Bamboo Ridge E-News — A "Pre" Chinese New Year Special — 01/04/11

I have a lot of trouble finding employers. Fortunately, Darrell and Eric have always been very kind to me, giving me odd jobs. Today, for instance, I spent all day addressing what I thought were their Groundhog Day cards.

I didn't want to seem ungrateful for the work and the Grace's plate lunch they bought me in return for hand addressing the 3,000 envelopes I did today, so I certainly wasn't going to mention that I thought the groundhog on the front of the card looked more like a bunny. I think Darrell drew it.

Around six this evening, I told them I was very tired, and that I'd get to the other half of the cards tomorrow.

"Say what?" Darrell asked.

"Sorry, I really can't do anymore Groundhog Day cards tonight. I'll address the other 3000 envelopes tomorrow." They both gave me seriously hard looks. "I mean," I added, "if this would be all right with you."

"Groundhog Day cards?" Eric asked. "Are you on something?"

"Oh no, Mr. Chock. Thanks to yours and Dr. Lum's intervention, I've been good."

Darrell shook his head. He picked up one of the cards and pointed to the groundhog. "Eh brah, try tell me this looks like a groundhog."

"Ah, it's very well drawn, Dr. Lum. You could have been a professional illustrator."

"Dude," Eric cut in, "he's asking you if you think that looks like a groundhog. Doesn't it look like a rabbit to you?"

I waited for Darrell to go off. Nothing happened.

"Ah, well, ummm, yes, it does look like a rabbit, Mr. Chock, since you yourself, ah, bring it up."

"It is a rabbit, gonfonnit!" Darrell said in heightened tones, holding it closer to my eyes so I could see it better. "These are Chinese New Year cards. It's the Year of the gonfonnit Rabbit coming up."

Eric asked, "You from around here right? Don't you know what this means?" He pointed to four very strange looking words above the bunny rabbit's ears.

"Weeeeell, I thought it might be something like, ummm, A Happy Groundhog Day — in some kind of foreign non-English language maybe?"

They shook their heads, seemingly in total disbelief. Very slowly and patiently, Darrell asked, "Please tell us why you keep talking about gonfonnit groundhogs?"

"Well, Dr. Lum, you and Mr. Chock told me I had to make sure to finish everything as fast as possible because you wanted all your 6000 close friends to get the cards by February 2nd. So I figured they were Happy Groundhog Day cards."

In equally slow, highly enunciated syllables, Eric said, "We wanted you to finish so we could get all the cards to all of our 6000 close friends by the day before Chinese New Year."

"I got it!" Darrell shouted. "It's because the day before Chinese New Years is Groundhog Day, right?"

I nodded.

"Freakin mystery solved!" Eric exclaimed, slapping his hand on the table.

I bowed my head.

Darrell added: "Eh, Eric, I tink we got another suckin mystery solved." He looked at me with great kindness and very deep concern. "Now we know why you've been telling everyone that the last day for the 100-word short-short story contest and for the 100-line submissions for the 100th BR issue was December 31st."

Eric slapped the palm of his hand against his forehead. "Ha-la, brah! Don't you know when you get one memo from two guys named Chock and Lum telling you the deadline for the 100-word short-short story contest and for the 100-line submissions for the landmark 100th issue of BAMBOO RIDGE is New Year's, it only means one dang thing: Chinese New Year's. Sheees . . . "

I scratched my head and thought hard. "Ah ha, okay, I think I get it. So you mean that the actual deadline for the Great BAMBOO RIDGE Short-Short Story Contest is February 3rd at 2:00 p.m Hawaiian Standard Time. We're going to run it for one more month."

"Rogah dodgah dat," said Darrell.

I was proud of myself for understanding. Encouraged, I continued with, "And you mean that the postmark deadline for the 100-line short story or poetry submissions is actually February 3rd."

"One extra scoop mac salad for you tomorrow, brah," Eric beamed.

Then, in one of those great moments that always give me chicken skin, the legendary editors of BAMBOO RIDGE, who'd established a psychic connection over the years from even before 1978, suddenly looked at each other, their eyes wide open. And then they laughed aloud and high-fived.

"Good one, Eric," Darrell said.

"Good one, you," Eric said.

"Good one what?" I asked, not functioning in the same intuitive realm.

"We'll run a Chinese New Year BRP online store special," said Darrell.

"It'll be 33% off all BR books either written by a pa-ke," said Eric, "Or edited by a pa-ke," Darrell concluded.

I scratched my head again and pondered this pronouncement. "So doesn't that cover every single book ever published by Bamboo Ridge Press?" I finally asked.

"Exactly," Darrell and Eric chorused in unison, and with that awesome puff of smoke, they were gone.

The big men in black jumpsuits hooded me and drove me home, as usual, the longest way possible. When I finally arrived and sat down at my computer, there was an owl sitting on my keyboard with a note tied to its leg. The note said:

Send out a message to the BR email list telling our friends that:

1. The deadline for the last Great BR Short-Short Story Contest online entry is February 3rd at 2:00 p.m. HST;

2. The deadline for snail-mail only submissions of 100-line poetry or prose pieces for the landmark 100th issue of BAMBOO RIDGE is extended to February 3rd;

3. From now through February 3rd, EVERY book in the BRP online bookstore either written by a pa-ke or edited by a pa-ke is 33% off — which means EVERY book ever published by BRP;

4. Even if you've never heard of it — which we canna possibly fathom — please wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year in advance : )

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