The Whitebread men pulled up in their round-em-up van. “There they are,” said Sergeant Sugars. “Horatio’s with them – little bastard thinks he’s smarter than me.”
Whitebread-Gingerbread confrontations had skyrocketed that summer. Throughout the neighborhood, someone had done a portentous graffiti of a raised Gingerbread fist on a blood-red background. But Sergeant Sugars’ unit felt confident as they piled out of the van. After all, who had the rolling pins?
“Okay, boys,” said Sugars, as his men surrounded the Gingerbread teenagers. “This is a public corner.”
“We are the public,” said Horatio. “And we have the right to assemble.” His Gingerbread brothers chimed their agreement.
“Yeah, Mac,” said Sugars. “And I got the right to assemble you boys in a jail cell.” The Whitebread men flashed their black licorice grins. “I’m charging you do-nothing Gingers with plotting against the public peace.”
Horatio smiled tightly through his red-icing lips. “Okay, officer. But come morning I’ll see your badge revoked. Just whose leg are you trying to pull?”
“Better hush up or I really will pull your leg – off.”
“Witness, brothers!” Horatio’s voice boomed. “The Whitebread man cannot reason for two minutes together without turning to his favorite recourse, his only recourse, violence. You show him your mind is stronger and by God you better run because he will raise the stick. Then he will swear by his mother that we are a violent race. That’s the insanity of the Whitebread mind.”
Sugars turned red. “That’s enough, you ugly fucking Ginger.”
“Watch, brothers. Study the behavior of this animal as I lead it with words only to the brink of explosion.”
“Screw you, Ginger trash!” With a single swipe, Sergeant Sugars scraped Horatio’s red-icing mouth off his face, leaving only the eyes.
Another Gingerbread boy stepped forward. “You’ll never silence all of us.”
“We’ll see about that. Men!” The Whitebread officers went from Gingerbread boy to Gingerbread boy, wiping away their thick, red mouths. Sugars watched with pleasure. “Ain’t got much to say now, eh boys?”
“Sarge,” said one of his men. “Should I keep this?” He held out a big red mound, all the mouths squished up together.
“Give it here.” Sergeant Sugars popped the whole wad in his mouth. A look of delight spread across his face. “Now get these fuckers out of here.” The Gingerbread boys, now voiceless, were hurried away in the van.
A timid young Whitebread officer approached the sergeant. “Sergeant Sugars,” he said. “I can’t help thinking – one day, all those Gingerbread ruffians will get new mouths painted on, and they’ll come back talking up a storm... and I’m afraid.”
“Of what, son?”
“That.” He pointed over to a wall where the raised Gingerbread fist stood taller than a man.
“Don’t you worry about that,” said Sugars. “If they come back, they’ll get a taste of this.” He whacked his rolling pin into his palm, then walked away.
“But these rolling pins,” whispered the Whitebread youth, shaking his head, “will they be any use against that fist?”