Parade Float on the River Styx

Parade Float on the River Styx

by John Kendrick Bangsyomama

“Welcome one and all to the Hades Boxing Day Boat Parade, broadcasting live from End-of-Times Square here in the Big Downtown! This is Harry Bartell, here with Edith Meiser — Happy Boxing Day, Edith!”

“And a compliments of the season to you, too, Harry! It’s a great day here in the Underworld for a parade, and nobody does a parade like the Associate Shades of the River Styx. Hades has sponsored this parade since the very first Christmas, as he had some inside info that the holy birth canal was about to deliver its star performer.”

“You’ve been helping host this parade since 1993, Edith, what can we look forward to today?”

“Well, Harry, you know the best of Broadway will be here, as every year, and we’ve got more Rockettes down here than any show in New York so that chorus line gets longer every single year. We’ve got those big balloons of perennial favorites like Inspector John J. Fadoozle from Doodyville and Detective Daffy. Basil Rathbone will be here again of course, he can’t get enough after that first 1956 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade he appeared in.”

“You and Basil are old friends, aren’t you?”

“Well, I have been known to put words in his mouth.”

Harry Bartell laughed as heartily as he could and still appear spontaneous.

“And just like that, the parade begins. Here’s our parade’s grand marshall for this year, Mr. John Bennett Shaw, the Sage of Santa Fe, the city named for the gift-giving fairy population native to New Mexico. Legend has it that those fey were part of how he got his vast Sherlockian collection.”

“Yes, Harry, and those street urchins all around his float are the lost boys of Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes’s eternal irregulars, one of those underworld ranks who never pass adolescence as long as they’re down here. The parade’s theme this year is ‘Once you have eliminated the impossible,’ and you can see those rascally urchins pretending to eliminate bodily wast right there on the float.”

“You’ll be happy to know that all of their excrement is made from brown poppies and daylilies, so the River Styx never smelled sweeter. John Bennett Shaw appears to be shooting at their leavings with his Jezail pop gun, reminding us of his annual Moriarty Memorial Trap Shoot and manure pile, combining both into a real ‘crap shoot’ for us here today!”

“As Nigel Bruce always said, ‘Have some dignity, Mister Bartell.’”

“And speaking of crap, here comes Peter Cook and Dudley Moore riding an enormous chihuahua and . . . look out! It’s urinating on the crowd! This 1978 Hound of the Baskervilles float is sponsored by Country Squire Lemonade, and the happy souls along the parade route are getting some free samples today!”

“I guess we should be grateful they weren’t sponsored by Campbell’s Soup, given some of the other scenes in that awful film. A lot of folks out here were rolling over when that came out, and it wasn’t with laughter.”

“It was kind of Denholm Elliott to ride on their float this year as Stapleton, rather than riding on the float for ‘The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It’ as he usually does. Rumor has it that Dudley Moore told Denholm he’d introduce him to Bo Derek, but you know how the gossip flies down here.”

“Very true, Edith, very true. And here comes the barge with the Baker Street Irregulars Old Series . . . Vincent Starrett and Alexander Wollcott riding in that second hansom cab. Frederic Dorr Steele looks to be using the opportunity to sketch William GIllette, who doesn’t come out of his castle much these days. And there’s Christopher Morley, still ignoring the cries of the Baker Street Irregulars New Series on the boats behind him. Oh, wow, look at that! Sherlock Holmes has arrived early in the parade this year!”

“Well, Harry, you can’t believe everything you hear on podcasts. Ronald Howard and H. Marion Crawford are in especially fine form this year, but that’s not the real Holmes and Watson. They’ve recreated their 221B Baker Street with its full laboratory on their float, and even brought back Richard Larke as Sergeant Wilkins. They’re all excited because they’ve been listening to a new podcast with a bunch of loons who seem to think their TV show was documentary footage of the original Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. You weren’t fooled by that, were you, Harry?”

“But the show’s title is ‘Sherlock Holmes is Real!’ Podcasts can’t lie in their titles, can they?”

“Poor, simple Harry. Look at balloon!”

“This is a new entry to the parade this year, the Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly balloon. Even though the actors haven’t passed, the film did die at the box office, so everyone down here has got to watch it on Hades Box Office.”

“And speaking of newer Sherlock’s, here’s parade regular Benedict Cumberbatch, who’s been with the parade every single year. Even though he’s still working back on Earth, he gets to fly down here for a guest appearance, being a literal angel and all, as his keener fans seem to have noticed.”

“And if Ben is here, you know what that means, Harry, the big guy is just around the corner!”

“I get so excited for him every year. There’s his silent club, and . . . YES! MYCROFT HOLMES!”

“He’s the best Santa we have down here, but of course, in this parade he’s only the penultimate float, because right behind him is . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . there he is, Mycroft’s brother Sherlock, the real Sherlock Holmes, star of A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of the Four, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes! He’s still waiting for his Watson, of course, because he may have died at Reichenbach Falls, but his old friend is still immortal and hanging out with that immortal Sherlock Holmes who took his place in The Hound of the Baskervilles.

“Yes, Edith, he really wanted to catch a ride on that hound leaving Hell to go plague the Baskervilles, but the curse turned out to be a fraud and the hellhound never left. A real shame, especially when you consider some of what his replacement did in ‘Three Gables’ and ‘Mazarin Stone.’ But at least he’ll always have the late Irene Adler down here to keep him company.”

“Don’t tell me you ship Adlock, Harry! Those two have been broken up for nearly a century, if they ever hooked up down here, which I’ve heard was the case. ‘Not his glass of tea’ and all that. But it looks like that’s all for this year’s Hades Boxing Day Boat Parade. Compliments of the season, my Petri wine drinking friend!”

“Compliments of the season to you, Edith. And back to our regularly scheduled programming, some sort of holiday kickball game. I won’t be watching it, so who cares?”

“We’ll both be missing that Three Quarter. Happy Boxing Day, everybody!”