Saturday, December 15, 2007

 

The Case of the Christmas Bracelet (part one of four)


From Foot Eater's case files, a Yuletide yarn to shiver your cockles!



ONE


Christmas of 1951 started out a real son-of-a-bitch and just got worse. On December 24 Marylou left me, raging out the door in a hurricane of shattered hopes and broken crockery, her last words ringing in my ears: ‘You’re a b___d, I hate you, I never want to see you again.’ I faced a bleak and empty New Year. Receptionists like her are hard to come by.

Then, in the afternoon, the phone rang. I was sitting on the window sill at the time, so entranced by the beautiful snowy city landscape outside that I didn’t think I’d ever turn away from it. My sill is so narrow that I get wedged in there and have to exert a real effort to extract myself off of it. Lost as I was in romantic thoughts, when I heard the shrilling of the phone I thought for a crazy moment it was someone calling to say I’d won the lottery or something, and I got so excited I managed to pull myself off. It was my doctor.

‘Foot,’ he said, ‘I know it’s Christmas Eve and all, but you really need to think about booking that liver transplant.’

‘Liver transplant, schmiver transplant,’ I said, thinking of my bank balance. I hadn’t had a real case in months.

‘Mmm. Raspy,’ he said. ‘Let me schedule you for a trachea replacement while we’re at it.’

We made small talk for a while and I thanked him for the case of bourbon and carton of Luckies he’d sent me as a Christmas present, before hanging up. He was a good old doc, really; he’d done my appendix and haemorrhoid transplants and had fixed up my heart after that comic book business three years earlier. Rumor had it he occasionally mixed up his autopsies and his prostatectomies, but nobody’s perfect.

At six o’clock that evening I was sitting in my office in my favorite – heck, my only – armchair, a bottle of Jack Daniel plugged into my normally cheery but by now terminally morose face, and thinking about wandering down to the mean streets in search of something hot and dirty to stick in my mouth (I’d just run out of cigarettes) when Pussy the cat dropped in through the window I kept cranked open a few inches despite the winter freeze to let some air in. I don’t mean my cat dropped in to let some air in; I just have difficulties with clauses and commas and the like, G-d damn it. I stared at Pussy. She was sodden and had something in her mouth. And she stank. It was a long time since I’d been in the same room with a pussy that was dripping wet and smelling of fish. I reached down and tossed her a mouse corpse I’d been meaning to throw out since last week and she dove for it, dropping what she’d brought in. I leaned forward to look at it.

It was a bracelet, gold or at any rate gold-plated, and although it was dirty with some kind of seaweed or pond scum it was still in good shape. I picked it up and rubbed it clean on my sleeve. There was something engraved on the inner surface. I peered at it in the flinty light that angled between the slats of the blinds, and the p-s turned to ice in my bl-dder.



Flashback time. I was a runty nine-year-old, way back before you’d remember, before Prohibition, even, sitting on the banks of the Mississippi watching the steamers crawl by like mechanical cockroaches the size of elephants. Pappy had gone off to war in Europe and I was tasked with defending the freehold against the bandits and human varmints that threatened to come kill my momma and sister and do the uh-uh-uh thing with our hogs and carry me off to a life of white slavery in Huckleberry-Twainsville upriver. I was balanced in the crook of a tree with Pappy’s double-ought Winchester loaded and propped across my lap and a straw hat pulled low over my eyes to shield out the flies and the July sun. Except there were no flies and there weren’t no July sun neither.

Soon enough a fat guy came strolling over the river. He wasn’t Jesus, walking on water; he had a beard, I’ll allow that, but he was dressed kind of weird and his water-walking weren’t no miracle seeing how the ’Sippi was frozen over and all. ‘Hey there, you, boy,’ he hollered.

I pulled the triggers. The shot went way wild. When the noise had cleared and the blue smoke had dispersed a little, he cussed in a fashion I hadn’t never heard before and yelled, ‘Holy h-ll, boy. You some kind of a a—hole?’

‘What do you mean, sir?’ There was a queer smell in the air, like when someone makes poopy-kaka in his pants, and it wasn’t me.

‘I mean, you’re sittin out here dressed like it’s high summer.’

‘Ain’t it?’ I was getting edgy seeing how this stranger was looking at me all funny. Holding his gaze, I reloaded.

‘No. It’s late December.’ He stepped forward. He looked scared, but also astonished, sort of. He put a hand on his chest.

‘Don’t you know who I am?’

‘Naw.’ I tried to think what my Pappy would of done, even though he was over in France killing Kaisers. This guy weren’t no obvious varmint nor no prevert neither but nonetheless he was mighty weird. He started to reach inside his jacket and I decided my Pappy would of shot him so I gave him both barrels, right in the face. His head done come clean off and it was all red inside, like his clothes. He landed on his large a-s on the frozen ground. I went over to him, the blast of the shotgun still whining high in my ears, and poked the barrels at his hand till it uncurled. I saw a lollipop in his open fist. Probably a prevert after all. Round his wrist something glittered, gold. I stooped to look at it. It was a bracelet, like what medicals and asthmatics and epileptics wear. On the reverse side it said (I read good, even as a boy): Santa Claus.

'S--t,' I said. The echo of the word skittered across the iced river surface like a series of skimmed hyphens. I lit a cigarette.

Comments:
I knew Santa was at least a diabetic. Got to go, curry burning - back in bits.
 
Oh dear, footsie, poor Santa - this is sacrilege, how could you?
 
Don't miss episode two, next Christmas!
 
There's a special place in hell for the murderer of Santa, alongside all the shitty wee kids who ruined it for their classmates in Primary 4 by running around telling us Santa was just our daddies dressed up, and all about what daddy had to do to mummy to make her pregnant. I still don't believe either of these filthy, heinous lies.
 
No wonder I never found a pony in my stocking.

You killed Santa off before I even had a chance.

You cock.
 
I was never touched by Santa.
 
Merry Christmas to you
Merry Christmas to you
Merry Christmas dear Fooooooootyyyyy
Merry Christmas to you!

All warmth, health and happiness to the Eater family as you await the arrival of your new little nibbler. What fun awaits you!
 
Have a cool yule, footsie and all the best for 2008.
 
Happy Christmas Footie, now get on with the next episode.
FMC X
 
Hello I just entered before I have to leave to the airport, it's been very nice to meet you, if you want here is the site I told you about where I type some stuff and make good money (I work from home): here it is
 
Merry Christmas HA! its all over you c--t. I heard you were from buttf--k alabuma. I did a trackeoughtimmy aboard a BA flight once, not being a real doc--r I had to improvise, nope crayons don't work.Oh here is that great blog I told you about, its bigger than Jesus Here
 
Was that back when he still worked for Coca Cola?
 
I'm all of a flamin' gog for this next episode. I can't maintain this constant agoggery through 'til the New Year - it'll affect my gravy. My custard's already suffering.

Post Foots, post!
 
Happy new Year, Foots!

Has the eaglet landed yet? Has the tiny Foot been born??

All health and happiness for the coming year, you peculiarly wired fella.

Slainte mhor!
 
Happy New Year! - Hope 2008 is good to you :)
 
Look here Footie, I know you're frightfully terrified what with the impendings and all that, but Maroon has produced, the very least you could do is match his output.
 
FMC's right, you don't want to be seen to be as the also ran
 
Maroon's posted? Christ! I'd better get my skates on.

Next instalment will be here before Christmas. Within the week, in fact.
 
Merry Christmas fucker. Sorry I'm late. And a prosperous 2003 to you as well.
 
Absence is not making the heart grow fonder.
 
Within the week, in fact.

Er... or not.

This story will be completed, I promise. I have the whole thing mapped out, with plenty of twists and turns and lots of smutty double entendres.

Binty: who are you calling a Christmas-fucker?

Boudica: no, but absinthe makes the fart go 'Honda'. You must have heard that joke.
 
And when you've done all that, remember you're still t-gged.
 
Footio, Footio, wherefore art thy postio?
 
Philip: rest assured, your tag is unforgotten, and will be responded to inimitably in due course.

Sam: rest assured, the rest of this story is going to be such a literary masterpiece that Proust, Shakespeare and Dostoevsky will be turning in their collective graves. Or something.
 
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