I was just enjoying a little free time on Independence Day when I got a call from the Theme Park down on the boardwalk. As I walked through the hoards of tourists devouring overpriced hotdogs I was reminded why I hadn’t ventured down this way since I was a kid.
I headed for the costumed character room. They were planning their big 4th of July parade but someone had stolen George Washington’s head.
I had to work fast, the parade would be starting as soon as the fireworks show was over.
I found the costume room empty except for the guy who plays Uncle Sam buckling up his stilts.
“Aren’t you afraid you might fall off those things?” I said.
“I never fall.” he said adding, “I can’t. This place is cutthroat. My first fall would be my last.”
I asked him about the missing head. He told me that the guy who plays Washington is a real Cassonova. All he ever wanted to do is case the concession girls.
“He likes to tell ‘em that he’ll get ‘em out of concessions and into the parade,” he said as he walked out.
I looked around the room for a clue. I found what I thought was a tuft of hair from the head but when I took a closer look it was cotton candy.
Why was there cotton candy in the costume room? I walked down to Fun Food Alley to check out their operation.
The cotton candy kid was young and eager to please, but when I asked him about the missing head he really turned it on. He gave me some story about how Uncle Sam used to be the star of the show but ever since George Washington was given his own float the people have been going crazy for him.
Then he said he hadn’t heard anything about the head being stolen. I could tell he was lying about that.
This kid couldn’t act his way out of a bag, but he sure was trying.
I still couldn’t figure out the cotton candy connection. The kid had told me that the guy who plays Washington was stuck on the Ferris wheel. I headed over there and pushed my way through the crow that had gathered around to watch the scene. Washington had turned the situation into a one man show. He was up there singing songs and cracking jokes. The crowd couldn’t get enough of him.
He had a cute girl up there with him. She seemed to love all the attention too. She was wearing the same pink apron as the kid at the cotton candy stand. Maybe it was her cotton candy left in the costume room.
I wandered down into the guts of the Ferris wheel. I found the maintenance guy with his legs sticking straight up in the air while the rest of him was stuck between the machinery.
“What’s the problem?” I asked.
“Can you give my legs a pull Buddy,” he said “Someone stuck this giant head down in the gears.”
We managed to yank it free. It was a giant head alright, but it wasn’t Washington’s head.
Just then I heard the sound of fireworks. The parade would be starting soon!
I ran back to the cotton candy stand but the kid was gone. How did he know that Washington was stuck on the Ferris wheel?
I ran over to the costume room. He was there holding the head – all suited up and ready to go.
“Where do you think you’re going!” I barked, blocking the door.
I could see the fear well-up in his eyes and he started shaking in his big, silly boots.
I jerked the giant head out of his hands and he came clean.
The kid was desperate to get into the parade. Washington had promised him a spot in the show if the kid would help steal the spotlight away from the parade and get a little alone time with the girl. They concocted a plan to steal the head and shove [it] down in the gears of the Ferris Wheel so it would get stuck.
Washington figured the parade couldn’t go on without him but the kid had other plans.
I tell ya, some people will do anything to get ahead.