Thatch looked up to the ceiling momentarily as the now-all-too-familiar presence was felt in his brain.
“Well, hello there, Audience. Let’s have a little adventure, shall we? You see, there’s some sort of vegan parade in town this afternoon. Now, I have nothing against vegans; I don’t have anything against people’s lifestyle choices at all, really…unless that lifestyle choice is to not let me have the things that I want. When choices like that are made, I tend to make the choice to relieve them of something. Anyway, so the streets are going to be full of vegans.
“I have about An hour to do what I’m going to do and get downtown to cause either mass mayhem or become the life of the party…er, parade.”
Thatcher was in a party and decorations store. Rather, he was in the storage warehouse BEHIND the party and decorations store, where they stored everything that wasn’t on the shelves. Thatch, having worked at Parties Plus when he was in high school, knew that there were certain Halloween costumes that were always on-hand in the back; things like ninjas, two-person horses, gorilla suits, and most importantly, chicken suits, were stored year-round in the stock warehouse.
With this information, Thatcher had decided he would pick up a chicken suit, put it on, and make his way downtown to the parade. Of course, he was going to steal it; his life wouldn’t be anywhere near as exciting and entertaining if he paid for things like a normal human being.
So Thatcher found himself browsing through the warehouse inventory, looking for a very specific item. As he wandered around, an employee happened to see him and approached him.
“Excuse me, sir; you can’t be back here. This area is for employees only.”
Thatch looked up and smiled, then went back to browsing as he replied. “It’s okay, kid, I work for the distributor. I’m here to bring back a defective suit.”
The employee, a young man of about seventeen who was clearly doing his best to hide his acne with his mother’s cover-up, squinted at Thatch; he was not convinced.
“Oh, really? What’s the name of our distributor?”
Thatch sighed. He knew he was busted, but he decided to make up a company name anyway.
The kid’s expression changed immediately. “Oh, wow…I am so sorry, sir. I thought you were pulling my leg. Before you leave, I am going to need to see the ticket for the item you are taking back. You know, for inventory purposes.”
Thatch blinked. He couldn’t believe that had worked. He reached into his pocket for his to-do list. Luckily, all that was written on it was “get chicken suit.” He handed it to the young man, who looked at it briefly.
“This is a little unorthodox…but I know right where these are.”
He beckoned for Thatcher to follow him, and turned around sharply, leading the way to the three remaining chicken suits in stock.
“Here they are; now, which one did you need?”
“Uh, that one,” Thatch said, pointing at one randomly. “I was told it was defective, but they don’t know what’s wrong with it. I have to wear it so that when I get back to headquarters, I can tell them what the defect is.”
“Uh, okay. That sounds weird, but okay.”
The Parties Plus employee grabbed the suit off the shelf and handed it to Thatch, who immediately put it on over his clothes. Once he put the head on, he honked the beak.
“Thanks, dude. I’ll make sure the guys at the top know just how helpful you’ve been today.”
The teenager was ecstatic. “Wow, I really appreciate it, man. I just started working here a few months ago, and something like that would go a long way with my boss.”
Thatcher gave him a thumbs-up, and proceeded to walk into the store and out the front door. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen; not only did he get an employee of the store to help him steal a product, but he then wore it as he walked right through the store and left.
Checking the time, Thatcher realized he had to get downtown within the next fifteen minutes if he was going to join the parade. He ran down side streets and back alleys until he arrived at the lineup. Given that Thatcher had an intense need to be on center stage at all times, he found himself a spot on the very first float. Climbing up, he realized that people assumed he was someone else.
“Conner, that is fantastic. We thought you weren’t coming today, but this was definitely worth the wait. Andrea, help Conner to the front of the float. People need to see this.”
A young woman in a bright-red tee-shirt that read “Vegan is Pleasin'” grabbed his arm and led him to the very front of the float.
“Now, just wave at the people and get them excited and riled up as we drive by,” she told him.
Thatch gave her the thumbs up. He couldn’t resist saying something as she walked away.
“Vegan is pleasin’, huh? You know that doesn’t rhyme, right?”
She looked at him, quite puzzled. “You sound funny; do you have a cold? And don’t you dare complain about the shirts now; this slogan was your idea in the first place.”
Thatch clamped both hands over his beak and Andrea walked away. Within moments, the parade began. Thatcher started waving at the first people he saw, and the crowd went wild. His pride swelled within his chest, and he began making wild, enthusiastic gestures, and as the crowd got more and more excited, Thatch became more and more animated.
At some point, someone placed a bucket of fun sized candy bars at his feet, and he dug both hands in and started chucking candy into the crowd. He laughed to himself at one point.
“I am one Artist-Formerly-Known-As-Prince song away from being Jack Nicholson.”
The afternoon went on like that, and at the end, Thatcher quietly disappeared before anyone could ask him to take off his mask and eat a tofu burger. The next day, the front page of the paper had a giant picture of him in his chicken suit, arms spread wide, throwing candy to the masses. The headline? “Vegan Parade Hands Out Candy Not Vegan Friendly.”
How is that even possible, you ask? Well, I’m afraid I don’t have an answer for you, but I can tell you that Thatcher laughed until he got the hiccups when he saw it.