Ch. 7 “Once upon a time…long, long ago…

There were these cookies…”

Chapter 7…The Final One…

We both dawdled at the kitchen table…slowly eating our Rosettes…and “fake making Christmas cards” until mom had washed up all the dishes.

“Thank you, little elves. What would I do without you?”  She kissed us both on the top of our heads and headed to the master bedroom which was just off the kitchen by the back porch.

We waited about a half hour.  Durwood tip-toed over to the closed bedroom door…and put his ear next to it.

He turned, grinned and gave me a barely visible thumbs-up.  “She’s snoring!” he mouthed silently.

Just like the plan we had discussed, Durwood quietly went to the closet and got the step-stool and placed it by the kitchen cupboard that contained the two cookie tins filled with “Gee’s Nut Balls”.

I walked over to him…ready for my part…the crucial part…the important part…

“I’m going to go over and stand by mom’s door,” Durwood whispered.  If I hear anything I will say “red crayon, red crayon”.  Got it?” 

“Got it!!  Red crayon…gee, I love being a secret agent.” I excitedly whispered back.

“Shhhhhhhhh,”  Durwood said and put his grimy little finger tips over my mouth.

I disgustedly brushed them away…yuck!!  But I said nothing…I was a good agent..

I waited until Durwood got over to the bedroom door and then I climbed up the step stool.

I grabbed the cupboard door and made the final step up to the countertop.  It was kind of slippery.

I had put on my brand-new, patent leather Mary Jane shoes because they made me a little taller.

But the bottoms weren’t as grippy as my old sneakers.

“Wow…this is pretty high,” I whispered to myself…not really scared but also…kind of…

I opened the other cupboard door and hung on to it as I reached up to the top shelf where the cookie tins were tucked away.

I couldn’t quite get at them.  I stood on my tip toes and stretched as far as I could…and was reaching in…

Finally!!  I felt the cold metal of one cookie cannister.  Yes!

I hooked my finger under the lid of one of the tins and started to slide it towards me…when suddenly…a horrific combination of events occurred at precisely the same time…

For decades to come…these events would be referred to by “close” friends and family…as “A cluster fuck of immense proportion…but really…nothing out of the ordinary for that crazy Johnson Family”.

Others…referred to it in a more graceful and refined way as “a confluence of unfortunate circumstances”…

Call it whatever you like…it began when…

…Durwood suddenly raced by me at warp speed…whispering and somehow quietly yelling at the same time…and bringing his hand across his throat in a slicing motion…

“ABORT!!  ABORT!!  Red Crayon…Red Crayon!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Horrified that I would be caught stealing these precious cookies yet…knowing also that I was now the solitary player in this drama of deception and thievery and its success depended solely on me…if only I could get a better grip on that cannister…

I knew I only had seconds…

I stretched even more…trying to slide the cookie tin closer toward me…

And then…

At last I had the cookie tin in one hand and was hanging onto the cupboard door for dear life with the other…when,,,

Mom walked out of the bedroom…eyes half closed and groggy from dreams that (later we were told) had involved Santa Claus, her husband Clive and a money-making scheme…”gone wrong”.

Apparently…our dear father had lost all of our Christmas presents and our beloved dog, Duke!

She wiped the sleep from her eyes, yawned and walked over to the kitchen table to grab her cigarettes and then…she looked up…

“LOTTIE!!!!”

It was ALL her fault.  She should not have SCREAMED so loudly.   I mostly had everything under control…mostly.

Had she just calmly asked me what I was doing…I would have simply told her the truth…

“I was just stealing some of your wonderful cookies, mother dear”…and that would have been that…

She would have sent me and Durwood to our rooms and told us that Christmas was cancelled this year and that she was giving ALL of our presents to the kids next door…and that Santa Claus was…

BUT NO…SHE HAD TO SCREAM!!!!

And her SCREAM startled the living daylights  out of me…plus I think the earth shifted or something…

One of my little patent leather Mary Jane shoes slipped off the countertop and I started to fall…

So…I dropped the cookie tin and grabbed the cupboard door with both hands and as the door started to break free of its hinges…it swung wide and propelled me across the kitchen and into the arms of my shocked yet still half-asleep mother…while at the same time…

…3 dozen “Gee’s Nut Balls” flew thru the air like giant snowflakes during a Minnesota December blizard as the cookie connister hit the edge of the counter and the lid flew off…

…and because “Gee’s Nut Balls” are the most tender and delicate cookies you could ever imagine…they crumbled into miniscule little pieces of flour, powdered sugar, butter and finely chopped nuts when they hit the hard linoleum floor.

It was true that I was safe in my mother’s arms…yet I had failed miserably in my breakout role as a Secret Agent.

I had NOT secured even one prized cookie…and I knew the much deserved “wrath of my mother” was soon to come…but…but…

Before she could speak…I uttered the only phrase that I hoped would bring me some mercy and possible forgiveness…

“Merry Christmas, Mommy!!”

The End

 

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