The Fright Before Christmas
Hard times hiding presents
LORI OSIECKI ILLUSTRATION
My gentleman friend Lust bought me a new Apple wristwatch for Christmas, and I got it early because I found it in his glove compartment when I happened to root through there, not looking for a present or nothing.
You can make phone calls with this watch. (You can also make phone calls with your car steering wheel. Pretty soon you’ll be able to make phone calls with your underarm deodorant.)
Anyway, I start worrying about where to hide my presents – once I buy them. Then I get a brilliant idea: I’ll stash them in my mother-in-law’s Ms. Larda’s garage in Chalmette.
So I hit the Big Lots, get a bunch of things, grab lunch at Popeyes and pull up at Ms. Larda’s. She is at the Beau Rivage Casino for the Altar Society Christmas outing, but she gave me the key. And I saved some fried chicken skin for Chopsley, her guard Chihuahua, who’s trying to act fierce while wearing a Christmas elf sweater.
I give him the chicken, hustle across the kitchen into the garage and kick the door shut. But Chopsley manages to scoot in before it closes.
Worse, the door locks itself.
Worst, my keys and cell phone are on the kitchen table.
Thank God I got my watch.
Unfortunately, the watch has to be in “close proximity” to the phone. (Which makes no sense. If my phone was in close proximity I would use it, instead of looking like Dick Tracy.)
So I got to get my watch into close proximity with the kitchen table. So me and Chopsley run out the overhead door and around to the kitchen window. Unfortunately, this is a raised house, and even when I stretch out my hand over my head, it ain’t close enough to the phone. But there’s a hose water faucet sticking out there, and if I balance on that I can press my arm up against the glass. So I do, and I tell my watch to call Ms. Larda. Miracle of miracles, it does. Ms. Larda’s voice squawks “Modine? We got a bad connection. Call back.” She hangs up.
So I got to do the whole thing over again and yell that, “No! I’m not in a well; I’m locked out.” And she bellows that the spare key is with Melba next door, but Melba never answers her door unarmed unless she knows who’s there, so Ms. Larda will call and warn her I’m coming.
I climb down; my wrist rings again; I climb back up; and Ms. Larda roars that Melba got five keys on her ring and she don’t know which is mine, so she’s dropping them out her front window. And don’t ring the bell, because she’s watching Dr. Oz.
I clamp Chopsley under my arm, because I know once he decides I ain’t giving him no more chicken he’ll run off and get himself lost.
And together we get the keys, which are on Melba’s key chain along with her car door opener and a little squeezable trinket shaped like a frog, which squeaks. Chopsley growls at it.
It ain’t easy trying five keys in the door with a growling chihuahua under one arm. When I finally get in, Chopsley snaps the key ring out my hand and zips under the couch. He wants to kill that frog.
Just then a car alarm goes off. I look out and a police car is pulling up by Melba’s house. I see Melba’s eyes peering over her windowsill.
My watch rings. It is Ms. Larda. Melba called to say I got her deadbolt key and she can’t get out of the house, since her back steps fell off years ago. Also, the panic button on her car door opener has activated her car alarm. Oh.
I take my last piece of chicken skin and wave it under the couch. When Chopsley slinks out, I snatch it away and throw him in the bathroom. Then I fish the keys out with a big plastic candy cane.
I step outside and approach the police car, waving the keys over my head. The cop, by the name of Larry, heaves a sigh. Third time this month, he says. We unlock Melba.
I really want to go straight home. But no. I go back and I let Chopsley out of the bathroom and give him his chicken skin. Because it’s Christmas. I hope Santa seen me.