Nov 30, 2018

Christmas At Wellbright

"It's a hair."

"It's not a hair, it's soup."

"It's soup with a hair in it."

"It's not a hair."

"Well if it's not a hair then what is it?"

"It's food."

"It's not food, it's a hair."

"Okay so it's a hair. Fish it out and eat your soup."

"I don't want to eat soup with hair in it."

"If you fish it out there won't be any hair in it."

"How do you know that's not the only hair in the soup?"

"There's not any more hair in your soup."

"Oh, so it is a hair."

"It's not a hair, now eat the soup or I'll pour it out and you'll get nothing."

Another normal day at the Wellbright Community Wellness Center. Claude knew she would throw the soup in the garbage hair and all if he didn't eat it as she had made him go to bed without his dinner on several previous occasions. That was Wellbright's vision of managed health care. Claude knew it so well he told every new resident, "Don't worry about dying of old age here, you won't live that long."

He wasn't joking.

You see, Claude had been a resident of Wellbright for almost 30 years. While most of the residents were seventy, eighty or even ninety years old before coming to Wellbright, Claude had moved there at the ripe old age of 15 as an invalid who had lost both legs and one arm in an automobile accident that had wiped out his entire family. Claude spent his days parked in a wheelchair wherever the staff decided to put him. Most nights were spent in his room but on more than one occasion they had forgotten to push him back to his room and put him back into his bed.

On a couple of occasions they pushed him outside only to forget about him and leave him outside all night. Then when he soiled his clothes the attendant would punish him by washing him off with the garden hose lying stripped bare on the ground in plain view of anyone who might happen to walk around to the back of the building. Only, nobody ever walked around to the back of the building for had they done so Claude might not have continued to suffer. Claude had hoped someone would come walking around back one day but it never happened and the abuse continued.

When the kids from the local church came to Wellbright to sing Christmas carols each year the staff would lock Claude in his room and if he objected they would inject him with a tranquilizer to knock him out until after the carolers were gone. You see, Claude's face had been so badly disfigured by the accident that just to look at him was more than most teenagers could bear and rather than risk not having carolers for the rest of the residents the staff thought it best that Claude should remain hidden until all the guests were gone.

Claude stared at the flashing lights of the Christmas tree and the beverage cart loaded with pitchers of water, coffee and ice tea and decided on what to do. With his only hand he reached to pull the tree down on top of himself and the beverage cart. As the multicolored bulbs hit the liquids spilled from the cart they began to burst and short out sending 110 volts through his frail body and the bodies of three elderly patients seated within range of Claude's suicide attempt.

The staff insisted that Claude had communicated threats against the three now dead residents of Wellbright Community Wellness Center and the jury wasted no time in finding him guilty of murder in the first degree. Upon his sentencing, the judge conceded there were no prisons within the state that were equipped to deal with patients such as Claude so he sentenced Claude to serve out a life sentence at Wellbright Community Wellness Center.

History Of Wackemall: Part 57, William Wickenden, Santa Claus And His Reindeer

As historians everywhere will confirm, Santa Clause, aka Saint Nicholas, didn't always live at the North Pole. As a matter of fact, St Nick was born in  Asia Minor (Greek Anatolia in present-day Turkey) in the Roman Empire, to a Greek family during the third century AD in the city of Patara at a time when the region was Greek.

Originally Santa couldn't fly, didn't use reindeer and didn't travel the entire world delivering presents to good little girls and boys. You see, in the beginning, Santa just passed out presents in and around the port city where he lived.

But in time, as more and more people heard about what old Saint Nick was doing, they wanted presents too. So Saint Nicholas started expanding his route, taking on more and more deliveries every year.

Eventually he had to buy a team of reindeer and a sleigh and rode all over Europe delivering presents to good little girls and boys one night a year. The Dutch knew him as Sinterklaas but when they sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in the 1600s to a place they called New Amsterdam, known today as New York City, they started calling him Santa Claus.

But a change in name wasn't the only change Santa would face.

You see, while Santa's stables turned out the fasted reindeer anywhere, crossing the Atlantic added 3000 miles to his journey. And on top of that, reindeer are not great swimmers. It was going to be very hard for Santa Claus to deliver presents across oceans and all around the world.

And so it was, a Dutch Cobbler, named William Wickenden, a maker of wooden shoes who refused to stick to his last, and is best known as the co-founder of  Providence, Rhode Island, told Santa Claus about Wackemall and its amazing effects on animals. By feeding Wackemall to the reindeer the reindeer are given the power to pull the sleigh through the air at supersonic speeds allowing Santa to deliver presents to all the good boys and girls all around the world.

And so it is, with the Holidaze closing in on us we complete another chapter of The History of Wackemall.

Until next time, Merry Christmas!

Please continue reading History Of Wackemall: Part 58, George Orwell

Nov 29, 2018

Bah Humbug

And Other Christmas Fallacies Put To Rest

Many people complain that Christmas has become too commercialized. To that I can only quote a great writer of Christmas classics, Charles Dickens, when I say, “Bah humbug!” If you think Christmas is too commercial then you must be a scrooge yourself. How can Christmas be too commercial? Yeah, I know the stores start advertising in October, and the songs play on the radio for more than a month, but what real effect does all that commercialization have on Christmas? Christmas is in your heart, right?

Then there are those in our churches who choose to attack Santa Claus saying that the celebration is about the birth of Christ Jesus and not about a fat man delivering bunches of toys to little children, but let me remind you that the celebration of Christmas-- while not always called, Christmas-- has been around longer than the Christian Church. It was the church that decided to take the easy-way-out and celebrate Christmas at the end of Advent so that it would coincide with the ancient Norse celebration of the goddess Hertha who was said to come down chimneys bringing toys and good fortune to all she visited.

It was Saint Boniface, an English Christian missionary to Scandinavia who brought the first Christmas Tree, a young Fir tree, into the story when he convinced the tree-worshiping followers of the god Thor to come into the Christian fold. It was Saint Nicholas, the Catholic Bishop of Myra, in Asia Minor (modern day, Turkey) who established the custom of giving gifts to children by sneaking into their homes after their parents sent the children to their beds.

The American poet, Reverend Clement C. Moore wrote the poem, ‘A Visit From Saint Nicholas,’ which later became known as, ‘The Night Before Christmas.’ This poem is the basis for most modern celebrations of Christmas. One must remember that at the time, our churches recognized this as right and proper. An interesting note: Some experts in the literary world believe that Reverend Moore plagiarized the story.

Even the use of the term, ‘X-mas’ is legitimate though many uninformed Christians see any who use the term as sinners. The use of the term, ‘X-mas’, goes back to the Greeks who were the first civilization to accept Christianity as the religion they followed. Prior to the Crucifixion, there was no letter ‘X’ in the Greek alphabet. In the ancient Greek alphabet, ‘X’ is the symbol for Christ. ‘Mas’ means ‘to gather in the name of.’ Put them together and the term ‘X-mas’ means the Christ Mass, a gathering in the name of Christ Jesus. “X” refers to the cross, and is considered a holy symbol by the Greek Orthodox Church, which was the first and remains the oldest of all Christian Churches.

Christmas is bigger than the Christian Church is able to comprehend and by belittling Christmas Christians belittle God. Say you don't like the commercialization of Christmas? Fine, don't participate in the commercialization. I don't. But I'll not give you grief should you decide to participate in the commercialization of Christmas.

Did you know that any celebration of Christmas was at one time illegal in England and the thirteen colonies that eventually became the United States? That was the first ‘Blue Law’. It was made illegal by a bunch of Puritan Christians who were no more than a bunch of scrooges and grinches themselves. They claimed it was much too commercial and too jovial, when in fact their lives were made so miserable by their own strict religious practices that they thought everyone else should be miserable too. Remind you of anyone you know? Thankfully, the spirit of Christmas is bigger than even the Christian Churches that seek to control it.

The celebration of the Christmas Spirit is a magic that transcends religion and reaches out to people all over the world. Its spirit overpowers religious-dogma, and those who would use religion to control us rather than empower us. The magic of Christmas was a gift given to us by God, and its power is something God has asked us to share with all the world-- even those who don't believe.

The story of Santa Claus is an idea children can grasp. It’s an exercise in faith, and it’s necessary if children are to someday grasp the far more complicated concepts of religion, spirituality, and belief in a God. Santa Claus is easy for a child to believe in. Yes, much of Santa’s story is outrageous, but when a child sees Santa at the mall then wakes up to see presents under the tree, in their minds there’s no difference between the reality and the myth. This is why many non-Christian groups have adopted the celebration of Christmas into their own ceremonies. In this way we prime children for believing in a God-- someone else who lives forever and does the impossible-- but if we are to make it work then we adults must celebrate as well. If that happens to mean a bunch of commercialization then so be it.

The tradition of celebrating Christmas like we do doesn’t diminish the birth of Christ Jesus, but does in fact celebrate our faith in God. The Christmas spirit is so great even those who may not be Christians can celebrate with Christians around the world. Faith in God begins, for little boys and girls, in believing in Santa Claus. If God wants us to celebrate the birth of his son, Christ Jesus, and if that means taking in the customs of a few who might not be Christians, then I don’t think God has a problem with that. He hasn’t done anything to stop it so far. So for all you grinches and scrooges out there who have a problem with what you read here, all I can say is, “Bah humbug,” and “get over it,” ‘cause thanks to God, Christmas will go on without you, amen.”

The magic the Christmas Spirit celebrates, will live on forever for as long as we choose to embrace it, and no amount of Church Rhetoric or Religious Dogma will ever be able to take away this annual celebration of humanities’ faith in God.

So Bah Humbug on those of you who claim there's a War against Christmas when in-fact, you're just trying to make the rest of us celebrate Christmas your way or not at all.

Nov 28, 2018


Fruitcake is as fruitcake does,
sliced off a hollow log,
filled with nuts still in their shells,
not fit to feed my dog.
We buried it out in the yard
just to wait and see
but even after three long years
it tastes the same to me.

And Why Would You Want To?

You can't have your fruitcake and eat it too.

Nov 27, 2018

I Guess God Really Does Keep Secrets

Who Are They?

They say, I can't say, Merry Christmas.
Who are they, who so hate these words?
I ask but no one will tell me.
It all seems so very absurd.
So I searched, and searched the world over,
and nowhere were they to be found.
And the ones who tell me what I cannot say
are angry Christians who seem to abound.

Merry Christmas and Happy HoliDAZE!

Tequila Christmas Cake

A holidaze special recipe and guest submission by Paul Resh

Tequila Christmas Cake

1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar
Lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 bottle tequila
2 cups dried fruit

Sample the tequila to check quality Take a large bowl,
check the tequila again to be sure it is of the highest quality. 

Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. 

Add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Beat again. 

At this point, it is best to make sure the tequila is still OK. 

Try another cup just in case. 

Turn off the mixer thingy. 

Break 2 legs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit. 

Pick the fruit up off the floor. 

Mix on the turner. 

If the fried druit getas stuck in the beaterers, just pry it loose with a drewscriver. 

Sample the tequila to test for tonsisticity. 

Next, sift 2 cups of salt, or something. 

Check the tequila. 

Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. 

Add one table. 

Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find. 

Greash the oven. 

Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over. 

Don't forget to beat off the turner 

Finally, throw the bowl through the window. 

Finish the tequila and wipe the counter with the cat. 

Then dro...., der...roop. drrrr....op, BURP, ahh helk with it...buurrrpppp

Cherry Christmas 

A little something nice for yourself during the hectic family gatherings and your neighbors. If your lucky, the Police will show up to.

Merry Christmas,

Nov 26, 2018

Wall Street Christmas

There's Christmas lights on Cadillacs
parked on dead end streets.
People sleeping in a box,
no shoes upon their feet.
Santa, he'll not come this year,
no he'll not come at all
for the children dream of sugar plums
while sleeping at the mall.
The reindeer scratch for blades of grass
not eaten by the bull,
and eat up all the Christmas trees
'cause the bull is overfull.
The poet dreams of better times
but the poet is a fool
for while Wall Street rigs the almanac
there's Christmas lights on Cadillacs...

Momma's Chocolate Gravy

For many years now it has been tradition for my family to gather on Christmas morning around a large bowl of Momma's Chocolate Gravy-- a recipe that dates back to the 1700s when Dutch-German Quakers brought cocoa with them and began to intermarry with the Welsh and Scotch-Irish who had previously settled in Ashe and Allegheny Counties in North Carolina and Grayson and Wythe Counties in Virginia and other areas near the Grayson Highlands near where North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia all meet.

Biscuits and gravy were already a Southern staple when the Dutch-German Quakers moved south from Pennsylvania to North Carolina and Virginia but it was only after leaving the Piedmont regions of both colonies that someone thought to flavor their gravy not with animal fat but with cocoa. And thus the reason I call the four counties, Ashe, Allegheny, Grayson and Wythe, the Chocolate Gravy Bowl.

Here's the recipe as is currently made by my family.

3/4 stick margarine or butter
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup hot water
1 cup cool water
1 can 12 oz. evaporated milk.

Melt margarine or butter and blend in flour.
Blend sugar and cocoa in small bowl. Add hot water slowly until mixed.
Blend evaporated milk with flour and butter or margarine until smooth.
Add cool water to the flour mix then add sugar/water/cocoa mixture.
Cook over medium heat until desired thickness is reached.
If necessary you may thin with regular whole or 2% milk.

Serve over hot biscuits just as you would regular gravy.

Momma recommends a couple of practice runs before you spring this on a crowd as timing is everything.

Also, leftover Chocolate Gravy will keep for a few days in the 'fridge and can be reheated in the microwave. The skin that forms on top can simply be stirred back into the hot mixture.

It's not uncommon for folks new to the family to react with shock when they first hear of Chocolate Gravy but once they taste it they come back for Christmas breakfast every year.

Who are all these people?

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.

Anonymous On Oligarchs

"One of the oligarchs favorite pastimes is deciding who is worthy of their munificence." --Anonymous

Christmas Carols Run Amuck

The following lyrics are from my first book, Carrot On A Stick. I think you'll recognize the tune. Enjoy!

‘Tis The Season

‘Tis the season to be jolly,
fa la la la la, la la la la.
Buy a fifth, get drunk by golly,
fa la la la la, la la la la.
Drink ‘til you are really smashed,
fa la la, fa la la, la la la.
Get into your car and crash,
fa la la la la, la la la la.

Go ahead, act like a fool,
fa la la la la, la la la la.
Tell us all how you’re so cool,
fa la la la la, la la la la.
Stick your finger down your throat,
fa la la, fa la la, la la la.
Make a noise just like a goat,
fa la la la la, la la la la.

Come tomorrow, you won’t remember,
fa la la la la, la la la la.
Is this August or December,
fa la la la la, la la la la.
Oh, what is that on your shirt,
fa la la, fa la la, la la la.
Tell us all how your head hurts,
fa la la la la, la la la la.

Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Oh man, I can’t believe I slept through Christmas again!

Nov 24, 2018

Merry Christmas, Chester Lott

Chester Lott waited his turn in line at the red dot store and finally when he got to the counter the old man behind the counter asked him for his ID. "I been buying a pint of whiskey in here almost every day for 5 years," Chester complained, "and still you ask me for my ID."

"Law says you supposed to show ID," the old man replied. "Besides, I don't know you."

"Of course you know me," Chester argued, "my name's Chester Lott, says so right there on my ID. Don't you remember? You look at it every day."

"I remember the names of women I plan to fuck," the old man said as he pulled his .44 revolver from under the counter, "and men I need to kill. Do I need to kill you?"

"No Sir," Chester said as he paid for his bottle. "You have a Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas to you too," said the old man as he looked at the ID, "Chester Lott."

Chester, like so many, was one of the forgotten people. Homeless, he'd walked from Michigan to South Carolina years before to escape the bitter winters. South Carolina wasn't the best place to be homeless but it beat Michigan.

He understood his history of alcohol and drug abuse was the reason his life was what it was. There was no blaming it on war as he'd never been in the military. And while Chester had blamed others in his youth he now realized his problems were of his own making. Still, it bothered him that the old man at the liquor store, like some many other people, treated him as if he were invisible until he complained. Then they became threatening just as the old man had done.

There was no one for Chester to go home to. His parents had both passed away when he was a young man and as far as he knew he had no living relatives. Like every Christmas Eve for the last 2 decades or longer, Chester Lott would spend this Christmas alone.

Chester had never been a brave man and made every effort to remove himself from violent situations whenever he could. But when he saw a young thug holding an old woman at gun point demanding her money he thought, I might finally be remembered for something. Somebody gonna remember Chester Lott. He ran at the thug from behind, knocking him down and taking his gun away from him!

But Chester hadn't seen the second young thug standing in the darkness-- the one who fired 3 shots into Chester's heart before the two of them fled the scene.

When the police arrived they searched Chester's body looking for ID but never found any. Somewhere between the red dot store and the robbery, Chester had lost it. Chester had no arrest record so his finger prints were not in any data base. And efforts to identify the dead hero using DNA proved to be inconclusive.

Invisibility, the gift that was given to Chester Lott, was the last thing he ever wanted.

Nov 21, 2018

Reindeer Tales By Billy Jones

The Reindeer Shoe
by Billy Jones

A single shoe made of steel
hammered by a blacksmith’s hand,
a mystery from whence it came...


“...And I want a Red Ryder Wagon, and a Lionel Electric Train, and a Space Aliens Video game, and a...”

“Whoa,” the department store Santa interrupted seeing the concern on the face of the little boy’s mother, a slim blonde with blue eyes that expressed her every emotion as if she were yelling it to the world. “That’s a whole lot of toys for one little boy. Are you sure you need all those toys right away?”

“Oh, yeah,” Bobby replied while sitting on Santa’s knee. “There’s more...”

“That’s enough, Bobby,” the attractive blonde said as she reached to lift the little boy from Santa’s lap. “We’ve got to keep the line moving so the other kids can talk to Santa too.”

“But Mom...”

“Ho, ho, ho,” Santa laughed. “I’ll see what I can do, Bobby. See you next year.”

“Bye,” Bobby said as the next child in line, a little girl with red hair, freckles, and a green coat climbed up on Santa’s lap. It was easy to see the disappointment on Bobby’s face.

Bobby and his mother walked out of the mall to find the snow swirling all around them. “Mom, look!” Bobby shouted as he pointed towards a group of reindeer in a makeshift corral located in the mall parking lot. “Can I go look at ‘em?”

“For just a few minutes,” she replied as Bobby ran towards the reindeer.

Bobby had never seen a real reindeer before. Of course, neither have most five year old children living in the projects. To say he was excited would have been an understatement. They were bigger than he had ever imagined and they didn’t smell all that good either. They didn’t look particularly happy and they weren’t doing anything very interesting so Bobby stood there for just a few minutes before walking back to where his mother stood watching him.

As he walked toward his mother he looked down to see a tiny horseshoe lying half buried in the snow. He bent down to pick it up as his mother began to call, “Come on, Bobby, it’s a long walk home. I don’t want you to catch cold.”

“I’m coming,” Bobby shouted as he pushed the tiny horseshoe into his coat pocket.

“Dancer, did you see that?” one of the reindeer whispered as Bobby walked away.

“No, what was it?” Dancer quietly replied.

“That kid found the shoe you lost over there in the snow.”

“What did he do with it?”

“He put it in his pocket.”

“The old guy is really going to be mad at me when he finds out about this.”

“Well I told you not to be clicking your heels together when you dance. You knew it could happen.”

“I know,” Dancer replied. “It’s just that it gets so boring standing around in this corral all the time waiting on Christmas Eve and the sparks look so cool in the night sky. I wish Christmas Eve would hurry up and get here.”

“Yeah, me too,” Rudolph said, a faint red glow shining through the shoe polish the elves applied to his nose to hide the light. “I’m tired of smelling this shoe polish all the time.”

Merry Christmas and thank you for reading! You can read the rest of The Reindeer Shoe as well as The Great Reindeer Get-a-way in Reindeer Tales: Two Classic Christmas Stories.

-Billy Jones

Nov 20, 2018

Are You Ready To Eat The Big Bird?

Lurkey Gurkey

Lurkey Gurkey, Thanksgiving turkey,
oh how he’d gobble ‘bout
saying, “I’ll not let them butcher me,
I’ll think of a way out.”
He refused to eat his turkey feed
saying, “I’m gonna stay so slim
the farmer, he won’t look at me
for fear I’m just too thin.”

And so it was for weeks on end,
Lurkey Gurkey, he’d not eat.
No matter what was offered him,
he’d not taste a treat.
So then one day the farmer came,
said, “I’m turning this one loose.
I’ll fatten up a different bird
to be our Christmas Goose.”

Yep, that 22 pound Big Bird is in the oven again this year and on my mind. Can't wait for the Holidaze to begin. Gobble-gobble!

Nov 19, 2018

Two Eagles Talking

"You know they say they want to be like us, free to come and go as they please."

"So why aren't they free?"

"All their stuff weighs them down, keeps them stuck where they are."

"So why do they want so much stuff?"

"Because they think stuffing themselves makes them free."

"Try telling that to their Thanksgiving turkeys."

Photo via harry pherson photography.

Holidaze Taders Have Special Powers

Slader Shrader

Slader Shrader, Thanksgiving 'tader,
he rolled from in the bin,
"I'll not be ate by little boys,
my peel to worms and vermin.
I'll not be ate by mean old men,
boiled, mashed and mixed with butter."
But Slader Shrader, Thanksgiving 'tader
just laid on the floor...

and muttered,

"Where do I roll from here?"

Nov 17, 2018

Roadkill Turtle Soup Mix

Dead Turtle Blues

Dead turtle on the side of the road,
not a 'possum, not a toad.
Got no matches, got no pot,
ain't no way to get it hot.

Flies be buzzin' 'for too long,
then the smell be gettin' strong.
All that good meat, goin' to waste,
an' I can't even get a taste.

Got no knife, ain't got no fork.
Raw turtle tougher than salt pork.
Got no way to break it's shell,
pry it open, cook the tail.

Can't fix any turtle soup,
not nary even a single scoop.
So I go hungry while it rots
'an eatin' frozen tader tots.

Flat Water Is Hell

Today I was reminded of a canoe trip I took many years ago on the Fox River in Illinois. That particular stretch was flat water. I had never paddled flat water before having only paddled white water rivers in NC and VA.

I thought, how hard can it be?

Besides, I had this strikingly beautiful young blond with me, my little head was doing the thinking for my big head, and I thought she would be impressed by being able to spend her day lounging in the front of the canoe in her tiny swimsuit while I did all the paddling.

So we only took one paddle along. And of course the wind was blowing upstream faster than the water was flowing downstream.

Hardest canoe trip in the almost 40 years that I paddled canoes.

When we got back to our hotel room I was hurting so badly I wouldn't allow her to touch me despite the fact that she was very much in the mood.

She didn't take my telephone calls after that.

Nov 15, 2018

The First Man To Die

When I was 20 years old I was working for a truck leasing company in Greensboro, North Carolina doing oil changes, minor repairs on diesel engines, anything that needed to be done on gasoline engines, and changing truck tires-- the old style with the rings that sometimes blew off and are no longer allowed these days.

One night I went out the the east bound rest area on I-85/40 between Greensboro and Burlington, North Carolina to change a flat tire on a truck leased to one of our customers.

When I got there another guy was already changing a flat tire on another truck not more than 50 feet away. He already had the tire mounted on the truck and was tightening the lug nuts when the ring blew off and decapitated him!

Took his head right off while myself, tourists, and truck drivers watched.

I didn't change the tire I was supposed to change that night. My boss had to send someone else out to do it. As a matter of fact I haven't changed a truck tire since.

According to the article in the Greensboro News & Record the next morning the dead man had been changing truck tires for many years without incident. Me, I'd only been changing tires a few weeks. Reading the article made up my mind for me-- it was just a matter of time.

That was the first death I ever witnessed but it wouldn't be the last.

Drone Attack: Finale

Continued from Drone Attack

He was transported to the nearest emergency room, treated, placed in a full body cast, and moved to long term care while he awaited trial on charges of domestic terrorism, and possession and manufacture of a weapon of mass destruction. Luckily no one had been killed but one of the FBI agents was wounded, two of his neighbors wounded, and hundreds of his homemade rounds found their way into neighbors' homes, cars, and property-- some as many as 3 miles away.

The lawsuits and damages would destroy his wife's inheritance.

Dronalist flew their annoying little machines everywhere they took him. Outside his hospital room window, to court with him, even to the airport when he was sent back to Guantánamo to do his time. Only when he got to Cuba was he free from the infernal machines.

Decades later he looked out of the window of his cell at Guantánamo only to discover first one then more and more drones hovering outside his cell window. "Guards! Guards!," he began to shout. "Help me, help me now!"

"What's wrong?" a guard shouted as he ran to his cell.

"That!" he shouted, pointing towards the window. "Drones!"

"Oh that," the guard smiled. "Haven't you heard? You're getting out tomorrow, they're here to carry you home."

Drone Attack: Part 9

Continued from Drone Attack

His home had been damaged, cat killed, dog driven mad. There'd been crop circles, obscenities painted on his house, and he and his wife had been branded child molesters. He'd been to jail and been shipped off to Guantánamo. Thanks to the YouTube videos his story had gone viral. Now, despite public appeals by law enforcement not to do so, dozens upon dozens of seedy Dronalist all seeking to get the next big story were buzzing around his house day and night. That included several very hard to detect drones painted black for invisibility at night and sky blue for invisibility in the daytime.

But which one was the drone that had been tormenting him for so long? He decided it didn't matter. "Kill 'em all!" he shouted an old cliché, "Let God sort 'em out!"

And with that he opened fire with his homemade Gatling Gun from the 3rd story of his home!

A few drones went down quickly. Others began to take evasive action. One, presumably the one he was after, fired a smoke bomb into his window only to anger him more. He began firing wildly in every direction shooting out windows and walls as millions of YouTube viewers around the world watched live on at least 100 different channels. And he continued to fire thousands of rounds the electric motors that powered his gun never letting up until finally he had shot so much that the roof fell down on top of him.

Continue reading Drone Attack: Finale

Drone Attack: Part 8

Continued from Drone Attack

His wife used her vast wealth to get him released from  Guantánamo and brought back to the United States where he would receive outpatient therapy and remain under the constant watch of Homeland Security and the FBI who always kept agents parked in front of his house.

Of course that didn't stop the drone from flying around the back of the house never to be seen by the FBI.

To the delight of the homeowners association, all his surveillance equipment, the radar installation, and the 30' diameter satellite dish were removed by government personnel. As the 3rd floor of his home was now empty he started ordering furniture and other items online-- much of it made from metal. Months later he took his wife upstairs to see his very own homemade electric powered Gatling gun. "This will shoot those drones out of the sky," he said, "from right here inside the safety of our own home."

To learn what came of this continue reading Drone Attack: Part 9

Nov 14, 2018

Drone Attack: Part 7

Continued from Drone Attack

Now that he had finally discovered that the attacks were being carried out by someone using silent black drones attacking by dark of night it became possible for him to figure out an actual plan of defenses. And while he waited for his wife to return to the country and bail him out of jail he did just that.

Using money left to her by her rich daddy he bought search lights, anti-aircraft guns, and installed a military surplus radar installation on their property.

The first night he turned on the radar, agents from Homeland Security, BATF, and the FBI raided his home and property, and carried him to a Federal Detention Center somewhere in Cuba.

As they drove away from his home, him in handcuffs in the back seat of a black SUV, he turned around to see a black drone following close behind. The entire ordeal had been transmitted live on YouTube.

Stay tuned to Drone Attack: Part 8

Drone Attack: Part 6

Continued from Drone Attack

 No job, no social life, there was nothing left for him to do but protect his wife, seek out whoever it was who was responsible for these attacks, find out how they were being perpetrated, and put an end to it once and for all. While his wife was staying at their vacation home in the Caribbean, afraid to show her face in public, he planned to seek out and destroy their enemy by whatever means necessary.

Or so he thought.

He installed an extensive system of alarms and hidden cameras all over their property incorporating the latest technology. Even satellite technology was employed. Financed by the sale of many of their stocks and bonds, what had previous been their secret orgy room was converted to a surveillance room allowing him to track the entire neighborhood. Despite multiple threats from the homeowners association he refused to remove the 30' diameter satellite receiver from his front yard.

Now even the local perverts thought him weird and stayed far away from him.

The rumors went wild. People were even saying he had weapons of mass destruction-- perhaps homemade nuclear bombs-- inside his garage as the few he spoke with talked of him having terrorist ramblings and suffering from wild paranoia.

Weeks went by. Then months. He dangerously suffered from lack of sleep. Weird things would happen, like dog poop falling from the sky in the middle of the night and covering his yard. The homeowners association was irate. The mailman would no longer get near his mailbox and simply tossed his mail into his yard as he rode past without stopping, his mail scattering about like litter.

The rumors got even wilder.

One night as his wife lay sleeping she was awaken by a telephone call from home. It was their attorney. Her husband had been arrested. The police said they found him running wildly around his yard firing his shotgun into the air at something none of them could see. When they finally managed to arrest him the only thing he would say was, "Dammit, I missed!"

"I'll be on the next flight home," she said.

Please continue reading Drone Attack: Part 7

Drone Attack: Part 5

Continued from Drone Attack

They were considered pillars of their community. Both had been voted best leaders under 40. They were highly educated, liked by everyone, on all the right boards, popular in all the right circles, known for their huge contributions to popular charities. They were, by all measures a successful couple with but one problem. They couldn't produce offspring of their own.

So after a long and grueling process with the most renown adoption agencies in the country they managed to make arrangements to adopt newborn twins-- a boy and a girl-- to start a family of their own. But as fate would have it, on the day before the babies were to arrive videos of the happy couple having orgies with underage prostitutes appeared on porn websites around the world and the police decided to investigate.

It was discovered the videos had been filmed from just outside the window of a room they had specially equipped just for the sort of orgies seen in the videos, on the 3rd floor of their home. Warrants were issued and served.

There would be no adoptions.

There would be no more invitations to parties with the right people.

They were removed from the boards, social outcasts... And they knew neither who, how, or what his motive was.

Please continue reading Drone Attack: Part 6.

Memory Cancelling Headphones

Greensboro, NC. As journalism continues to decay around the world behold the latest product endorsement disguised as Wackemall Network News:

The newest from the makers of Barridogs:

What's that? You had too much to drink last night and that 10 you picked up at the bar turned out to be a 2 this morning, and you wish you could just forget the whole night ever happened? Lots of girls have been there, guys too. But thanks to Wackemall Products it doesn't have to scar you for the rest of your life.

That's right, the guys in the white coats at the Wackemall Labs have done it again. When they learned that Greensboro's John Mincello was wishing for someone to invent Memory Cancelling Headphones they went right to work, kicked the entire Wackemall R&D Department into high gear and got it done.

With their hands tied behind their backs the guys in the white coats managed to come up with the world's first Numismatic powered Memory Cancelling Headphones. Just insert 2 new CO2 cartridges into each headphone, place the headphones on your head, lie down, and push the button on the wireless remote control.

You'll be out like a light!

And you'll remember nothing-- guaranteed.

The concept is simple. Inside the Memory Cancelling Headphones are diaphragms that are pushed very rapidly towards your ears and the sides of your head by the pressure contained in the 4 CO2 cartridge, but the  diaphragms never actually make contact with any part of your body.

All you get hit with is a tiny wall of highly compressed and rapidly moving air-- the same air you breath-- sending shock waves deep inside your brain and removing all recent memories.

Our Wackemall Memory Cancelling Headphones are guaranteed to make you forget at least 5 days of your life-- sometimes more. No one else will make you that promise.

We accept cash, debit cards, and all major credit cards. Sorry, we cannot accept WackemCard at this time.

Possible side effects include loss of hearing, ruptured ear drums, bleeding from the ears bruising of the ears and sides of the head, headache, and possible hair loss. Do not use Wackemall Memory Cancelling Headphones if breaking of the skull occurs. Wackemall Memory Cancelling Headphones are not intended for children under 5 years old or the elderly.

As always, there is fine print:

Wackemcard, Wackemall Products, and Wackemall are all trademarks of Wackemall Industries, Inc. Any unauthorized use of our trademarks will be dwelt with by Bruno and his boys, AKA: Wackemall Security.

Wackemall Products is not responsible for damages resulting from unauthorized uses of any Wackemall Product. Please read the owner’s or user’s guides that come with your Wackemall purchase.

Nov 13, 2018

Drone Attack: Part 4

Continued from Drone Attack

He waited until they left to go out for the evening. Then using his drone equipped with night vision cameras and a can of spray paint he painted obscenities all over the 3rd story walls and windows of their home in bright day glow colors. They didn't even notice it until the president of the homeowners association called them the next afternoon to warn them that they would be fined if it wasn't removed ASAP.

Talk about a hangover.

But that would pale in comparison to what he would do next. Continue reading Drone Attack: Part 5 to find out.

Drone Attack: Part 3

Continued from Drone Attack:

They awoke in the morning only to discover that what appeared to be miniature crop circles had been left in the many flower beds all around their stately home. When they called the police the 911 operator insisted they could be prosecuted for abusing 911 services.

It seemed there was no one who could help them.

Please continue reading Drone Attack: Part 4

Drone Attack: Part 2

Continued from Drone Attack:

When his neighbors left home he spent the hours shining a laser pointer through their windows antagonizing their Rottweiler. The angry beast would attack everything the light shined on including the cat. By using the drone to carry the laser he could access every window in the house from the comfort and security of his own home. They returned home to find a Rottweiler with one eye clawed from its head, a cat without a head, and the interior of their home-- recently refurbished because of the water damage-- completely destroyed.

Please continue reading Drone Attack: Part 3

Drone Attack: Part 1

He poured acid on his neighbor's roof using a drone. The rain took care of the rest.

Please continue reading Drone Attack, Part 2.

Nov 9, 2018

The Fourteen-Six

At the time I was working for a Baltimore based trucking company that among other things had a deal worked out that allowed us to pick up UPS trailers at the UPS terminal in Dallas, Texas loaded with merchandise from the Home Shopping Channel, and haul it like a bat out of hell to other UPS terminals all over the country.

Now I must admit the whole thing seemed odd as never before or since have I seen anyone but UPS drivers with UPS trucks pulling UPS trailers but we did it for a couple of years or so. I always assumed we hauled it because we were cheaper and faster than UPS.

It was a nice day when I picked up the trailer there in Dallas but while I was hooking up I noticed something different. You see, there on the top left of the trailer where there is usually a yellow sign with black lettering indicating the trailer height to be 13'-6" tall, this trailer claimed to be 14'-6" tall.

Now this wasn't a problem in Texas. As a matter of fact this probably wouldn't be much of a problem in most any state west of the Mississippi River. For the most part bridges and other overhead obstacles tend to be higher in the western states than back east. And in some western states a few companies have long pulled taller trailers than are pulled in the east.

But this trailer was bound for New York.

I thought it best I call my dispatcher in Baltimore and inform him of what was apparently a mistake in loading the wrong trailer. "Jones," he shouted, "I've been dispatching for 30 years and I'm telling you there is no such thing as a 14'-6" dry van. Get your sorry ass in that truck and go to New York."

"I'll get it as far as Greensboro," I shouted back in the phone, "but I'm not taking it up north."

"You'll take it all the way or I'll fire you."

"Then you can fire me when I get to Greensboro, North Carolina 'cause that's as far as I'm going with this trailer."

The lines were drawn.

A few hours later I calmed down a bit and called the terminal manager at the Greensboro terminal and he told me the folks in Baltimore were convinced I just wanted time off and was willing to lie to get it. He'd driven for years and even pulled a few 14'-6" trailers. "Billy, I can't help you. You know them people in Baltimore think they know everything and they've already made up their minds. You refuse to take the load all the way you're fired. You take the load and top out a trailer and you're fired. Good luck."

When I got to Greensboro a Baltimore based driver was waiting on the load. He called me a candy ass but I just let it go, dropped the trailer in the dark and let him hook and go. I was going to warn him about the extra 12" but after he called me a candy ass I just kinda sorta forgot... Or something like that.

I woke up at home the next morning to the Greensboro terminal manager asking me if I wanted an easy, no touch load to the west coast. "They fired me," I answered.

"Not anymore they didn't."

"What happened?"

"That hotshot Baltimore driver that picked up that trailer last night."

"Yea, what about him?" I asked.

"He didn't make it out of Greensboro before he tore the whole top out of that UPS trailer-- 29 and Florida Street," he explained. "He tried to put it off on you but I backed you up, went all the way to the owner of the company and told him the whole story. Your trailer is loaded and waiting on the yard when you get here."

Nov 7, 2018

Nothing Good Comes From It

Failures on the part of those who can make a difference but ignore the problems usually result in failures on the part of those chosen to fix the problems.

You Knew It Wood Be Bloody

When you pick the Antichrist to run against the Devil, don't be surprised when your candidate loses.