Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Last Christmas Present

Snow drifts were piled seven feet deep against the walls of 714 Elegance Way. Though it was late March, winter showed no intention of relaxing its onslaught against the city of Grand Forks North Dakota. Wex Ericson turned from the TV and gazed out the window at the mounds of snow covering his front walk. He had intended to shovel it but he wondered if it made any sense to exhume the sidewalk if it would simply suffocate below the drifts by the next day. Wex returned his attention to the gas powered yule log that was being advertised on the shop at home network. Seeing a holiday item for sale at this time of year reminded Wex that perhaps, to make up for another day of non-accomplishment, he would take down the Christmas tree his mother had set up for the holidays.

Between a TV dinner, a round of Wii tennis, and an untimely rerun of White Christmas, Wex had managed to remove the ornaments from the tree and pull the stand off the trunk. As he tipped the stand over to dump out the dry brown needles he discovered a small wrapped gift that had laid forgotten (help with that participle grammar nerds) since Christmas... presumably. There was a card attached to the bottom of the package which read, "For the last person to take out their Christmas tree this year, please accept this: the gift of continued Christmas". Inside was an ugly little brass statue resembling a collectible troll or poorly rendered sterling fantasy sculpture of a fairy. Wex grunted and tossed the figurine on the TV stand amongst an assortment of used light bulbs, tools, and VHS tapes. He knew his mother was outspoken but it bugged him that she assumed he would be this late in removing her tree. Turning from the TV Wex wandered out to check the mail and discovered a large package on the front porch. As well as receiving 2 very late Christmas cards he had also been given a huge and overpoweringly sweet fruit cake. As he nibbled the hard end of the cake Wex eyed the festive little idol perched on his TV stand. He looked at the cards, the cake, and the TV where the station was playing a Miley Cyrus music video of All I Want for Christmas. Something was wrong. Wex stirred, grabbed a plastic bag from the floor, tossed in all the seasonal stuff he could spot and dropped the brass idol on top. Before heading to bed that night he carefully put it out for the garbage collector.

The next morning when Wex sat down in front of the TV with a bowl of cocoa crispies he was startled by a sharp jab in his left buttock. Spilling cereal and cursing loudly he jumped up and turned around. There, in the corner of his chair was the brass idol perched on top of an expired ticket to a 4th grade performance of Scrooge. Wex stood munching his cereal for several minutes before calling his mom to complain about her lack of subtlety. She, of course, had no idea what he was talking about. That evening Wex tossed the idol into the neighbors' yard before going to bed. The next morning he found it in the bottom of his cereal box with a wrapped Santa bobble head.

As the days passed and the mounds of chintzy Christmas trinkets grew, Wex tried to rid himself of the horrid idol. Each day it would spook him by appearing somewhere in his house heralding some useless piece of post holiday cheer. By the following Christmas, Wex was poised with a watch and an already disassembled tree. At midnight he hauled the tree out to the curb for pickup the next day. When the sun woke him up a few hours later the tree was gone and the idol, which he had left resting on top of the fridge had passed on.

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