Rita sat in the beauty chair while the experts worked on her similar to how a hot soapy rag works on a new car on a Saturday afternoon. Rita’s hair and makeup not only needed to be perfect, they needed to be impervious to the stinging winds that often traversed the streets of Phoenix. Today was the big Sheriff Joe Parade and Rita would be in it, perched on a throne as Miss Joshua Tree Queen. Rita hated Sheriff Joe and all he stood for, but the clause in her contract, that she agreed to ride in every possible parade in the state of AZ while she reigned, was ironclad.
Next it was time to put on the dress she had to wear. It was pink and covered with fascimiles of pink tents. Five people stood, holding the dress up for Rita to step into. It was being zipped up as someone called out, “Parade begins in 10!” Rita turned towards the door and started to walk when the weight of the dress held her back.
“Why is this so heavy?!”
The head prep person responded, “The hem of the dress is filled with iron pellets that were created from the handcuffs of Sheriff Joe’s inmates who have illegally detained over the last decade. Sheriff Joe wanted them to be remembered.”
Rita’s tenuous hold on her emotions was about to burst open. She weighed what it would mean if she refused to ride in the parade vs. if she just went along with the darkness of what she would be symbolizing through her position and what she was wearing. It took a minute or so, but once she had it right in her mind, Rita took a deep breath and said, “I’m ready.”
Rita was lifted by the crew onto the first level of the float, then stepped up to the second level. The crew was able to bring the hem of the dress up as Rita positioned herself on the throne, which was made to resemble to backs of illegally detained prisoners. The float itself was going to be pulled by current jail inmates wearing pink jumpsuits with horizontal stripes.
As it was Rita’s job to start off the parade with a small speech, the microphone was handed to her. Rita said, “Sheriff Joe is a national disgrace. I’d rather eat ground glass than ride as The Joshua Tree Queen in a parade honoring him.”
Rita was able to unzip the back of the dress and step out of it. She climbed down from the float, retrieved her belongings, then drove home.