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The View from the East End
December 11 , 2011, Number 106

DYIN in December

by Inspector Hopkins

Oh! How I really love the Christmas season! I enjoy the lights and the decorations, as well as all the parties, camaraderie, cards, and well-wishes between people of all faiths and religions!

And every year, I always regret NOT buying more Christmas stuff like trees, lights, wreaths and all that. I live alone, and just haven’t felt like dealing with putting up so much stuff, and then having to take it down a few weeks later. You understand, right?

Anyway, this year, I decide to get with it!

Now that I’m retired, I said, “Enough is enough!” I got up off my butt and finally ordered a number of Christmas decorations a week or two ago from a well known mail-order supply house (which I will not name for fear of lawsuits) and from which I had ordered other items before.

The Christmas stuff just arrived all bundled up in one giant cardboard box. I opened this box and found a number of smaller boxes within, all very conspicuously stamped “Made in China”.

“Humbug!” I disappointedly thought, “Every damned thing is from China these days.” Nonetheless, I dutifully began opening all the different parcels, eager to finally decorate my house with Christmas cheer. While I was at it, I had a few dashes of brandy to put some colour into my cheeks, as well as to put me back into the proper spirit. I opened my little battery-powered Christmas tree complete with LED lights and set it up. Whilst admiring it, I decided to toast it with another dash of brandy, and to put on some cheery Christmas tunes on my CD player.

Really getting into the spirit now, I opened and set up a battery powered willow bush also complete with LED lighting. It was getting dark OUTside, but INside I was all aglow with the joy of the season! Besides, the soft glow of the lighting looked terrific and made me feel warm and fuzzy, so I raised another toast or two to my new decorations, and then I really KNEW the joy of Christmas decorating! I next opened the box of DVD Christmas films including “Polar Express”, “Miracle on 34th Street”, and the classic “Christmas Carol” with Alastair Sims. These I set aside for later viewing on Christmas Eve. Humming softly along with Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”, and feeling really good, I opened the last box containing my lighted door swag.

Imagine my shock and surprise, when, as I pulled out the swag, my finger was stabbed right at the knuckle joint by a very sharp barb somewhere on the base of the swag.

As a Sherlockian, I immediately thought of Sherlock Holmes and “The Dying Detective”.

My finger started bleeding right away, so I rushed to the sink and began rinsing it off. Glancing down at the box with all the “Made in China” stampings, these thoughts started multiplying right away . . . the coolies, Rotherhithe, the docks, the diseases, etc. What if? . . . “Naw”, I said to myself, “The Chinese need our money . . . why would they want to infect anyone with their products?” As I continued rinsing, I realized that this is how Holmes would have felt if he had actually been stabbed by that poisonous spring in the little ivory box. But, yow!! That stab really hurt! It caught my left index finger right at the second knuckle joint and penetrated deeply. I wrapped it tightly with a bandage, and the bleeding began to abate. Still concerned about Eastern diseases, I vaguely remembered thinking the best course of action was to kill off any germs with alcohol.

Much to my chagrin, I had no more brandy left, but there was plenty of beer in the fridge. So I vigourously diluted the germs in my system with copious quantities of the foamy stuff. Lo and behold, I began to feel better, but then I began babbling to myself, and started shifting the change around in my pockets so as to improve my balance. After several more beers, and humming softly to myself, I started thinking about the ocean floors being populated with vast quantities of oysters, and I began to feel hungry.

Staggering over to my pantry, I found no oysters, but I did indeed have several cans of sardines. Opening one of these, and fumbling with it due to my injured left hand, I managed to deeply cut my right index finger on the sharp edge of the metal can. Blood began flowing once more.

“Good Heavens!” (or words to that effect) I cried, “Here we go again!”, and rushed over to the sink.

Ah . . . the light was getting dimmer and the shadows began to fall . . . but wait! All I had to do was to turn up the gas because it was simply nightfall approaching.

* * * *

Good thing that Christmas only comes only once a year, eh? ;-)

Until next time, and wishing all of our readers a very Happy Holiday Season, and a Happy and Healthy New Year, I am indeed,

Yours Faithfully,
STANLEY HOPKINS

Archives for
2002 to 2008

Past 2010 Columns

November 21 , 2010
Dirty Old Men in the Canon

December 19, 2010
It'sThat Time Again

January 16, 2011
Loose Ends and Story Killers

February 13, 2011
L.E.S.K. for REDH

March 13, 2011
L.E.S.K. for NAVA

April 10, 2011
L.E.S.K. for BRUC

May 15, 2011
L.E.S.K. for MUSG

June 12, 2011
The People of the Abyss

July 17, 2011
L.E.S.K. for DANC

August 21, 2011
L.E.S.K. for BERY

September 18, 2011
L.E.S.K. for GOLD

October 16, 2011
L.E.S.K. for TWIS

November 13, 2011
L.E.S.K. for FIVE

December 11, 2011
DYIN in December