A rally cry for something, possibly chili

Previously in Nonsense … In case you’re just joining us, our reluctant yet handsome hero has just been wrangled into a Washington D.C. rally of unknown purpose when all he wanted to do was visit the Lincoln Memorial because he’s very cultural like that and his wife told him if he didn’t visit there during the trip his Washington Monument would need to be closed for repairs.

At this point I was smack dead in the center of Rally Of Unknown Purpose headquarters, so it only makes sense that when I turned around to leave I came face-to-face with a person in a panda costume.

Now, I walked more than three blocks to get here so my first thought was I was experiencing what joggers call a “runner’s high.” But then I realized how great of shape I was in despite the sore feet and muscles so that couldn’t possibly be it. Plus, other people were talking to it too and I had doubts I was hallucinating an entire rally.

To this point I thought it was a rally for women’s rights, seeing as though there were lots of ladies present. However my dreadlocked male kidnapper, who I was calling Johnny, had mentioned the term “fracking”, which I didn’t think had anything to do with lady parts. I understood fracking to be bad, though, so I decided I was against it. Plus, this way I could shout things and I so very rarely get to shout things in public these days.

Johnny wanted me to take a picture with the panda, presumably so I could commemorate the occasion.

“Look, kids,” I imagined myself saying in the future as my children gathered around hologram photo book. “This was when daddy was saving the world. Notice the panda, which is significant in some way. And the fracking, which is bad. I helped stop it, which is why there are so many healthy pandas running around. Now, go stare lovingly at my Nobel Peace Prize while I watch Space Football.”

“Where are you from?” the panda asked, speaking English with an eastern European accent, as you’d imagine a panda might.

“Iowa,” I replied.

“You came all the way from Iowa just to protest against fracking?”

“I’m pretty hardcore,” I replied, modestly, trying to figure out how pandas were involved with women’s rights.

I was about to leave before getting further confused by endangered animals I’m apparently not supposed to hug, when a gust of wind brought the scent of chili and cinnamon to my nostrils. I hadn’t eaten all day, figuring I’d get all the nourishment I’d need by absorbing culture through my eyeballs. Culture, as it turns out, isn’t very filling.

I saw people in line at a nearby food truck getting a heaping scoop full of chili with a side of cinnamon roll the size of a fat baby’s head. I bet the food truck guy didn’t even have a permit to be there, but that’s just how us anti-establishment revolutionaries roll.

The best part? It was apparently free to all protestors.

This “No Fracking” thing was something I was staring to care a great deal about.

I moseyed over and grabbed an empty bowl and prepared to have it filled. The Chili Warden looked at me suspiciously. I tried my best to look like a malcontent, putting on a face that said “Can-you-believe-all-this-fracking?”, but I think I just managed to come across as adorable. It’s a curse, but I live with it.

“I’m with Johnny over there and that panda,” I said loudly, which was essentially true now as we took pictures together as best friends do. “Hey Johnny!” I yelled, waving.

“My name’s NOT JOHNNY!” Johnny replied. I turned back.

“Classic Johnny.”

I could tell he was skeptical about my affiliation as I wasn’t wearing at t-shirt with profanity on it or a picture of a seagull covered in oil (or “fracking nectar”).

“It’s time someone held these congressmen’s feet to the fire,” said, defiantly, remembering that line from an episode of The West Wing.

And with that my belly quickly became full of chili and justice.

I returned to Johnny’s Happy Fun Time Forrest Friend Jamboree and hung around all my new best friends, repeating whatever things they shouted and generally enjoying helping shape the world.

Johnny: “Clean energy for all!”

Me: “Dirty energy is for communists!”

Johnny: “Carbon-free! Nuclear free!”

Me: “We’re giving away free carbon and nuclear over here!”

Johnny (exasperated): “Look, we don’t want to keep you from your sightseeing.”

He was clearly annoyed that I was the only one really getting into his messages.

Me: “Frack that. You can either SEE history or MAKE history. Am I right?”

They gave me nervous glances. I’d be nervous too, in the presence of such a political dynamo.

My friends eventually wandered off to spread my message and Make A Difference and I stood on the outskirts of the protest, wondering how the history books would chronicle this infamous day and how to get my hands on a megaphone.

Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications (www.briscoe14.com). He can be reached at vandkel@hotmail.com or via sky message written with synchronized bald eagles. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny or, you know, plant a tree.