copyright © 2007 Jeff Goode

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas 2007


A Visit from Some Nut

after Clement C. Moore

by Jeff Goode

It's the night before Christmas, right?
And I'm up in the attic wrapping presents, like I always am at the last minute on Christmas Eve, cuz it's the only time I can get any privacy--Kids runnin' around under foot all the time--You know what I mean?

And we got my sister and her husband stayin' over this year, cuz they're doing the remodel on their house, so they don't got a roof at the moment, so her kids are over, too, making a racket.

And you can't smack any of 'em, cuz "her kids is her kids" and if she wants to raise them like a goddamn commune, that's her business--or so she keeps telling me--but ya can't even smack yer own kids in front of their cousins, so they're all of 'em running around like a pack of wild Indians half the time. Muddy little feet.

But not now.
Not at 2 minutes to midnight on Christmas Eve.
They're all snug in their beds, or the guest room down the hall, because Santa Claus--him, they're afraid of. Afraid he won't bring 'em toys and shit, if they don't at least pretend like they're well-behaved one night outta the year.

Whatever. I'll take what I can get.

So here I am, up in the attic wrapping presents in peace, for once, when I hear this - I dunno what it is - like a giant WHOOSH. Like a rocket! Like a missile launcher comin' straight through the wall at me, and then BAM something hits the side of the house like a ton of bricks - or more like a side of beef - cuz it ain't bricks, I come to find out later--And then there's another one, and another one. Ba-BAM ba-BAM ba-BAM ba-BAM ba-BAM ba-BAM ba-BAM! Just like that. Eight tiny smacks into my brand new aluminum siding - cost a fucking fortune.

So I run over to the little attic window to see what the fuck just hit the side of my house, and what do I see? Nothin'! I can't see shit. The damn thing is fogged up and frosted over, cuz who's gonna scrape an attic window? Not me. And then I hear it...

The sound of the front door opening.
And someone in heavy work boots stompin' the snow off his feet.
And I'm talking heavy. Gotta be four hundred, five hundred pounds, this guy.
But at least his feet are clean! Ha!

Then I hear him grab something off the gun rack by the front door, and then those same heavy boots come clumping up the stairs. And they stop in front of the little guest room at the end of the hall, where the cousins are staying. And then - and I'll never forget this - I hear the click of a cartridge being loaded into a shotgun and ba-BOOM-BOOM, let's go with both barrels.

Well, I practically shit myself. That's definitely two less cousins right there. Holy shit! And here I am up in the attic, defenseless!

So I'm looking around for anything I can use as a weapon--scissors or tape dispenser or a roll of wrapping paper, and then I remember! Timmy's rifle!

He'd been asking for one since he was three, but my wife always said no. But this year, she finally agreed to let me get him one, so he can go hunting with the rest of the kindergarteners--and not sittin' at home with his momma like some sissy--

I just finished wrapping it, so I throw all the other presents on the floor, and tear open the package like a kid on Christmas day - I mean fast! Soon as I get Timmy's rifle out of the wrapper, I'm fumbling around for the pack of ammo we were gonna give him as a stocking stuffer.

Downstairs, I hear another couple shotgun blasts go off. That'd be my sister and her husband Derek. God bless 'em for coming over. That might just buy me enough time to save my own wife and kids. I tear open the box of shells. And they all fall to the floor in a clatter!

Suddenly the footsteps downstairs stop.

He heard me.
And I know what's coming next.
BOOM! I dive out of the way just as the shotgun blast rips up through the floor, showering me with splinters and ribbons. Then another and another. BOOM BOOM BOOM. This guy's taking no chances.

I'm hunkered down in the corner, covering my eyes, and prayin' he doesn't get lucky, cuz all I've got is Timmy's rifle and one bullet I managed to grab before they all spilled out on the floor. So quiet as a mouse, I load it into the chamber. And I wait.

Eventually he decides to stop firing blind, and I hear the creak of fat footsteps on the ladder leading up to the attic. Then the trap door slowly swings open...

I hear him before I see him.
A low diabolical laugh like the jolly green giant after a couple cigars. Ho ho ho...
And then his head pokes up through the floor.
First the little white tassel--
Then the red fur cap--
And then his fat forehead covered in ashes and soot--What the hell has he been doing?
But I don't say anything, cuz I'm waiting for his eyes to appear.

His beady little coal black eyes, twinkling in the darkness.
Wedged between his rosy cheeks and his cherry red nose.
He squints around at the darkness of the attic, trying to make his eyes adjust.
His droll little mouth curled up in a sneer.
And then he sees me. And his eyes go wide.

And I have to admit, I laughed when he saw me in spite of myself.
Then I pulled the trigger.
And l blew his merry brains out.
One shot. BLAM. Right between the dimples.

Later we find out he'd been on a shooting spree all across the Midwest. Thirteen families dead that night. But not my family. Well, my sister. But I mean, not my immediate family. I mean, not my immediate family that I care about. God dammit, you know what I mean!

Jesus, don't tell my mom I said that about my sister. I'll never hear the end of it. That's the last thing I need is her griping how I got a houseful of guns and I couldn't save my fucking sister. Mom's just lucky she's in a nursing home too sick to travel, or she woulda been in that first guest room, is what I'll tell her. But anyway...

Out in the front yard, we find the biggest cluster fuck of piled up reindeer carcasses you ever seen, collapsed in a bloody heap against the house.

And we found a rambling note in the front seat of the sleigh about how we couldn't handle the pressure anymore, and he was tired of being a disappointment to his family, and all that kinda bullshit.

But I think he just did what we all want to do sometimes.
Put a bullet in a few selfish pricks over the holidays.
The only difference is... I got to do it in self-defense. Ha ha ha!
Merry Christmas!

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