kill a tree for christ

I first encountered this on WME in 1995. When I saved it, I unfortunately removed the author’s credentials and the date she created it – and I’ve not been able to find it anywhere since. I don’t like posting posts without proper attribution, but this is too good not to share.

KILL A TREE FOR CHRIST

My honey is Lutheran, and who knows which of the various synods scrape a percentage of her “voluntary” donations and trade them for fast times in Missouri or whatever. She professes to be a Christian. Each approaching Christmas we voyage to the arboreal thunderdomes that are Irvine, CA Christmas tree lots to peruse woody stems of the genus Pinus, there emitting volatile terpenes from dehydrating leaves and priced like human organ transplants. A succinct description of the merchandise is encapsulated within the single word “dead.” She frets and vibrates in place, wanders the aisles, fondles and sniffs and strokes, and she commits. Imagine sex decorated with splinters.

(My ancestors have eschewed wallowing in sylvan slaughter for over 5700 years. Desert religions meander more toward rituals of salt, fire, and juvenile sexual mutilation rather than joyful deforestation – and not for lack of desire, either.)

In the manner of an abortion clinic that also sells sausages, a quick look down at my feet confirms my worst fears. Wood chips two inches deep padded the entire area. Where were mobs of Druids marching and rioting and signing petitions? Where were the Sons of Robin Hood? Where was the Softwood Evergreen Anti-Defamation League? Alas, the slaughter proceeded unabated.

I suffered resin smeared on my hands and clothes – Sapshead in the First Degree – as I dragged the amputated stub to the height plank. I gauged 11.5 inches to the advertised foot less the one foot discount which later resurrected as a tip to the wetback who hauled the thing to our car. Are we done? No, not in Irvine!

It would be silly and possibly Socialist for the vender to let the tree escape his pecuniary grasp so simply. Would we like to buy some mistletoe, flocking, tree freshener, a tub to mount the thing… The US military and its formidable superannuated inventories of Hollerith computer cards and zinc dry cells have nothing on an Irvine Christmas tree lot. The tree had its bottom excised to expose fresh wood, and the stump drilled to accept a steel shaft. I anticipated with glee its surmounting angel enjoying a similar posterior repast.

The laborers were illegal aliens recruited from Santa Ana crack houses and State-certified in the safe use of electric chainsaws. Without benefit of ear protectors, safety goggles, kevlar chaps, chainmail gloves, or an International Warning Orange heavy duty extension cord our very special Santa’s helper proceeded to worry off a terminal inch of wood. He also managed to tangle shipping cord in the chain, lean past the end cut to bounce the blade off his lower thigh, and hit an electrical cord protected by only frayed wraps of electrician’s tape. We don’t know how they tapped the bottom hole colinear with the tree’s long axis. They do that in the “back,” hidden from prying eyes. The boys in the back room were curiously enthusiastic about the whole process.

My domestic partner’s check was processed through a black box inextricably woven into this great nation’s web of credit data. Verifying her histocompatibility antigen index and twelve independent DNA markers, the gizmo certified the check’s validity and confirmed an absence of outstanding arrest warrants. The severed and distally mutilated foliage, offspring of Highland Farms of Beavercreek, Oregon, was joyously bundled into her car. The prospect of cleaning desiccated needles and hardened sap from within my VW Golf over the next 364 days was a violation of my religious values. Her Volvo dealership’s laborers lick the leather upholstery clean each service visit, and then we get eight phone surveys to confirm the quality of the work.

I will not bore you with intricacies of mounting the tree in a garishly painted water retaining vessel, nor with the protracted decision-making process of hanging scads of impossibly tacky crap from its branches. Our tomcat has the right idea. If it dangles, SWAT!, it dies. They’ve focussed a vertically slit jaundiced eye toward the One True Church ever since an incident of European feline genocide shortly before the Black Death recleansed the continent.

The Day of Epiphany saw the angel plucked from its mount. If this one got its wings, I assure you that it was flying funny for days thereafter. Judging from the folks who amble into the church each Sunday while I don’t, it will be in good company.

Christmas is only 51 weeks in the future. Frets and vibrations in place, visions of wandering the arboreal isles, fondling and sniffing and stroking all the while, have already commenced. The cat and I have gone for a walk. We both smelled a rat.

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Author: Mari Adkins

Appalachian gothic fiction writer - my works reflect a love of literature flavored by the darkness and magic residing in these ancient mountains. In my spare time, I'm a Simmer, I tumbl, I journal, but I always have a very strange sense of humor. I have lived away from the mountains and lived deep in the mountains. I currently live in Central Kentucky with my lifepartner and his cat. The mountains, their culture, their superstitions, their particular magics, will always be in my blood.