Christmas at the Folks’s


Who knows what would have happened if the marriage between Beetlejuice and Lydia Deetz actually “came through”? It almost happened, at the end of the original movie before events conspired to rob Beetlejuice of his opportunity, to come earth-side.

In another world. . . . . “if, only”. And funny, how you never know about those things– sometimes “it all works-out”.

Far be it, to be shacked-up “with that pervert, down there” as I call a piece of the unknown netherworld just regular ole’ Missouri, of all places. Somewhere between Texas and Florida, the “Show-Me State” would be a perfect setting for a bit of misadventure.

Say, it’s winter time– near Christmas, in fact. A pair of headlights cuts through the woods, and you find the ole’ BeetleMobile with Lydia in tow, rumbling over a gravel driveway to the log cabin as the tree-line empties out into a clearing, a log-cabin lot.

The truck (– leased on E-Z financing– pulls up by the banks of trees where a scattering of cars and trucks sit, heaped across the lawn– anywhere you can find room to park.

Doors slam, and a certain breathless quality hangs, still in the air as the couple get out of the car. And there, “Old Post”– the half-blind, mostly-deaf black poodle with a giant scrotum that pendulates gruesomely– pops his head, out from beneath the truck and hops down onto the frozen earth.

“Lo, the mortification dear husband”.

Lydia crosses her arms, looking cold as her hubby drags a cooler out of the back.

She looks around, absently as she exudes a kind of Midwestern/earth-mother religiosity as common to Generation-X as is a touch of witchcraft and other alternative belief systems. Her towering, spiky headdress stands frozen in the chill dark. The color is black. Dead black. As it’s a mordant, Missourian homemaker adjusting from her former life in New York City.

And then they walk to the front door framed by a wreath and bright Christmas lights as a certain hallowed glow hangs around things. The sound of boots on wood as they ferry across the flusterly porch.

The door– unlocked– opens and all of a sudden they’re in the living room of a family gathering. Kids run around shrieking, and you see my family– cheery, rotund faces glowing reddish around the fireplace as a giant Christmas tree leans-up against the wall.

And if you knew my family– you would know they like to eat.

And there, on the table you find a holiday spread of all delights, pies and punch & cookies, and a giant, spiral-cut ham.

“Look what the cat dragged-in”.

Beetlejuice, in a red checkered flannel and a hunting caps looks like a refugee from deer season as the wind swirls around.

“Sit-down a while, stay a while” bellowed my uncle.

A storm of kids assail Beetlejuice, whopping him in the balls with plastic toy pirate swords as he throws-up his hands in surrender. He rolls on the balls of his feet, his hands clasped behind him like “hail fellow, well-met” and ambles through the foyer with a stiff, formal air as preposterous as is insinuating and a bit awkward.

“Hello, hello” . . . . and there Beetlejuice is, clapping his hands together– wrapped in cloth-bandages and blows on his fingers, for warmth.

“Ooohh, yeah. It’s colder than a witch’s tit out there”.

With the sound of a tinkling collar, Old Post bumbles through the door and pulls in a red, velvet sack of goodies like a personal assistant.

“Brought some presents. Here you go, heh-heh”.

A receipt slips-out between his fingers. It’s from “the dollar-store”. The kids clamor around him.

“There you go, here I come baby. Give me a five-man, Whoa– too slow. I get a grin, again and again”.

Old Post leaned it’s paws up against the table and dragged-down the ham with a crash. The family looked-on, appalled.

“Bad dog! Bad dog!” He changed the subject.

“Rough week at work, all those sandworms coming in. Like a bucking bronco circus as I barely met my quota. Rustlin’, rustlin’ rangers. It’s a wild netherworld out there”.

Eventually, he made his way to the home-bar upstairs while Lydia stayed down, below– knitting baby-booties and conversing with the aunts.

“Creditors are after me like flies on a rib-roast”, as he took a hard beer before the glinting mirror and listened to Christmas music on the stereo, bought on special from Walmart. It was a bit of stamping country music, squeaking-around on cowboy boots as the cousin danced across the floorboards.

A den of leisure, of low-down idleness.

Beetlejuice thumbed over the electronic 5-stud poker game on a little LCD screen. If only his luck could change. But then the kids ran upstairs, and tugged at his coat.

“You’re wanted around here, bar-fly”.

They children wanted him to show the trick, waving around a “Land o’ Lakes” box of butter.

He folded the cardboard, revealing the trick of the bear-breasted Indian maiden with the knees, folded-up to compress the photo into a bawdy illusion.

“Well, fancy that. I’m what’s to class as shit is to a goose. I got a million of ’em”.



Christmas at the Folks’s

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