Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Michael D. Brown

Don't Open 'til Christmas

In the bakery Señor Wemple is making the cookies for the children’s posada because the Christmas season is when he comes alive. The incessant caroling, however, has him a little on edge; it’s not that he doesn’t like Christmas carols, but there are only five of them and they play continuously while the people are away.
The florist, Madame Treyne, has made her most beautiful arrangements and is now sitting back to admire them, and this year a family will stand in front of her window apparently about to enter her shop, but they never will. All year long she works so hard in the box hoping that when they let her out they will appreciate her toiling, but nobody seems to have a care; only she must look her best to please them.
Madame Sparger lives on Crescent Way, alone except for her little dog Caesar, and a rabbit named Luther, and she is unaware that Caesar and Luther, able to communicate with each other, have planned a surprise for her this Christmas. How could a dog and a rabbit execute a plan one might ask, but one must wait, like Madame Sparger, until Christmas morning to find out.

This year there were two new buildings in the village and lights where there never used to be; in addition, children would be able to ice skate on a mirror, but since they rarely had time to move, nobody but tiny Rudolph was able to take advantage of the innovation. A young couple, obviously lovers, she with a muff, and he sporting a tam o’shanter, sat on a park bench that had been installed in the cottony snow bank, never moving even when it was possible; though Rudolph said they had snuggled closer during the time he had ventured out onto the icy mirror. Madame Treyne had looked her absolute best last year before being put in the box, but never reappeared in her florist shop, which continually displayed previously-fashioned arrangements, and it was rumored she had been broken in storage, which happens occasionally. Madame Sparger spent as much time as she could in the bakery with Señor Wemple, which kept him unaware that the caroling repertoire had been increased by several songs from an earlier era, and the two made suppositions as to who might be inhabiting the new houses, if anyone did, as the lights stayed on all hours. Caesar could have told them the little houses were electrified but empty as he discovered from sniffing around, but aside from these few moments snatched from suspended animation, there wasn’t much activity in the village this year, and it was rumored the people rarely went out because times were known to be hard, in spite of the new pieces, which were probably set up to distract from that fact.

With my Lois and Clark ® mug of coffee in hand, I sit staring at less renowned, yet smiling porcelain figurines, and invest whatever emotions I suffer to run into theirs. Outside the season, they don't have any of their own, you see. Before the deaths of friends and loved ones on key dates, it was just a holiday experience, from the ides of November through the opening of January, but lately the time frame has expanded on either side of the calendar, and now my ennui obtains until well past anniversaries in April. As the miasma of the rainy season, with nary a catalytic flake of snow, synthetic or otherwise following, lasts here from April through September, the year is fairly well drenched with unextraordinary days. Sometimes, I wish I could go back in the box and sleep along with Madame Sparger, Señor Wemple, and the rest for eleven months, but then there would be no one to awaken them and let us have our lives. Alternatively, I wish I could, like Superman, fly backwards really fast around the world and relive undamaged days.

© Michael D. Brown 2011

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