Three limos. A TV camera. A parade. It’s a beloved dog’s final party.

Slow is the path of love.

Fast is a highway of fear.

Kookie Morrison does everything fast. She talks fast, laughs fast, dances fast, cries fast. But tonight, Kookie is determined. She will be slow. Tonight is the final birthday for Innocent, Kookie’s old beloved dog. The party will feature a DJ, hot catered food, 150 of Kookie’s best friends, and 30 of her favorite dogs. The dogs will ride to the party in three white limousines. The people will ride in a parade of 22 cars. The parade will consume two city blocks. It will arrive in downtown Englewood at 6:30 p.m. on a Friday, the busiest hour of the week.

Innocent, a miniature schnauzer, celebrates his fourteenth birthday in Englewood, NJ on Friday September 24, 2021. Innocent arrives in a limo at his party on Palisades Avenue.

This plan makes Englewood police officer Brian Havlicek nervous. He has been assigned to escort the parade from Morrison’s house to the party downtown in a raggedy old cop car. He stands in Morrison’s driveway and looks at the white limousines. They are very long. He fidgets. Officer Havlicek has been a member of the police department for just two years, but he knows the town well. This parade will make some people very angry.

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“You all ready to go?” Havlicek says. “This is a lot of cars. I’ll do the best I can.”

He walks to his cruiser, turns on the lights, and drives forward.   

Nobody follows. This nervous cop is not in charge. The limo drivers and everybody else stand in Kookie’s yard, awaiting her word.

Tonight, love is in charge.

“Slow! Drive real slow, y’all!” Kookie yells to her friends. “Make this cop take his time!”

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