This was a section cut from the recent 3k word narrative at Matador about this summer’s travels through the US.
Terrain notes:Cinquefoil, Aspen, Douglas Fir, Ponderosa, Limber Pine, Lodgepole, Wallflower, Penstemon, Pussywillow, Wild Currant, Wild Rose, Bear Berry, Lupine, Scorpio, Juniper, Columbine, Indian Paitbrush, Golden Banner, James Creek at Bankfull, Osha, Prairie Dogs, Fireweed
4th of July Parade, Wind*
Segundo drove one of the fire trucks. We sat on top of coiled hoses and rescue gear. The truck in front was testing its sound system. A loop of Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner.” The truck behind tested a water cannon. Becca walked around passing out squirt guns. Everyone in some sort of costume. Dano with buckskin leggings and a chainmail shirt. Some sort of Gaelic war paint. A broadsword on his belt. This one kid with skate shoes and surf trunks, but then a leather vest ( no shirt underneath) and a miner’s hat, carryiung a small radio that played Dead Prez. The squirt gun war began. One kid weaved around the fire trucks on a trail bike, taking direct squirt gun shots to the face as he stood up skillfully, breaking off in to the aspens. Segundo called Damo over and asked if the chainmail really worked. Damo pulled out a dagger from his belt (beside the broadsword) and started stabbing himself in the chest and stomach, the blade making a click-click-click sound as the point got caught in the metal rings. A snow-like drift of “cotton” floated across from all the aspen catkins. Fireworks went off at random intervals. Beside the fire trucks an old man with a grey beard and a Crested Butte fire dept. hat stood with several people passing a bowl, occasionally shooting their squirt guns.
Jacob, shirtless and wearing a kilt, jumped into the fire truck playing Hendrix. As we started moving forward, a huge rockcrawler rolled down from the dirt road and got in front of us. The huge exposed wheels, springs, roll-cage, and fuel-tank strangely reminiscent of Mad Max. Two school age kids with stripes shaved into their heads (one a reverse Mohawk, the other a double Mohawk) setting off bottle rockets from the fire truck in front.
Japhy, Kieran, and some other kids were waiting in a kind of bunker by Utica. As we approached they ran out with water balloons. The guys behind us completely doused them with the water cannon, setting off a loud cheer as cyclists from Boulder scurried away holding their road bikes.
Traffic was stopped on Lefthand at the last turn up to the library. In the main meadow, as we all rolled past, Dano’s brother Derek was swinging a kind of long-handled bludgeon or tomahawk-looking weapon in big circles reminiscent of guys directing airplanes into the gate.
*name changed for privacy