The Procession

by Brian E. Turner

At first there was nothing.

Then came a door. The door had no description. She stood before it. Her name was Francine and she wore a drum majorette's uniform. The door was a plain wooden door made from varnished matagouri. Francine knocked and was ushered into the room by the secretary who wore a white blouse and horn rimmed spectacles. The walls of the room were fine polished mahogany which were covered with pictures of bands: brass bands, silver bands, military bands, Salvation Army bands, Faery Aviation Works bands, national bands, rubber bands of various makes, colours and sizes, robber bands of various nationalities.

The Bandmaster sat behind the desk. The Bandmaster was a beefy fellow in a red uniform with a brass badge on his right breast inscribed with the letters 'JPS'. He wiped the perspiration from his brow with a red spotted handkerchief and handed Francine her marching baton.

"Do you know what to do?" he asked.

"Lead the procession," she replied.

"Good." He cleaned his fingernails with a toothpick.

From the world outside came the sound of a drum beating. Drum didydrum didy drum didydrum drum drum. Francine whirled the baton, threw it in the air and caught it. The drummer entered with his snare drum and sticks. Drum didydrum . Soon they were walking through the mist. They were nowhere but walking through the mist. Drum didydrum didy drum drum drum.

The sousaphone player joined them. The instrument wound around his torso like a boa-constrictor. He was a villain from a nineteenth century melodrama with slicked black hair and a waxed moustache. The spirit of John Philip Sousa walked beside him. Oompah, oompah oompah oompah.

Then came the trombones. There were seventy-seven trombones played by members of the Royal Guard resplendent in their splendid uniforms. The extra trombone was superfluous but was required for reasons of copyright. There were the mandatory one hundred plus cornets close by as well as other unlikely instruments mentioned in the song.

Then came the elephants. Every good parade has elephants with glittering streamers and rajahs sitting on their backs. Soon crowds of onlookers arrived, shouting and cheering and dancing in the streets. Francine whirled her baton, flung it high in the air and caught it again without looking up.

There was a program of musical items which consisted of:
  1. John S. Brook playing the semi-chord on the cracks between the keys.
  2. Joe Green singing of the mobile woman in high pitched tenure.
  3. Sir Edgar Edward's plump circumference.
The program of music and the marching and baton twirling and the cheering and shouting and dancing in the streets continued for several hours.

Eventually the crowds of onlookers became tired and decided to go home to watch blank television screens. The elephants with rajahs on their backs departed for the Indian jungle.

The trombones and cornets marched off to the palace to provide entertainment for the royal garden party.

The sousaphone player decided it was time to capture a damsel in distress and tie her to the railway tracks. The spirit of John Philip Sousa departed in disgust.

At last the drum stopped beating.

"Was it a good parade?" asked the bandmaster.

"Eminently satisfactory," replied Francine.


She handed back the baton. The secretary escorted her to the door.

Then there was nothing.


Brian E. Turner is a native and resident of New Zealand. He's mainly written plays, many of which have been performed in back-alley theaters in New Zealand and overseas. He has also published three novels. His short short, "His Exegamination of Poelemtics as Addressed to the Audience," appeared in Issue #3 of The Cafe Irreal; "Three Short Plays" appeared in Issue #9; "Comedy of Art" in Issue #11; "surd person circular" in Issue #14; and "A Tram Ride" in Issue #18.