Bob Flicker 12/13

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Ever since Rooki became an orphan at the age of four years, five months, two weeks and three days, nobody really wanted him except for his mother’s cousin Tilda and her husband Sel. Tilda and Sel had no children of their own and doted on Rookie from the time he was born.  After The passing of Rooki’s parents they wanted, desperately to adopt him.  Not any of his mother’s four married sisters and two married brothers and certainly none of his father’s three married brothers and two divorced sisters wanted him until they found out about his inheritance. They then prevented Tilda and Sel from adopting Rooki.

         None of the uncles or aunts wanted or cared about Rookie. What they wanted was a big share of his inheritance, whatever way they could get it. They worked out an arrangement among themselves whereby they all took turns taking him into their homes for very short periods of time. It was the money that Rooki’s parents left him that provided his caregivers with ample sums of money; money that they diverted to their own uses. The brothers and sisters and their spouses (those that still had spouses), while they didn’t much like one another were willing to come to terms with each other in order to share in Rooki’s inheritance.

         Tilda and Sel pleaded with the uncles and aunts to let them adopt Rooki, promising that he would find a home with two loving parents. His inheritance they insisted would then be placed in trust for his future education. Greed took precedence over caring for Rooki’s wellbeing and Tilda and Sel were denied adoption.

         Rooki’s first Christmas gift from his eleven uncles and aunts, paid for from out of his inheritance, was a sleeping bag. This would be his portable bed that he took from home to home of his uncles and aunts.

         Rooki was a handsome, intelligent child with only one slight problem. After the death of his parents he never spoke again except to Mr. Finway and Umm (which we will learn about later on). None of his eleven aunts and uncles bothered to find out why or, for that matter, cared whether Rooki spoke or not as long as they each got their share of his inheritance. His twenty-three cousins amused themselves by teasing him and calling him dummy and other hurtful names. Rooki never heard or felt any expression of kindness or love in those years from his uncles and aunts and cousins.

         December 24, Christmas Eve day, was his birthday. This was his eleventh. No one seemed to notice or care except for Mr. Finway.  Mr. Finway, in Rooki’s eyes was very old and slightly bent over and very kind. He lived at number 0000-0 Nomention Street, between What Street and No Avenue. Rooki found number 0000-0 Nomention Street quite unexpectedly after meeting Umm, the pot-bellied pig, while traveling, with his sleeping bag to his next sleeping location.

         The pot-bellied pig was resting on a park bench when Rooki walked by with his sleeping bag. “Merry Christmas.”

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         “Merry Christmas to you.” replied Rookie who, up until this time did not speak. It hardly occurred to him that pigs are not supposed to speak. It seemed to him to be quite natural. Even the large, red bow tie that the pot-bellied pig wore around his neck did not seem out of place.

         “And let me wish you a very happy birthday.” added the pot-bellied pig. “My name is (he hesitated) umm—

         “Your name is Umm?

         “No. It is just that I can’t think of my name at the moment. For the time being you can call me Umm.”

         “What are you doing here on the park bench?” asked Rookie.

         “Waiting for you, of course. Those were Mr. Finway’s instructions. ‘Would you be so kind as to bring Rooki here?’ he said to me.”

         Rookie had been back and forth on these streets many, many times and had never seen 0000-0 Nomention Street before. There was only one house on the street and that looked like a number of very large boxes piled one on top of the other, each at a different angle. Sticking up through the roof was the tallest, most beautiful Christmas tree that Rooki had ever seen. 

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Rooki had seen many expensively decorated Christmas trees that his uncles and aunts had, sparing no expense with Rooki’s inheritance. None could compare with this tree.

         Mr. Finway was in his candy room when they arrived. “You found him, Umm, good.

         “He called you Umm.” whispered Rooki to the pot-bellied pig.

         “That’s because I can never remember my name.” replied Umm.

         “Well, that’s that. Two million candy canes are ready to go!” Mr. Finway turned to Rookie. “You are eleven years old today. It is time that you have a really happy birthday and a very merry Christmas. More than that, you deserve to have a really special happy birthday and an extra very,very merry Christmas.

         “I have never had either.” replied Rooki.

         “You haven’t? What a terrible, terrible shame.” exclaimed Umm.

         Mr. Finway boxed the last of the candy canes, tying a red and green ribbon around it with a large bow. He turned to Rooki, “This Christmas Eve and Christmas day will be more wonderful than you can possibly imagine.”

         “It will?

         “If Mr. Finway says it will...You can be absolutely sure it will.” chimed in Umm.

         This being Christmas Eve, we will give Rooki’s uncles and aunts another chance to redeem themselves. You, Umm, shall make the announcement tonight.” said Mr. Finway.

         The pot-bellied pig seemed pleased to be the messenger of good tidings on this Christmas Eve.

         “What shall I do?" asked Rooki.

         “You, my dear Rooki shall enjoy the pleasures of my hospitality until the return of Umm with the results of his announcement."

         The pot-bellied pig was about to leave when he turned to ask Mr. Finway a question. “Excuse me, Mr. Finway?"


         “I think you forgot to tell me something.”

         “I did?”

         “I believe so,” replied Umm.

         “I am supposed to make an announcement to all of Rooki’s uncles and aunts who are having Christmas Eve dinner tonight.”

         “That is quite correct.” replied Mr. Finway. “What did I forget to tell you?”

         “You forgot to tell me what that announcement is I am supposed to make.”

         “So I did. So I did. That was very clever of you to notice.”

         The pot-bellied pig couldn’t have gotten a better present on this Christmas Eve than to be praised by Mr. Finway.   

         “You are to announce…" (Mr. Finway cleared his throat) "That in matters regarding Rooki... I do believe we should use your last name,” Mr. Finway interrupted himself, addressing Rooki.

         Rooki nodded.

         “Even I don’t know that.” replied an embarrassed Mr. Finway.

         “I don’t use it very much,” admitted Rooki.“It’s...It’s...umm”

         “We are related!” the pot-bellied pig exclaimed.

         “I don’t use my last name very much,” admitted Rooki. “It’s Greentree.”

         “You are to announce that in matters regarding Rooki Greentree, all present and future decision regarding his welfare will, as of the present moment, cease to be the concern of his uncles and aunts. Furthermore, it is recommended that he be adopted, immediately, by Tilda and Sel—What is their last name?"

         “Cousins.” replied Rooki.

         Umm chuckled. “They are your cousins and that is their last name. How convenient.”   

         Mr. Finway continued. “It is recommended that he (meaning Rooki Greentree) be adopt by Tilda and Sel Cousins.”


         The pot-bellied pig arrived at the gathering place of all the eleven uncles and aunts and all of their twenty-three children. They were having a special Christmas Eve celebration in which they planned to divide up Rooki’s inheritance as a special Christmas present to themselves.

         Umm knocked on the door. Actually, he kicked on the door. No one heard him at first so he kicked even louder.

         Wilbur Greentree, one of Rooki’s uncles, answered the knocking at the door. Being slightly inebriated, he had to hold on to the door as it swung open. “There’s a pig at the door.” he announced.

         “Who?” his wife called back over the hubbub of the table conversation.

         “A pig!”


         “A pot-bellied pig!” shouted Umm as he strode into the dining room where everyone was gathered around an extended table. He jumped upon the table to a mixture of horror and disbelief.

         “May I please have all of your attention!” he began his announcement to the general shock of all present.

         “It’s a talking pig!”

         “I am not an ordinary pig. I happen to be a pot-bellied pig.”

         Two of Rooki’s aunts fainted

         “I would like to begin by wishing all of you a very merry Christmas.”

         An uncle fainted while another uncle downed a full glass of scotch whiskey and collapsed. One aunt, three nieces and two nephews ran screaming from the room.

         “I have an announcement to make.” Umm began as pandemonium broke out all around him.

         Two drunken uncles and three very drunk nephews saw opportunity standing before them on four legs in the middle of the table. “Tomorrow’s Christmas dinner would be barbequed pig even if it was a talking pig.” they announced to the milling crowd of relatives.


         Mr. Finway sensed there was a problem with Umm almost as soon as it happened. 

“I should have expected trouble from that bunch... Come along, Rooki we will just have to spread an extra dose of holiday good cheer among the members of your not so loving family.

         Rooki followed Mr. Finway up and down a series of curious steps that led through one tilted box after another. Each box was a large room that contained such items as chocolates (mostly boxed), smart phones, computers (mostly laptops), electronic games and one room in particular which was Rooki’s favorite—a room full of electric trains wending their way down hills, over bridges and stopping at stations with miniature Christmas decorations.

         There was no time to stop and enjoy the sights. They passed through a door that led to the roof. There, next to the top of the beautiful Christmas tree that poked through the roof was Mr. Finway’s zazmotrack. It appeared to look like a large oval pot with a flat handle sticking out its front. At the end of the handle there appeared to be, what looked like to Rooki, a large showerhead. The underside of the pot had very long skis. Short, stubby wings sprouted out on either side of the oval. The zazmotrack was pointed toward a wide plank that stuck out off the side of the roof. 

         “Get in, my boy,” urged Mr. Finway. “It seems Umm is in need of our assistance.”   

         Rooki climbed in and found a seat next to a sleeping beaver. “There’s a beaver sleeping next to me,” he said to Mr. Finway as he made his way on to the pilot's seat.

         “Yes. I brought him along to keep you warm.” answered Mr.Finway. “Get ready for travel.”


         “I just want you to understand our mode of travel. First we ski off the ramp and—“

         “Did you say ski?” Mr. Finway adjusted his goggles and nodded his head. “Ski on what?”

         “Snow.” replied Mr. Finway, adjusting several controls.

         “But There is no snow.” replied Rooki.

         “Not yet but watch.” Mr. Finway turned a knob and a miniature snowstorm came flowing out of the showerhead attached to the handle that stuck out in front of the zazmotrack.

         “Cool!” shouted Rooki with delight.

         Like a plane flying off the deck of an aircraft carrier they launched off of the snow-covered platform and were soon airborne.

         “This business will be settled tonight, Christmas Eve.” said Mr. Finway, turning to Rooki who was curled up with the sleeping beaver.

         They were soon hovering, silently over the house where all of Rooki’s uncles, aunts and cousins had gathered to divide his inheritance and were now planning to barbeque the pot-bellied pig, Umm. Umm was tied to a spit, over a fire pit that was yet to be lit. Mr. Finway turned up the volume on his eavesdropping receptors so that they could listen in.

       “I wish to announce that in matters regarding Rooki Greentree,” the trussed up Umm began, “all present and future decisions regarding his welfare will, as of the present moment, cease to be the concern of his uncles and aunts. Furthermore, It is recommended, most strongly, that he be adopted, immediately, by Tilda and Sel Cousins. Furthermore, all funds remaining in his inheritance will be used for his benefit exclusively.” Umm cleared his throat as he watched a lighted match being applied to the mound of charcoal piled beneath him. “Furthermore,” he continued, This shall all take effect Christmas Morning”

         At that very moment a dozen bells rang out announcing the arrival of Christmas. With the ringing of the bells, the fire beneath the trussed up Umm leaped up.  Mr. Finway turned the knob and a snowstorm came down and quenched the fire.

         One year later and another Christmas Eve, Mr. Finway sat hovering in his zazmotrack  with Umm sitting besides him. They had looked down upon a happy scene of Tilda and Sel Cousins with their adopted son Rooki as they celebrated Christmas and Rooki’s twelfth birthday. Christmas bells floated up to them and they were at peace.


        As for Rooki’s uncles, aunts and cousins, perhaps their peace and good will shall come another year.  

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 © robert 2014