Book Trailer For Madam President

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Worst Christmas

In college I had a trailer out by the slaughter house in a small town. I spent one Christmas there when I decided not to go home because of an impending divorce with my parents. The pigs and I broke bread on Christmas Eve with their squealing my companion. I watched Xmas movies in the small trailer and felt very alone. My parents had sent me gifts in boxes and one I kicked and heard bottles clink. The two bottles of Pinot were uncorked and I immediately felt better. My brother had sent me another box with a hookah. I put dish soap in it and created bubbles. The payphone rang.

I walked out from the trailer and stared at the pigs who were awaiting execution. It was not a high tech slaughter house and a sledge hammer did the job. They squealed once. Horribly. I picked up the phone and it was Bertha a woman I had met at another low point. She suggested I come down to her bar and join her in some yuletide celebration. Bertha was married to Hank the biker who was enlisting and leaving for Iraq in the morning. She set me up with shots of Wild Turkey while she moved around in her satiny coat and smiled with few teeth. By the time she got off I was under my stool.

We returned to my trailer where Hank the biker provided fuel of the hookah my brother had sent. We finished another bottle of pinot and suddenly we were all on Mars looking at earth. Hank said the fuel of the hookah was very good. He said not to worry that we would return to earth when it wore off. Bertha and I walked around Mars and ate pecans with pomegranate from Starbucks while Hank contemplated his impending enlistment. Her bar jacket swished mightily. Hank was right and it wore off and we were back in the trailer. Bertha and Hank disappeared for a while and the trailer rocked and shimmied. There was a knock at the door.

It was Burt from the slaughter house. He asked if I might want to pick up a few dollars. I said of course. It being Christmas and all. He said someone had not shown for work and so I accompanied him to the slaughter house of gore. Blood and dead pigs were everywhere. Burt handed me the sledge. All you gotta do is bean the pigs in the head. I said fine. I waited at the swinging door. The first pig came through and I let him have it. His head cracked like a walnut and his tongue shot out. Bert said I had a touch. I did that to ten more pigs when Ethyl showed up for work. It turned out Ethyl was Bertha's sister. She took the sledge from me and knocked down three pigs like a pro. Which she was.

I returned to the trailer and found that Hank and Bertha had left. I put more detergent in the empty hookah and made bubbles until dawn where I fell asleep. I knew, even then, that was my worst Christmas. Hank was killed in Iraq and Bertha was arrested for giving shots out the back door of the bar to elementary kids.Far as I know Ethyl still works at the slaughter house.

Oh, the Mars. Rover found my wrapper of pecans with pomegranates form Starbucks years later.  They said it meant humans had been there before. Yeah, maybe.

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Books by William Hazelgrove