Turkey sat at the head of the beautifully-decorated table. He paused for a moment and smiled at everyone seated with him.
Then he reached out and joined hands with the Stuffing who in turn picked up Deviled Eggs hand who then clasped hands with Mashed Potatoes (whose new little one Gravy slept pressed against her chest).
Since Mashed Potatoes had her other hand full, her wife Green Bean Casserole picked up hands with Dinner Roll who reached out and picked up Weird Jello Salad’s hand who smiled and joined hands with her new husband, Relish Tray, who then picked up Old Man Pumpkin Pie’s hand who then gave a kiss to his wife of 50 years, Cool Whip, as he took her sweet soft wrinkled hand.
Grandma Cool Whip then closed the circle as she joined hands with Turkey.
They said their prayer to Mother Earth, thanking her for the bountiful blessings in their lives including this day that they were sharing together.
Then they looked at the loaded table which held massive amounts of sushi, Dominos pizza, ice cream, cotton candy and doughnuts.
And they ate.
Til their stomachs were stretched and uncomfortable and they needed Turkey to go out to Walgreens to get some Tums.
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.
God sat in his chair at the helm of his spaceship. In front of him, through the window, not too far away, sat Earth. But he took no notice of the planet, for he was immersed in a game of Scrabble on his phone. His friend Ganesh was kicking his ass once again.
“Where’s Satan?” Ganesh texted.
“No idea,” God texted back. “Probably having a way more exotic evening than we are.”
Just then, the door to his office opened. God began to shuffle from his slouched position deep in his chair, but his old bones slowed the process. Besides, his visitor was already upon him.
The Goddess bent over next to him, her lean and attractive body brushing against his just a little. Her long black curly hair fell in a gorgeous drape as she cocked her head to look at him sideways as he slumped in his chair.
“Hey,” he said quietly.
“Hi,” she said back.
He sat up and looked at what she was doing to his control board.
“What are you…” he began, but her perfect black-polished fingertip was already on the “Winter Off” button for the northern hemisphere.
She clicked it “On”. Then she stood back up.
He twisted in his chair and took a good look at his gorgeous wife. She was all dolled up, wearing a denim miniskirt, black platform boots and a cut up Led Zeppelin t-shirt.
“I don’t know what the hell you’ve been doing up here,” she said. “but if I have to take one more call from Ohio about how damn cold it is there for May, I’m going to flip my shit.”
She was so pretty, and she was so irritated.
He was guilty. He knew it.
“I’m sorry, babe.”
She rolled her eyes and tapped her foot like she was still mad.
“You look gorgeous,” he told his girl. “Why are you all done up? What are you getting into?”
“John Bonham is playing in town tonight. I told you this. Satan bought us tickets months ago.”
Ohhhh. Now he remembered. His best friend and his wife had bonded over a love for Zeppelin way back when the band first exploded on the scene on Earth. Of course…that show was tonight.
“Ganesh and I were wondering where Satan was.”
“Ha”, she said, smiling slightly. “Well, that man actually likes to get out of his chair and off his phone every now and then. You know…live a little.”
Just then they heard the giant roar of an engine and the song Moby Dick blasting at a million decibels outside.
God looked out the window.
Satan was standing there, next to his bad-ass shiny black 1977 Corvette Stingray with the fire lick painted detail on the car’s sides. He was dragging on a cigarette with one hand and flipping his old buddy the bird with the other.
“Your date is here.”
The Goddess gave her husband a quick peck on the lips then went for the door.
“Don’t wait up for me,” she called out.
“All right, baby,” he said. “Tell Bonzo I said hi. Love you!”
God looked out his giant window again and watched as his wife and Satan stood with their arms around each other posing for a selfie. Then she climbed into the passenger seat and he shut the door. The Dark Lord turned back to God one more time, threw up devil horns to his buddy, got in his car, then they flew off like two bats out of hell.
God sighed and slumped back into his chair.
Ganesh had texted, “Where’d you go?”
The creator of the universe looked down at his tiles. He couldn’t believe what he saw.
He clicked them up and laid them down, one by one.
Earth woke up and rolled on to her back and then stayed still long enough to listen to her birds singing for awhile.
Today was a special day…the one that the humans designated to honor her for a full 24 hours.
She turned a jade and ocean cheek toward the sun and listened even harder.
Her humans were so quiet lately.
She knew they were struggling with the odd viral visitor who was making the rounds introducing himself to the neighborhood.
For a moment, she felt bad. The people were shitting themselves, trying to figure it all out.
They’d get it eventually, she promised herself. They’d gotten so smart over the years, despite how badly they treated each other sometimes.
Earth took a big deep breath and covered her backside with her soft black starry night.
The animals and plants and bugs and viruses and bacteria and fungi celebrated her properly every day, not just April 22nd.
“Smarter than the humans,” she whispered to herself as she started to close her eyes again, figuring she might fall back to sleep for just a little while.
Suddenly, she heard a soft creak and turned to see that handsome devil Saturn looking down at her with a sleepy crooked smile on his face.
“Hi there, beautiful,” he said. “Happy Earth Day.”
He held up her favorite mug piping with hot coffee in one ring and a giant chocolate chip cookie in another.
Earth smiled as she sat up, totally surprised to see him and definitely ready to enjoy a delicious breakfast in bed.
“You’re so sweet, Saturn,” she said.
He kissed her lightly on the North Pole. Then he took a seat next to her.
“So what are you going to do for your special day?” he asked, watching her stuff the cookie in her mouth.
She had chocolate chip smeared on her bottom lip. He thought for a moment about kissing it off.
“Same old stuff,” she replied. “Rotate on my axis, do some continental drifting. I’ll check in on my humans too.”
“How are they holding up?”
“Not great. The virus is freaking them out really bad. And…”
Saturn looked at her.
“Well,” Earth continued. “They’re currently really flipping their shit because you’re so close to me. You’re usually viewed best with help from a telescope at night. Now you’re, like, right outside their windows. They’ve been screaming non-stop ever since you got here.”
Saturn hadn’t considered that. All he wanted to do was surprise his ethereal new lady love with a tasty morning treat on Earth Day. He stood up.
“I should get on back to my orbit,” he said, giving her that crooked smile again.
Earth looked up at him with her awe-inspiring majesty.
“Stay,” she said, reaching for him.
He sat down again.
“You don’t mind me scaring the humans?”
Earth paused and felt the vibrations from all life on her freaking the hell out.
“What’s one more thing?” she asked.
Then she kissed him.
And he thought to himself that she tasted like chocolatey planetary perfection.
September pulled April into his arms and brushed the starlings from her rat’s nest of long golden hair.
She looked into his eyes which burned like a bonfire from a Friday night football rally.
“I don’t care what everyone says,” she cried pressing her cheek against his brown suede criss-cross laced-up kinda Jim Morrisony shirt covered chest. “I don’t want you to leave. I’ll just be rainy and cold. People will just have to get over never knowing how to dress for any of my 30 days.”
September winced. Her promise to have him stay thrilled him, but he knew the repercussions were too steep for the general population.
“April,” he soothed. “April, I must go. I love you, you know it’s true, but you have to go and make peace with my archenemy May so that warm dry weather becomes the law of the land.”
April knew he was right, and even though she hated that stupid son-of-a-bitch May, she had signed a contract that bound her to working with him towards preparing for world famous Hollywood tycoon Summer’s eventual takeover.
“Will you call me?” she asked, tiny blue forget-me-not tears falling from her eyes.
“Of course I’m going to call you. You’ll get sick of me calling you. You’ll be like, I am so sick of September calling me, I wish his phone would fall into the toilet and stop working and he doesn’t have an upgrade any time soon so he can’t get a new phone to call me sick of me calling you.”
“You could always just borrow a phone or buy another one like on eBay or something,” she told him.
September smiled. April smiled back.
Then he bent to kiss her and it was like a giant mashing together of toasted marshmallows and Easter Peeps. Sticky. Sweet. Messy.
When they pulled apart, strands of moist marshmallow hung between them like a gooey bridge.
September wiped it away with the back of his hand and dragged the residue across his jeans.
He winked at her then picked up his guitar and walked to the gravel edge of the Seasons freeway where he stuck his thumb up out in the air.
And all the starlings that were in April’s hair started flapping their wings til they lifted her like a cloud into the air and she began to fly away.
As they passed over September’s head, she called out