* * *
Against All Odds
An Absurd Fable In Which The Lesser of Two Evils Is The One You Can Beat With a Stick
Granny Kianga’s idea of a party didn’t line up with anyone else’s – which explained why she only threw one once in a blue moon, literally. It also explained why everyone felt obligated to go – the fear of Granny’s wrath notwithstanding.
Balloons, lanterns, garlands and picnic tables were summoned out of Uncle Eliot’s burp by Granny and I placed them in the lawn. She had very specific directions for both tasks, mind you, and the executant role was as boring as the evening would be.
“’e Loas wil ‘e’er pu’ up wi’ ‘is ‘isp’ay!” she yelled through her missing teeth. ‘The Loas will never put up with this display’ was her actual assessment of my lantern arrangement. So I started it over for the third time – wouldn’t want to anger the spirits we were celebrating, would we?
Darn Granny stuff.
By the time the blue moon rose, Granny’s backyard was fully decorated and packed with people. They tended to huddle together in order to stay at what they deemed a safe distance from the various altars littering the garden. The only altar people liked was Baron Samedi’s; one couldn’t properly celebrate him without ingesting copious amounts of alcohol.
Granny went around the place, roping people into praying a loa while she placed an offering on its altar. Apparently, she used the merriment’s energy of the visitors to appease the spirits.
So really, my brooding had a purpose.
From my dark corner, I watched as Cousin Jimmy downed Captain with the Baron. I hated him. It had begun with him stealing my Tonka and never stopped since. The guy was mean as me exponent a thousand. Good-for-naught to top it off.
Arriving at the Baron’s altar, Granny stuck her claws around his arm. Jimmy jumped and pulled back with force, tripping over his feet and crashing into the next altar. The naturalized owl standing on was catapulted against a tree where it crashed in a cloud of saw dust.
I chuckled – this scolding would make history. Granny’s glare zinged through my amusement, killing it on the spot. Shit.
Granny hooked her cane around Jimmy’s shoulder and tugged until wobbled upward enough for her to grab his ear. “Stupid boy!” she bellowed straight into his auditory canal. “You’ve angered Marinette Bwa Chech!”
Just so you know, Marinette Dry Arms was called that way because she was a skeleton. And a mean one at that. Maybe mean enough to match Jimmy. But what could she really do to express her anger? I mean, she was a boo for crying out loud.
The owl screeched. The naturalized, blown-to-bits-but-now-fully-alive owl. It perched itself up above the porch’s door and breathed: “Nevermore.” A chill ran down the spineless crowd. “The mambo’s heir makes a gentleman out of the boy or the sun you’ll see… Nevermore.”
Apparently so since Granny ended me her cane with a chuckle. “Take him home with you or you’ll never get this done before all the plants die.”
I thought I was going to vomit.
Of the lessons I learned from this, I’ll pick only two morals, as my habit demands.
First and foremost, just because you don’t see something doesn’t mean it won’t bite you in the ass. That’s how car crashes and unwanted Miss Manner lessons happen.
Also, people’s beliefs are no laughing matter.