March Ain’t No Lion. Or Is It?

Darryl Swann here, intern at Black Orchid Enterprises here in Beauchamp, Texas, and I just wanted to set the record straight because everybody’s asking me why there’s no cool holiday display for March. When I decorate for the holidays indoors and out, people come from miles away–okay, 10 miles, but that’s more than one–for their legal, accounting, and feline medical needs. Sometimes people grab a stray cat in their neighborhood and bring it to Dr. Johnny Ly, and they get away with paying the charity vet fee and eating our treats. The cat somehow stays with us, because we’re the county overflow cat shelter, though Johnny’s started advertising those cats through Lost Pet channels. I’m just saying, keep your cat indoors.

I could do even more if Dianne didn’t restrict my budget to $50 from petty cash, but fortunately a lot of people around Beauchamp help out, because we’ve become famous, even on TV and stuff for our awesome holiday decorations, which, as I said, are totally me.

March started out okay, with bead necklaces all over the trees for Mardi Gras. Johnny baked a King Cake, kinda like this one from Betty Crocker, my granny’s best friend. It looked a lot like the challah braids Johnny makes every Friday, but I don’t judge, specially when it tastes that good. None of my friends have internships that include food, much less an apartment, which mostly makes up for having to work for a vet, an accountant, a lawyer, and an ABBA tribute band. Insert your own joke.

It would have gone fine, but every customer got a slice of cake, and the weird little kid who got the piece with the Baby Jesus screamed to bring down the ceiling, which is as high as a cathedral in Gregg House. I gave her another piece but it didn’t help because she thought every piece was gonna have another Baby Jesus, and that’s when Dianne said no more religious holidays, which was a shame, because I planned to hand out cans of beer for Purim.

And then JD, lawyer dude, made me rake the whole yard, because you wouldn’t believe how far a lawn mower can shoot a Mardi Gras bead, and JD’s all liability, blah blah. But he’s cool: he didn’t make me pay for the broken window. I would have left it and made up a story about bullet holes, but you know lawyers, blah blah.

After Mardi Gras, March holidays can pretty much do themselves, just dye everything green for St. Patrick’s Day. Dianne said green food coloring in the toilet was too much. Johnny said that day is also St. Gertrude’s Day, the Patron Saint of Cats, so I said, let’s give everybody a free cat, since we’re a cat clinic and shelter, but it’d be easier to get into the FBI than pass Johnny’s cat adoption criteria. So we gave out cat plushies, cat treats, and cat toys, and I put up lots of cat pix, with last year’s cat video convention on continuous loop in the lobby.

For the minor holidays, I put out treats for Oreo Day, Pi Day, and Girl Scout Day, and our neighbor Miss Leigh let me have some flowers for Peach Blossom Day, though she said she meant for me to take a branch or two, not cut the tree half down. I was aiming my big guns for the first day of Spring. I knew I’d have to use fake flowers, because we’d had just enough of a winter freeze to delay February’s blooms, but not as bad as the Texas Snowpocalypse. We’ve already made a gazillion fake flowers for other holidays, so I wasn’t worried, though me and my friends and family made another gazillion, just to be sure.

I’d just attached the last flower on a bare crêpe myrtle branch when a tornado siren went off. We all piled into the basement of Gregg House, even the twenty-eight cats, because Johnny called and said we had to bring them with us. He was on his way back from substituting for a big-animal vet at a farm near Elrod, where he spent the afternoon with his arm in cow butts up to his shoulder. I’m thinking maybe being an accountant like Dianne is the way to go.

So my outdoor decorations blow over three counties while Johnny’s driving down the highway. Then, holy carp, a tornado picks up his truck, flips it upside down, and sets it back on the road. Eventually he stops shaking enough to drive the truck home, and he won’t let me call Ford and say they’ve got to use this in a commercial. He says not to tell anybody, but it’s on the six o’clock local news, with video even, and everybody knows Johnny’s truck, which he keeps for hauling animals, like bobcats. Don’t ask. I eventually made auto responses for phone and email and social media to say that Johnny’s fine and they should definitely buy a Ford.

I didn’t feel like making more flowers, but I got this other great idea. I called Bert’s Salvage in Elrod. Bert brought over some car body parts, and we threw them around the front yard and hung them in trees to celebrate Spring, Texas style.

I was just putting up the front yard donor sign so everyone could see that Bert contributed to this display when the partners came back from lunch. JD didn’t say anything, but he turned shades of green and orange, amazing for a Person Not of Color. Dianne let loose with the Spanish, which I don’t understand. Maybe she loved the display. But Johnny went weak at the knees and turned white as JD’s normal color. Dianne and JD muscled him into the house, and JD came back to be all tactful and say that Johnny’s traumatized still from flying almost to Oz or a coffin, and he can’t deal with car parts dangling all over the lawn. He’s lying down after taking extra meds, and I should reschedule his appointments for the next couple of hours. Bert was cool and helped me take everything down. I left the sign up for a few days until I got tired of people asking me “What display?” But you should still go to Bert’s Salvage for all your wreckage needs. Mention Black Orchid Enterprises for a discount.

After that, Dianne said, “Basta!” and even I know it means “Enough already!” So until April you’ll have to make do with Mother Nature’s efforts, like those purple trees around the property edge that burst into bloom a few days after the tornado. Now it smells like we’re living in a bottle of grape soda, with the bluebonnets adding their bit.

For April I’ve got some great ideas for Ramadan, Passover, and Easter, if Dianne forgets about no religious holidays. I hope I’ve learned better than to do something that will bring the police and news crews out again–I mean, I avoided Be Nasty Day and Panic Day in March. The worst I did was to put a sign on my desk that said “National Poofreader’s Day,” and I inserted a hand-drawn R when Dianne’s eyelid twitched.

So be sure to come by Black Orchid Enterprises in April for all your vet, tax, and legal needs and see my latest holiday creations.

I should ask for a raise. I bring in more customers than any advertising.

Darryl Swann
Student at Texas Community College in Elrod, intern in charge of litter boxes for cat clinic, pointless paperwork for the accounting and legal offices, reception desk, social media, and holidays.