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The Second Noelle

16 pages14 minutes


An ultra-bright shooting star lights the neighborhood at midnight. The next morning Joseph and a clearly pregnant Mary walk up Nelson and Jeanne’s lane in late June. Joseph wants only a barn with a little hay for Mary to rest on. Dolores and Jeanne believe this is the real thing. Nelson tells them how dumb and gullible they are. Three farmers come looking for their lost lamb. Three men bring gifts from Publishers’ Clearing House. Three women bring pamphlets describing the birth of the universe. That evening an electrical storm occurs at midnight; ball lightning dances on the roof of the barn. Screech owls are heard. A coyote howls from the deck. Jeanne hears a donkey braying in the yard. Jeanne and Dolores run to the barn. Nelson goes out an hour later with coffee. It’s a baby girl they yell at him. Nelson says they are dumber than Balaam’s Ass. Joseph and Mary had a boy at Christmas time, not a baby girl in June. It’s a girl this time, they yell, Jesus was born at the winter solstice. This sweet little girl was born on the summer solstice. The three shepherds bring a lamb, the three kings bring a pizza, and the three wise women bring a six-pack of beer and a bottle of wine.

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