Mr. Shizzle's Hat Parade

In the township of West Swizburg
Where no-one ever gets a tan
Although the sun is always shining,
Lived a wrinkled-up old man.

His name was Mr Shizzle
And his papers proved it so.
'Sixty-nine years age'd,
Last name Shizzle, first name Fo.'

Now, men living in West Swizburg
Were often wont to dress
In a drab and boring manner,
So they really looked a mess.

But Mister Shizzle, he was different,
And he wore a suit and tie.
A fine and well-pressed figure.
Yes, a really dapper guy.

He would go on morning strolls,
And he would wave 'good morn!' to all.
But the townsfolk, they would shudder,
And never one returned his call.

'There's something about him', they'd say,
Suspicious-eyed and grim.
'Why does he always dress like that?
There's something wrong with him.'

See, the townsfolk, they were stupid.
Uncultured and repressed.
They were too dim to see the class
In Shizzle's way of dress.

They grasped at any reason
To him scorn and turn away.
They didn't get why he refused
To look and act as they.

But Mister Shizzle kept on walking
Every morn at half past eight,
Although each morning at his passing
Eyes would narrow, teeth would grate.

One morning, on his daily stroll
Old Shizzle chanced to see
A lonely large sombrero
Laid beneath a leafy tree.

Old Shizzle listened closely
And could not believe his ears.
He could have sworn that he had heard
The sound of sniffles and of tears!

Mr Shizzle walk-ed over
To the hat beneath the tree
When he saw the red hat shudder
And omit a frightened 'Squee!'

Here, Old Shizzle stopped to ponder
Whether he was on the drugs
But then behind him heard the ghetto-noise
Of an angry herd of thugs.

Mr Shizzle disappeared
With his crazy old-man-skill
Just moments before the noisy thugs
Came thuggin' up the hill.

The thugs stood all around the tree
Saying random thugsome things.
They conversed about their bitches
And they talked about their bling.

They noticed the sombrero
'Hey, let's have some fucking fun.
We'll do a fucking hat dance
For every fucking one!'

One thug lifted up the hat
But then he saw that it did sheath
A trembling little red-head boy
A-hiding underneath.

The boy gave out another squeal
And scrambled up the tree
Where he knew that he was safe
Because thugs cannot climb, you see.
(Except for over fences, when they're chas-ed by the cops
But fences all have chain links, and this tree trunk had no props.)

The little boy remained there
Till the thugs had gone away.
(One had snatched up his sombrero
And worn it over his toupee.)

Then the wee boy jump-ed down
Still pasty-faced with fear.
This is when our hero, Old Man Shizzle did appear.

Mr Shizzle beckoned to the boy
To sit down among the bugs.
The boy told Mr Shizzle
Of his hat, and of the thugs.

He told our dapper hero
That he really missed his hat.
Mr Shizzle pressed him further
But he'd say no more than that.

Mr. Shizzle was quite crafty
Besides being nicely dressed
And when he plotted things quite quickly
His brainy plot-bits worked the best.

And so, he sat there thinking
The old and wrinkled man
And in 2.5 minutes
He had hatched a daring plan.

The man and boy conversed
And arrangements then were made.
The man announced in town that day
'We'll have a Hat Parade!'

The people in West Swizburg
All from their windows bent
For they had heard the phrase before
And knew just what it meant.

You are not from West Swizburg
This fact to me is plain.
So when it comes to Hat Parades
For your sake, I'll explain.

Hat Parades were tradition
In West Swizburg long ago.
The whole town would be involved
In a wild and lovely show.

Each resident would wear a hat
That they thought looked rather neat
And with their chic chapeaus
Would go off marching in the street.

Everyone would come, not permitted to avoid it.
But that was not a problem, since most everyone enjoyed it.

To march hat-laden in the streets
And then perhaps to sing
Was, as you might imagine
Quite a liberating thing.

But alas, the tradition fell away
With all the township's quirks
And it was around this time
When they began to dress like jerks.

This had always troubled Shizzle
Who so adored his garments.
He was loathe to see his neighbours
Dressed like drab and wrinkled varmints.

Mr Shizzle had long wondered
If renewing the tradition
Would rekickstart his community
And regive them all ambition.

Back in town, the people goggled.
Not believing ears or eyes.
Reviving the old Hat Parade?
Now that was a surprise!

Many inched toward their armoires
At a slow and sneaky pace
Pulling fancy hats from boxes
They all muttered 'just in case'.

As the townsfolk were a-mutter
At this crazy bit of news
One lady in the village church
Was pacing twixt the pews.

So nervously, she looked about
Toes scrunched within her shoes.
She whispered to the empty room
'I hope this is a ruse!

She'd been standing in the square
When the Parade had been announced.
Then she'd hid inside the chapel,
Out of fear of being pounced.
For this lady was no novice
To the Hat Parading scene.
She was Norma Buttons
Swizburg's reigning Hat Parading Queen.

You might think that this announcement
Might have given her some pleasure.
She was the HPQ
West Swizburg's Hat Parading treasure!
But the renewal of the Hat Parade
Was the height of all her fears.
She could not parade again.
Not after all these many years!

One thing I'll say of Norma
One hang-up she possessed
Was a great preoccupation
With always looking at her best.

She had been West Swizburg's beauty queen
And had always taken pride
In the rosiness of cheeks and lips
And the shape of her outside.

Every year she'd done the Hat Parade
And always looked divine
But the very year they stopped it
She had fallen to decline.

Her eyes lost all their luster
Her hair refused to curl.
She lost the pride and confidence
She'd carried as a girl.

And so since then she'd faded
Aging faster than she ought.
Did she want another Hat Parade?
Oh no, sir. She did not.

For if they renewed that old custom
She'd be called upon to lead
The village in their hat-rejoicing.
Did she want that? No indeed!

She was in no state at all, she said
To re-take-up her place.
A wrinkled, old Parade Queen?
What a terrible disgrace!

And the option was not hers
To let another lead instead.
When you are the Parade Queen
You're Parade Queen till you're dead.

So she paced throughout the church
Getting all up in a tizzle
Wondering how she could avoid it
When she thought of Mister Shizzle.

He's the one who had announced it
This was his fault, and he knew it.
If she was to dodge her duty
She would need his help to do it.

She wrapped her shawl around her face
And she crept out of the church.
She peeped above the fabric
And then leapt behind a birch.

For right across the street
From her handy hiding-tree
Was the dapper Mister S,
The very man she had to see.

She willed him to come over
For she did not dare to speak.
With all this Hat Parade kerfuffle
She knew she had to be a sneak.

But hiding in a tree must not
Have been all that effective
For Shizzle soon responded
To her non-verbal convective.

He walked across the street
And gave her greetings with a smile.
'Well, good morning, Norma Buttons.
How are you? It's been a while.'

'I'm not well' snapped peevish Norma.
'Not since I heard your bit of news.
Whatever were you thinking, Shizzle?
Put yourself here in my shoes.

I'm an old and wrinkled woman
Not pretty like I used to be.
I cannot lead the Hat Parade.
The town would laugh at me.

Just say that your announcement
Was a funny-sounding cough.
But I cannot do this, Shizzle
And you have to call it off.'

Mr. Shizzle looked at Norma
Through the shawl that still half-hid her.
'I am sorry you're upset, my dear.
You're right; I'd not considered
How you'd feel when you heard
The Hat Parade had been renewed.
I can see you're angry, Norma.
I was thoughtless, it is true.

My intent was not to make you
Feel embarrassed, please believe it.
A young boy's lost his hat
And I have promised to retrieve it.

I did not foresee the trouble
That my efforts were to cause.
But what is this you say, Norma,
Of aging and of flaws?

I respect your feelings, Norma
But to say that since your youth
You have dwindled, shriveled, lessened?
You are lovely. That's the truth.'

As Mr. Shizzle tipped his hat to her,
And started down the road
Norma Buttons felt, deep in her heart,
As slimy as a toad.

She assumed that he was going off
To do as she had bid-
To take back his announcement,
And break the bad news to the kid;
To disappoint a little boy
Who'd lost his hat when he was robbed,
All because she, Norma, was selfishly
In hiding from her job.

But Old Shizzle had not blamed her,
When she'd said that she objected.
He hadn't tried to guilt or force her,
Which was what she had expected.

He'd apologized,
and said he'd find another way instead
And he'd said she wasn't ugly.
Lovely. That was what he'd said.

It took Miss Norma but a moment
To choose a course of action.
In a flash, she was off running,
Thinking 'selfless' and 'retraction'.
She caught up to Mister Shizzle,
Feeling very, very winded.
'Shizz-I'll-doot!' she panted,
By way of saying that she had rescinded.

'Thank you, Norma', Mr. Shizzle beamed,
And then ran off to start the show.
He had things to do!
Parades don't run themselves, you know.

In an hour, Shizzle re-appeared
The young boy by his side.
As he looked about, his wrinkled face
Lit up and filled with pride.

The cobblestones of Main Street
Which all through West Swizburg ran
Contained the town's whole population
Every lady, child, man.

And a stunning chapeau sat
Upon each person-topping bean.
The brightest, and most fancy hats
The world had ever seen.

And a pace in front them
Clad in a dress of bright brocade
Was a radiant Norma Buttons
Queen of Swizburg's Hat Parade.

A mass of hats on heads
Like coloured, sparkly stegosauruses
Went prancing down the road
And breaking into random choruses.
Jocularity and laughter
Filled the bright and cloudless sky,
And the residents of Swizburg knew
They all looked pretty fly.

The capering crowd continued
Till they reached the edge of town
Where they came upon a sight
That brought the boy's high spirits down.
The group of angry thug-folk
That had snitched his favourite hat
Were leaning on the fenceposts
And polishing their gats.

Shizzle knew that it was time
To achieve his real end.
So he called out to the hat-thief
'Well, good-day to you, my friend!
I believe that red sombrero
Is the one I saw you seize?
The boy here'd love to have it back.
Could you return it, please?'

You may think Shizzle foolish
For trying so clear-cut a tactic
But if it didn't work,
It would be quite anti-climactic.
I'll assure you now
There was reason in
Old Mister Shizzle's madness.
He appealed to the thug-men's
Sense of suspicious inner badness.

For, people who get into fights
So often in a day
Are always on the look-out
For those badder still than they.
They would never want to tangle
With a more badass delegation
For if they chanced to lose,
They'd lose their thuggish reputation.

The thug-men saw the crowd.
The dapper crowd stared back imperiously
They looked to be a group
Who took hat-business very seriously.
The thug-man with the hat
Did not fancy much his chances
With this rowdy crew
Should they resort to violent advances.

The thug returned
The giant red sombrero he had fleeced.
He took one look at his fellows,
Then they up and outie peaced.
The little boy was grinning,
As Mr. Shizzle knew he would.
He and Norma shared a smile,
And they knew that they'd done good.

So, the wee boy got his hat back,
His beloved red sombrero.
Mr. Shizzle dressed just as he pleased
And people ceased to stare-o.
Norma Buttons learned that age did
Never real beauty blur.
And I hope that Megan likes that,
'Cause this poem was for her!