The Soupster recalls an earlier incarnation of Our Town – with tourist crowds & haikus.
Originally Published August 8, 2002
“Stretch!” The Soupster called to his basketball playing friend, Andrea “Stretch” Worthington as she raced furiously around the waterside court on her lunch hour.
“Squat!” Worthington called back, bouncing the ball three quick times in front of her. A long-time center with a fine college team, Worthington cradled the ball with fingers as noticeably long as her legs were. She took off toward the basket, dribbled briefly and flew up in an attempt to dunk. She failed.
“What are you so worked up about?” the Soupster asked.
“Making deliveries all morning, three cruise ships in, streets full, took me twice as long,” she panted. “Can’t people remember that Our Town is a real town and you have to do things like cross the street with a noticeable level of being awake.”
“We should put up signs,” the Soupster murmured.
“That worked in one city,” said Worthington. “People going home at the end of the workday, all impatient and everything, would honk their car horns every two seconds and it was driving the people living in nearby buildings crazy. So they wrote “honk–oos” – haikus designed to deter people from using their horn so freely. They painted the honk-oos on signs and put them on buildings and poles in the honking zone.”
“Did it work?” the Soupster asked.
“Like a charm.”
“Haikus?” said the Soupster. “That Japanese poetry form? Three lines? Five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables? That one?”
“Right,” Worthington said. “Let’s call our haikus ‘hike-oos’. Or ‘walk-oos.’ Like this.” She closed her eyes and recited:
White lines, a crosswalk
To the gift shop with your friend
Be a swift rabbit
The Soupster slapped his knee. “That’s really good,” he laughed.
“How about this?” Worthington said:
Thanks for thanking me
For letting you meander
The bridge light is green.
“Excellent,” said a delighted Soupster.
Worthington ran again toward the basket and lived up to her “stretch” nickname but again failed to dunk the orange orb. She came back to the Soupster, breathing hard and said:
Taking church pictures
Your camera sings just to me
I need to park.
“That’s it, that’s what happened to me yesterday!” the Soupster said. “Say, what’s with the dunking? You were always a shooter. You never dunked before.”
“Dunk!” cried Worthington. “Water! That’s it! The chaos theory in action! Listen and watch, my squat Soupster friend”:
One drop, two, three drops
A necklace of human drops
Tight! It’s a workday!
Worthington leaped from the spot she was standing, sped across the court, the white lines blurring as she passed them, coiled like an enormous spring, then let loose, extended to her full six feet, long arms reaching toward the basket.
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