Friday, December 25, 2009

“Christmas Tree Kidnap”

c. 2009 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

A few weeks ago, I wrote about potential Geauga County nominees for a homegrown Nobel Prize. Notable among the group was ‘Christmas Tree Lady’ Paula Horbay.

In my column, I wondered if this cheerful purveyor of holiday greens was in fact one of Santa’s elves.

Via e-mail, Horbay responded with a poem that answered my tongue-in-cheek supposition:

“Twas three weeks ‘til Christmas and all thru the North Pole; All the elves were getting their orders about when and where they should go. Santa sent one elf to make all the toys; ‘Ho Ho Ho!’ he said, ‘Make sure they're just right for all the good girls and good boys.’ Then he sat and he pondered what the next elf should do, you know it's a big job and he had no time to lose. With a twinkle in his eye and a grin on his face, he knew he had to send this next elf to a very special place. The destination he sees is clearly surrounded by trees, and the elf that he chose can be identified by her clothes! Santa was chuckling not naughty, but nice, Cuz he just solved the riddle for that writer Rod Ice.”

Afterward, I sat down at my computer to begin working on a new manuscript. Fatigue soon claimed the moment, however. I slipped into a dream while still at the keyboard…

It was a busy day in The Court of Hades.

A line of accused spirits stretched from one end of the cavern to another. There were dozens of damned spirits awaiting punishment.

Bailiff Tar Sulpherio stood tall, with the stiff demeanor of a traffic cop. He lifted a scroll filled with names of the damned.

“All rise!” he barked.

Judge Lucifer entered the cavern in a swirl of smoke and fire.

“Be seated!” he said, gruffly.

Sulpherio read from his scroll. “First, Your Honor, we have Troy Pilk. He spanked kittens for personal amusement and posted a video of his act on YouTube.”

Lucifer groaned. “For your cruelty, my decree is one hundred years breaking rocks. And for your inability to think of something more convincingly evil, the remainder of eternity playing Guitar Hero – botching every single game!”

Pilk dropped to his knees, sobbing.

Bailiff Sulpherio shuddered, then returned to his scroll. “Next, we have Wanda Fortelli,” he said, dramatically. “She baked poison cookies for residents of the Shady Acres Rest Home while employed as a patient aide.”

Judge Lucifer shook his head. “No originality! Stupid woman, don’t you know that old trick has been done a thousand times before? I decree one hundred years of solitary confinement, followed by perpetual linen service for our shuffleboard team.”

Fortelli screamed for mercy. But catcalls and insults drowned out her plea.

Once again, Sulpherio gestured to the crowd. “Your Honor, next in line is Nigel Kleptic. He stole trees from a woman in the American realm of Ohio.”

Judge Lucifer gasped, then looked down from his bench with disdain.

Silence filled the cavern.

“You robbed ‘Christmas Tree Lady’ Paula Horbay?” he exclaimed. “Really??”

Kleptic began to sweat. “Not true!” he protested. “I didn’t do it!”

Bailiff Sulpherio passed a folder of pertinent documents to his evil mentor.

“It says here that you snatched seventy-eight trees from her delivery,” Lucifer continued. “An amazing accomplishment. Normally, I’d be impressed. But…you went too far… Paula is an elf. Didn’t you know that?”

Kleptic shook his head. “An… elf?”

“Even minions of Hell don’t prey on elves!” the evil master thundered. “Santa’s workforce falls under the umbrella of heavenly authority. That’s out of our jurisdiction.”

The suspect shuddered. “Huh??”

Sulpherio cackled to himself. “There are lines even a devil doesn’t cross!”

Judge Lucifer bowed his head. “You’ve created a problem for me,” he complained. “I’m used to passing out eternal damnation, or endless drowning in the lake of fire. You know, the routine stuff. But robbing an elf? Now I’ve got to think up something… special.”

Bailiff Sulpherio grinned. “Get him good, Your Honor! Make him pay!”

Kleptic whimpered like a schoolboy. “I didn’t do it! Read the local paper, sir. They uncovered the real story, last week!”

Silence returned.

“Local paper?” Lucifer snorted.

“Never mind his excuses,” Sulpherio growled. “Punish him!”

“Please, read the newspaper story!” Kleptic pleaded. “Then you’ll see!”

Judge Lucifer grumbled with irritation. “Yes. Clerk Medusa, get me a copy of The Maple Leaf. Do it now!”

The ugly, serpent-headed servant was defiant. “Your Honor, this is madness…”

“CLERK, GET ME THE PAPER!” Lucifer exploded. He scowled at his staff. “Do you want a diplomatic incident with EUHS?”

Kleptic was befuddled. “What?”

“The Eternal Union of Heavenly Souls,” Sulpherio groaned. “They are not a fun bunch to cross. We run things here in the depths of hell, and they rule in heaven. It works nicely for all of us…but we have to keep our place.”

Medusa fumbled through her records. Finally, the paper appeared.

Lucifer thumbed pages of newsprint, scanning each line with his crimson eyes.

“Glen Miller reported that there was no theft, after all,” he croaked. “Paula’s missing trees were accidentally delivered to the Hambden Township Fire Department.”

Bailiff Sulpherio sighed loudly. “Then, you can’t punish him after all?”

Judge Lucifer coughed quietly. “No! Flinderation, I say! This is a disappointment. But we are bound by our agreement with God. We get to tempt and destroy… but innocent souls get out of jail… free!”

Medusa shivered. “So, what can we do, Your Honor?”

“Send him home in time for Christmas!” Lucifer roared. “He is no longer our prisoner. And make darn sure that every demon in this pit of darkness leaves that elf alone! Do you understand??”

They bowed with reverence as the judge burst into a plume of smoke.

When I woke up, my coffee was cold. Everyone else had gone to bed. A blank page in Microsoft Word waited on the computer monitor. And my neck felt stiff.

Now, it was time to work!

Comments about Thoughts At Large may be sent to:
Visit us at:


Blogger 疼痛 said...

hello~nice to meet u..............................

5:36 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home