Wednesday, 29 December 2010
HOLIDAY SPECIAL: BUFFALO GAL, WON'T YOU COME OUT TONIGHT AND GIVE HELL'S BELLS A SHAKE by Jodi MacArthur
Buffalo Gal, Won’t You Come Out Tonight and Give Hell’s Bells a Shake
Santa’s grave was a bitch to dig. She’d never dug a grave before, and the cellar floor was frozen. She wished she’d taken care of this last summer, but Santa had asked her to trust him. Trust. He insisted trust was key to holiday cheer that would last all fucking year. Ho! Ho! Ho!
She jumped on the shovel. It chipped at the cold dirt. She jumped again, and it broke through. She tipped the blade and tossed the dirt aside.
The only thing she could trust in this world was a shovel made of steel and the creepy crawlies that would find Santa’s body and eat his eyeballs out.
“Ho! Ho! Take that fat man.” That’s what she called him when he was drunk. When he was sober, she said it inside her mind. Fat man. Fat bastard. Fat son of a bitch. Mother fucker.
She jumped on the shovel again. Sweat dripped down her neck, between her breasts. She wore nothing but his old wife beater, a pair of boxers with tiny reindeer and his combat boots.
The combat boots were his. From ‘Nam. They both knew Santa’d never been to ‘Nam. But the guy at the military surplus swore on his life that the boots had. And it gave Santa a real feel of importance. As if he gave a damn for those boys, although he had a thing for good little girls.
The shovel slipped easily through now that the surface had been broken. Santa had taught her that too. It’s always hard the first time, honey. Breakin’ through those barriers. Santa knows best. Ho! Ho! Ho!
She heard a creak from the floor above. Santa had awoken and was drinking his coffee and cookies she’d left him. She shoveled faster.
Naughty. This year she’d been naughty. And she didn’t ask for anything nice. She never wanted to be on his damn list anyway. Nice had gotten her nowhere but a popped sugar plum and a real good spanking when she tried to run away. Life at the North Pole isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
He had his booze. He had his reruns of It’s a Wonderful Life playin’ on the VCR. Bars on the windows. Alarms on the doors. Jingle bells on her calves.
They jingled as she moved. She stabbed the shovel into the dirt. She pretended it was his soft white belly. Over and over again, she’d played the scene in her mind. The problem was the blood. It was red. His skin was white. Red and white were Santa’s favorite colors. The hell she’d grant him death in his favorite colors. Ho! Ho! Ho! Fat bastard.
The hole grew wider, deeper. The earth smelled good. It was dark, moist. She preferred those colors. The natural ones.
A thump upstairs sounded as if reindeer had just landed with Santa’s sleigh. And perhaps they had. In that great big red bag would be just what she wanted.
When she was finished, she tossed the shovel aside and picked up a handful of dirt. A spider scrambled up from it and onto her arm. The bare bulb from above didn’t provide much light, but she noted the size, the fuzzy hair along the abdomen leading to where eight little eyes watched her.
It was smaller than her, innocent. At the wrong place, at the wrong time. She could squash it the way Santa had squashed her. She cherished the bond they shared. In many ways, they were the same, they both were doing as nature intended.
It clambered up her arm, but she caught it before it slipped into her tank top. It bit her. “Son of …” and she flicked it. She watched its small mass fly across the room and hit the sack of Lyme.
She sucked on her bitten finger, then spat it out. Lyme. Santa put it on the lawn regularly. Grass was green. The salts within the bag were not, but just the word Lyme, made her think of that fruit that grew in places warm and sunny. Places Santa would never go, but claimed he had. Like ‘Nam. The faker. He was a great big fake. And there was only one thing to do with fake fuckers.
Behind the bag of Lyme she had discovered rat poison. Just a sprinkle in Santa’s coffee and sugar cookies would give her what she wanted under the Christmas tree. Under the cellar. In the ground.
She wiped her hands on her boxers and made her way up the stairs. In the kitchen, his favorite Starbucks mug lay in shards on the red linoleum. Next to it, Santa sprawled face up on the floor. His pale, fat body glowed like a snow angel. Cookie crumbles scattered in his beard.
Santa’s gift peaked out of his boxers. She glanced at the scissors on the counter, and considered cutting it to ribbons, but that would mean more red. She hated red.
“Buffalo gals won’t you come out tonight! Come out tonight! Come out tonight!” The TV played on for Santa. An electronic elf. She’d pull its plug later.
She grabbed his ankles and dragged him to the cellar door. When her shirt caught on the handle, she hesitated. She didn’t want to drop his ankles to unhook her tank. What if he came back to life? Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa’s back in town. And he’s got more than a trumpet to blow up your ass. He’s gotta horn. A reindeer horn. And it’s sharp enough to open your heart to give. Give to the good folks who are in need.
She yanked on his feet, and the tank tore off. For the first time, it felt good to be exposed. To be the beast Santa made her pretend to be. Her bells jingled all the way down the stairs to the thump of Saint Nick’s jolly head. At the bottom, she rolled Santa into the grave.
She wrapped Santa in his unfavorite colors--the natural ones, the dark ones--and stomped the dirt down when she was through. “Merry Fucking Christmas, Santa.”
She ran upstairs. Killed the TV. Ejected the video, and ripped the tape out of it. She wrapped the dark film around her breasts, her ribs, stomach, then used duct tape to secure. She used wire clippers to snip off the bells. She threw them down the cellar stairs and slammed the door shut. She washed her arms and face in the kitchen sink.
And left the North Pole.
Henrietta had nowhere to go but south.
Jodi MacArthur would love to wrap herself in “It’s a Wonderful Life” film tape and give Santa’s reindeer a good crack of the whip. Henrietta fully approves. Together they pull a lovely sleigh of the slayed at www.jodimacarthur.blogspot.com