The Christmas Corpse
As I was dragging the corpse out of my house, its fat, decomposing midsection got stuck in the doorway.
Our Christmas tree was dead when I bought it. It was half brown sitting on that tree lot, but my son picked it out, and I respected his choice. That was a month ago. Now our proud holiday centerpiece was a large coniferous mummy, and it was time to go. I was trying to sneak it out while my kids were watching How The Grinch Stole Christmas for the 4000th time. They’re children, and they actually enjoy Christmas, so the sight of me dumping the beloved tannenbaum would be too much for their sweet, tiny minds to bear. So instead, I was going to lie and say atheists stole it.
This tree was huge, at least by our humble Ballard standards. When I brought it into the house in December, it was neatly bundled in plastic. Now, about a month past its expiration date, the damn thing wouldn’t fit through the door. Worse, the remaining pine needles were petrified into steel tipped darts, piercing their way through my Dickies Work Jacket into my flesh. With one last, desperate tug I managed to get the tree out onto my porch, sending a shower of deadly, pine-scented projectiles in all directions.
I heaved the dead tree over the railing into the bushes below. Overgrown foliage is a killer’s best friend. Thinking the hard part was over, I headed back inside and, to my horror, saw a deep carpet of brownish-green pine needles all over the front room.
“Oh my god,” I thought “They’ll know. THEY’LL KNOW!”
I quickly regained my wits, grabbed a broom and tried my best to dispose of the gore. I felt like a post-shower scene Norman Bates. Pine needles were everywhere. The more I swept, the more I found. Every time I thought I was done, I’d spin around and see a new batch lodged somewhere. The couch. The curtains. The windowsill.
I finally managed to clean up the crime scene, and just in time, as I heard the pitter-patter of my children rushing from the bedroom. The nightmare was over and soon I would be snuggling with my family on the couch drinking hot chocolate. I went to take off my shoes (NO SHOES IN THE HOUSE!) when a wave of terror came over me—my shoes were completely covered in pine needles. I glanced in a nearby mirror and saw that I was covered from head to toes in Those Goddamned Needles. I looked like a fat green porcupine.
Overcome with panic, I stripped naked as fast as I could, tossed the incriminating clothes into the closet and slammed it shut.
My wife and two young sons stood there, slack-jawed, staring at the hairy, sweaty naked man in their living room.
“Where’s the Christmas Tree?” my youngest son asked.
“The atheists stole it,” I explained. “And my clothes. They were nudist atheists, and they hate Christmas. And clothes. Who wants hot chocolate?”
©2010 Paul Merrill / www.paulmerrill.com