Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Brightest House on Candy Cane Lane

Harold was a block away from home when he saw baby Jesus crawling the sidewalk like a wounded animal in search of a place to die.

“Jeez. It gets worse every damn year. What’ll they think of next?”

Two houses further he saw Frosty the Snowman peeking around a hedge with shifty coal eyes. On the other side of the street Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer galloped, white electric cord dragging like a malformed tail.

Harold grumbled. Animatronic props must be the in thing this year, he thought. By the time Christmas came, the whole street would be crawling with ‘em.

When Harold pulled into his driveway, he just about lost his shit.

He’d lived in this neighborhood for fifty years and for fifty years everyone decked out their houses with obnoxious lights and tacky decorations. Somewhere along the way it became known as Candy Cane Lane, but really it was a month long traffic jam.

Harold and his wife had never participated. That’s why he became filled with anger when he arrived home to find lights on his fascia and one of the Wisemen on his lawn. He knew one day the bastard neighbors would take it upon themselves to decorate his house. They hated him. Called him a Grinch, a regular bah humbugger.

Cursing under his breath, Harold grabbed a string of lights from a low hanging eave and yanked, but the lights pulled back. Harold paused. “What the…?”

The string of lights wrapped around his hand and spooled up his arm.

“Christ!” Harold pulled away and bumped into another Wiseman who grabbed Harold by the shoulders as more light strands slithered across the street like malnourished serpents. The lights connected with one another and wound their way up his body, entwining around his limbs.

He hollered for his wife. “Martha! Martha!”

The milti-colored lights wrapped around and around locking male-pronged heads into female-pronged tails, one after the other. A shape was being formed.

Harold’s voice was now muffled. “Martha!”

Reindeer pranced into the yard. Frosty creeped along the bushes. Wreathes rolled up the drive like red and green wheels. Christmas lights crawled into Harold’s yard, climbing the woodwork like tentacles with tiny glass bulbs rather than suction cups.

Harold’s voice was nothing more than mumbles behind an impenetrable layer of holiday lights that formed three balls stacked atop one another in the creation of a snowman. Frosty removed his top hat and placed it on the tangled mass of Harold’s head. A variety of heavy-duty extension cords found available sockets in the stucco and connected to the double prong plug sprouting from what had once been Harold’s feet.

He lit up in a brilliant glow of color with darkness where the coal eyes should be.

Martha opened the front door. “Dammit, Harold, what’s—“ The words dropped from her mouth like a hunk of lead.

Santa Clause stood there with a jelly belly and a rosy grin. He opened his big red sack, which was suspiciously empty of gifts. Martha took a tentative step back. That’s when the elves crowded around and hurled her into the gaping maw of Santa’s gift sack. The jolly fellow pulled the rope tight and knotted it while Martha screamed and flailed. Santa then used a gutter and lattice to climb onto the roof where his reindeer waited.

As dusk fell, the house lit up like a cheerful explosion. The neighbors gathered ‘round and marveled at the brightest house on Candy Cane Lane.

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