The following is a Neatorama Shop Story, a narrative starring the products carried in this blog’s very own online store.
1932, Vieux Carré. The spirited jazz befit the life the old lady had lived. She had been known for curing illnesses, lifting curses and brewing love potions, all without charging. She had gotten along with everyone, even the reclusive nocturnal couple who rented the windowless basement apartment. The procession wound its way back to her grand dwelling on St. Ann Street where we found ourselves at a wake hosted by the deceased’s attractive young niece, Sookie, who had just returned from her studies abroad.
We had only recently taken up residence in the sun-drenched breezy balconied rooms on the second floor. The first floor was occupied by a handsome but shy young pianist. He and the old lady had “adopted” each other some years earlier and had become constant companions, so his absence from the procession had raised our eyebrows and our concern. Later, when we did not see him at the wake, we feared he was bedridden with grief and loneliness, yet our worries melted away like Cajun crawfish croquettes as we eagerly sampled the buffet before us. In anticipation of crossing over, the old lady had written out a meticulous plan which Sookie had followed to the letter, lovingly preparing all of her Aunt’s secret recipes, and placing at the center of the table a voodoo doll toothpick holder. With each miniscule skewer removed by a guest and plunged into cayenne crab cakes, deep fried jambalaya crisps, or gator gumbo gobs, everyone present felt a pang of sadness lift, and recalled in its place a joyous memory of a joke shared or wisdom gained in times spent in the company of the dearly departed.
The jazz band paused as the very house itself seemed to groan and sob a long cathartic wail. Just then, our mysteriously absent neighbor stumbled through the doorway, clutching his bosom. Our hostess looked into his eyes and then down at the table, where a lone stick jutted from the heart of its man-shaped holder. Plucking the tiny toothpick from its hole, she stabbed a soft praline ball and lifted it to the quivering lips of the young man whose hands promptly fell from his chest to his sides and then wrapped themselves around the waist of his savior. The two young people closest to the old lady’s heart would now dwell in each others’, as she had long intended.
We knew it was past our bedtime when our subterranean neighbors arrived bearing blood-sausage-stuffed po’ boys. As we were saying goodnight, the hostess passed us the little perforated person who had served up so much deliciousness and pain. She said, “Please take this. My aunt would have wanted you to have it. She told me that your love spanned the ages.”
Our little friend is now marketed under the name of “Ouch! The Voodoo Doll Toothpick Holder.” We have employed ours on several occasions without attracting the attention of authorities. It has retained its power as a great party starter. We have used it at an acupuncturist’s reception, and have adorned “Ouch!” with ruffle-ended toothpicks to evoke a grass skirt for a Very Brady taboo/voodoo luau. When he is not partying, “Ouch!” makes a nice paperweight and graciously holds our “flags of all nations and eras” pushpin collection (essential in mapping our adventures). Just hanging out with him imparts a comforting feeling that you have a tool with which to control the universe. “Ouch!” does not appear to have been approved for use with sparklers, so we cannot advise in good conscience that you try it. Suffice it to say that it would look wicked cool and the spell would be that much more effective.
Ouch! Voodoo Doll Toothpick Holder, available from the Neatorama Shop for $7.95
The story above is written by the dynamic duo Drs. Ernest and Convalescence Bidet-Wellville (hey, I didn’t name ‘em) of the University of Self-Conscious Consumerism in Olde Busytowne, Connecticut. I suspect they write cover stories for the CIA, so if I’m inexplicably missing the next few days, you know what happened.