Dec 21, 2011

The Trappings of Christmas

     Joey, Stevie, and Marvin, the littlest Melton, crowded around the table in the shed, their grubby faces intent on the metal trap they'd modified, the Little Nipper IV.

     The shed door, askew on one rusty hinge, let little light into the dank hovel they called a clubhouse. The missing glass in the blacked-out window, even less.  They squinted at the contraption, which made them look even meaner than they were. If that was possible. 
     "That ain't gonna work," Stevie said.
     Joey poked the trap door of the bent wire cage, testing its action. "Sure it will.  We'll set it on its end, put it in the hole, and cover it with leaves. Then, we'll set the bait on top, see?  When she lands, the trap door will give way and she'll fall right in.  The door'll snap shut before she even knows what happened. Slicker'n snot."   
     The spring snapped and the door pinched his finger.  He let loose a string of expletives.  The other boys dared not grin as he'd have cuffed 'em.  Marvin, the littlest Melton, unconsciously rubbed his ear.
     "C'mon." Joey picked up the trap and his brothers followed him out of the shed.  "Marv, go filch honey from the house, and sumthin' to put it in.  Sumthin little, like a  bottle cap."
     Marvin, the littlest Melton, moved quickly to do his brother's bidding, lest Joey cuffed 'im.  He rubbed his ear.
     Joey lugged the makeshift trap to a sad group of trees in the overgrown empty lot next door, and set it into the hole they'd dug the day before.  Thankfully it fit, otherwise Joey might have pitched a fit.  Had Marvin been there he would have rubbed his ear.  

     Joey set the door of the trap and placed loose brush, just so, on top, careful to leave the door clear.  Stevie gathered leaves and twigs.
     When he finished arranging the brush to camouflage the trap, Joey looked around.  "Where's Marvin?"

     "Right here.  I have the honey. I'm just trying to figure out the puzzle," he said, holding up a Haffenreffer bottle cap with a riddle printed inside.
     "Gimme that." Joey grabbed the cap and the honey and cuffed his brother on the ear.   He set the cap, gingerly, on the trap door and poured a small amount into it. When he was done, he stood and stepped back with his brothers.  
     They admired their handiwork.
     Joey spat, satisfied, and said with a mean grin, "Now we wait."  

     Marvin frowned, and rubbed his ear.

(to be continued)

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