The herd of dusty taupe Vespa scooters stampeded out of town. It was the last full moon of winter. There were sacred ceremonies to perform for the Cider Society. There was still a chill in the air as they rode. The members were bundled up in an assortment of gear. Fluffy down coats, raggedy old blankets, even a cloak built from ratty old towels.
Their little club had formed mostly by accident or maybe it was the whiskey to blame. The purchasing manager, Timothy, at the little dealership in town made a mistake on an order form. He ordered thirteen dusty taupe vespas instead of the one that he had intended to order. The small bottle of whiskey in his drawer was the most likely culprit of his clerical error. When the herd of Vespas arrived on a flat bed truck the salesman all stared in horror. They didn’t have much demand for Vespas in the tiny town they lived in, nevermind ones in the most boring color of beige you had ever seen. Timothy shrugged it off. For fear of losing his job, he bought two of them himself. Timothy gave the pair to his wife and her best friend. They were a wild pair and they soon became an inspiration to the town. The Vespas didn’t fly out of the showroom but within six months they only had five left. Timothy considered it a win. He schemed with his wife on how they could get the last five to move. She came up with the idea of the Cider Society. They had patches made up and delivered to the other Vespa owners with a letter welcoming them to the exclusive Cider Society. There was an invite at the bottom to meet at the local diner on Tuesday night for gravy fries and a drive around the town. It took another four months to sell the last five Vespas, but they all sold. Timothy watched the last one drive away with a pang of sadness. He had bought into his own marketing ploy and was sad that he wouldn’t get to be a member of the Cider Society.
When Timothy arrived home that night, it had been a Tuesday and the last full moon of Winter. His wife and her best friend were snickering in the kitchen. They handed him an envelope. Inside was the keys to the last Vespa and his very own Cider Society patch. He had laughed and hugged them both. They all rode down to the local diner for gravy fries. The ten other members of the group welcomed Timothy with open arms and declared him the Emperor of the Cider Society. He was given a cloak made of ratty old towels and a crown sticker for his helmet. Timothy had laughed heartily and made his first decree.
“As newly crowned Emperor of the Cider Society, I propose our first sacred ritual. Follow me to the edge of town!” He stood up and marched out to his Vespa and the rest of the Cider Society followed.
Now they were standing beneath their fifth winter moon. The ritual had changed over time. The rest of the Cider Society pulled their playing card crowns out of their saddlebags. They howled up at the moon above them. Then they began their last dance of the season. The strange little band of outsiders formed a circle around the cow statue at the edge of town. Timothy placed the wizard hat on the statue. They began their dance around the Wizard Cow. A large jug of honeycrisp apple hard cider was passed around. The dance eventually devolved into giggles and the entire Cider Society wound up passed out beneath the Wizard Cow. When the sun’s rays rose over the horizon, Timothy would wake up the members of the little band and they’d all take a hungover ride back into town for a breakfast of biscuits and gravy.
The prompts for today’s short story:
honeycrisp apple cider
band of outsiders
Copyright 2020 Klaudia Grady