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Story Time By the Yule Log
by Turtle Jones
One of us is feeling under the weather tonight, so this is a solo LNT.
No, it's not Michele. I know, it's usually me. But tonight Turtle is down for the count, laying on the couch moaning something about his last wil and testament. Whatever. As long as I get the CDs. And the Cheat doll.
So tonight is Christmas story time. Pull up a chair, I'll lite the yule log. Hang on.
It's Christmas time, 197something or other. And we're going Christmas caroling.
We always intended our attempts at Christmas caroling to be idyllic, in an innocent, 1950's kind of way. We had good intentions. We had the parkas and the rubber boots and the off key voices. We just didn't have the right amount of Wally and the Beaver in us to pull it off correctly.
We started off nice and happy and in the spirit. It only took about five minutes before we were like a pack of rabid dogs who turned on each other. Lori wanted to stand in front all the time because she thought - mistakenly - that she had a beautiful singing voice. She was the only one who couldn't hear that her singing sounded more like helium escaping from a balloon than Roberta Flack (Lori's rendition of Killing Me Softly was to die for. Literally). So Lori would run up ahead of us, wanting to be the first person at the door. The prime spot, as she called it. Like she was first soprano or something. The boys would pelt her with snowballs as she ran ahead and more often than not, Lori would end up face down in a foot of snow, crying that we were just jealous of her.
Our intentions were to hit at least five houses a night. We knew our neighbors weren't too big on carolers - especially juvenile delinquent carolers who yelled more than sang - and instead of making us hot chocolate, they would just hand each of us a quarter - usually mid song - and give us a faint smile as they closed the door on us. Which was all we wanted. A few quarters a night, pooled together, meant a trip to Murray's and candy for everyone.
Murray was an old man who ran a small candy/cigarette/expired milk store on the corner. We would have much preferred to go to 7-11 for Slurpees, but some of us weren't allowed to cross main street to get there. So we settled for Murray's, where the Bazooka gum often had teeth marks courtesy of Murray's snarling, vicious, child hating dog.
We once hit upon the idea of singing Christmas carols to Murray. We thought it would soften his heart, as if life were nothing but a sappy tv movie and we were writing the script. When we burst into his store singing Silent Night, Murray shrank back in horror. I had a vision of Murray as the wicked witch, melting under Dorothy's thrown water.
"I'm a Jew, you idiots! A Jew!"
Gloria - the self-appointed "leader" of our gang - stepped forward, staring down Murray. "Yea, well, Ricki and Larry are Jews and they're singing!" She pointed to the siblings who were now staring at the floor.
"Well, they should be ashamed of themselves. Get out of my store, now!" Gloria stared at Murray defiantly. She sneered at Murray, in that "I come from the Bronx and you don't scare me" way.
"Face it, Murray. You just don't like us singing because we're happy and you're not."
The old man stared silently at us. I immediately began forming this scenario in mind in which Murray would say that Gloria was right, he was lonely and unhappy and maybe the beautiful children of the neighborhood who had voices like golden angels and hearts filled with love and charity would look kindly upon this old man and forgive him all his transgressions, including rancid milk and dog-chewed gum. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, everyone! And we'd all hug and do a rousing rendition of Dreidel, Dreidel for Murray while the neighbors poured out of their houses to join us.
Murray spat at Gloria. Hocked a huge loogie right at her. The wad missed her by a few inches and landed on the counter. The dog came over and licked it up.
As we left the store, everyone was giggling. Except me. I was dejected. I wanted Murray's heart to grow three times its size! I think that was a subtle beginning to my career as a cynic.
So we trudged on, making our way through the gray, slushy snow, our rubber boots went squishing in the slush. Squish on the way down. Pop on the way up. Our boots sounded like plungers digging turds out of the toilet bowl. Squish. Pop. Squish. Pop. We were a marching band of wet, freezing kids who just wanted to spread some holiday cheer. And maybe make a buck or two in the process.
Lori was the one who insisted on going to Scott's house. Scott was the grade school equivalent of the high school quarterback. King of the playground, best looking kid in any K-6 school for miles around. Lori, who thought of herself as the female version of Scott, had been trying all year to convince Scott that they would make a great couple. Scott, all of eleven years old at the time, still hadn't made the transition from swapping baseball cards to swapping spit.
So we headed over toward's Scott's house. On the way there, Lori lectured us about the caroling protocol. She would ring the bell. She would stand in front. She would sing all the key verses to Rudolph, while we did the background vocals. We were about to fight her on all issues, but Gloria silenced us with a glare. Whatever. We'd just let Lori have her way, collect a few quarters and make the mad dash across the forbidden street to 7-11, now that we were no longer welcome at Murray's. The lure of the Slurpee was strong.
What happened next was really Lori's fault. She would not shut up. She kept going on about how she deserves to be Scott's girlfriend, that she was the prettiest and most mature girl in the school, that her voice was so much better than all of ours and we were just kids, after all (Lori had been left back in first grade, so she was a whole. year. older. than most of us).
We got tired of Lori. We had tired of trudging. We were cold and hungry and I could swear I heard my mother calling me. But I walked on.
We got to Scott's house and, according to plan, Lori - her coat unbuttoned to reveal a tight, pale green, fake cashmere sweater with two perfectly rounded tits beneath it - rang the bell. Scott's mother answered the door and we immediately burst into the first chorus of Rudolph.
Lori whirled around and threw a look of burning rage our way. She whispered through clenched teeth, "I told you not to sing except for the background. And we are supposed to be singing for Scott. Not his stupid mother."
We backed off and Lori turned on her sweet voice and asked Scott's mom to send him to the door. I heard the boys behind me giggling and whispering and when I turned to see what they were up to, Steve just held a finger to his lips. Something was up. Judging from the laughter coming from the back of our group, it was going to be good.
Finally, Scott came to the door. Lori's eyes met his and she gave him a sultry (at least a twelve year old version of sultry) smile. She launched right into her solo effort.
Rudolph the red nosed reindeer...
Each word, each syllable was sung in a throaty whisper and I just know that Lori was imagining herself in a slinky white dress, singing birthday wishes to the president. It was Christmas carol porn, twelve year old style.
We were meant to sing the backing vocals; words that had been made up and inserted over the ages to give the song a funny (to a kid, anyhow) edge.
Lori: Had a very shiny nose
I had no idea what that meant. Does Pepsodent glow? No matter, the added phrases had been passed down from grade to grade and we had to do our part to carry on the tradition, even if it made no sense to us.
And the song went on, Lori doing her best Marilyn Monroe, the rest of us shouting the added lyrics in unison complete with missed notes and Lori turning to glare at us every time we got off key.
Finally, the last verse. Lori stuck her chest out a bit more, making sure that Scott noticed the fine, shapely lumps emerging from her sweater. She had her right hand on her hip and she used her left hand to keep flipping her hair. Her hips swayed as she sang. The combination of the tits, the hair, the hips and the swaying were, I suppose, supposed to be sexy in a twelve year old way, but made her look like more like a spazz who had to pee really bad.
Rudolph the red nose reindeer, you'll. Go. Down. In. Hist-or-y. She belted that last line out like her love life depended on it.
That's where we were supposed to chime in with LIKE COLUMBUS! and get a nice round of applause. But during the "reindeer games" verse, the instructions came from the back to the front. No one was supposed to say the Columbus line. Everyone just stay silent. I shrugged and went along with the game. I just wanted to get my damn Slurpee and go home.
Boys: LORI STUFFS!
Silence. Complete silence. Shock and awe, I think.
Then a few giggles were heard from the back of the pack. . Lori pulled the flaps of her jacket tight, turned on her heels and went running down the steps. Scott looked rather amused, while his mother looked absolutely horrified. The rest of us just stood there, feeling rather awkward. Well, kind of awkward, kind of satisfied.
Lori maneuvered her way around us trying to high tail it out of Scott's yard. She pushed each one of us out of the way with her elbows, her hands being used to keep her jacket shut tight. She pushed and scowled and and we all just stared at her as she let go of her jacket long enough to flip us the bird with one gloved hand.
And then she tripped over a Christmas light cord that was strung around a hedge at the end of Scott's walk.
She sort of pinwheeled to the ground, pulling some of the lights from the bush down with her. And there she lay, face down in the snow and lit up by a dozen or so big, colored lights. Gloria helped her up and the two of them walked down the street alone.
I knew right then that this was the end of many things. Our caroling for Slurpees scheme. Our otherwise tight knit group of misfits. Lori's plans to marry Scott some day. All pretty much over. It also meant the end of the lumps under Lori's sweater, as everyone within five miles of our school would find out in no less than 24 hours that Lori's tits were no more than artistically folded socks.
We didn't see Lori for many days after that, as she chose to lock herself in her bedroom, with only visits Gloria.
I heard from Lori's brother - who was part of the "Lori stuffs" chorus, that his sister burst into tears when their grandmother gave her socks for Christmas.
Good times, good times.
Michele still doesn't cross that street to 7-11 by herself