The Octopus Queen Wears Birkenstocks, Part I

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28 June 2007

It was Graciela’s idea to march in the Mermaid Parade. And as usual, Graciela wouldn’t take Roxie’s “no” for an answer. So here stood Roxie, frowning dourly in the middle of West 10th Street in Coney Island, dressed in a blue sequined bodice with fabric covered balloons, meant to look the the tentacles of an octopus. She wore a plastic tiara from Claire’s that pinched behind her ears.

“Come on, Rosita,” Graciela coaxed, “Smile! You’re the Queen of the Octopi!”

“Great,” Roxie grumbled as she wiped a bead of sweat from her forehead. Graciela was dressed as a mermaid bride, with a veil made of tulle and a white satin fin covered in irridescent beads. Graciela grabbed Roxie by the hand and dragged her forward as the marchers ahead of them began to move. Socrates loped along side them, with a silver sequined shark fin tied to his back. Graciela wore white satin pumps, the dyeable kind for weddings. Every so often she stopped to slip them off and give her feet a break. It made Roxie thankful for the comfort of her birkenstock sandals which she had worn in spite of Graciela’s protests.

When the announcer called their number, Roxie heard a familier voice calling out to her from the crowd. She looked over, and her face drained off all color.

“Yeah! Go Roxie!” The voice shouted. It was Javier.

“What is he doing here?” Roxie hissed to Graciela.

“What are you talking about hija? It’s the Mermaid Parade! You think he was supposed to stay home and sit in the house?”

“But you told him we were dressing up!”

“Uh, duh! I told everyone! Now stop talking to me! We’re being judged!”

“Wow, look at those tentacles!” said the announcer, and the crowd laughed.

“I love you, Roxie!!” shouted Javier. Roxie suddenly felt the full force of the sun’s rays beating down on her. Her balloon tentacles suddenly felt as though they were filled with sand, and the plastic crown felt like it might crush her skull. What did he just say? Roxie asked herself, but before she could answer, her birkenstocks lost their grip on the sidewalk and she fell to the ground and watched dizzily as the blue Coney Island sky spun out of control above her.

To Be Continued…

Writen by: Elizabeth Sowden


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