Nightmare Before Christmas


“Nightmare Before Christmas”. . . . . and we’re not talking BLACK FRIDAY super-sales and crowd riots.

In fact, the internet has taken much of the bite out of retail shopping as surely as the spirit of Christmas has turned into consumer-crazy pandemonium.

Nothing but jolly Christmas jingles for six weeks straight, scarcely when the forks and knives have clattered down on Thanksgiving plates and Americans are already out the door and descending on the mega-malls and box-stores, products of instant gratification bigger than the maniacal eyes as gloved hands beat against the plate-glass windows, waiting for the stores to open at 5 A.M.

And what about your local retail mall outlet?

Well, some are blessed more than others. . . . . . but this one is nearly-empty.

And there is “our Batman & Robin duo” IN COSTUME

Yes, Beetlejuice subcontracted out as “Santa Claus” with Lydia as his helper assistant, a surly elf in a jingling green cap stubbing out a cigarette as the manager waddles by.

It’s yuletide redneck commercialism, with the jet-black volcanic edge of a punk princess on the far-flung experience of what makes America such a strange, deth-rocker juxtaposition of roof-top aerials, local cable-television, and sin.

No, Lydia won’t sit in Santa-Beetle’s lap but she will stand to the side, her arms crossed and her eyes rubbering around at the cat-calls with her own righteous sense of absurdity.

And there the foul demon sits on a throne surrounded with puffy cotton-snow, knocking back from a bottle of whiskey and ripping his snaggle-toothed, mush-mouth with the back of his hand as he leers, calling out to customers and laughing like a Mardi Gras fiend.

He shakes an empty, wrapped box—festooned with striped-wrappers and a red-bow, and hurls it off to the side where it rolls and knocks in the back of Lydia’s green, buckled boots with the twisting toe-curls.

What did she do to deserve this?

In fact, it’s an extracurricular project for her college anthropology class on the subject of Santa redneck zombies and the American fool. Her dissertation—namely that zombie and monster films “are about keeping the lurching rubes” away from the citadels of civilization, like bourgeois fear of the hard-pitted country yeoman “CRASHING THE PARTY”, eating your brains even.

Not unlike the phenomenon of the Tea Party in American politics, though she puts “the liberal” in LIBERTARIAN as a matter of course, with little skull and “Hello, Kitty” pasties.

In her Christmas canon, Santa is a robot “and lives on the moon”—as derived from a Japanese animated series, dubbed into English and played on her iPhone.

Last year, ole’ Beetlejuice ran “a failed tree lot” when the scheme was basically stealing the Christmas trees right from living rooms when the owners weren’t around, dragging it out the busted window with the scrunch of branches and falling Christmas ornaments and flickering lights as he drug the cord behind him and out to his idling pick-up truck.

PRE-FAB Christmas trees.

Fabulous? Hardly.

But Lydia snapped pictures. Her “strange, unusual friend” and partner in “field research”—more like a dark trailer in the middle of unincorporated St. Louis county on the outer heaths of this Midwestern hell, the river like a sluggish, glinting worm-slick and above it all, the shining star of near-past winter solistice.

“Zombies ate my neighbors”. . . . . or maybe just “fascination” stalls your but, mostly-untyped manuscript as she fulfilled her inner voyeur for the sullen, sordid, outrageous, and vaguely criminal.

An indifferent “second party” to all the madness, as the spherical dome of world & sky “had no comment”, other than her chuffing breath fogging the air as Beetlejuice cussed and swore and violently swept aside the nest, acorns, and squirrel shit that had invaded his aluminum-tin domicile.

Be his name, “SATAN CLAWS” as hapless oaf of dark principalities and Wiccan prayer-god of “smoke, and glowing red coals” like a demon of destruction and vile oaths, like a laughing miscreant flicking a BIC lighter next to an unlit forest fire.

(Maybe it was just the septic tank, blowing-up like a mushroom cloud)

But here at the mall. . . . . MUZAK. The meat-blossom of the fetid air and the hell of subcontracted wages as she could think of better places to be. Maybe the “Meow-Hawns” cat café, where you could play with adoption-friendly shelter cats while glugging down steaming espresso brew and staring off into the endless sidewalk of night on the other side of the glass.

It was said “the mouth of hell” was guarded by a lion—and maybe it was just the blonde, tangled nimbus of Beetlejuice motor-mouthing the anti-climax of the season. . . . . even as “Edward Scissorhands” tended shop at the “Sally Field’s Cookies” in a cap and apron, snipping his fingers together in idle misery.

It was a Tim Burton world, baby. Watch that festive snake-head poke out of the package like a jack-in-the-box jester and freak out the custodian poking at the marble floor with a mop.

Only the guards behind the security monitors “knew if you were naughty or nice” but they were mostly snoozing under a collision of doughnuts and sweets.

That tinsel glow, “just so”. . . . .


Nightmare Before Christmas

Black Friday Shrouds

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Nothing like that shopping “high holy day” known as Black Friday. And just to think, why Beetlejuice would fit in around those parts.

A refresher to any pilgrim new to this strange land called The United States: the day after Thanksgiving when stores open to long lines in the pre-dawn hours for sheer shopper’s extravaganza and when the Christmas retail season officially starts.

Wherever the highways loop around like a butterfly-knot as the inky darkness blazes with activity over the Missouri river. Like suburban sprawl– everything big and bigger– as the parking lots become a magical winter wonderland like the icecapades.

The floodlights drown out the stars, themselves as they converge into parking lot at all strange hours like the madness of Star Wars fandom and home entertainment systems.

Stocking caps, hockey jerseys.

To score on electronics or perhaps the newest video game system like so much fountain soda and goopy candy for the young, unhealthy American specimen.

Like “South Park” libertarianism with cranky cut-out’s of the ever-obnoxious school-yard, they are sharp-eyed for the hottest round of home entertainment– nevermind planned obsolescence or next year’s hottest commodities.

It’s all expendable and then again, “so are we”.

What is Asian manufacturing and super math-skills next interchangeable species of mall-rats and 7-Eleven slushee philosophers?

As hearty and feckless as consumerism is flashy and vast. . . . . some have been camping-out in front of the locked entrance, practically.

Nighttime is the right-time.

And then the Tea Party descends down on the lined-up throng like clowns and stilt-walkers and fire-eaters. They hand-out literature for fringe candidates and causes– somehow rationalizing apolitical consumerism with the great American bandstand of politics, as if festooned with patriotic bunting with a holy Christmas star of good American providence.

They might as well be approaching the cagey shrug of “Jay & Silent Bob” and crimping the party. It speaks to the opportunity and yet the futility of politics– handing-out leaflets as if appealing to the wrong tribe of nimble-fingered video game enthusiasts.

To them, “The Founding Fathers” are more like Mario, Ms. Pac-man, and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Ben Franklin around here is a $100 bill and not checks on Federal spending– hardly “likely convert”s to a ragged survivalism. . . . . or even a lower substratum of what makes up a drunker, bird-brained electorate.

Call-and-shout. . . . . rousing the crowd as a certain bottom-feeder dresses like Santa and rings a bell on the flat-bed of a truck like an impromptu stump speech or a bit of forsaken political theater.

Beetlejuice is too cynical to be much of an ideologue– but just get him going about the government over-regulating the roach-exterminator business and he’s down there at 4 in the morning with the rest of them. Throwing down presents as fake play money flies through the air to make a point about the Federal Reserve.

P.T. Barnum always loved a forming crowd.

Next thing you’ll tell us– Barack Obama was born on Mars.

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Quick Idea for a Christmas Gift: Tim Burton is from the Rings of Saturn– here

Black Friday Shrouds