The committee met on the first of the month to decide once and for all which of
this black planet’s myriad sights most honors the bold, high peaks of the human
heart. A young man brought down his fist with a thud. There is nothing in this
world, he cried, more stirring to the soul than a good parade! Sun striking the
trumpets, the flash of batons, wind licking the flags into blazing bright sails …
Just then a fleet of gold jets roared past the high windows in tight formation.
Everyone looked up and gasped, stars in their eyes, and seemed on the point of
consensus. A frail old man in a pale grey suit and matching cravat cleared his
throat. Slow ripples moved through the room as he spoke, firmly, and not without
eloquence, on behalf of the twin Spanish replica tall ships that had sailed that
Spring into harbor, bringing sailors and replica guns, firing replica cannons into
the salt-sweetened air each evening at nine o’clock sharp. Some smiled to
themselves and looked at their hands, some gingerly closed their reports, leaned
forwards in their seats and eyed the heavy wooden gavel in the chairman’s hand.
But I, who had been listening at the door for some time, distracted from my task
(as happens often, and for which I am often sternly rebuked), slipped down the
dim hall and out into the night where I joined the parade that had swallowed you.