The following is the third-place entry for our Third Annual Dickens Christmas Contest. The second-place entry will appear on Wednesday, December 23, and the winner will appear on Thursday, December 24.
“Hold Your Noise” by Roberta Brown
“Hold your noise!” cried the county sheriff as a man started up from among the corn stalks at the side of the abandoned outhouse.
The man scratched himself on his torn pants, then pulled a half-smoked stogie from his partially ripped shirt pocket.
“I’m not botherin’ no one,” he grunted. “Can’t a man go ta the privy to take a dump?”
“Clem, you know this here outhouse is closed for business — any kind of business,” said the sheriff. “The owner jest hasn’t gotten ‘round to fill ‘er in yet.”
“When ya gotta go, ya gotta go,” Clem said, pointing his stogie toward the outhouse door. “And I’m-a goin’ in!”
“I wouldn’t do that if I was you,” said the sheriff.
“You ain’t me, and I’m-a gonna do what I’m-a gonna do,” spit Clem.
“It’s yer life,” said the sheriff, “but this sure ain’t gonna be pretty.”
Clem took out a book of matches, stomped into the outhouse, and slammed the door. The sheriff heard the strike of the match head.
Then it happened. An explosion, the likes of which hadn’t been heard in those hills before, blew off the outhouse roof and the walls soon followed.
A dazed Clem, pants at his ankles and lit stogie still in hand, rasped, “That sure gives new meanin’ ta burnin’ the ole yule log.”