I decided to start a little early with my December holiday posts and when you read this one by Ken L. Jones you will see it is kind of appropriate.
Winking, Blinking And Oh So Odd
Ken L. Jones
Every town has someone somewhat like Odd Charles Oldfield but Yucaipa, California was unlucky enough to have the one they cloned the rest of them from.
Now the greatest manifestation of this childish instability was how he overdid it about any kind of holiday you might care to mention. There weren’t any of them that he didn’t remember or commemorate and if they made obnoxious outdoor decorations for them then he had them out in his front yard days and even weeks too soon to signify just that. Now it was rumored that he went way into debt to accomplish all this and that the fifty foot tall inflatable Easter bunny that he always displayed out in front of his too prim for words little home had drained much of his 401K savings in order to accomplish that but still anything you can imagine about how he did up Christmas would fall short of the true reality of it all.
To give you a little context about all this it is important that you understand a few things about Yucaipa, California and the certain pathetic little street that Odd Charles lived upon. Now to begin with nobody living recalls what Yucaipa really means in any language English or Indian and that says a lot about the place. It is one of those strange towns that has no true industry or fulltime jobs in it nor even such simple amenities as a Wal-Mart or a local bowling alley and strangely most of its inhabitants are militantly proud of that. The one and only town paper which has to give itself away because no one would ever buy it had recently ran an article that stated that Yucaipa had long been negatively loosing population. Those that replaced them these days seemed to be people who resembled the tribesman who tried to kill Indiana Jones with blow guns and spears during the prologue of his first movie.
Now all of this started promptly as it always had at midnight on Halloween night when a somewhat lesser version of this that he had put up for Halloween came down and twenty-four hours later it became nothing but Christmas at Odd Charles’s place clear to mid-January. Now all this did indeed again draw a crowd of a curious kind that year. Yet strangely the only people that came around now were what some of the other old timers in Yucaipa referred disparagingly to as “head hunters.”
At first Odd Charles thought that the free hot chocolate and candy canes were attracting them and of course he was right about all that because they did love them but what they seemed even more excited about were the lawn decorations themselves which they stared at and commented breathlessly about in what sounded like the clicking squeaks of bats to Odd Charles’s unlearned ears. Each night their numbers seemed to multiply and every last one of them seemed entranced by the twitching throbbing lights. They drooled on themselves as they gazed at them in complete adoration and Odd Charles took this as a kind of compliment.
So it was as darkness came on blacker and more full of stars than Odd Charles had ever seen it before that he was indeed astonished by the crowd of so-called “headhunters” that gathered at his place at dusk. He guessed that it was because of the day that it was that they were done up in all kinds of strange native outfits. Several of them had on skull faced makeup and had giant feathered headdresses on and had bumpy knives stuck into their soiled canvas loincloths.