The Mysterious King of Orient-R

The smile that greeted Sister Madly that December day of yesteryear was one she hoped to never see again, for it was the smile that always preceded something disagreeable. And clearly, this was going to be more disagreeable than simply hauling a wagon through the snow to deliver homemade bread to the neighbors.


But it ended up being much more ghastly than anything the 8 year-old could have imagined.

It was the Living Nativity.

What made this so disagreeable was that she was living in Michigan at the time- the ideal place to have an outdoor Nativity in the dead of winter; absolutely ideal.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Great Lakes Region in the middle of December, allow Sister Madly to provide you with a brief synopsis:


…as opposed to where she lives now:


It was after a proper period of sulking (and a lecture from her parents) that Sister Madly decided to see this unsolicited obligation as the opportunity to flaunt her most excellent theatrical abilities- after all, who knew what Hollywood guru would be in attendance that night? Her dread was further mollified by the news that she was not to be a shepherd boy as was first thought, but rather, a King.


But this was no ordinary Christmas Pageant: there were no lines, indeed no speaking of any kind, not even a song- which was most fortunate for those within earshot, as Sister Madly cannot carry a tune with a forklift.* In fact, there was nothing required of her but to stand perfectly still, and be completely silent. While this ventured dangerously close to mime territory, Sister Madly refused to cross that savage boundary and decided to convey kingly majesty through her presence alone, just as any brilliant thespian would.

* She is not licensed to drive a forklift, either.

So on the appointed evening, Sister Madly, along with her parents and Tallulah (all of whom were, no doubt, plotting to steal her spotlight) found themselves at the First Church of the Middle of Nowhere. There was no sign of the Hollywood Guru, but he most likely wanted to be inconspicuous and hid the Rolls Royce.


Now Sister Madly knew better than to expect Broadway quality costumes from a country church, but even her simple expectations proved to be too high. The King’s costume wasn’t so much pulled over her neon, insanely-puffy winter coat (which glowed sweetly beneath the blue fabric like a cartoon x-ray) as Sister Madly was stuffed inside of it. And she had to wear the puffy coat- not for any sensible reason, like the weather, but because it made the robe fit more snugly as the costume was meant for an adult, not an child.

A child… Sister Madly was seriously offended at being lumped into a demographic to which she actually belonged- an indignation that was further provoked when she was told that she would be standing on a milk crate because she was too short. Of all the nerve…


While the other Kings wore winter coats as well, they had nowhere near the puffability as her neon monstrosity. Sister Madly was almost perfectly round, and moved with all the grace and speed of an imbalanced washing machine. She looked less like a king and more like Violet the Blueberry in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

It was as terrifying as it was magnificent to behold.

But Sister Madly reminded herself that this wasn’t just a still-life production centered around the Baby Jesus- who was noticeably absent from the Manger- it was an epic tale about a Mysterious King of Orient-R. And Sister Madly, with her plastic jewelry and her arms sticking straight out at her sides, she was that King, chosen to bear the hallowed gift of Murder-


Myrrh? What in tarnation is myrrh?

“It’s a burial spice.”

…because the person’s been murdered?

“Because the person is dead.”

Where does murder fit in?

“It doesn’t.”



So no murder, then. Just gold and something called myrrh…

Wait- what about about Frankenstein? Sister Madly’s wrong about that too, isn’t she? It’s actually Frank-and-Beans?

“Frankincense. Also a spice.”

And just like that, a piece of her childhood slipped away. Gone, now, were the days of Gold, Frankenstein, and Murder; gone was the mysterious land of Orient-R. Sister Madly wasn’t a King, nor royalty of any sort; she was just an 8 year-old moppet in a puffy coat, standing on a milk crate in the midst of a Nativity that sadly lacked a Baby Jesus.

There had better be cocoa afterwards.

THEME SONG: King of Wishful Thinking, Go West




21 responses

  1. I didn’t know you were originally from Michigan…. 🙂 ( like me….but soon on to be on my way out to warmer climates within 17months and 15days 2hrs)

    I do hope the cocoa was good after….

    Now it seems it has been upgraded to cider 🙂 Clink Clink!

    It’s too bad baby Cthulu couldn’t attend…he’s a mysterious little bugger though. Perhaps murder was afoot! Quick, sprinkle the myrrh .

    always love hearing your snapshots that is the story of your life, albeit a warped story bordering on the fractured picked up pieces of a mind on long day dream in irreverence and indiscretion and Madliness 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    December 8, 2016 at 7:22 AM

    • Aye- West Michigan!

      How is it that you know the exact day, down to the hour, when you will find yourself in this warmer climate? That is some incredible (or creepy?) psychic ability that should not go to waste! (Especially if it’s creepy!)

      I think Cthulhu WAS there- after all, the manger was lacking a Baby Jesus… why didn’t anyone think of that sooner?!

      (And the cocoa was nasty…)


      December 8, 2016 at 2:20 PM

      • West Michigan for me as well. Grands Rapids area for me :)….

        My move has been in the works for awhile… 2018…warmer climate here I come !

        Hope you have adapted well to your new setting…

        Cthulhu loves baby Jesuses.. taste like chicken..

        Liked by 1 person

        December 8, 2016 at 8:07 PM

  2. Truly a tale of woe Ms Madly.

    So many of us are pleased you’ve remained imbalanced and share!

    Having grown up beside a great lake myself, the great white north isn’t so white if you live on the the right side of the lake. By “right side” I mean the north side. Oh the days I’d admire all that water being sucked up to be dumped on the AM(hack)ERI(hack)CAN(cough cough) side of the lake and laugh and laugh and laugh.

    I’m thinking the Stay Puff MICHelin Man would have been pleased as punch to help you with your puffiness!

    As always Milady … at your flounce, er bounce, er countenance.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 8, 2016 at 8:11 AM

    • Imbalanced like a haggis!

      That Great Lake was being a bully… sounds like it would benefit from some intense anger management.

      Am curious… when you were in the midst of your laughing and laughing and laughing, were you standing on the north shore of said Great Lake with thunder and lightning bolts crashing behind you?

      Liked by 1 person

      December 8, 2016 at 2:32 PM

      • Lakes don’t bully. Lakes don’t trash talk. Lakes don’t throw bats. Lakes just make waves!

        yesm, I was on the north shore but it wasn’t incoming, someone else was launching outgoing.

        Liked by 1 person

        December 8, 2016 at 2:40 PM

  3. As always I adore your posts and laugh until whatever beverage I unwisely imbibe while reading makes its way out of my nose.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 8, 2016 at 9:17 AM

    • Oh dear… stay away from all vintage wines and well-age liquors while reading. Mustn’t let them go to waste!


      Liked by 1 person

      December 8, 2016 at 2:04 PM

  4. “Orient-R”, hahahaha….

    Liked by 1 person

    December 8, 2016 at 10:33 AM

    • One of the downfalls of learning a song by ear… one’s whole world can change after learning the correct lyrics!


      December 8, 2016 at 1:56 PM

  5. Love your work and the main pic and now trying to get the theme song out of my head!

    Liked by 1 person

    December 8, 2016 at 2:18 PM

    • That song has been stuck in my head as well! Does this mean it’s an epidemic? My sympathies if so…

      (And thank you! ;c) )


      December 8, 2016 at 2:38 PM

  6. I too lived in Michigan, (Lansing), and am well acquainted with the wonders of Great Lakes winters. There’s this thing that happens along the east shore of the lakes and inland a way, all the time when the temp is below 32deg and wind is from the NW or W. Other places, like those on the north or west shore of the lakes aren’t privileged to endure this misery. Nice story, Madly. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    December 12, 2016 at 8:54 PM

    • Lake Effect…which would somehow produce enough snow to close every school but mine! So unfair.

      And thank you! ;c)


      December 13, 2016 at 11:14 AM

  7. I’ve read this four or five times now and still don’t see a resolving of the mystery of Orient-R, let alone where Baby Jesus got off to. Please advise.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 19, 2016 at 5:33 PM

    • Orient-R vanished along with the gift of Frankenstein on that snowy December day… but it does appear in Scotland for one day every 100 years.

      Baby Jesus never made an appearance. No doubt he took one look at the weather report and decided to be born in May. Deities can do that sort of thing.


      December 20, 2016 at 12:28 PM

  8. And like that, the wonderful imagination of a child is snuffed out and the edge forever removed from the Christmas blade – far more disheartening than the exposure to the great santa conspiracy.

    Fellow wandering Michigander here (Detroit – city). The freezing winters and perma-grey skies prepared me well for the sunless smog winters of China. All things measured, I prefer the smog.

    Liked by 1 person

    January 12, 2017 at 8:19 PM

    • Hello fellow Michigan-Winter Refugee! I’m pretty sure you can’t get much farther from the state than China. I think I’d take the smog as well- cars don’t seem to get stuck in smog piles on the side of the road.

      Learning about Santa may have been disheartening as a child, but when thinking about it as an adult… There’s a designated night that some guy breaks into your home, eats whatever food he can find, stuffs coal into your socks, then leaves- all the while laughing maniacally.

      And as kids, we thought this was magical.


      January 13, 2017 at 10:36 AM

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