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eye WEEKLY                                            December 22 1994
Toronto's arts newspaper                      .....free every Thursday
THE NECROFILE                                            THE NECROFILE

                      SOLICITORS OF THE SPIRIT

                            DONNA LYPCHUK

Yeah, I've been taking my Echinicea, 10 drops each day in glass of
water, and yeah, at the first sign of a sniff I took a hot Eucalyptus
bubble bath, and yes, I remembered to rub the Tiger Balm on my chest
and yeah, yeah, I rubbed all the pressure points on my feet with a
slice of fresh ginger and yeah, I also tried to blow the virus out of
my head by swilling on a tub of Hot and Sour Soup Extra Spicy from the
Hunan Palace on Spadina, and yes, I even swigged down a couple a' shots
of cognac but did I get better? No, I still got really, really sick.

So, muttering things to myself like "Oh yeah, now I'm really absolutely
delirious with Christmas Spirit!" and "Thanks for the Merry Lump O'
Coal!" I made myself a little nest on the fold-out futon out of this
brown and black fake mohair thing that my boyfriend bought at a
discount store, an item that I've often mistaken for a bear when I've
been very tired, and started reading my favorite new gardening book,
The Secrets Of Seed Propagation by C.S. Lewis, and then finally, while
thinking Mad Scientist thoughts about genetically crafting the most
beautiful rose in the world from cuttings stolen from other people's
gardens, I finally fell asleep, with the sounds and image of Woody
Woodpecker, a plunger suctioned onto his rear end and a rubber glove
stuck on his head, drilling his beak into a barn door on TV ...

A couple of hours later I woke up, with the worst craving in the world
for a lemon-lime popsicle, with one black cat curled up on top of my
head like Laura's hat in Dr. Zhivago, one black cat soaking up the
vibes from the solar plexus, one gray cat with its snout snuffled deep
in my armpit, another black cat tucked in the crook of my legs, a
kitten slung across my neck and the shining orb of Homer Simpson's butt
mooning me from the TV ...

I was lying there, sort of thinking about getting up to go to the
bathroom but also thinking crazy, kind of feverish thoughts like "I
wonder if I concentrate hard enough could I shatter one of those shiny,
silver balls on the Christmas tree with the power of my mind?" and
crazy Martha Stewart designer advice thoughts such as "A few boughs and
branches gathered from the dark forest would make an attractive garland
for that archway," when there was an insistent rat-tat-tat at the door
and I said out loud to the cats, "Oh, oh. It's Woody Woodpecker! Better
run!" and they ran.

Now, normally, I wouldn't bother answering the door at 7 on a Saturday
night, because my friends usually call first, but then I became
convinced, absolutely convinced, that the mysterious stranger at the
door was that lost Christmas Spirit I'd been looking for all week
finally come home to fill up the coffers of my soul with Peace On Earth
and Good Will Toward Men. So, my heart fluttering like angels' wings
and my head pounding in syncopation with the pounding at the door, I
threw the brown mohair thing around my shoulders, and like a Woolly
Mammoth emerging from centuries of ice, lumbered toward the front door
trailing carnations of crumpled-up Kleenexes and mumbling, "Yes, who is
it?" through the bubbles of greenish phlegm percolating in the back of
my throat.

"Oh, it's us!" was the cheerful cry from behind the door, which I flung
open despite the fact that opening a door to a stranger in this city is
a bit like opening Pandora's box. Standing there were two rosy-cheeked,
similar-looking young men, with matching bright blue eyes and silky
blond hair combed back into the kind of cresting waves that surfers
dream of, and sporting merry bright red scarves draped over wool
houndstooth trenchcoats. "Oh, good!" I thought. "The Christmas Elves
are here to massage my feet."

"Are you Jewish?" asked one of the boys, through his smile, which
displayed the chiselled points of his pearly front teeth. What? No
hello, no Merry Christmas, nothing?

"No," I replied, in a tone of voice that I hoped reflected my

"Well, then. Are you Chinese?" Who were these guys, with their Aryan
good looks, giving me the third degree about my pedigree?

"No," I replied. "Well, maybe ..."

"Are you a Buddhist?"

"No. What do you want?"

"Do you know the significance of that thing that you have hanging over
your door?" They were referring to the six-sided mirror hanging over my
front door.

"Yes," I said. "It's a magic charm that is supposed to scare away
unwanted intruders." I looked at the two of them standing there,
smiling at me like demented DEA agents from some second-string thriller
on TV ... "I guess it doesn't work."

"Is it necessary for you to have such a bright light on your porch?"
one of them asked, shielding his eyes from the 500-watt bulb of the
motion detector.

"Excuse me, but who the fuck are you, getting me up when I have the
'flu and asking me stupid questions?"

"We're from the Church of Latter Day Jesus Christ."

"Well, don't the grown-ups at the Church of Latter Day Jesus Christ
teach you boys that it is not polite to harass people late at night?
Besides, what business is it of yours what religion or race I am? Get
out of here, you twerps! Get off my porch!"

At that point, one of my black cats jumped from the top of the door and
into my arms and spat out a hiss. The two boys stepped back and gasped
and pointed at me. "She's a witch! Look at her messy hair! Look at all
the black cats!"

"Have a Merry Christmas, boys!" I snapped and slammed the door with a
great noise and then went back into house where not a creature was
stirring, not even a mouse, because when you live in a house with five
cats, nobody gets out alive and nobody gets in, unless they have a
bottle of Christmas Cheer. I know this isn't much of a Christmas story,
but hey, I swear it's true.

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