Friday, December 31, 2010

Been spending lots of time on a Big writing project, so haven't done much here.
Sigh...may be a good New Year's resolution to re-visit some of these Fun
Flash fiction things. Anyway, couldn't let the Holiday go by without this,

Welcome to my annual Christmas Story...

The BreakIn

What woke me up Christmas Eve (or rather, I should say, Christmas day) at 3:15 in the damn morning wasn’t the sensitive alarm system I’d bought myself for Christmas, -- it wasn’t there to do its job yet. The installation was supposed to have been done the week before Christmas, not the week after. But because I was such a nice guy about their busy holiday schedule, the company kept putting me off day by day by day. Until finally, I said okay to January fourth hoping that the company holiday hangovers would be dissipated by then.

No, what woke me up was some fat guy stomping around on my long back porch cussing a blue streak. Though I’d immediately thought it was the robbers, from Thanksgiving, come back to clear me out of whatever they’d missed or I’d replaced. When I heard the clatter, I’d jumped out of bed in my flannel pj’s, groping for the can of pepper spray I kept on the nightstand now. If those robbers were back, they weren’t getting anything this time but a face full of pepper, guaranteed (it said on the package), to force a grown man to his knees in blind pain. I could hardly wait to press the button and see the guy who’d come for my new Samsung flat screen TV laid out in horrific agony. Ah, sweet revenge.

I’d crept down the hall to the living room and edged as close as I dared to the window – spray in hand. But what I saw was only this fat guy all dressed in black, stomping intently from one end of my porch to the other, not even looking at the house. Every time he got near the back door at the east end of the porch, the motion sensor light I’d installed after the break-in flipped on and then back off as he headed back to the other end. I could have sworn I’d set that thing for four minute intervals. Every step he took made the steel mesh security door rattle and clank like Scrooge’s chains.

Though I’m sure I was clearly visible through the glass, the big guy didn’t even pause at the window where I stood ready to spritz him when he broke it. I wondered: Would he use his fat fist or was he going for one of the gardening tools I kept in a bucket at the far end of the porch? Damn, I should’ve moved those weeks ago.

But like a train on a track he didn’t pause at the wall end of the porch or even glance down at the bucket, he spun on his heel and headed back towards me. So intent was he on his diatribe I thought he’d go right off the open end of the porch this time, but six inches from the end, he spun around again as the light flicked on and off, and kept right on going back towards the far end. I noticed that he was waving his arms in the air and smacking his chest here and there in punctuation, I could see little dark puffs of powder popping off his chest with every smack. Mesmerizing.

On his fifth pass by me, I was thinking less and less about the possible dangers of a mad man tromping my back porch and breaking in, and more about what the hell he was so fired up over. So the next time he headed into the darkness, I reached up surreptitiously, flicked the lock off, and slid the window open a crack so I could hear his words. And boy, did I get an earful, though of course, I didn’t hear every detail. After all he was still marching back and forth and talking to himself and not to the window where I was eavesdropping on his complaints.

I did hear a lot about the “damned EPA” and what “lame-assed anal retentive jerks” they were. Something about how he’d filled out all the permits apps, followed all the regulations and gotten the testing done on the sleigh. But it was “unconscionably ridiculous” to test the reindeer by putting that thing up their asses to measure the “piss-ant greenhouse gases they emitted. I’ll reduce their damn methane emissions, by God!” (This was a smack-worthy moment.)

He spent quite a bit of time addressing his complaints about NOAA and their “two-faced smarmy bullshit fake ads on national TV” about how they were tracking his progress and clearing the skies to assist his deliveries. “What a load of crap! All they do is trot out the same old bullshit about the snow and rain and if I’m on schedule or not. They don’t have one teeny iota of a clue about what my schedule is really like! I’d like to jam that schedule up their butts and see how they like it!” I lost some of that when he wheeled down to the dark end, screaming, “I hate the bureaucrats! I hate every one of those loser, money grubbing SOB’s!”

But the agency he really had it in for was the FAA. “They call it Civil Aviation, I say, there’s not one damn civil thing about it! And oh by the way boys, ‘trajectory is a noun, not a God damn verb!” There were some mumbles I almost missed about the “inappropriate and totally illegal momentary confinement” of his transport at the local AFB. “Who the hell has an x-ray machine that big? Yeah, and I dare em to do some pat-downs on Rudolph. He doesn’t just use those hooves to run on, morons!” And some remarks about his “aching back” and “didn’t they realize how heavy the fucking bag really was?”

From there he slowed down to just whining for awhile about how much “I hate the black hoodie, it keeps getting in my eyes, and the sweat pants may say XXXL on the tag, but it’s not my XXXL. Not to mention that elastic on the bottom of the pants doesn’t jam into the boots at all. But if I have to listen to my wife bitch one more time about how filthy the Official Outfit is; I’m gonna seriously consider losing the red and white for good.”

I was glued to the window by then; the pepper spray had fallen out of my hands back around the NOAA soliloquy. He was almost in tears when he got onto the currant building codes, and how “all the chimneys have spark arresters now. Even this old dump has a wire mesh I can’t fit through and its nailed on so tight I can’t get the stupid thing off. Who do they think I am -- Jesus Christ!” A long pause here and then: “Boy, it sure feels good to vent! Haven’t had a chance to do that in a long while!”

I could hear the thunk of his bag as he dropped it over by the porch swing. “You’re gonna have to be satisfied with this, it’s as close as I can get to the hearth.” I saw him pull out a package and set it on the cushions, and then I could have sworn he looked right at me and winked. “Should be about time for the boys to get here.” He looked out at the sky and nodded. But just before he stepped off the porch into the back yard he said one more thing, really loud. “FYI: I am a grown man, and I am fucking sick and tired of COOKIES!!”

Good thing I have an empty ½ acre of land out back, otherwise, where would they have landed? I only wish I’d had my camera close by, it happened so quick, I didn’t dare take my eyes off them. And then they were gone. But when I opened the security door to take a peek I saw and heard the bells he’d hung from the mesh. Sleigh bells ring, are ya listenin?

Next year, I’m gonna take the grill off the chimney top around the twenty-third of December, and ice the vodka and glass right up until the last minute. Maybe some brie, or caviar, but I guarantee you this (and I hope he’s listening), NO Cookies!

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