Creepers, I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving. Mine was pretty good, eating a good-sized meal at each of my ex-wives’ houses (or at least intending to), and taking in the Chicago-Green Bay game.
My second ex-wife, God rest her hole, had her friend LuAnn over. LuAnn had brought the turkey, in a pan and “all ready to go”. However, somehow she forgot to unwrap it, and had buttered and spiced the wrapper. She had been watching this cooking show video on YouTube, and used any number of exotic and expensive spices. But she couldn’t keep up with the video and must have missed one of the essential steps.
After hours in the oven at 350, the plastic was burned into every nook and cranny of this innocent bird, and the meat was smoked with toxins. When she pulled it out and took off the lid, we stared in wonder at the charred and smelly remains. “My God,” LuAnn’s boyfriend Neal exclaimed, “It’s the Hindenbird!” We mourned his sacrifice; dying so that others may live, yet destined to be buried ignominiously in an unmarked black trash bag at the county dump. A feast only for methane-creating bacteria.
We ended up going to Cracker Barrel, and having a good time. That worked just as well for my dinner plans. All I had was coffee, which allowed me to eat a full meal at the next stop. As always, the check ended up with me. So it was a $175 coffee, tip included. Thank God I took the waitress up on the offers of free refills.
Here is another short story. Due to the subject matter and content, it seemed risky to post it prior to seeing if there were any tragic events this Thanksgiving shopping season. It wouldn’t do to alienate you, my gentle reader, or draw undue police attention if something similar happened in America. Thankfully, it was peaceful other than the lady who used a chair to hold a spot in line to the disgruntlement of those who had stood there for nine hours.
For my Francophone readers, it’s only fair to warn you that the story is about an act of mass violence. However, it’s meant as a commentary on materialism and isn’t intended to reflect the recent sad events in Paris.
The killers were just 14 years old. After their early Thanksgiving dinners at home, they met up at the train station. They got on the train, and went into the city. They were joking the whole time, looking at the people around them, knowing that some time soon, any number of these people might be dead. Their jacket pockets were stuffed with their instruments of death, and they felt invincible.
First they went to the big Christmas tree on the city square. There were only a few people around, since the lighting wasn’t until that weekend. There were a few young couples pushing strollers, with toddlers running in the grass around the tree in the unseasonable warmth of the late afternoon. They pushed on, looking for a more suitable crowd.
There was a long line in front of an electronics store. A huge banner advertising Black Friday specials hung from the roof. Forty inch flat screen LED TVs, $149. Fifty inch, $265. Computers, laptops, games. The line of people was corralled between metal barriers that snaked back and forth across the parking lot. The four killers nodded at each other, and went around behind the store, to see if they could get on the roof. There was a fire ladder that started halfway down the back of the building, well out of reach. While they debated rolling a dumpster over to climb on, a worker came out back and eyed them suspiciously while she smoked. Two minutes after she went back in, a manager came out and told them to scram. Slowly, they walked off, stewing with teenage rage.
Soon they found themselves outside the Galleria. They decided to walk in. Huge crowds were milling about, and there were stone-eyed police scanning back and forth, looking for any suspicious behavior. The boys breathed a sigh of relief when they were neither stopped, nor searched.
There were crowds gathered in front of each anchor store, and lines or knots of people at some of the clothing stores. The biggest, most unruly crowd was in front of a department store that had deals on nearly everything, and was also handing out envelopes with discounts of 5, 10, and even 50 dollars off any purchase over $100. The crowd was getting excited as the clock ticked down to the opening of the gates, and the noise was deafening. The killers nodded at each other, and they rode the escalator up to the second floor, twitching with excitement.
At the top, along the second level, it was nearly deserted. They looked down at the heads below. Men, women, children, young, and old. None with the slightest awareness of the death about to be rained down from above. Death purchased on the internet, $19.97 plus shipping for each 100, each killer carrying $400 worth. They pulled out plastic bags, and unwrapped the packages, shaking them loose into the bags. The youngest was shaking with nervous laughter, picturing the mayhem that was to come.
The oldest, a short boy with dark hair and a dangerous glint in his eye, glared around and said, “We spread out. You go on that side. You two go along the long rail, evenly spaced. I’m over there. When the clock says 6 minutes to go, we start filming. When the clock says 5 minutes to go, we do this thing. Agreed?”
The other three nodded, but he insisted, “Agreed? Let me hear you!”
“Yes!” “Fucken A!” “Hell yeah!”
With two minutes to go, they took up their positions, watching the milling crowd push and jockey for position while harried police and store workers were shouting instructions and trying to maintain order. No one was looking up, other than to watch the clock count down. At ten seconds to the time, the oldest boy grinned, and grabbed a handful of quarters from his pocket. He let them cascade down onto the floor in an empty spot next to the escalator. Heads swiveled in the crowd as the unmistakable sound of coins falling was heard through the din.
Like penguins at the zoo following a light, he thought to himself.
As the clock hit the five minute mark, the boys reached into their bags and pulled out the novelty $100 bills, and threw great handfuls out over the heads of the people assembled below. Cloud after cloud of the bills fluttered down over the mass, which suddenly surged this way and that as the crowd dissolved into a hysterical mob, each member pushing towards whichever bills seemed closest. As people fell, or were pushed down, or simply trampled as they knelt to scoop up handfuls, their screams of pain and panic were drowned out by the greedy squeals of those who were still forcing their way forward.
The killers stopped filming and headed out. They laughed and jogged along the nearly deserted second level, heading to the escalators at the far end and the train back home as the sounds of mayhem and death faded into the distance.
This one came to me while trying to get out of Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping. I was using the internet to bolster my arguments, and watched endless videos of the mayhem of the past decade.