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I want to really paint this picture for you, make it really evocative. Give yourself about a fifteen minute time frame for this.

Everyone is either wearing a flag or a bandanna with a flag on it. Except the cops–they’re wearing standard uniforms. When the bandannas are worn, they’re pretty much only acceptable hanging from your back pocket or tied around your neck as if you were going to rob a hamburger. There are as many hamburgers as bandannas. It’s entirely possible there are only 5 American flags and bandannas total. Everything else represents Grenada, Jamaica, or Trinidad & Tobago. Perhaps you can understand why I felt a little out of place in just an Astros hat.

I guess they closed down the entire Eastern Parkway because there’s people everywhere–everywhere–and a helicopter flying its length about every seven minutes (according to your mathematics, that’s twice while you’re enjoying yourself). Cops are on all corners and cop cars are running parallel to the Parkway. Music is coming from everywhere, even on the off streets. Everyone who is normally outside during the rest of the week has a new flag or a Guinness umbrella to shade their hamburgers.

Here’s the most incredible part: Imagine walking down the block, the only other people on the street are in chairs next to the building. Approaching you is a group of people and among that group of people you can see some heads bobbing higher than the rest of the group. Those are the heads that seem like they’re getting closer–not only that, but these heads have silly hats on. There’s eight of them and they’ve busted out of the group. They’re running two by four and they decide to straddle your walking path as they sprint by. These cops are attempting to sprint while keeping their hats on and their guns from shaking too much. This is literally the closest you’ve ever been to getting arrested, one of those moments where you think back to what you’ve done that day (I woke up, showered, surfed the internet, attempted to go deliver mail only to find that even the post office box–not just the post office–was locked) and remain terrified that you’ve committed a crime you’re unaware of. They run past but you slow down while they swarm because you don’t want to hamper them or disrupt their path. Then you hear the sirens. First it’s a blue’n’white and a cop van that go whizzing by. Then two vans, then a blue’n’white, then an undercover crown vic, then two more blue’n’whites, until you finally stop trying to keep track. You can hear the sirens down the street still getting closer–they seem to be sending everyone. All the cops that stared at you when you crossed the street earlier are having a miniature debate–oh, nope. They’re running too. So you turn the corner, go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients for Chili. You secretly hope nobody got murdered.

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