Nov 25, 2018

Santie Don’t Come Here No More

“Hark, is that a sleigh bell? What about that red light yonder, is that Rudolph’s nose?”

“Naw, can’t ya’ hear that buzzin’? It’s just Lester on patrol again. I sure wish he wouldn’t fly that thing at night.”

“Yeah, especially ‘round Christmas time. Folks be gettin’ their hopes up for nothin’, you know. Somehow it just don’t seem right.”

What you just listened to is a typical conversation from anywhere in Dunger County along about this time of year. You see, folks in Dunger County haven’t had a visit from Santie Claus in nigh on sixty years. Some say more‘n a hundred years, but the unofficial county historian, Gladys Piddle says it’s only been about 60 years. And as there’s no written records of Santie’s last visit, and Gladys is 104 years old, folks figure she might be the only person still living who’s old enough to remember the last time Santie stopped anywhere in Dunger County.

You see, Gladys Piddle was living here back when Dunger County was a part of Dung County and Ger County, but as no one in either Dung or Ger Counties wanted anything to do with the folks who lived along the line that divided the two counties, both counties voted to throw the Dungers out. You see, the Dung family pretty much ran Dung County and the Ger family kept a stranglehold on all of Ger County, but when a few of the Dungs and the Gers along the county line intermarried and started having relations and all-- well, folks in neither county could put a stop to it so they simply disowned the Dungers and anyone who took to cavorting around with Dungers including Gladys Ger whom folks ‘round these parts call the wider Piddle ‘cause her late husband, Horace Piddle was a second cousin to Douglas Dung who went on to marry Tootie Ger, the daughter of Winston Salem Gur who some folks claim is related to the Winston and Salem families who made cigarettes back in North Carolina, but folks in Dunger County don’t know it was the Reynolds family who made the cigarettes and that Winston and Salem was the name of two towns that grew up to become one city. Kinda' opposite the way it happened in Dunger County.

You see, the kind folks in Dung, Ger, nor Dunger Counties have never been accused of being... how shall I put it... er... on top of history or current events, perhaps because of all that intermarrying and relating that still goes on until this day.

As for Lester... remember Lester? Well Lester is Lester Dung, and that “thing” he flies around at night is a homemade gyro-copter powered by a used 350cc Harley-Davidson Sprint motorcycle engine he ‘found’ after it had fallen of’n the back of a truck headed for the Dunger County Dump. At least, that’s the way Lester tells it. He got the idea for building it from a Popler ‘Chanics Magazine he just happened to ‘find’ layin’ ‘round at the Dunger General Store back afore the fire burnt the front half of the building back in 1972. There’s a sign out front that says, “Sorry ‘bout the mess, we’ll have it fixed-up soon” but most folks never see it as everyone is pretty much used to using the back door when they go to shop at the Dunger General Store.

You see, the Dunger General Store used to be a barn ‘bout twice as big as any general store ever needed to be, so folks ‘round Dunger County figger that since Lester Dung, who owns the Dunger General Store, spends ‘bout all his spare time a flyin’ ‘round all three counties peering in people’s winders with those army surplus night vision goggles and filmin’ folks with that telephoto night vision camera as they... Oh, you’re probably wonderin’ why Santie don’t come to Dunger County anymore, right?

“Would you look at that? Lester’s done put himself another red light on that whirly-gig a his-- I wonder where he ‘found’ it?”

“That’s not right. They’s two red lights. Lookie, they’s goin’ in opposite directions, see?”

“Sho’nuff they are, I wonder if Lester has made himself a new friend or if ‘n he’s got a competitor?”

“I ain’t seen no other general store, have you?”

Of course those two fellers weren’t the only ones to see that other red light flying ‘round in the sky above Dunger County as Lester, he had seen it too. At first Lester thought it was his own red light he saw flyin’ ‘round but then he realized that he’d have to be facing backards on his gyro copter to see his own red light so he turned around and looked to the back to make sure he was facing forward. “Nope, it ain’t mine,” Lester said as he turned around in his seat, “must belong to somebody else.” And with that Lester faced the front, twisted the throttle, and aimed his gyro copter in the direction of the red light. “He better not be takin’ pictures,” Lester shouted.

Now normally another person taking pictures wouldn’t be such a big deal but as folks had caught on to what Lester was doing they had taken to closing their curtains at night, especially being his gyro-copter could be heard from several miles away. You see, Lester’s business wasn’t as good as it once was and he wasn’t about to let some other scum bag horn in on his second job, so Lester set out full speed ahead to find out who else was flying in what he deemed to be his territory.

Of course, as neither Lester nor his gyro copter were armed, he had no idea what he might do once he caught up with that other scum bag whoever he was.

“Would you look at that? Looks like Lester’s seen it too.”

“Sho’nuff, he’s on an intercept course straight towards that other feller.”

“I wonder what he’ll do once he catches him? He, he, he.”

“I donno, but you know ol’ Lester, he’s liable to do anything.”

Of course catchin’ that other feller a flyin’ ‘round the tri-county area would be a far bigger feat than Lester or any of the folks watchin’ from the ground could have ever imagined being as Lester’s homemade gyro copter was unable to fly much more than about thirty miles per hour.

“Does Lester measure his speed in nautical miles, air miles, or land miles?”

“You mean they all ain’t the same? A mile still measures 5,240 feet don’t it?”

“No you fool, a mile is 5,280 feet.”

“When did they change it?”

Ol’ Lester continued to fly full-speed-ahead on an intercept course as the red light glistened in the distance. He tried to make it out in his night vision goggles but it was too far away so Lester pressed on.

“How far can Lester fly on a tank of gas?”

“I think he tole me about forty miles.”

“Well that ain’t very far. How can he get across three whole counties if he ken only go forty miles on a tank.”

“Aerial refuelin’.”

“Aerial refuelin’? What in tarnation are you talkin’ ‘bout.”

“Lester climbs trees in the daytime an’ puts five gallon gas cans in the tops of the tallest trees all across the county.”

“Ain’t he scared somebody might steal his gas?”

“Ain’t nobody ‘round these parts crazy enough to climb them tall trees, ‘cept Lester.”

“Reckon you’re probably right.”

“Look, see ‘em hoverin’ above that big pine tree over yonder.”

“You reckon he’s refuelin’?”

“That or he’s pickin’ pine cones for a Christmas wreath.”

“Santie don’t come here no more.”

“Yeah, you’re right, wouldn’t make no sense puttin’ up a wreath, would it?”

As soon as Lester finished refueling he continued on a intercept course intent on finding out who dared to fly around his territory at night. Minutes later he began to close on the mysterious intruder.

“Lookie there, Lester’s a gaining on him!”

“He shore is. Why at that rate he might catch him in another hour or so.”

“You reckon?”

“Maybe even forty-five minutes.”

“Good, I don’t think I feel like sittin’ out here a whole ‘nother hour. It’s nigh on eight o’clock now.”

“Wow, is it that late already? Time sure flies when you’re havin’ fun.”

“Yeah, almost as fast as Lester.”

Lester was getting close when the red light suddenly veered hard left then hard right. Lester tried to track his movements but all that hard banking caused Lester to loose his night vision goggles leaving him in the dark as he had no headlights on his gyro copter. A loud bang could be heard for miles away as Lester’s night vision goggles crashed through the roof of a nearby Pontiac.

“Did you hear that?”

“I shore did! That durn fool, Lester Dung done bombed my car!”

“That weren’t no bomb.”

“Well bomb or not, when Lester lands that contraption I’m a goin’ to go kick his ass. Would you look at that hole in the roof of my car?”

“Yeah, nice ‘un, ain’t it?”

“Nice my ass!”

The chase was on. All Lester could do was follow the red light on the gyro copter in front of him and hope the other guy didn’t fly them into the ground or a tall tree. The other guy continued his evasive maneuvers swerving left and right, diving, then flying high into the sky. Lester had already decided he wanted to end his intercept but as he had no idea where he was going or how low to the ground he might be he figured his only choice was to try and keep up.

“Would you look at the show they puttin’ on now?”

“I’d a never figgered Lester could fly that good.”

“I reckon Lester didn’t know either!”

The chase continued for several minutes, up, down, left, right, ‘round and ‘round the buzz of Lester’s 350cc engine blasting across the county as his muffler fell from the sky to crash through the roof of another parked car, again with a loud bang.

“Did you hear that?”

“I sure did, Lester done bombed another car.”

“Yeah, and it was my Buick!”

“Yeah, nice ‘un ain’t it?”

Folks was figuring Lester had nerves of steel as the watched the chase high above Dunger County but Lester was scared to death. The only thing that scared him more than trying to keep pace with the other guy was the possibility that he might not be able to keep up with the only thing between him and crashing. Then all of a sudden the other red light did a loop-d-loop and settled down behind Lester. It was only then the bright spotlights lit Lester and his gyro copter up for all to see.

“Wow, dem sure are bright lights!”

“Sho’nuff, they done got Lester lit up brighter than the angel on top of a Christmas tree.”

“How would you know about that?”

“I ain’t always lived in Dunger County, ya’ know.”

Suddenly a loud voice like the voice of God thundered from the sky. “Either land that thing or we’ll blow you out of the sky!”

Of course it wasn’t the voice of God, but it was in-fact the State Police come to Dunger County to catch Lester in the act of flying around filming people through their bedroom windows. While Lester had been getting away with selling videos of unsuspecting couples caught in the act for a number of years, his recent move to sell his videos at had made him suspect down at the state capitol.

Folks say he’ll be back working his store in eight to ten.

What? You thought Santie Claus was finally comin’ back to Dunger County? Why everyone knows Santie don’t come to Dunger County no more.