short story · The Rockefeller Tree · writing

Escape from New York

The Rockefeller Christmas tree stood tall in the lights of the big city in the middle of a cold night.

Sore from having branches added to his body and lights wrapped around him and a huge-ass electric star planted on his head, he had read the news stories about how everyone was making fun of him because he didn’t look superstar perfect.

“I’m a damn tree,” he thought to himself as a cool wind curled through him trying to offer a bit of comfort. “Nature doesn’t screw with what it looks like. We’re perfect as is. Only the human douchebags work so hard to change
themselves so they’ll look perfect…whatever perfect looks like.”

He sighed and looked up to see the stars.

He couldn’t see a single one. Not even the Swarovski one on top of his head.

He instantly felt homesick for his forest.

“I don’t want to die here,” Tree thought.

A few seconds ticked by as he listened to the wind. Something clicked inside.

“I’m gonna get out of here,” he decided.

He began to tremble and shake his trunk and branches as hard as he could, managing to shimmy off the spikes and break the giant wires that had held him prisoner.

Passersby froze in their tracks at the sight of the tree making a break for it.

They started shouting for him to come back as he bounced as fast as he could on his trunk down the street like a coniferous pogo stick.

The people began to chase him.

Panicked, he bounced faster, needles and cones and lights and his man-made star falling off. His heart raced as he sweated sap, trying his very best.

As the frenzied crowd began to catch up, he felt himself growing tired. How was an old ginormous spruce ever going to make it out of this place? By then, police and fire engine sirens pierced his ears and obscured his vision. Local news helicopters flew in circles overhead. People on the street surrounded him, jumping to grab and restrain him.

Tree was exhausted and broken. His strength was all but gone. For being such an imperfect tree, the humans sure didn’t want him to go. He was undoubtedly going to be taken right back to the stage he had been chained to and mocked from.

Tears sprang to his eyes as he looked back up to see if he could see the stars just one last time.

And what he saw when he did, he couldn’t believe.

Flying toward him as fast as he could was the baby saw-whet owl who stowed away inside him on their fateful journey to The Big Apple. Following behind were hundreds of birds who broke out of the Ravensworth Wildlife Center for the night, just to help Baby Owl rescue his friend.

“Whoooo!! Whooo!” Baby Owl hooted as he held his wings out wide and lowered his talons to grab and lift Tree into the air.

“Baby Owl!!” Tree cried, pogo-sticking mightily with all he had left.

And all the other birds grabbed on to his tired branches and lifted Tree into the sky, rising high above the city.

The humans stood speechless as they watched them float above the buildings, then zoom away into the night.

The cool wind changed direction to help with the getaway.

Tree cried happy tears as Baby Owl nuzzled his needles once again.

“Thank you, Baby Owl,” said Tree.

“Whooo. Whooo!” Baby Owl hooted back.

Then they made like bats out of hell.

As Tree enjoyed the peaceful flight, he felt his tension drift away. Tree glanced at the sky again.

He saw stars. Millions of them.

And in that perfect moment, he whispered,

“I’m going home.”

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