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Prompts:

1. His feet were already numb. He should have listened.

2. This time he’d gone too far.

3. It was a parade like none I’d ever seen before.

BEGIN WRITING:

He tried Google first, of course. Whenever Jeremy Scoggins came upon a word that was unfamiliar to him, Google was his first choice. Once again, the great disseminator of information didn’t fail him.

“Tarantella” it said. “A dance of rapidly increasing tempo and quirky extreme movements, which tend to leave the participants exhausted and onlookers exhilarated. Thought to have something to do with a spider.”

Well, that might not have been exactly what the computer screen had shown, but he thought he remembered the gist of it as he tried to explain to his girlfriend why he’d agreed to join the parade in the first place.

“I watched them once in Palermo,” he said, “and it turned out to be a parade like nothing I’d ever seen before. It didn’t go far. There weren’t any floats and the marching band was nothing but a fiddle, a pan flute and a kazoo. There were a whole bunch of people tagging along, though, and it was kind of mesmerizing at the end. I always thought I’d go back there some day and take part in one. I’ll probably never be able to afford it now, though, so when this ad showed up, how could I resist?”

Sherry gave him one of her “I’m annoyed with you” sniffs and waited for him to give in to her wishes for a quiet picnic on the river, as he usually did.

However, this time he’d gone too far to back down.

“I’ve already paid for the ticket and I have reservations for both of us at that bed and breakfast you like. It’s only a couple of miles from the starting point. Say you’ll come—it’ll be a blast.”

Because he wanted it so much, Sherry knew she’d give in to him in the end, but she wasn’t above making him worry a bit first.

“IF I go with you, can we go to the Blue Grotto that night? If you get to dance through the streets all morning, I should get to dance in the club all night.”

“Of course we can, love.” Jeremy was used to making this kind of bargain with the girl. Actually, this one was pretty easy and not too great a cost to get what he wanted.

If only he’d thought it out a little better!

Saturday found the pair of them in Santa Bella, waiting with a few dozen others for the big parade to begin. The organizers were rushing around trying to figure out who would be dancing, who would be playing music—electronic this time—and who were simply there to watch the mayhem.

An hour later, the parade had moved only about half a mile. Jeremy, as one of the dancers, was at the front, and already he knew he’d made a mistake—a big one. His feet were already numb. He should’ve listened to her, and he still had the evening to look forward to.

PENCILS DOWN

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