A punch bowl in the middle of Main.
Big tiger cat looking out the window of the house mewing
A Discover card in the name of S. Nicholas on the sidewalk.
Six empty punch cups in a circle around a tree.
The glaciers moved slowly. Glaciers weigh a lot. Somewhere in the middle of Main, there is a punchbowl caused by the weight of a glacier pressing upon the soil below. Somewhere near Caratunk, to be exact. Caratunk is in the middle of Main, or the middle of nowhere, depending on your point of view. Glacial punchbowls are not unusual. This one was strange, this Christmas evening.
Christmas is, of course, only a few days after Yule. The middle of Main is where one finds strange critters, like moose, and meercats, and red flying squirrels. Now, however, one found six empty punch cards around a tree. Each punch card was in a punch cup, not far from the punchbowl. There are not a lot of sidewalks in Caratunk. The sidewalk at the corner of Main and New Hampshir Avenues is where the punch cards in the punch cups near the punch bowl were found.
“Pagans’ thought Inspector Risueño! Who else would be celebrating near the punchbowl on a cold winter’s night in Caratunk, Main? Solstice is, of course, a major holiday. Footprints, hoof prints, paw prints in a circle around the punch cards in the punch cups around the punchbowl. Inspector Risueño’s mind was swirling. Big hoof prints, small hoof prints, even a fin print? What had happened here? Inspector Risueño found another clue as the snow swirled about like his mind was swirling. A Discover card, with the name S. Nicholas lay on the sidewalk. Stomped by many hoof prints. Risueño ignored, or perhaps just didn’t see, the bloodied body in the red suit, with ermine trim, hidden behind the sleigh off on Main. “It’s a befuzzlement,” he thought, as he went into the Dunkin Doughnuts for a fresh cup of java.
Tom Cat knew the truth. The big tiger cat looked out the window of the house mewling. He knew the truth.
The Itinerant Sisters of Bon Secours, from the mission in Monson, had come to town to spread some Christmas cheer among the less well-to-do Christmas tree farmers in Caratunk. They had brought fruit punch, in an elegant plastic punch bowl. The local election board workers had become punch drunk recounting the endless punch cards from the election. A month and a half later, they were still recounting. They ran into the street screaming. “Hanging chad”. The Salvation Army Santa, from Rangely, had driven into town. His sleigh was drawn by nine not-so-tiny moose. Reindeer were in short supply in Rangely. Susanna Nicholas, the minister of the Church of Little Hope, on Little Hope Avenue, was heading to the K-Mart for a blue light special, waving her Discover Card. She needed a few more candles for the candle-light mass.
What happened next was never reported in the Caratunk Herald-News-Intelligencer. What happened would have been laughed at, if it had been choreographed in a Keystone Cops movie! The reason that it was never reported in the Caratunk Intelligencer-News-Herald is that the one reporter was in the Dew Drop enjoying a libation.
The Pagans came down Front Street. The Itinerant Sisters of Bon Secours, punch bowl in their hands came down Mission Avenue. Santa, in his sleigh, came down Rte 50. Susanna Nicholas headed up Little Hope Avenue. The frenzied election board workers spewed forth from the courthouse. The moose, egged on by the election board workers, and smelling the fruit punch, stampeded. Santa ran into Susanna. The moose ran him over, before the sled overturned. The election board workers ran into the woods, never to be seen again. The Pagans went off to bed. The Itinerant Sisters dropped their punch bowl, and sought solace in the Church of Little Hope.
And, thus it was, that the punch bowl sat in the middle of Main, the Discover Card lay on the sidewalk, the six punch cards landed in the punch cups around the tree, and the big tiger cat sat in the window of the house mewling. Even if Tom cat were the reporter for the Caratunk Herald-Intelligencer-News, no one would believe him. He mewed again, and went back to sleep.
Watch these pages for more stories by Paul.
In the meantime, click the links below for other poems and stories by the authors at Lara's Den.
The Reason For The Season
Just A Simple Christmas
The Christmas Doll
And.......for many others, click the index image.
The featured scene is a photograph of the park in Paul's (AHikingDude@aol.com) home town of Morristown, NJ.