Up on the Rooftop

(Christmas story, fiction online, free fiction, story online, stories online, Cindy Lynn, C.L. Beck)

This Christmas story was written by a "friend" of mine named Cindy Lynn. Quite coincidentally, she's about 5' 4" tall, with blue eyes and facial features that are strikingly similar to mine. She even owns a dog named Corky Porky Pie! Now that's freaky and seems to go beyond coincidence, doesn't it?

At any rate, Cindy Lynn likes to dabble in stories online, and writes articles for Associated Content under a pen name. Why a pen name? Because writing Internet articles requires a certain amount of repetition of key words, so the articles read differently than other work she might do. But ... enough about me her ... let's get to the Christmas story.

Up on the Rooftop

"I believe in Santy Claus, and any one who doesn't is a danged fool!" Shorty made the statement and then stared at the man named Jake, sitting next to him in the half-empty, Royal Flush Saloon. Shorty squared his shoulders, waiting for the inevitable jeering and the fist fight that would follow his words. "I might be short, but I ain't puny and I can whip any man twice my size ... so don't try convincing me with a bunch of fancy talk about how there ain't no Santy."

As Jake looked at him, Shorty could've sworn he saw something intangible flit across the guy's face. Not a smile, exactly, but more like an invisible nod. Shorty laid his Stetson on the bar in hopes it wouldn't get mashed in the soon-to-be fight and steeled himself, waiting for the first punch.

Jake's arm snaked out, Shorty jerked to the side while bringing up his gnarled fists ... and Jake patted Shorty on the shoulder. "I'm not trying to convince you of anything; we're just having a conversation. Why don't we take this outside?" Jake stood up and nudged the cowpuncher away from the oak bar.

Shorty's brow creased and he clenched his jaw. "Quit shoving. If you want a fight, it don't matter to me where, but I don't take kindly to bein' pushed around like some ornery longhorn about to be branded."

As they stepped through the door, the cold, Christmas Eve air took Shorty's breath away. I got about two minutes to handle this tin horn before I'll be too stiff in the joints to even move—dad-blamed ol' bones.

He took a swing at Jake's nose, but the guy sidestepped, slipped behind him, wrapped his arms around Shorty's chest and squeezed. "Listen to me, you old galoot! We aren't out here to fight. I want you to help me with something."

Shorty gasped for breath. "Well, you shore got a funny way of askin' for help—squeezin' me until my eyeballs pop."

Jake loosened his grip and Shorty turned to face him. "Give me one good reason why I should help you."

"Well, let's just say that it's because you still believe."

Shorty eyebrows raised a notch, and he brought his fists up again. "You makin' fun of me?"

"No. I need you to help me get it down." Jake pointed up the road.

"Get what down from where?" said the ol' cowboy, cocking his head and feeling confused.

The moon sparkled on the new fallen snow as Jake scuffed at it and said, "My vehicle. It's stuck on the roof of some old building."

Shorty laughed, then doubled over and laughed some more. "I think you had yourself a mite too much to drink there, fella, but it's all right. Ol' Shorty will help you out. I've pulled trucks out of ditches and cars out of creeks, but this'll be the first time I ever pulled a pickup off a rooftop!"

They climbed into Shorty's truck and Jake give directions for Shorty to drive to a field a mile away. Sure enough, at the end of the field sat an old wooden building with a dented, Ford F-150 sitting on the roof.

Shorty stood below, shaking his head in disbelief. "You musta been nippin' at the bottle waaayyy too long. And I can't even begin to figure how you did this."

As they climbed up to the vehicle, Jake said, "Let me get in and start the engine, then you give it a push and that should do it."

Shorty stopped in mid-climb. "Well, I'll be corn-swaggled if that won't just end up droppin' that pickup off the roof and then rollin' it. Are you sure that's what you want to do?"

Jake's eyes twinkled in the moonlight and he laughed. "Yes, you'll see."

It was no easy climb, going up an old, rickety building but Shorty finally made it and hunkered down behind the truck. As the motor roared, Shorty gave the biggest push of his life and muttered, "I don't know why I'm doin' this. Some days I don't even have as much sense as a hop toad havin' a picnic on the highway."

The vehicle slid down and to the right, causing Shorty to pitch forward. Catching himself with his hands, he looked up just in time to see the pickup transform into a mahogany sleigh pulled by eight reindeer and driven by Jake—whose jeans and plaid shirt had turned into a red and white suit topped off by a stocking cap.

Shorty scratched his head in amazement. "Well, I'll be ... that truck was just a disguise, and Jake is Santy Claus!"

The sleigh moved into the air, and Santa waved. "Thanks for your help getting it unstuck, Shorty!"

The ol' cowboy looked down to see a brightly wrapped present at his feet, with a tag that said, "To Shorty, who has always believed." He picked it up and with a jump, slid off the roof and waved at the sleigh. "Thanks, Santy. And ya better stop along the way to get yourself a new pair of glasses ... otherwise you'll land on another outhouse fer sure!"

------Up on the Rooftop and photo © C.L. Beck------

The Christmas List ... by C.L. Beck

Photo© C.L. Beck

Every year at about this time, I make up a Christmas wish list and give it to my husband, Russ. It usually includes practical items like blouses and sweaters, or maybe soul-soothing gifts like jewelry, perfume, and chocolates; all in the hopes that something—anything—on the list might actually end up under the tree.

Some women might think the men in their lives should come up with gift ideas all on their own, but gals, don’t be tempted with that thought. Men typically do not inherit a gift-giving gene from their mothers and the guys who do have nicknames like, “Pookie” and are decorating houses for a living.

But, if that’s not reason enough to give your sweetheart a wish list, here are a few more:

The Judge
Give the guy in your life a list so that you won’t end up with a weapon as your principal Christmas gift. When I say “weapon” I’m not talking a girly weapon like pepper spray—which in theory disables an attacker but in actuality fans out in a hairspray-like mist that blows back into your eyes, causing them to tear up and mascara to run down your face. But hey, at least it holds your hair in place.

Nor do I mean a paring knife, which all gals know are much more effective than mace because any man who sees a paring knife is afraid he’ll be asked to peel potatoes and takes off for the next county.

No, I'm talking a weapon that has a firing pin, trigger, and that needs to be carried in a holster that wraps around your chest—which would make any woman look like she’d grown an extra mammary gland. Not a bad thing, if one intends to be painted by Pablo Picasso, but it’s not what most women would request for Christmas.

But, let’s say that for one insane moment you considered doing that—no, not growing an extra mammary gland, but letting your guy give you a weapon for Christmas. For minimum requirements it would have to look pretty, with maybe a rainbow handle; have your name imprinted on the end where the bullet comes out, and carry a model name like, Sleep With Angels.

Nope, forget it. Gun manufacturers wouldn't even think of making a gun with that name, and your man would end up buying something with a nickname like, Blow the Guy’s Head Off or Blood in the Streets. Or even, The Judge. And yes, I made up those first two but The Judge is a real gun. Not that I would know from experience or anything.

.44 Caliber
Naturally, if your man buys you a gun, the next thing he’s going to purchase and put under the tree is bullets. No, not so you can string them and wear them around your neck, thus creating the latest fashion craze. Very few men would be caught dead (no pun intended) with a woman wearing bullets around her neck, although I hear there are a few living in compounds in Idaho who prefer women that wear their bullets bandoleer-style, across their chest. Obviously, they’re also the kind of men who don't mind if their gals resemble a Picasso painting.

Your guy will want to take you to an outdoor range and teach you how to shoot. The concept that men and women can stand side by side and shoot things is a myth perpetrated in the old west. Or maybe Montana; I'm not sure which. Your man will want to shoot at chipmunks, and you will stand there crying because he might have killed Chip and Dale (the cartoon chipmunks, not the dudes with muscles and skimpy underwear). He’ll want to use things like Necco Wafers as targets, which totally ruins them for eating. Or possibly shoot at cans of spray paint, which coincidentally are under pressure and will blow up, the shock wave making your hair frizz out all over your head while conveniently giving you non-removable paint streaks in your hair. Not that I would know this by experience, either.

American Handgunner
It’s safe to say that as a group, women are an uncomplaining lot. However, even the most laid-back among you would prefer that your Christmas gifts come wrapped in gaily-colored paper displaying scenes of snowmen and sleigh rides—not gun battles and automatic weapons. Nor will most of you approve of gift wrap depicting women in Miracle Bras and thongs, showing off the newest line of Thunderwear holsters.

By the time your sweetheart has bought you the gun, bullets, and Necco Wafers for targets, he’ll think nothing of wrapping those same gifts in pages torn out of the American Handgunner magazine.

In conclusion, take my advice—get that list written and handed to your man, lest you end up packin’ for the rest of your life. In the meantime, I’d love to give you more advice because I have a plethora of thoughts on this subject … but alas, it’s time for me to strap on The Judge and go grocery shopping.

(Dedicated to my friend, PackenMama, who knows her way around a shooting range almost as well as going shopping on e-Bay.)

------© C.L. (Cindy) Beck------

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Giblets Roasting on an Open Fire ... by C.L. Beck

 Photo © TheKohser, Wikimedia Commons

Ahhh, Thanksgiving—that time of year to eat roast turkey, smashed taters and stuffing. There’s only one way to make the stuffing and that's with sour dough bread and giblets. Okay, I hear some of you gagging at the mention of giblets, but mine is an old family recipe that tastes great. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be caught dead touching a giblet.

We have time honored traditions in our home and we follow them to the letter. One year, however, it didn’t go quite as expected. We watched the Macy’s parade in the morning while the giblets simmered on the stove. Then I turned them off (the giblets, not Macys), and made the stuffing using ... well ... I won’t tell you which parts, because you'll start gagging again.

I will say I’m picky about which innards go into my stuffing and there’s no way that gristly, ghastly gizzard was included. I left it in the pan of water and turned it back on so it would cook more, with the intention of feeding it later to the cats. Then I stuffed the gobbler and got that baby roasting.

While it cooked, we jumped into our truck and headed up the canyon to go skiing. I could almost catch a whiff of roast turkey floating among the pines, as the clouds threw dancing shadows that resembled pumpkin pies, and the snow looked like mounds of whipped cream.

After a couple of hours, it was time to go. On the drive down my tumbly was rumbly, thinking of the turkey that would be ready at home. My favorite Thanksgiving moment always happened when I walked in the door and the warmth of the kitchen washed over me, while the pungent odor of sage, onions and roast turkey wrapped me in a culinary hug.

I was the first to bail out of the truck, and raced to the door anticipating the aroma. I stopped short with my hand on the knob. “What’s that weird noise?”

My husband, Russ—being deaf in one ear and not able to hear out of the other—said, “What noise?”

“It sounds like a high-pitched whine.” Puzzled but not concerned, I turned the key in the lock and opened the door, inhaling to my fullest in preparation for the wonderful smells to come.

Acrid smoke poured out and rushed up my nose, while the smoke detector screamed like a wild banshee. “What’s going on?” I yelled to Russ over the din, waving my hands to clear a path through the smoke.

“Something’s burning!” he hollered.

“But what?” Had the turkey exploded and plastered itself all over the oven?

Just then our son, Dave, walked in and said, “Hey, something’s burning!”

Our family has a talent for stating the obvious.

By now, we were almost deaf. Apparently, it never occurred to fire alert manufacturers that some people might not dash out the door, but instead would stand around discussing what’s on fire.

What happened next should have qualified me as a firefighter of the tenth degree. I didn't waste my time looking for unnecessary equipment, like a fire extinguisher. Instead, I took decisive action, grabbed a dishtowel and flapped it frantically under the detector to clear the sensors and shut it up, while Russ dashed to the oven to pull out the turkey. Dave stood in the doorway, waving the door to clear the air, and cheered us on in between coughs.

Russ yelled at the top of his lungs, “It’s not the turkey. It’s something on the stove ..." He paused, inspecting the blackened pan. "It looks like a cremated gizzard!” Naturally, the smoke detector quite screaming just then, so that even strangers on the streets of Provo knew we had giblets roasting on an open fire.

Despite the fiasco of a holiday where our house smelled of burned gizzard—and we ate bundled in coats because the doors were opened to air out the smoke—it was a Thanksgiving to remember. Our son, now thirty-something, loves to tell the story to anyone who will listen.

Some might think it foolish to tempt fate, but I’ve cooked giblets every Thanksgiving since. A tradition such as that can’t be tossed out the window just because of a tiny mistake like an incinerated innard. Besides, I’ve learned from the error of my ways and now take precautions.

The night before Thanksgiving, I pull the battery out of the smoke detector.

------© C.L. (Cindy) Beck------

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Bill Dancer's Classic Bloopers

Posted by C.L. (Cindy) Beck

Hopefully, you won't have seen this blooper video before ... but even so, you'll laugh again. I've probably watched it at least ten times and I still giggle at the things that happen to Bill Dancer.

And now that you've had a chance to watch it, which segment made you laugh the most? The one that tickles me every time is when the motor pops loose from the boat!