Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Welcome back to Tuesday’s Tale, a weekly feature where we collaborate to write a story. Previous Tuesday’s Tales include To Thieve a Catch and Beyond Reality. We follow the basic rules of the “Yes, And” improvisational game – accept everything written so far as part of the story, and add your own paragraph (or so) where the last addition left off – except you needn’t begin your addition with “Yes, and.” I’ll start the story….

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“I really think it’s too heavy,” June said, a trace of concern in her voice.

“No it’s not,” Frank said to her from the ladder, before turning to their 12-year-old son. “Niles, hand it up here.”

It was Frank’s new angel tree-topper, hand-fashioned in his garage workshop from a block of dense cypress. It replaced last year’s store-bought fiber-optic angel, which was sent to tree-topper angel heaven when their cat Rosco could not resist that sparkly crystal mouse halfway up the tree. The fiber-optic angel had replaced the previous year’s glow-in-the-dark angel, which had replaced the faux-foil-filigree angel of the year before. In their fourteen years together, Frank and June and found and junked thirteen other angel tree-toppers, all supernatural victims of the natural force known as gravity.

This year would be different. Because cypress trees are protected, Frank had spent weeks online looking for a source that promised the block came from a naturally fallen tree. After that came the weeks in the garage, including so many trips to the home improvement store that the manager mistook him for an employee and fired him for coming in late. (That resulted in a free cordless drill that worked for almost ten minutes between recharges.)

It would not be merely another in a series of pretty but fragile and doomed ornaments. It was, Frank was sure, indestructible. It sparkled with tiny lights (a separate trip to the home improvement store), inset into precisely-drilled (three trips) holes that led to a central, hollowed (two more trips) column that housed the wiring (one trip, whew!). The lights glittered on the hand-painted (wrong brushes, two trips), hand-mixed gesso (one trip for the how-to book, another for materials, another for the rest of the materials) of satin white latex and industrial diamond dust (another trip to a different supplier). The fiber optic halo alone required four trips, including another how-to book, the optical fiber, the transparent hose to protect the optical fiber, and the clear fasteners. Finally came the layers of clear polymer resin (two trips to the home improvement store), the same kind used to make bank windows (one trip to the bank with the absurdly suspicious manager, thus also a trip to the police station with the nice detective who also struggled with tree-topper angels and thus offered both release and his own how-to tips).

Once completed, Frank had plugged It in and called the family out to the garage. There they had oohed and aahed and meowed (because it was feeding time). And they had all agreed that It was, indeed, a tree-topper angel of such beauty (and indestructibility) as to evoke songs of approval from a heavenly chorus.

That was yesterday. Today, Niles grunted as he lifted the angel, then passed it up to his father, who carefully maneuvered it into position atop the tree. Frank settled it into position, looking up, watching it begin to sway and then….

“Honey?” June asked, kneeling beside her husband.

“Dad?” Niles asked, standing behind his mother.

“Meow?” Roscoe asked, pawing at Niles’ leg, less worried about Frank than the deplorable state of the litter box.

Frank surveyed them with a beatific smile. “Angels!”

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Have fun!