By “Monica Zir”
Last year poor Uncle Joe got poisoned by the cranberries. Cranberries are evil you know, but I love cranberries. I’m bringing them again this year for fun and magic.
Ever since someone started the fad that “sugar is evil”, I’ve done very well with my cranberry sauce. For every 12 ounces of cranberries, it’s recommended that you use one cup of water and one cup of sugar. So I just announce, “This has more than one cup of sugar. For those of you who are diabetic, please don’t eat any, and for those of you who don’t know because you haven’t been tested: I’ll drive you to the emergency room if you go into shock.” For years it worked very well because no one ate any and I got to take it back home along with a bunch of leftovers. But then they started a new fad that “high fructose corn syrup is evil and sugar is somewhat OK.” I tried making cranberry sauce with corn syrup but it didn’t taste that good.
Last year, bringing my special cranberry sauce, I went to my sister’s house in the pine forest. It’s a wonderfully huge house with a lot of land just outside of Mysteryville. From the size of the estate you would think she’s rich, but she’s not. She got it very cheap (they almost paid her to take it), because there were rumors that it was built on sacred Indian ground where the native tribes had said there were openings into the spirit world. But my sister is not superstitious so she took it with its charming ambiance fearlessly, and she’s always said she’s never had a problem.
When I got to the table I said, “Attention, if you’re diabetic…”
My sister interrupted, “Yeah, we know. You can take it home with you if no one has any.”
I sat down and grumbled. Uncle Joe came dressed as Santa Claus and he had a great time giving gifts to the children sitting next to the sacred pine tree that my sister had chopped down. It was decorated traditionally with tinsel and bobbles and little reindeer figures. Uncle Joe said his ho-ho-ho’s and drank a little wine, and had some cranberry sauce.
Sometime during the din of conversation and frolic we heard sirens in the background, but we ignored it. A while later someone noticed that Santa was missing. But conversation became transformed by songs, merriment, and the sound of children laughing as they unwrapped their gifts with glee.
I was bored so I shouted out, “Where’s Santa?”
“Who cares?” my sister said.
Suddenly, Santa Claus returned. He said, “Which children have been naughty and which have been nice? Who made the cranberry sauce?”
“I did, I did!” I said.
Santa began to glow and glow with an intense light. Soon it was a blinding light, and with a burst and a popping noise, he transformed himself into a wolf who lapped up the rest of the cranberry sauce and everything else on the table. I screamed because I knew I wouldn’t be getting any left-overs.
“Where’s Uncle Joe?” I said.
“He’s at the hospital,” my sister said.
I looked at the wolf and back at my sister. “Who’s this then?”
“It’s one of the gnomes. They like to party every ten years. Don’t worry, I have some extra food in the refrigerator for you to take home.”
This year I’m taking cranberry sauce and dog food. My sister does have interesting parties sometimes, and she still says that she’s never had a problem living in the pine forest.
FROM: Doug’s Foxes Do Short Stories
FREE eBook on Amazon: “Doug’s Foxes Do Short Stories”
— Douglas Gilbert