Go Fly a Kite

By Stuart Hoover (84BA, 87JD)

2020 Write Now Special Edition Winner - Adult


Christopher M. Raker
Raker Talent Agency
123 Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 61010

Dear CM:

When you got me this part I was angry. I think you should know that. But I wanted to tell you that it's turned out great.

When you said that I would be starring in a stage production of "Mary Poppins," I was so excited that I could even overlook that the theater wasn't in New York or Chicago, but community theatre in Ames, Iowa. Not even Hancher in Iowa City!

But when you said, "You will star in...," well I took that to mean "to be the star." I thought that I would be Bert, or even Mr. Banks. I didn't see the Police Officer as the starring role I had envisioned, just the British Bobby walking his beat. And when you said "you'll be singing," I thought I'd have a solo. I didn't envision being in the back of the chorus line singing, "Let's go Fly a Kite."

And, CM, I didn't think up front that I would have to learn to deliver every line with some half baked Cockney accent which, by the way sounded like 90% Dick Van Dyke and only 10% Michael Caine. You might have warned me. Have you ever tried to sing with a Cockney accent, CM? I'm from Iowa, not the east end of London, and it takes more than a couple rehearsals to get that down.

The dress rehearsals were torturous when I had to fit my head into my helmet. You know strangely they don't have a wide assortment of sizes of British Bobby helmets at this theatre. Who would have thought, right? I had to squeeze it onto my head every night. OK, ok, I have to admit, I liked the uniform. British Bobbies do not carry guns, CM, neither in real life nor on the stage, you'll be happy to learn. But they did give me a night stick to twirl on a cord when I did my rounds of Cherry Tree Lane. That was fun, and I did think about you when I was twirling that night stick, but you'll be pleased to hear they didn't let me keep it.

But what I really wanted to tell you about was opening night. How can I express this to you so you can get the full effect? Let's try this: Mary Bloody Poppins kicked me in me 'ead, she did. Oi, the woman needs a bleeding pilot's license, she does!

She's Mary Poppins, CM, and Mary Poppins flies. They strapped her into a harness, covered it up a long red coat, hoisted her into the air, and whirled her around. I had never actually met Mary Poppins, CM. Strange I know, but it was opening night and we had never all rehearsed together. She is from New York and had just flown in. Our rehearsals were all with a stand-in who was more like the Wicked Witch of the West than Mary Poppins. She had been rehearsing virtually and the first time we were all together was opening night.

When I first saw her CM, I have to admit, some of my anger for you evaporated. She was the most ridiculously beautiful woman I had ever seen. Her name off stage is Andrea. She is tall and athletic and has long brown hair. She's practically perfect in every way. You might say she's a knock out.

Well, CM, it all went swimmingly. I chased the kids, "Oi, not you two again! Oi, come 'ere!"

I greeted Mrs. Banks, "Luvly day, Missus!"

I patrolled Cherry Tree Lane and did a tour of the park. And then a storm rolled in. The cherry trees shook and the wind blew and that young rascal Michael Banks lost his kite in the gale. Mary Poppins had to go retrieve it in the clouds and when she was descending back to earth, well she came in a little off course on final approach. Zooming over my head her first pass knocked my helmet off. I kept singing my lungs out, "Let's go fly a kite..." Just as I was belting out, "... and send it soaring, up through the atmosphere..." she switched her course back, came in low, and kicked me in the side of the head, sending me soaring unconscious to the floor of the stage, in front of a packed opening night audience of 1000. The rest of the chorus stepped in front of me and sang on they tell me, until the curtain came down.

I woke up on my back. Someone had undone the buttons of my uniform jacket and Mary Poppins was kneeling beside me, the red kite was on the stage to my right, and she was holding my hand. She was crying CM, this beautiful girl was crying for me. I felt a little groggy but I came to and sat up. I kept in character, CM. You'd be proud of me. "No worries, Love," I said. "It always knocks me off me feet when I sees a pretty girl!"

Yeah, CM, I know, corny, huh? But it worked. She laughed and I got a date with Mary Poppins herself! We played out the rest of the performances, but now I'm not coming back. Andrea has invited me back to New York with her and I'm afraid I won't be needing your services any longer.

There wasn't a doctor in the house that night. But there was a lawyer who offered his services to sue everyone in sight. Well I wouldn't sue the theatre because I like them. And I wouldn't sue Andrea, because I think that might come between us. I thought about suing you, CM, but you'll be happy to hear that I've decided against it.

All I really want to say is thank you. And, CM, go fly a kite.

Very truly yours,

The Police Officer

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