home from work while the intruder was still inside their home. Tenant Albert Farrell resides on the first floor of the house and was home at the time. When questioned Mr. Farrell replied that he was watching television all evening and didn’t hear anything unusual. The police speculated that the rumbling noise of the Swanson’s electric garage door scared off the intruder. 

“The perpetrator obviously didn’t have much time; only the bedroom was in disarray” declared Officer Ralph Taylor. “He probably knew the Swanson’s regular work schedule and we believe he got spooked when they came home early.”

Officer Mario DeMarco had this to say: “We discovered muddy footprints in the backyard and on the fire escape leading to the second floor. The intruder must have gained access via a bedroom window.” 

When police asked the Swansons what was missing, Mrs. Swanson pointed to her suede coat on the floor. “Look at this” she told the police. “He left my expensive suede coat behind but ripped off the faux fur collar probably thinking it was real fur.” 

When asked about missing jewelry the Swansons said that other than what they were wearing everything was locked in their safe. 

This guy is an idiot and has no idea of the value of things!” exclaimed Mr. Swanson. “Our extensive collection of Lenox and Lladro figurines hasn’t been touched. And that’s not all. Even my original John Lennon cartoon drawing which I bought at auction is still hanging right there. What a jerk this guy is! I’ll bet this was all done by that no good lousy punk Chucky Brown! What a loser!”

The police were well acquainted with Charles “Chucky” Brown, a small time thief who lived in the area with his mother Althea. He’d been picked up several times for petty thefts but was always released. Police never found anything valuable on him; they couldn’t even charge him with breaking and entering.   

A crowd of people had gathered near the Swanson’s house. One man told the police “I just saw Chucky racing down Corsa Avenue. He was carrying a pillowcase and wearing a hoodie.” 

Immediately Officers Taylor and DeMarco jumped into their car and sped down Corsa Avenue when they were stopped by an accident. Getting out to investigate they discovered a bus and a truck had collided. Pinned between the two was the unfortunate Chucky Brown. His run of small time thefts had come to an end. On the ground lay a pillowcase containing a few items, including Mrs. Swanson’s faux fur collar. Charles “Chucky” Brown got pinned last night but not the way the police expected and certainly not the way they hoped. 

Alright folks. The excitement is over. Go on home now” announced Officer Taylor. “Ok, Mario, let’s call this in. And get a squad car to Chucky’s house to bring his mother down to the station. No matter what a screw up Chucky was, he was still her son. Poor woman.”  

NAR © 2020

THE CIRCUS WAGON

Rumors the Clown is coming to town.
He’ll take your frown and turn it upside down.
Saturday night at Monument Park West.
Come see the joker who’s the best of the best.
Yes, Rumors the Clown is coming to visit
So run children, run, or you surely will miss it 

The circus wagon chugged through the streets
Extolling Rumors the Clown’s incredible feats.
The star of tv, the stage and the screen 
Would roll into town, a sight to be seen,
This violet-haired, bumbling, zoot-suited jester,
The idol of Harold and Mary and Lester 

The kids scampered home to ask mom and ask dad
“Can we go? Can we see him? We haven’t been bad.
It’s true! It’s true! We heard and we saw
Go look it up at the newspaper store!”
Nothing this special has happened before.
Rumors the Clown will be here for sure! 

The next day the newspaper store was a-buzz
As people poured in to make sure it was just
As their children had told them, their faces a-glow
Like the bright flaming torches at the juggling show.
Could it be? Was it true? Were their children mistaken?
Were dreams fed to them by somebody faking? 

The storekeeper shouted  “You all think you’re so clever!
Stop pushing and shoving! Such discourtesy – I never!
You’re all here in my store for the very same reason –
Are the Rumors rumors true or is somebody teasing?”
The children stood round with their eyes all a-gape
When a shout rang out “Here it is, right here on page eight!” 

“Make way! Let me through” the town librarian barked.
“I’ll take a close look with my assistant, Miss Lark.”
They put on their glasses and read every word.
Was the news printed here what the children had heard?
“Now quiet everyone while I read the whole story;
If you dare interrupt me you will surely be sorry!” 

Come one and come all to the best show in town!
We’re speaking of course of Rumors the Clown.
At Monument Park West on Saturday night.
The most splendid performance will thrill and delight!
Rumors will juggle, ride bareback and walk the high wire  
And perhaps – if you’re lucky – swallow a sword blazing with fire! 

The extravaganza is free of charge to all who attend,
Sponsored by philanthropists and the hospital band
For the benefit of sick children and orphans here and there
Who desperately need fun from some people who care.
Saturday at eight – write it down and be there!
Monument Park at the west wall – that’s where!  

“That’s tonight!” someone yelled and they ran home to dress
In their dandiest clothes so they’d all look their finest.
In dresses and new shoes and even a vest
They headed out laughing, not stopping to rest
They ran all the way to Monument Park West.
But when they arrived at the end of their quest
The west wall was locked, closed to all guests. 

“There’s nobody here! Where’s Rumors the Clown? 
The newspaper ad said the west side of town!” 
And everyone cried, even mean Mr. Brown. 
In his shop the printer wore a terrible frown. 
He’d made a mistake – he deserves a fool’s crown 
For the “WEST” – not the “EAST”–  is what he wrote down. 

At Monument Park East Rumors sat crying alone 
The east side was empty for no one had shown.  
“My days as a great clown are over and done; 
It’s time to retire, go live in the clown home.” 
Blowing his nose Rumors pulled out his phone. 
“Bozo? It’s Rumors. And I’m so very alone.”

NAR © 2020