Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Trouble in River City"

This poem came out of the June 7, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] kelkyag. It also fills the "victory / success" square in my 6-1-16 card for the fest. This poem was sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.


"Trouble in River City"


To Reynard, at street level,
River City is a smorgasbord
of scents and sounds, a symphony
(he likes human music, loves
the St. Louis Philharmonic) of
information and ideas.

He loves the smell of the food trucks,
Korean beef from Seoul Taco and
longganisa from Guerrilla Street Food.

He loves the Delmar Loop drum circle,
and has learned that dancing on his hind legs
can often coax the crowd to toss treats
for the fox to catch in midair.

He's not too proud to do it.

Reynard waits patiently
in the line for the ATM.

He has learned how to levitate up
and press the buttons with his paws
so that he can take out some money
to buy street food or tip musicians.

The trouble starts when the man
in front of him nervously steps up
to the ATM, reeking of guilt.

When a stream of cash pours out,
Reynard knows something fishy
must be going on here.

He's not a superhero, really,
but he's not about to let a crook
get away with robbing a bank
right in front of him, either.

"Hey!" he barks at the thief.
"That doesn't belong to you!"

The man grabs the cash and bolts.

Reynard darts in front of him,
and the thief measures his length
on the sun-baked pavement.

Rough brown hands grab his scruff,
and before the crook can throw him,
Reynard phases out his grasp.

The other humans are yelling
and stamping their feet.

Then one big black man (they're
all big to Reynard) picks up
the thief in one meaty fist and
pins him against the wall.

"Lemme go!" says the crook.
"I didn't do nothin' ya big bully!"

"Well then, you won't have any trouble
showing the cops that the money
belongs to you," the larger man says
as he uses his vidwatch to call them.
"Sit tight, and nobody has to get hurt."

Reynard sneezes a vulpine laugh.

"My name is Dequan, and I'm
a security guard," his rescuer says.
"You all right down there?"

"Yes, thank you," Reynard replies.
"I was about to withdraw some money
for the Delmar Loop musicians when
this fellow so rudely interrupted."

"Ah, they're not so hot," the big man says.
"The Philharmonic, now that's music."

"They are excellent," Reynard agrees,
grateful for someone willing to talk about
music instead of the fact that a fox can talk.

So they chat about music until the police
arrive and arrest the thief. Apparently
there has been a string of such crimes.

"Thank you for your assistance, citizens,"
they say to Reynard and Dequan.
"It helps a lot when people let us know
about crimes in progress."

"Just doing my part," Dequan says,
and yes, that's one of the things
that Reynard loves about River City.

* * *

Notes:

Reynard -- He is a red fox. He was discovered by Savoir Faire.
Origin: He has a foreign object buried in his left shoulder, about the size and shape of a bullet. No one has been able to get a clear image of it, but it is suspected to be super-gizmology and thus perhaps the cause of his manifestation.
Uniform: None. He goes nude.
Qualities: Master (+6) Fox
Powers: Good (+2) Phase, Average (0) Human Speech, Average (0) Extended Lifespan, Average (0) Levitation
Motivation: Curiosity.

Tyzee Brownstone -- He has milk chocolate skin, brown eyes, and a fluffy mane of nappy brown hair that he often hides under a hat. His face is sharply triangular, his body thin and bony. He's a talented hacker who makes a living by stealing from ATMs and other electronic sources, and he shares his take which makes him a lot of friends. But for a crook, his situational awareness sucks, and that tends to get him in trouble.
Qualities: Good (+2) Fast, Good (+2) Friends on the Street, Good (+2) Generous when Flush, Good (+2) Thief
Poor (-2) Situational Awareness

Dequan Laclede -- He has sorrel skin, black eyes, and nappy black hair buzzed short with a slightly longer beard and mustache. He loves classical music but hates jazz, loves American cuisine but not soul food, pop but not rap, and so on. He likes black people just fine, but isn't fond of their cultural material. This annoys the crap out of his black relatives and friends, who think he's trying to "act white."
Qualities: Expert (+2) Security Guard, Good (+2) Intimidation, Good (+2) Strength, Good (+2) Classical Music Fan
Poor (-2) Likes All That White Stuff

* * *

The title is a riff on "Ya Got Trouble," a song from The Music Man. In this poem, however, River City refers to the greater St. Louis area, rather than Iowa.

The St. Louis Philharmonic is a charming orchestra, and among the better ones in the Midwest.

Food trucks provide a mobile supply of quick eats. They also add to the local color. Read about some St. Louis food trucks.

St. Louis has a contentious relationship with street performers of all kinds, and has gotten slapped down for violating their civil rights. Among the more splendid examples of St. Louis culture is the Delmar Loop Drum Circle, which you can enjoy in this video.

ATMs can be robbed or hacked in many ways, some of which don't even require a card.

Healthy police-community relationships rely on good principles of police work. Here are some ways to improve those relations. Locally the situation throughout much of the greater St. Louis area is a flaming embarrassment of global proportions. Fortunately T-River City is in rather better shape compared to here, although it's not as good as some other parts of T-America.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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