A Confederacy of Dunces: extracts (44)

He dramatically whipped from his pelvis the sheet, flapping it open. Among the yellow stains the word FORWARD was printed in high block letters in red crayon. Below this Crusade for Moorish Dignity was written in an intricate blue script.

“Sheet? What sheet!” Ignatius replied. “I am holding before you the proudest of banners, an identification of our purpose, a visualization of all that we seek.” The workers studied the stains more intensely. “If you wish to simply run into the office like cattle, you will have participated in nothing more than a riot. This banner alone gives form and credence to the agitation. There is a certain geometry involved in these things, a certain ritual which must be observed. Here, you two ladies standing there, take this between you and wave it thus with honor and pride, hands held high, et cetera.”

The two women who Ignatius indicated ambled slowly to the cutting table, gingerly took the banner with their thumbs and index fingers, and held it between them as if it were a leper’s shroud.