A Modern-Day Christmas Story

@theo

It’s the middle of the night, Christmas Eve, and Ernie’s standing over my bed, one hand holding up his bath towel, the other poking one of my nipples repeatedly. “Hey, RKO. Wake up.”

I push him away, rubbing my eyes and blinking in the light of my cell phone’s touchscreen. “What time is it?”

“I think I killed a man.”

“Huh?”

I think I killed a man.

It takes a moment (and a few more dodged nipple-pokes) for it to sink in: Ernie’s serious. Well, as serious as you can be while wearing nothing but a towel—is that blood splatter on his face and shoulder? “Um…okay.”

“I’m cereal, dude. I killed him.”

“That’s great.”

Dead, bruh.”

“Uh-huh. Can I go back to sleep now?”

Ernie frowns, frustrated. “I just told you I killed someone, and that’s your reaction?”

“You’re lucky you got a reaction from me at all.”

“Well, it was a shitty reaction.”

“No refunds. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

Ernie bites his lip, thinks for a sec. “Just…come look and tell me I didn’t do what I think I did.”

I roll onto my side, facing away from him. “Merry Christmas, Ernie.”

“What are you doing?”

“Going back to sleep.”

“I’ll keep flicking your nipples, then—”

I clamp my hands over my pecs.

“—and blowing into your ear—”

Toss my head to and fro.

“—I’ll over-massage your prostate until it’s so big and swollen not even George Noory himself will be able to save you—”

“Fine, fine!” I throw back the covers, jump out of bed, brush the residue of Ernie’s tentative touch from my backside. “What is so important that you have to show me right now this very instant?”

Ernie nods at my phone.

Sighing, I pick it up, swipe us into his bedroom. He solemnly leads me out, down the hall, and into the living room. He points at the fireplace and…it’s not so dark that I can’t actually see what’s in there (there’s a flashlight propped on the coffee table, and, thanks to my Joey Martin skin, I’ve got twenty-twenty vision). No, it’s that I can’t believe what’s in there: a pair of very Santa-like legs—bright red pants, black boots, iron fire stoker jammed into the bloodied crotch—dangling limply above the hearth.

“What the heck happened here?” I ask, swallowing hard.

“I heard a noise on the roof,” Ernie explains. “Since my grandparents apparently won’t wake up for anything less than an overturned blowhorn truck, I took it upon myself to investigate, and what do I find but this asshole trying to wriggle his way down our chimney!”

“So, you stabbed him in the dick?”

“I had to think quick!”

I squat beside the coffee table and try to peer further up inside the chimney. “Ernie, you killed Santa Claus.”

“Okay, junior. This is San Angelico in the twenty-twenties, and not some kind of children’s picture book. This is also not Santa Claus. Even if he was, in what world is it ever okay for a grown man to break into people’s homes in the middle of the night supposedly delivering presents for little boys and girls who’ve been good all year?” Ernie affects an air of importance. “If you ask me, I just stopped a gross, disgusting shopping mall predator from dropping his next Yuletide load into the unsuspecting mouth-and-or-bottom of…of…” He trails off, listening. “Are those…sleigh bells?”

Without a word, we stumble from the living room, dart outside and onto the front lawn. It’s cold, but it’s California-cold, so my loincloth (and Ernie’s towel, I’m guessing) isn’t entirely inadequate. We crane our necks, looking up into the clear night sky…and I can tell you with absolute certainty that nine festive reindeer and a colorful sleigh are hovering motionless above the Womacks’ house.

“Holy shit!” Ernie gasps.

I just hold myself and gawk. “Dude, you definitely killed Santa Claus.”

Or a shitty mall Santa—”

“—who can afford flying reindeer pulling a magic sleigh.”

“Fuck.” Ernie falters. “You know what this means?”

“That you’re going to prison for manslaughter?”

“No. I’m not getting any presents this year.”

I shake my head. “You were never going to get any presents.”

“Shut up and help me dispose of the body.”

Love is a little red pixel heart

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Dookie, a cheesy horror novel by Jesse Gordon

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Jesse Gordon

Geek. Writer. Supreme overlord of the SUPERMEGANET pseudoverse. Author of THE OATMEAL MAN, DOOKIE, and other such wasteful nonsense.