Monday, December 22, 2014

Let There Be Lights

“Louie,” Gil said, the strain to remain patient evident in his voice, “tell me again why I’m doing this.”

“Because you’s the mayor,” Louie said. “The mayor always judges the holiday light displays. It’s a time-honored Talbot’s Peak tradition.”

“How would you know? You’ve only lived here a couple of years.”

“I still been here longer’n you.” Louie maneuvered his SUV slowly up and down the Peak’s streets. He viewed the houses on the left, Gil those on the right. “C’mon. It’s the highlight of the year for some’a these people. Lookit this one. Nice, huh?”

“Ah yes. Yet another festive tableau of wicker wolves eating plastic reindeer.”

“Not that one. The one next to it, with the bear in the sleigh.”

“Oh yeah. That one’s okay, I suppose.”

“Don’t get all excited on me.”

Gil sighed. “I shouldn’t even be out here. I’ve got newborns. A family. I should be home with them.”

“G’wan. Chloe’s got her family with her. You ain’t getting anywhere near them kids with all them women around. You might as well enjoy the fresh air and all the pretty lights. We’ll do another circuit, pick a winner, and then you can go home. Howzabout it?”

“Yeah, okay,” Gil resigned himself. “What counts as a good display?”

“The brighter the better, I say. And creativity, don’t forget that. You’re right, we got way too many wolves eating deer around here. It’s getting old. The winner gotta show more imagination.”

“There’s a leopard eating a wildebeest with a red nose.”

“Variation on a tired theme. Anyway, the house ain’t done up enough. A string of lights around the door ain’t gonna cut it in this competition. You gotta at least do the windows.” Louie turned the SUV up a side street.

“Where are we going?” Gil asked.

“The Warrens. The rabbit neighborhood. Them bunnies go all out. It’s a point of pride with them.” He pointed at a house up ahead. “Now that’s what I’m talking about.”

Gil sat up. “Good Lord! It’s like Las Vegas exploded.”

“So waddaya think? Blue ribbon worthy?”

“I don’t know. I’m afraid if I look too long I’ll burn out my retinas. Is there even a tree under there, or is it just lights on a frame?”

“Y’know, even I ain’t sure. How d’ya like the candy cane forest?”

“Is that what that is? I thought they were carrots.”

“They are. Creativity. And nothing’s eating nobody else.”

“Why does Santa have rabbit ears?”

“Better reception?”

Gil slumped back in the passenger seat. “Okay. This is the one to beat. What else have we got?”

They trundled through the herbivore neighborhoods back to the carnivore streets. “The meat eaters sure do like red lights,” Gil observed. “But the grass eaters have more elaborate light displays.”

“That's so’s they can see the carnies coming. Hey, look. A whole family of Santa possums hanging from a tree branch. Ain’t that cute?”

“Cuter than the Santa crocodile lurking in the snowbank.”


“There. With Rudolph in his jaws.”

“Oh yeah.” Even Louie winced. “Well, we already decided the feeding frenzy displays are out of the running.”

“Pretty much, yeah.”

“Okay. We got this one other place I know about, then we’re done.” Louie headed out of town. Right at the city line, he stopped. “Waddaya think about that?”

Gil was speechless.

“C’mon. Gimme some feedback here.”

“It’s … it’s … “


“It’s Elvis,” Gil said weakly. “A nine-foot twinkling neon Elvis. In a Santa hat.”

“I know.” God help him, Louie was beaming. “Ain’t it great?”

“Where does somebody even get something like that?”

“He made it. Bozeman. Him and his wife are artists. They got a sign business down at the exit. This is their hobby. You should see this place at Halloween. Light shows, animatronic monsters, the works. I told him he should charge admission, but he does it for the kids. Gets a real charge out of it.”

“Christmas Elvis?”

“No, man, Halloween. Lemme cruise around the side. He said he was gonna add a new display, but I dunno if he had time to finish it.”

“Never mind,” Gil said. “I’m giving the prize to the bunny house. This one gets second. Third place … oh, hell, the possum family. Can we go home now?”

“Whine whine whine. I’m telling you, you ain’t getting near your kids until the women go home. You want to stop by the pub for a drink?”

“Oh sure, I’m going to walk into a house full of my wife’s relatives with liquor on my breath. Wait. You know where we can get some hot chocolate? The real deal, with milk. Then I can kiss my wife with sweet chocolate breath and all the womenfolk’ll go awwwww. And let me live another day, which is my primary goal.”

“Nice touch.” Louie nodded. “You’d’a made a good rat.”

“That’s all we are, y’know. Rats with fluffy tails. Oh my ever-loving God!”

“Holy shit! He did get it done! Boze, m’man, you rock!”

“That’s not—that isn’t—”

“KISS. You betcha. Look, there’s Paul in the Santa suit, and Ace and Peter are elves, and Gene’s tongue is lighting the way. You don’t see something like that every Christmas.”

“Thank Jesus. Now get me the hell out of here.”

“Wuss.” Louie turned the SUV for home, humming “Lick It Up” under his breath.


Savanna Kougar said...

Omygawd! ... it's a Christmas Light Spectacular flash-scene. That was incredible, Pat.

luvvit... “Cuter than the Santa crocodile lurking in the snowbank.”


“There. With Rudolph in his jaws.”

Pat C. said...

I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day.

Serena Shay said...

LOL...Nice job, Pat! I'd say the carnies out number the herbies for sure. :)

Okay, it has to be said...if the mayor were female, then Gene's lit up tongue would probably have won first place. Muahahahahah

...and now Louie and I have something in common...Lick it up, lick it up, oooooh oooh oh!

Rebecca Gillan said...

Well, look on the bright side, Gil. At least there wasn't any mistletoe of Gene's head! LOL!