Jump to content

'Twas XX: Head 'Em Off At The Pass

The Coop

Recommended Posts

Another year, another Twas. Yes, it's that time yet again, where I go off on a rhyming spree and concoct a tale of Christmasy stuff. This one's a long one... seriously. It's the longest one I've written to date. If you have to pee, do it now. And if you don't have to pee, you probably will by the time you reach the end.  So get comfy and here... we... go!

'Twas XX: Head 'Em Off At The Pass


The Coop

Twas two days before Christmas
and throughout the hall,
a small-ish group of people
were enjoying all

the food and atmosphere that
had been set up for
the big end of year party
for Toby's Decor.

The small hall had been rented
just outside of town
for the employees to
have some fun and get down.

The ten people who worked for one
Toby McGlare,
chatted and mingled as some
music filled the air.

Among those who had gathered
was one Bert Deline,
who talked with his colleagues and
sipped on the cheap wine

that had been provided for
those in attendance;
wine not too good or bad,
so it straddled that fence.

But as he talked to Fred,
who he'd worked with awhile,
Toby came up to Bert
and gave Bert a big smile.

“How are ya, Bert my boy?”
Toby asked as he slid
an arm around Bert's shoulders,
and walked as he did.

“I'm good,” Bert replied as
he strolled with Toby. “You?”
Toby said, “I'm fine, thanks.
You know, I wanted to

“come by and say thank you for
helping make this year
one that ended up being
a truly top tier

“stretch for my company.
It couldn't have happened
if it weren't for people
like you, Bert my friend.

“In Phoenix Arizona,
we are the top place
to go to when folks want
to decorate their space!”

“You're welcome, Toby,” Bert smiled.
“And thank you as well
from both myself, and of course,
from my wife Michelle.

“I've really enjoyed getting
to come to work here.
And I hope I can help
do this again next year.”

Toby laughed a bit and said,
“Don't worry about
what's to come with this place.
Just enjoy this blowout.”

With a pat on Bert's back,
Toby walked away and
spoke with someone else nearby
as he shook their hand.

With a big shit-eating grin,
Bert walked back to Fred
and took the time to repeat
what Toby had said.

When Michelle soon returned
from her trip to the loo,
Bert told her all about
what Toby had said, too.

But after another hour,
the party wound down.
Everyone said their goodbyes
and drove back to town.

Twas a fun night with
coworkers that ended well
for everyone there,
including Bert and Michelle.

The next morning saw Bert
sleep in a little bit.
But soon Michelle called out,
“Get up you lazy shit!”

“Yeah yeah,” Bert replied before
he let out a yawn.
“God forbid that I'd sleep in
a little past dawn.”

Michelle entered the room
as he sat up in bed.
She leaned down and kissed him with,
“Mornin', sleepy head.”

“Now you're nice to me?” he grinned
as she did the same.
“Get your cute butt up,” she said,
“or it's you I'll blame

“if we end up missing
our flight this afternoon.”
“We've got eight hours,” he said.
“Why get ready so soon?”

“Because you procrastinate,”
she said as she stood,
and added, “and don't give
yourself the time you should.”

“I'm not that bad,” he chuckled.
“Uh huh,” she replied.
“You couldn't be on time
for something if you tried.”

He repeated what she'd said
in a mocking tone,
making her laugh as he
stood up with a small groan.

The morning continued as
they got dressed and ate,
packed their clothes and supplies,
then proceeded to wait.

It was just 9 A.M.,
and their flight was at three.
That left plenty of time
to kill, which Bert took glee

in pointing out as he
poked fun at how Michelle
sat on the sofa and looked
very bored as hell.

“We could still be sleeping,”
he said with a large smirk.
She tried to look grumpy
as she grinned, “Quiet, jerk.”

As the noon hour drew near,
she asked Bert, “Will you see
if there's any mail out there
for you or for me?”

He did as she'd asked
and found that there was indeed
a single letter there
for him to get and read.

He tore it open as he
reentered the house
and was asked “What's that, hun?”
by his beloved spouse.

“A note from work,” he said.
“Not sure what it could be.”
“A bonus check?” she put forth.
He replied, “Maybe?”

With the envelope opened,
he began to read.
As his eyes skimmed the paper,
she could see how he'd

looked down with some confusion,
and then with dismay.
When she saw this, she asked,
“Honey, what does it say?”

“I've been let go,” he uttered,
his voice filled with dread.
“Wait, what?” she asked as if
she'd misheard what he'd said.

“They just... fired me,” he said with
much disappointment.
“And after how well Toby
said that the year went.”

“Did they say why?” she asked
as she came up beside
her husband, who continued
to read, teary-eyed.

He said, “They say it was
a performance issue.”
With ire in her voice, she said
“That's why they canned you?”

Bert looked over at his wife
and saw her vexed stare.
He said, “I worked my ass off
each day I was there.”

“Are you sure?” she said with
disbelief in her eyes.
“Because I've heard that before
with some of your lies.”

“I did!” he exclaimed.
“I swear on my mother's grave!
Everyone there will tell you
that I always gave

“them a hand when they needed
it once I had done
the work I'd been given
by Toby or someone.

“I didn't slack off or
do a shit job with what
I'd been asked to do.
I always worked off my butt!”

“Uh huh,” she said with snark
as she stared hard at him.
“The chances of that being
true are really slim.”

“I'm not lying!” he stated,
his voice filled with dread.
“If I am, you can smack me
right upside my head!”

“Don't tempt me,” she said as
she turned and walked a bit
away from him and uttered,
“I'm sick of this shit.

“It's barely been over
two years since you got hired.
And now right before Christmas,
you got yourself fired!”

“I didn't!” he yelped.
“So they lied?” she hollered back.
“It's the truth!” he pleaded.
“Can't you cut me some slack?”

She said, “I told you that
if you got fired once more
for slacking off at work,
that I'd walk out the door!”

“Baby, please!” Bert said as
he came up to her and,
with an almost panicked look,
took hold of her hand.

She pulled her hand from his
and went to their bedroom,
where he could hear her
as she continued to fume.

She was swearing a lot,
all directed at Bert.
And some of what she said
had clearly left him hurt.

She called him a screw up.
That she didn't know why
she continued to stay
with him or even try.

It took her a minute
before she came back out
with her luggage in hand
and said with a stern shout,

“I'm going to my parents
and you're staying here!
You better find a new job
before the new year

or I'm kicking you out
of my life and my place!”
Her words pulled a puzzled
sadness onto Bert's face.

“But everything's closed
for the holiday's,” Bert said.
She spat, “Find a damn job
or our marriage is dead!”

She left the house in a huff,
got into her truck,
and drove off as Bert uttered
a dejected, “Fuck.”

Now alone in the house,
Bert sat down on the couch
with a forlorn expression
to go with his slouch.

All his emotions
were reflected on his face.
And it was clear that they were
all over the place.

“I don't believe this,” he said
with confused dismay.
“How'd it get to this point?
Things were good yesterday.

“And why'd Michelle talk like I
was some kind of bum?
Sure, I've screwed up before,
but where'd all that come from?

“Just cuz I lost one job
as a parking valet
when I parked a jeep and
dozed off in it all day.

“I was so tired and cold,
and the jeep was so warm.
It only happened twice,
so it wasn't the norm.

“And yeah, then I got fired
from the diner in town.
I didn't know egg shells
could also be light brown.

“I thought they'd all gone bad,
so I threw them away.
No reason to ban me
from that place to this day.”

Bert sat there for a bit
with a sad, forlorn stare.
“Guess I best see if I can
find a job somewhere.”

He got up from the sofa
and grabbed his car keys.
“Let me find something so I
don't lose Michelle, please.”

He went out to his car
and hit the mall, where he
checked in every store.
From Boscov's to FYE.

Not one store was in need
of a new employee.
They all turned him away
after hearing his plea

about the situation
in which he was stuck.
And he left the last store
with a disheartened, “Fuck.”

As he walked through the mall,
headed for it's entrance,
he spotted a section
that was lined by a fence

which had been painted to look
like candy cane rows.
And each of them was adorned
by green and gold bows.

Inside that colorful fence,
the floor had fake snow
through which a short path of
golden bricks did go.

They went in a straight line
to a big wooden throne.
And on it was Santa,
who sat there all alone.

When Bert looked all about,
he saw no kids in line.
Santa had no elves who stood
at the “entrance” sign.

The mall was pretty crowded,
which made it seem weird
to see a bored Santa
just stroking his white beard.

Bert stared at the odd scene
for a minute before
he went to the path that
ran through the snowy floor.

He walked down the gold road,
headed for the one that
then let out a rather loud
yawn from where he sat.

“Bored?” Bert asked to the man
on the Christmasy throne.
“I've never been this bored,”
Santa said with a groan.

“Where's everyone?” Bert asked.
“Wish I knew,” Santa said.
“The only one to come here
in two hours is you.”

Bert grinned with, “Guess ebay
took some business from you.”
Santa grinned as well and said,
“That's probably true.

“I guess kids don't need me
for their holiday cheer.
But what's on your Christmas list
that you'd like this year?”

Once Bert stood before Santa's
big, fancy old chair,
some sadness then began to
creep into Bert's stare.

“A new job would be nice,”
Bert said with some dismay.
“I just found out that
mine's gone, earlier today.

“Also, a way to convince
my wife Michelle to
not break up with my ass,
like she's about to do.”

Bert gave a saddened smile,
coupled with a small shrug.
“Those would do,” he added
as the smile left his mug.

Santa looked at Bert with
a puzzled sympathy,
then said, “That's a lot to ask
of someone like me.

“The folks I work with make toys
and some clothing too.
I'm not sure what kind of help
I could give to you.”
“Was worth a try,” Bert said
with a small, unsure laugh.
That was when a PA
was made by the mall's staff.

“The mall will close soon, folks”
rang out for all to hear.
“You don't have to go home,
but you sure can't stay here.

“You've got fifteen minutes
to buy your stuff and bounce.
If you're not done by then,
then I'll have to announce

“we're unleashing the dogs
to chase you all away.
Thanks for shopping with us.
Enjoy your holiday.”

Bert let out a small laugh
and said, “Guess that's my cue.
Have a good one, and sorry
if I bothered you.”

Without another word,
Bert turned and walked away
as Santa looked on as if
unsure what to say.

Bert returned to his car
and drove back home, to where
he plunked down on the couch
and quietly sat there.

Seconds became minutes.
And as each minute passed,
it saw him slowly get
angrier than the last.

He stewed in his juices
and his stare became stern
as his emotions clearly
continued to churn.

“I never slacked off,” he griped.
“I was there each day.
I don't care what that
fucking letter has to say.

“I worked hard moving all
the furniture around,
and getting it all there in
one piece, safe and sound.

“Toby always told me that
I worked really well.
Now they tell me I didn't?
What the fucking hell?”

He fell silent for a time
as he sat alone.
But soon, he continued
in a still angry tone.

“My life's falling apart
because of that damn place.
That prick had to know when
he smiled right to my face

and told me how I was
just such a great asset.
Toby knew that I'd
already been fired, I bet. ”

He tried to relax and
calm himself for a bit.
At times, he'd mill about.
At others, he'd just sit

and brood on what happened
'till hunger made him eat.
He had a small dinner of
some noddles and meat.

But as he did the dishes,
his frustration grew.
And once he was done, he sneered,
“I know what to do.”

He went into the bedroom
and got out a box
that was made of metal
and tucked under his socks.

He used a small key to
unlock the box's lid,
then opened it up to
reveal what the box hid.

The black metal of the gun,
while far from pristine
thanks to scuff marks and scratches,
still gave off a sheen.

Bert took out the gun and held
it for a short bit,
then said, “Let's see you smile
when you see this, you shit.”

He took out the clip that had
been stored with the gun,
slid it into the weapon,
and once that was done,

he made sure that he had
his keys and his wallet
as he mumbled, “I've got me
some answers to get.”

He grabbed his jacket and
put the gun out of sight
in one of the pockets,
then stepped into the night.

He got into his car and
pulled out his smart phone.
He dug through his emails
until his phone had shown

him what he had looked for;
an old email that showed
his ex-boss' address.
With that, he hit the road.

It took a good half hour,
but he soon pulled up to
the nice two-story home
that Toby did accrue.

The home's lights were all on.
Faint music could be heard.
Bert mumbled to himself as
his anger was stirred,

“I lose my job and most
likely lost Michelle too.
While my life goes to shit,
what does this fucker do?

“He parties like what he did
was nothing to him.”
It was then that Bert chose
to run with his dark whim.

He got out of his small car,
walked across the road,
and up the driveway of
his ex-boss' abode.

He came up to the front door
with an intent stare.
But instead of knocking,
Bert just simply stood there

with a look on his face
that mixed ire and unease.
It was then that he felt
a light but chilly breeze

kick up from behind him
which gave him a small chill.
“What the-?” he said softly.
“It's 60 degrees, still.”

He turned and looked at
the dark and clear Phoenix skies,
when a small and white object
moved before his eyes.

What looked like a snowflake
drifted toward where he stood.
“60 degrees with a snowflake?
This can't be good.”

He watched as the snowflake
meandered through the air.
Soon it stopped near his face
and simply hovered there.

It tumbled and turned as
Bert brought up a finger
and reached for it where
it continued to linger.

As his finger closed in,
the snowflake moved away.
Bert looked dumbfounded and
unsure of what to say.

The snowflake continued
to move away until
it reached the edge of the house,
where it became still.

It hovered again
as Bert kept his eyes on it.
After a moment,
he uttered, “What is this shit?”

He began to walk over
toward the snowflake that
seemed as if it was waiting
where it hovered at.

When he got close again,
it drifted to the right
around the corner,
which took the thing from Bert's sight.

With a little urgency,
he quickened his pace
and peaked around the side
of his ex-boss' place.

He saw the snowflake
continue along the wall
and followed after it,
like a dog would a ball.

The snowflake then drifted
around to the home's back.
And when Bert did the same,
he was taken aback.

Before him was a man,
dressed in Santa attire.
This caused Bert to jump slightly,
and made him inquire,

“Who the hell are you?”
as the fat man dug around
in the large sack before him
that sat on the ground.

“I could ask you the same,”
the man said just before
he looked up with, “Ah!
Just who I was looking for.”

Bert's surprise could be seen on
his face and raised brow.
What looked like the mall Santa
stood before him now.

“What the-?” Bert said with
great confusion as the man
looked back down and uttered,
“Help me out, if you can.”

“With what?” Bert then asked
as he saw the fat man dig
out an outfit that didn't
look overly big.

“Here, put this on,” Santa said
and held out the clothes.
“I need a helper tonight
and I don't suppose

“you'd be willing to lend me
a hand for a bit?”
Bert said to the fat man,
“This a joke or some shit?”

“It's no joke,” Santa said
“My helper called in sick.
The kids are waiting, so please,
do put that on, quick.”

Bert lifted the clothes up and
gave them a look-see.
His face then went slack
as he said, “You're shitting me.”

He held light green tights and some
dark green, curl-toed shoes.
There was also a dark green,
pointed hat to use

along with a jacket that
looked long enough to
reach down to his knees that was
the same dark green hue.

And what rested on top
of the seasonal clothes?
Some points for his ears and
a long tip for his nose.

But on top of all that,
was the fact he could tell
that the clothes looked too small...
by quite a bit, as well.

“You want me to be an elf?!”
Bert yelped with dismay.
“That's the plan,” Santa said.
“So help me out, OK?”

“I didn't come here to
play dress up,” Bert stated.
“I know,” Santa said, “but
just think of how each kid

“inside of that home will smile
when they look at you.”
With a straight face, Bert said,
“Laugh at me's what they'll do.”

“Nonsense,” Santa said
with a small mischievous grin.
“Just go put that stuff on
and then we can begin.”

Bert wasn't sure what to say
as he looked around
for someplace he could change clothes.
But none could be found.

“Not to be a dick,” Bert said.
“or come of as rude,
but I'm not undressing
right in front of you, dude.”

“Just use the bush there,”
Santa said and pointed to
the small bush behind him.
“It's big enough for you.”

Bert looked past the guy.
And with a puzzled stare,
he looked to the bush
he was sure hadn't been there.

With a slight shake of his head,
Bert let out a sigh
as he went to the bush
that was about waist high.

From behind the bush,
Bert mumbled, “This is deranged.”
And for the elf's outfit,
his street clothes were exchanged.

“Dear God, this is tight!”
Bert grimaced as he got dressed
and felt his junk be
uncomfortably compressed.

Once done, he hid his clothes
under the shrubbery,
then stepped out into
the open for all to see.

“Jesus Christ,” Bert uttered
as he stood and looked down
at himself and his attire.
“I look like a clown.”

Santa chuckled a bit,
then quickly cleared his throat.
“More like an elf,” he said
and brushed off his red coat.

“Now come on, my helper.
We've got kids to go see.”
Bert let out a groan
and grumbled, “Someone shoot me.”

With a small laugh, Santa said,
“You'll be just fine, son.
Put on a Christmas smile
and let's go have some fun.”

The two of them went in through
the sliding glass door
and heard the party
farther in on that ground floor.

The chatter of children
and music filled the air
as they looked around
and saw they were alone there.

The dining room table
that they stood before
had already been set
with fancy plates and more.

“Must be their dining room,”
Bert said while sounding irked.
“Can't put one past you, huh?”
Santa said as he smirked.

With a glance at Santa,
Bert looked around a bit
and said, “I can't believe
I'm here doing this shit.”

“Why is that?” Santa asked
as he looked back at Bert.
“Long story,” Bert answered,
his reply somewhat curt.

“That so?” Santa said.
“I've love to hear this long tale.”
A moment later,
Bert spotted Toby's wife, Gail

as she slid open the
dividing door that gave
the dining room privacy
from the would-be rave.

“Dear God I hope they don't
recognize me,” Bert said
as he kept his voice quiet
and lowered his head.

“Don't worry,” Santa smiled
as Gail noticed them there.
“The nose will throw them off.
There's no need for despair.”

Gail slid the door shut and
walked over to the men.
“Wonderful,” she whispered.
“You're all set to go then?”

“We're ready,” Santa smiled.
“Take us to the children.”
“They'll really love this,” she smiled.
“Let's go gentlemen.”

Within one minute's time,
Santa and Bert were in
the living room surrounded
by Toby's children.

The adults all smiled as
the kids loudly exclaimed
that Santa had come with
an elf that was unnamed.

Santa greeted each child
with a big and warm smile,
as Bert kept himself out
of the way for a while.

He stood off to the side
and kept watch on the sack
that Santa had had with him
when they were out back.

But soon, Bert found himself
pulled deep into what felt
like a whirlwind of chaos
that made his brain melt.

Kids laughing and yelping
as Santa did his best
to make sure that every
child there had been addressed

as question after question
came repeatedly
from the kids who had asked them
so excitedly.

But Santa wasn't alone.
Bert too found himself
asked many a question
about being an elf.

What's it like at the north pole?
What he did for fun
during the six months when
the north pole had no sun?

Did his big ears get cold
around all of that snow?
Do they all use toilets,
or an outhouse to go?

What's it like wearing tights?
What's up with the weird shoes?
If he could play just Dark Souls,
which one would he choose?

What color was his blood?
Did he have a girlfriend?
What happens to Santa's elves
when they meet their end?

Where do baby elves come from
and how small are they?
How do the reindeer poop
as they pull Santa's sleigh?

These questions and much more
flooded Bert as he tried
to entertain the kids
and fight the urge to hide.

Several of the children asked
why was he so tall
when all the pictures they'd seen
showed elves that were small?

Bert told the kids that he'd had
a thyroid problem
as a child, and that's where
his growth spurt had come from.

But that led to more questions
from the kids because
none of them knew just what
the hell a thyroid was.

For an hour, Bert and Santa
mingled and talk to
all those who were there;
the children and adults, too.

At the end of that hour,
Bert and Santa then got
a chance to take a break...
which they needed, a lot.

So Toby distracted
all the kids with a tale,
as Bert and Santa were
smuggled away by Gail

into the kitchen where
both men could catch their breath
as Bert uttered, “I was
almost questioned to death.”

Santa laughed a bit with,
“Kids are like that you know.
Once they get talking, they'll just
go and go and go.”

“Especially ours,” Gail smiled.
“Like a chatterbox.
But for now, just stay here
and let your brains detox.”

“Thank you, Gail,” Santa said.
“We appreciate it.”
“You're welcome,” Gail replied.
“I'll be back in a bit.”

Once Gail left the kitchen,
Bert looked to Santa with,
“I don't drink, but holy shit,
I could use a fifth.”

“Of what?” Santa asked him.
“Anything,” Bert replied.
“I feel like part of my brain
just crawled off and died.”

“Now now, they're just kids,”
Santa said with a small smile.
“They calm down over time.
It just takes them awhile.”

Bert said nothing for a bit
and rubbed his forehead.
“I have a question,”
he eventually said.

Santa turned to face him with,
“And what would that be?”
Bert asked, “Why are you doing
all of this to me?”

“You said you needed a job,”
Santa said flatly.
“So I gave you a job,
working right here with me.”

“So you are the Santa
from the mall,” Bert stated.
“You got your Christmas wish,”
Santa smiled. “Elated?”

“I came to get answers,
not this,” Bert did reply
and tugged on his green jacket.
“I want to know why

“I was fired, when I worked
my ass off for Toby.
I want to know why that
damn prick did this to me.”

“Calm down,” Santa said,
his tone firmer than it was.
“You should be glad I found you
when I did, because-”

It was then that the sound
of footsteps could be heard,
which made Santa stop talking
almost in mid-word.

It took a few moments,
but Santa and Bert found
that they were joined by Toby,
who was kitchen-bound.

“Ev'ning, gentlemen,”
Toby said as he went to
the refrigerator
and got himself a brew.

“My wife and I really
appreciate you two
coming here tonight.
And I know the kids do too.”

“But of course,” Santa smiled.
“It's my job, as it were.
Giving kids Christmas cheer
is always a pleasure.”

“You know, speaking of jobs,”
Bert chimed in with some snark
as he looked to Toby
with a stare that was dark.

“I would like to know why
you took my job from me
after you thanked me for
helping your company.”

Santa looked to the man
who'd been his helper elf.
“Not now,” he said sternly.
“Get a hold of yourself.”

Bert looked to Santa with,
“And when would the time be?
After I'm homeless and
Michelle's gone and left me?”

“Do I know you?” Toby asked,
his gaze questioning.
Bert grabbed his nose's tip with,
“I'm sick of this thing.”

He gave the thing on his nose
a good, solid tug.
But it wouldn't come off,
as it's fit was quite snug.

“What the hell?” Bert uttered
as he tried once again.
He gave it a much harder tug,
and that was when

he felt a pain shoot through
his nose as he sucked in
some air through his teeth with,
“Damn thing's stuck on my skin!”

He then tried a third time,
but the pain was intense.
It made his eyes water
as he became more tense.

“What's going on?!” Bert exclaimed
as his eyes grew wide.
The tips on his ears were
the next thing that he tried.

He gave those ear tips
he'd put on a solid yank.
When they didn't come off,
he yelled, “Is this a prank?!”

“Calm down,” Santa stated.
“No!” Bert yelled in return
as his expression filled with
even more concern.

Bert then tried to take off
the shoes that he had on,
yet they wouldn't come off
as he used all his brawn.

He tried to remove the
elven jacket he wore,
and grumbled “I'm not
wearing this thing anymore!”

Toby watched with alarm
as he saw a grown dude
and the elf clothes he wore
get into a big feud.

Then behind all the noises
Bert made as he fought,
a small creek came to be,
which only Santa caught.

Just a moment later,
a loud clang could he heard,
and Bert fell to the floor
like a bag full of curd.

Toby's eyes got big as
he watched the elf-dressed man
go limply to the floor
just as a frying pan

hit the floor with a clunk
right against the man's head.
Toby looked up a bit
and noticed that instead

of a shut cabinet door
where the pan had been,
was a wide open door
that hadn't kept it in.

“How'd that fall out?”
Toby asked rhetorically,
to which, Santa shrugged with
a grin and said, “Beat's me.”

Gail came in quickly
with, “What was all of that noise?”
When she saw the knocked out man,
“Care to explain, boys?”

“The pan just fell out,”
Toby explained, bewildered.
“It and the guy hitting
the floor is what you heard.”

“Well, get him up off the floor,”
Gail said with a sigh.
“And I'll get an ice pack
ready for the poor guy.”

“Tell you what,” Santa said.
“Why don't the two of you
go out and keep everyone
from coming into

“the kitchen for a bit
while I take care of this.”
“Are you sure?” Gail asked.
Santa nodded, “I am, miss.”

“Alright,” Gail replied
before she and Toby went
and rejoined their kids
with a distractive intent.

Once she and Toby had left,
Santa then looked down
at the unconscious Bert
with disheartened frown.

“Sorry, son,” Santa said
with his voice quieted.
“Hope you won't have too big
of a lump on your head.”

Santa snapped his fingers
and the room filled with light.
Once that light had faded,
Bert was nowhere in sight.

Santa waited a bit,
then rejoined everyone
who had thrown the small party
for Christmasy fun.

The next morning arrived
and found Bert in his bed.
His head was quite sore,
as was to be expected.

He opened his eyes and
grimaced a bit at what
felt as if the back of
his head had quite the knot.

He could tell that it was
still early morning since
sunlight still came through
his window, which made him wince.

With a groan, he sat up
and could feel his head throb.
“Dear God,” he sighed. “Feels like
I got mugged by a mob.”

He rubbed the soar back
of his head for a short time,
then out from under the
thick covers, he did climb.

He went into the bathroom
and relieved himself,
then looked in the mirror
and saw he was an elf.

“What the hell?” he exclaimed
as he started a bit,
just as his memories
of the night before hit.

He recalled going to
his old boss' home and
met a mall Santa,
to whom he'd given a hand.

Of questions from kids that
seemed to not have an end.
How he'd run into Toby,
who Bert did intend

to confront with the way
he'd been fired from his job.
But that was where his
memories became a blob.

He focused on his
reflection in the mirror
while memories of the
night before grew clearer.

With a hint of panic,
he grabbed hold of his nose
and pulled off the end bit
as his confusion rose.

“Oh, now it comes off,” he said
and stared at the bit
that wouldn't let go back
when he'd struggled with it.

He took off the ear tips
he'd worn and then did choose
to remove from his feet,
the dark green curl-toed shoes.

Every last thing came off
without any issue
as he removed the jacket,
hat and the tights too.

He put on his bathrobe and
began to look for
the stuff he'd had on
when he went to Toby's door.

But those clothes were missing,
as was the gun he took.
“Bet that mall Santa kept them,”
he griped. “The damn crook.”

He went out into
the living room and sat down
on the couch with a rather
noticeable frown.

“That was a fucked up night,”
he groaned as he reached back
and rubbed the spot where
something'd given him a whack.

“Wish I knew what hit me
on the back of my head,
or how I got back home
and wound up in my bed.”

It took a second before
he saw the off white
envelope on the coffee
table to his right.

“Where'd this come from?” he asked
as he reached over to
pick it up so that he
could get a better view.

It's front just said “Bert”
in a handwriting that he
didn't know at all.
He asked, “Who gave this to me?

“It wasn't here when I left
last night, that's for sure.”
He opened it and
over its text, he did pour.

“Dear Bert,” it began.
“I hope that you're doing well.
You're back home and safe now,
in case you couldn't tell.

“I'm sure that you have
more than a question or two
about how you got home
and what happened to you.

“But rather than tell you
how all that came to be,
here is a bit of advice,
courtesy of me.

“The path that you wanted
to head down just last night,
was one that was dark and
born of malice and spite.

“What you went there to do
would not have ended well.
The result would have been
you being in a cell

or worse if things had taken
a darker-still turn.
What laid down that dark road,
be glad you didn't learn.

“I know you lost a lot
in a short bit of time.
It was a big mountain
that felt too steep to climb.

“Anger, pain and frustration
had filled up your mind,
and the path to get out
seemed much too hard to find.

“For as bad as it seemed,
it could still have been fixed.
Yet there you were, set to
make sure that chance was nixed.

“I know you lost your job
by means that felt unfair.
Your wife got angry and left,
like she didn't care.

“That was a lot to have
dumped on you in one day.
But it's no solution to
throw your life away

“or take someone else's
in a bid to strike back
at the world when it felt
like it cut you no slack.

“Last night, you came too close
to losing any way
of regaining some of
what you lost yesterday.

“I get you felt anger,
along with great despair.
That what happened had to
feel so very unfair.

“It was bad, what your ex-boss
decided to do.
It was callus, unfeeling
and cold-hearted too.

“But if you had done what
you'd been thinking about,
you'd have found yourself
in a hole, with no way out.

“Take this chance to learn from
what nearly cost you all
of your future plans,
and the upcoming phone call.

“Your clothes and gun are gone,
so don't bother to look
for them in your home.
And please, don't call me a crook.

“You're home despite how
you'd tried to cause a ruckus.
And rest assured that last night
will stay between us.”

A moment later,
the letter he held was lit
like a hundred light bulbs
had turned on within it.

The bright light made Bert gasp
as he turned his head so
he was not blinded by
the letter's intense glow.

With a pop, the light vanished
and Bert looked at how
his hands were empty,
which made him cock an eyebrow.

“Um, what the hell?” he muttered
as his phone began
to go off from his bedroom,
into which he ran.

He couldn't find it
as it continued to ring,
which prompted him to blurt out,
“Where is the damn thing?”

And once he found it
where he kept his underwear,
he grumbled, “How the hell
did this thing get in there?”

As he shook his head,
he pressed the green button on
the screen and brought the phone
to his face with a yawn.

“Hello?” he said as he tried
to fight the yawn down .
“Hi,” came a woman's voice,
which made him sadly frown.

He could hear how pensive
her voice sounded as he
uttered, “Michelle?” and
she answered with, “Yeah, it's me.”

His face was a mask of
wariness and unease
as he remained quiet,
and in place, seemed to freeze.

At first, neither spoke,
as if unsure what to say.
But in time, it was Michelle
who asked, “You OK?”

“Um, yeah, I am,” he answered
with uncertainty,
before he asked her, “So uh,
why did you call me?”

She said, “I wanted to talk
with you this morning,
before we both got busy
doing anything.”

“I'm still looking for a job,”
he said with dismay.
“I must have checked four
dozen places yesterday.”

“It's not about that,” she said.
“I called you to see
if you'd be willing
or able to forgive me.”

Bert looked like he didn't know
how he should reply.
But Michelle continued,
“I didn't mean to fly

“off the handle or to
threaten you with divorce.”
“You still want me?” he asked,
and she answered, “Of course.”

Bert said, “But the all things
you told me, made it sound
like you wanted to burn
our marriage to the ground.

“I was telling you the truth,
but you didn't care.
You just seemed to be
done with me, right then and there.”

“I know, and I'm sorry,”
she said remorsefully.
“I overreacted and
it was wrong of me

“to shit on you after
what had happened that day.
The thing is, I'm sorry's
not all I need to say.

“Last night, while I was
lying in my bed alone,
all I wanted to do
was call you on the phone.

“'Cuz the more I thought
about the things that I'd said,
the more I felt like I
wasn't right in the head.

“How I'd left you behind
began to eat at me.
It just bothered me
to a serious degree.

“I knew you were asleep,
but still wanted to call.
See how you were and
apologize for it all.

“But above all, to say
that I really miss you.”
Bert began to smile and
replied, “I miss you too.”

As they talked on the phone,
they began to work through
what had happened and how
that moment went askew.

She told him that tomorrow,
she would book a flight,
after he told her what
went on Christmas Eve night.

He left out the part where
he'd brought along a gun,
and instead focused on what
had been strangely fun.

The questions the kids asked,
the outfit that he'd worn
which made his dignity
something he had to morn.

He smiled as he listened
to who he ' nearly lost.
He thought about his life,
which he had nearly tossed

away with his actions
due to where his mind went.
Of how grateful he was
for the Santa-like gent

that he'd run into
at Toby's the night before.
And how he still had
the woman he did adore.

So much went so wrong
in just a few minute's time.
Like his life hit the brakes
and just stopped on a dime.

He'd gone to a bad place,
filled with disdain and rage;
almost brought someone's story
to it's final page.

But now he could see that
his actions almost cost
him the chance to regain
what he'd felt had been lost.

And as Bert and Michelle
worked to make all alright,
Merry Christmas to all.
And to all, a good night.

Edited by The Coop
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • The Coop changed the title to 'Twas XX: Head 'Em Off At The Pass

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.


×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...