See, it was my littlest pumpkin that chopped down the tree this year. Now before you go jumping to conclusions, thinking I’m outta my mind for giving a thirteen-year-old an axe, know I’m a good, responsible father. Got Hannah one of them small axes and some safety goggles for when stuff starts squirting. I gotta say, too, my little pumpkin’s got a hell-of-a mean swing. Reckon I should put her on a softball team with an arm like hers.
No, no, I didn’t get any video. Wish I had. It was just the two of us up there on Abe’s farm. Yeah, he’s a nice enough fellow. Chopping’s a tradition for us Bakers so Abe always makes sure to wrangle up some of our special Baker Christmas trees. So it’s just her and I, and I hold out that axe and right away her face lights up like she’s got her presents early. Before I can stop her, she’s got the axe in both her tiny hands, plants those pink boots square on the ground, swings back like she’s one of them pros, and lets fly.
Damn near chops off this man’s left leg with the first swing. Clean through his skin and muscle, and almost through his bone, too. Leg meat all hanging outta his jeans. Good stuff, you know? The tree, well, he ain’t doing too good. Screaming just as loud as Hannah’s laughing. Maybe even louder. So then my little pumpkin, she catches her breath, takes ahold of that axe, and pulls.
Blood flies all over the place, including Hannah. Face, hair, sweater, sneakers—except her eyes. Responsible father, right? She’s still laughing, so I figure she ain’t too bothered though. At this point, our Christmas tree’s starting what us Bakers call the 3Ps: Pleading, Praying, and Pissing. Been my experience that it’s in that order.
He’s looking down at my little pumpkin and I can see it in his eyes, he almost can’t believe it. A cute little girl trying her damndest to chop off his leg with a pink axe? He’s shouting at the both of us, pleading, trying to get us to cut him down, and I shrug, and we both watch as Hannah swings again. There’s this real loud, real nice sound—like when you bit into that turkey and got through all the skin and gristle, and hit bone?
You shoulda heard this man scream—coulda been one of them opera singers, as high as he could go. Now he’s fighting with every bit of strength he got left, but the chains Abe wrapped him up in are doing a mighty fine job of holding him. He goes still for a second, whispering for the good Lord to come rescue him.
Problem is, Hannah ain’t laughing anymore. She’s just now understanding how hard chopping down a Baker Christmas tree is. She swings again and again, but that axe ain’t going any deeper. Probably half an inch deep into the bone now. So I help her with a couple of swings and I’m almost through the back of his leg in three, and I hand the axe back ‘cause she’s grinning now.
He’s still praying and his leg’s hanging on a thread of skin and jean, and spinning like a Christmas ornament. Hannah lets swing one last time and his leg goes flying across the snow. Lands about seven feet away. My little pumpkin races after it and comes back with it in her hands, grinning from ear to ear, saying how she wants to save it for her room and I just nod, knowing it’s what we’re gonna be stringing lights on. The praying stops after this and I figure the pain musta been too much for him, ‘cause he goes real quiet and real still as Hannah takes off his other leg. Didn’t even have time to piss himself. Damn shame.
But yeah, that’s the story of how Hannah chopped down her first Baker Christmas tree. I’m proud of her. You know, I can’t wait until next year. I’m gonna show my little pumpkin how we make our Baker Halloween jack-o-lanterns.
About the author:
A lifelong Los Angles native, Livingston Edwards was born with an insatiable desire to tell stories. If there’s a rare moment he’s actually not writing, then he’s certainly thinking about it. Taking his inspiration from the horrors of emotions, he delights in frightening his readers–but just enough to keep turning the page. He can be found at https://www.facebook.com/livingston.edwards.9.