EDIT: Okay, turns out I never posted it, merely mentioned it. But the same thing of being sure I posted something is happening with other stories.
“One Two Buckle My Shoe”
An STC Story
By = Tristan A. Arts
Only the third week into summer, and it was already 89 degrees out, with barely any breeze. Maxwell Dayton, panting, sat down on a city bench and downed some Gatorade. Jogging in this heat was no fun at all; he'd have to call it a day and get home soon. He cursed himself silently – he couldn't remember why he'd slept in so late today. It was surely bound to have been quite cool at 6 AM, but no! He'd slept in until 10:30. Luckily, it was his day off.
Ah, shade. He leaned back in the seat and used the Gatorade bottle to cool his forehead. After a few moments utterly relaxed, he sat up and took note of his surroundings to give his mind something to do before he headed home.
The bench he'd found himself on was underneath a decent-sized maple tree, and was facing a parking lot that lay behind the police department. It seemed to share this space with the fire department just next door.
As he sat there staring into space, he soon saw something that caught his attention. Coming out from around the corner of one building were four men. The first two were police officers, and the second pair were fire-fighters in full fire-fighting apparel. This in itself was not so surprising, but what had caught his attention was the furtive, silent looks they were casting around the area, as though not wanting to be watched. He wondered for a brief moment in his heat-fogged mind if they were perhaps going to buy some confiscated drugs from the police officers.
The tree Maxwell was sitting under seemed to be shielding him from being spotted by these men, for they soon seemed content that no one was watching. Fascinated now, his reporter instincts kicking in, he sat there in thrall. They still had not spoken.
When satisfied that they were unobserved, one of the firemen pulled something out of one of his pockets. Straining to see what it was, hoping it was money or drugs (and cursing himself for not bringing his camera), it turned out to be... to be a pink jump-rope! And he was pulling another one out of another pocket, too.
The first fire-fighter untangled the ropes and handed the other ends to the second fireman. Then, incredulous, Maxwell watched as they began spinning the ropes in a double-dutch style. He could not believe his eyes... grown men – firefighters and policemen no less – were going to skip rope!
He sat transfixed as he saw the two cops hop up and down in preparation for jumping. Then, when suitably warmed up, they jumped into the two flying ropes and began to skip perfectly, as though they were little girls at a playground who had never lost the knack for rope-skipping. But what dumbfounded Maxwell even more than that was the rhyme they were all chanting together: “Cinderella, dressed in yella, went upstairs to kiss a fella; made a mistake and kissed a snake! How many doctors did it take? One, two, three, four, five, six...” and on they counted, the cops not just jumping up and down but doing complicated routines as they did it, like splits and back-flips. They got all the way up to 118 before one of them finally tripped over a rope and turned it into a masterful somersault.
Getting up and brushing themselves off, the cops and firemen laughed and switched places. Now it was the cops turning the ropes double-dutch style, while the firemen took their turn to jump. Maxwell just stared. No way, he thought, there's no way they can do it in that getup!
But they surprised him. After warming up sufficiently, the two firemen not only jumped in, but they all started chanting what had to be the most difficult rope-skipping rhyme Maxwell had ever heard:
“Miss Susie had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell, Miss Susie went to heaven, the steamboat went to Hello operator, please give me number nine; and if you disconnect me, I'll paddle your Behind the refrigerator there was a piece of glass, Miss Susie sat upon it and cut her little Ask me no more questions, tell me no more lies! The boys are in the girls’ room zipping down their Flies are in the meadow, the bees are in the park; Miss Susie and her boyfriend are kissing in the Dark is like a movie, a movie's like a show, a show is like a TV screen and that is all I know, I know my ma, I know, I know my pa, I know, I know my sister with the 80 acre bra!”
They must be VERY strong, he thought as they stopped for a second time, to jump rope with all that equipment on!
For a moment it looked like they were going to trade places again, but just as they were about to, they all gave a start as though hearing someone coming, and hastily tossed the ropes back into the first fireman's pocket. Then, leaving one very confused Maxwell Dayton behind, they took off running around the other corner. Three different police officers came around the corner the other two pairs had first come from, and looked around in confusion, as though they'd just lost someone they were looking for. Then they headed back the way they came.
He later found out, through his work as a reporter, that several people in both buildings had witnessed the bizarre spectacle, and had raised a tizzy about it. But for all the fuss it created, the witnesses were convinced that those had been real uniforms for the respective departments, though no one but Maxwell himself was able to see the faces of the rope-skipping men.
Nothing similar ever happened again in that town, or anywhere else that anyone knew of. Maxwell never saw any of the four men ever again, as far as he could tell. But it had been quite a fiasco around town, the newspapers and TV reports talked about the incident until people got bored with it. Life went on, and most people forgot about it. Those who still remembered no longer spoke of it. But the police department and the fire department, from that day forth, co-started and jointly ran a “skip rope for your health” program at the elementary schools.