The Dancer’s Parchment

A story of friendship and a dancer overcoming his timidity.

Harold Harvey A’Dying was feeling shy. It was midnight at the club and his turn to do the Electric Slide all by himself under the glimmering disco ball. “Harold, Harold!” chanted the dancing queens to the left and to the right. Even Motorcycle Man, Harry’s bestest of best friends, punched his beer clenching fist high into the air as he belted out “do the slide, dude!”

Dancer Parchment‘Should I?’ Harold wondered, to the thunder of the egging on. ‘Maybe I should go home and study for my final.’ For he was to have a ridiculous test on the Art of the West in the morning.

But after a brief mental pause, Mr. A’Dying realized what he had known all along —

There were no other options this side of Boston for Harry other than to succumb to the peer pressure of the throng. Especially for a cat that was Cheshire, not blonde. He firmly stomped his heeled right foot twice in the middle of the floor, spun around in a snort of lightning and let the music carry him away. In, out, up, down, around and within the lights of the club tripped our Harry, faster than a whirling horse-fairy. 

Motorcycle Man beamed with pride.

Better than a re-run of ‘Waltzing at the Biker Bar’ was Harold Harvey’s performance. Strong and free, long-nailed cherry painted claws snapping to the rhythm, his soul knew no bounds. 

But then Senator Academia from the provincial bore of Pennsylvania appeared out of nowhere, a stiff and haughty sight in the middle of the night, glaring from the front of the crowd. Hands on his hips, he shouted out loud “Harold, you’ve got an exam in the morning. This is your very last warning. Be on time.” And with a judgmental harrumph, the Statesman of the College of Dull Stumps stormed out of the disco.

Our Harry began to cry.

He wilted sorrowfully down and downwards with no ability to project outwards any semblance of peace of mind. For on the night when Harry Harvey A’Dying finally overcame his timidity at his favorite nightspot, Senator Academia had shown up at 1 am on the dot and made a terrible mess that was hot. 

Harold lay devastated in the dance hall. Motorcycle Man rushed to his side.

“I’m tired of that man destroying everything he can. He is no fun and ruined all of the ball,” whispered Harry gaspishly.

“Dude,” soothed MM. “Let’s go see Mudguard and take a ride.” Crying Harold agreed that even though he was aggrieved it was time to fly.

So, out the door they went with a bit of a limp, in some pain because of the crippling words of the doldrumic Senator. 

“Meeoow!” screeched Mudguard as they approached Mister M. Man’s hog. The cat leapt excitedly onto the back of the rack and waited for his traveling companions. His green eyes shone with surprise at the earliness of the hour of departure, but he asked no questions. HHAD and MM jumped on with Harry’s scarlet hair blushing wildly and Motorcycle Man’s portly tummy shaking mildly. Off they zoomed towards the stars, aligning themselves just so with Mars. 

“Let’s go buy toilet paper and take care of that legislator’s front yard!” railed Mudguard kitty after hearing the story of how Harold’s amazing tango-tongo was obliterated.  

Motorcycle Man’s red eyes lit up madly and he made the A-ok sign quite gladly, changing course and heading towards the nearest potty supply store. Harry beamed in agreement, blue eyes sparkling as they were parking at the Wal-Latrines. 

They traipsed inside and made a beeline for the bathroom tissue department. MM’s large tall frame had no one to blame for being overweight as he snacked on a pack of smooshed chocolate he had left in his back pocket. Harold Harvey A’Dying held Mudguard in his thin arms as they filled their cart with toilet paper. The cat licked his long black hair and purred. All three knew that the Senator would be very surprised come morning light to see the trees at his home covered in yards and yards of the soft parchment. Three synchronized smiles gleamed from the academically bewronged purchasers at Wal-Latrines.

Our Harry insisted that he carry the tp on his head which made everyone dread the upcoming ride. But, as the group rode through the dark past Finagee Park and towards the Academic Senator’s tall trees, there were no serious balancing struggles to see. They parked down the road. Harold distributed the toilet paper evenly to Motorcycle Man and Mudguard as they crept stealthily towards the important man’s homestead. For some reason, the politician protecting Secret Service were nowhere to be spied, indicating a green light to our friends undisguised.

Silent flying rolls of avenging outhouse tissue flew through the yard, wound around oaken treetops then perched like white doves on the lower branches. A few snowy trails hung down breezily from the house’s gutters. Mudguard circled the lamppost repeatedly with three bobbins of Softee Bow. Seeing their fine work, the boys couldn’t stop giggling. Harry was beginning to feel just a smidgen of hope as he saw that his interrupted dance routine was being adequately vindicated.

“I feel like I’ve done the right thing and now I can jig and sing once again,” cried Harold as he did the tarantella down the drive. “Let’s get out of here.”

Mudguard concurred and threw the last roll with a whir towards the limb of a berry bush. Of course Motorcycle Man didn’t ever want to stop the toilet papering game — his passion for revenge couldn’t be bought. Even with a peppermint cane of candy. He rocketed his final spool of toilet paper over the rooftop with a mad grin.

“My friend, it’s time to go home and look you dropped your comb,” Harold Harvey A’Dying asserted. “You’ve done a great job but we need to get on the hog!”

Reluctantly, MM relented. The three best friends drove home on the bike, unrepentant. They made a pact to never tell anyone of that night’s heroic acts. They fell asleep in their triple bunked bed with smiles and the sweetest of the sweet dreams ever.

Andrea Bock
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