…. A partridge in a pear tree.
At least, according to Halliwell in 1842. Wikipedia lists 10 different variants of the song, of which two are from “true-love” (hyphenated), one is from the mother, and the rest are from “my true love” (no hyphen). I personally go with Halliwell’s 1853 version, which has no hyphens, is from my true love, and the fourth item is four “Colly birds.”
Now that that’s been settled, 2013’s going to be over on Wednesday, which means I need a new New Year’s resolution. I’m open to suggestions.
And now a story about a pear tree.
“I wear my sunglasses at night….”
I slowed to a crawl. The living room light was still on… maybe they were asleep, and left the light on. I do that sometimes.
I pulled over. The street was empty. Google Maps had warned of street lights, but their yard was dark.
”…so I can watch you weave then breathe your story lines…”
I pulled out the key and slipped it into my pocket so they wouldn’t make noise as I moved.
The hatchback door opened silently, and I began inspecting the contents of the van. There were two crosses of cardboard lying in the back, the larger one connected to a pole which was tied to three rocks for support in case there was wind overnight.
A flicker from their house caught my attention.
Their TV cast a flickering blue glow onto the side of their house. I wasn’t directly in sight of the window, and hopefully the TV was loud enough to cover up the rustling of leaves as I scoped out their yard. I turned toward the van to pull out the first piece of cardboard, dragging the smaller piece with it. The tension lines weren’t long enough to get me to the yard without untying the stabilizing rocks, so I set the cardboard down on the yard.
crunch. The leaves made note of exactly where I put it. Next year I rake her yard first.
One by one I hauled each of the three rocks out of the van, trying to place them equally around the target. I heard a crash and the television suddenly went dark.
I froze in a crouch. Waiting for someone to emerge from the front door.
One one-thousand. Two one-thousand.
Nobody came. The blue glow resumed. Next year I convince them to watch something without sudden, noisy transitions.
I turned back to the cardboard tree, and managed to hoist it without any trouble. Now the pears.
The technique I was planning to use during construction was to use a paper clip to thread a piece of twine tied around the stem of the pear. I hadn’t yet poked any holes in the tree, so I snuck back to the car and grabbed a screwdriver to poke some holes in the cardboard tree.
The first pear hung like a charm. While I was threading the second pear I heard a thump.
My head snapped to their door. The TV dimmed again.
Only briefly, thankfully. The first pear had slipped from the string holding it.
_Stay low,_ I told myself. I kept the flashlight on the floorboard as I struggled to firmly attach the pear to a string.
Not that I thought that they could see the light from the window, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
_The paperclip. _It was gone. I must’ve dropped it in the yard when the pear fell.
Now I had nothing but cold shaking hands to thread a piece of twine through a hole the size of a screwdriver.
A car drove past behind me. I hoped they didn’t have the presence of mind to call the police. Then again, I wasn’t breaking and entering or anything like that.
Success! The twine went through the tree. I tied a knot to secure the pear, and stepped back to admire my work.
_11:55._ 45 minute TV shows on the hour would be ending now. I snapped two pictures of my work, the flash shone across the yard like a visible alarm. I dashed to the van, slamming the back door closed. A car driving by saw me running around my car.
The people inside the house heard two slams, and a six-cylinder engine roar into the night.
And I was gone.