October 8 2002 at 12:52 PM
Harbinger of Death
|The Harbinger of Death shuffled forlornly to the door. He didn’t know who was ringing the bell. He didn’t care. So when he found Tom Turkey (who had once threatened him within an inch of his afterlife) on his front step, he didn’t even blink. “Hullo,” he said dully. |
“I just saw,” said Tom sympathetically.
“Come on in.” Harbinger turned away from the open door without waiting to see if Tom followed or to close the door behind them. Tom shook his head. He knew the feeling all too well, unfortunately.
“So when was it on?” Tom sat on the sofa.
“This afternoon. Again.”
“CDs. Jazz and soul.”
Tom sighed. “It was bound to happen, you know. Merchandisers are never happy. They’re always pushing the so-called ‘season’ further and further back so they can make more money. And you know how the economy’s been lately.”
“But Christmas music? In mid-September?” Harbinger choked a little on the words. “That’s when I first saw that one. And the newspaper had ads for craft stores two weeks before that.”
Tom just patted HoD’s knee with his wing. “Hey, if anybody knows how you feel, it’s me. I mean, I haven’t had a season to call my own in decades.”
“I know. I just didn’t expect this to happen for a long time yet.”
“It’s nothing personal, you know. It’s just the natural order of things.”
Harbinger looked up. “What did you say?”
“I said, it’s nothing personal—”
“No, the last part.”
“It’s the natural order of things. It’s like a predator in the Circle of Life. The lion doesn’t have a grudge against the antelope. He’s just doing his thing. Likewise, the marketing companies are doing what comes naturally to them. They gobbled up Thanksgiving, no pun intended, and now here comes Halloween, and—CHOMP.”
“Tom, my friend, you are a genius.” Harbinger was sitting straight up now and his eye sockets were gleaming. “You have just become my accomplice for this year.”
“Really?” Tom was intrigued. Since he didn’t have much of a voice any more, even in the height of harvest time, maybe it’d be fun to shake things up a little. “What did you have in mind?”
“Come to my study and we’ll hammer everything out.”