NY Waste - Winter 2008

A Christmas Crime

“So did your dad die, stuck in the chimney, trying to surprise you on Christmas Eve?”
“No, you’re thinking of Phoebe Cates in Gremlins.”
“Did your mom cozy up a little too much with the mall Santa? Y’know was he rubbing his red velvety sack of goodies on your mom’s chi…”
“You’re an ass.”
“Then what’s your beef with the holidays? It’s not the whole world hunger thing, is it?”
“The homeless dying on the cold streets?”
“No. There are always subways. Steam vents for that…. It’s…It’s just that no one cares anymore. No one decorates their homes anymore. Walk around the neighborhood and there’s nothing. A pitiful bunch of lights every other block, it’s nothing…. It’s like when you were a kid and your pop brought down all the Christmas decorations from the closet. Everything smelled like mothballs. It didn’t bother you because that’s what you thought Christmas was supposed to smell like. He’d finally pull out this jumble of Christmas lights; I mean this mass, mess of knotted wires. Wouldn’t even bother unraveling it, just stretch it out on the floor till it looked like the mummified remains of something. He’d plug it in to give it a test run. And like five lights would light up. All of us standing around looking at five lights. Fucking pathetic.

He’d unravel a few, tighten a few, whack a few of them into working. But there ain’t no one here to whack these depressing string of lights into working. Take this house, for example.”
“I don’t know what you’re looking at but I see lights, a wreath, and what looks like a reindeer’s skeleton on the roof?”
“That’s because they never take it down! Year in, year out…a wire-frame Rudolph, there, propped up above the entrance. Walking past it, on New Years, St. Patty’s day, Easter. It’s just there in the rain, cold, heat, snow. During Cinco de Mayo, Halloween, thanksgiving, everyday more and more encrusted with soot, the white wire frame turning matte, then gray and little by little buckling to the weather. Seeing it everyday as its neck tips further and further to the left, looking like a retarded reindeer…like it’s pleading…like a retarded reindeer pleading to be put down.

And then finally the day after thanksgiving, black Friday, they flip the switch and the sleeping orange fireflies outlining its body blaze to life trying to push their light through their grime caked bulbs, flickering on and off, almost in sequence making it look like Rudolph’s trying to make a break for it in any direction but only having a second-long window to do it fails: forever failing to escape in the time it’d take me to blink. ”
“oookay. that’s a nice bit of dark poetry there. Anytime you wanna come back, you let me kno..”
“And what you don’t notice about Rudy when his lights are off is how evil he looks when his eyes are on. All of a sudden his tilted neck isn’t a plea for pity; it’s a taunt. Screwing its neck down and around, condescending to look you in the eye to remind you that when night falls you’re his bitch.”
“You don’t think it looks evil?”
“It’s a reindeer.”
“Its eyes are glowing red. Who puts glowing red eyes on a reindeer! Its whole body is in yellow, orangish lights. Its eyes, red. It’s like coming home in the dead of night, drunk, and walking past a New Hope Korean Church, that big, glowing red cross daring you not to repent.”
“Alright, that looks kind of evil, the reindeer looks a little possessed. Alright, if this place really bothers you, we can hit up some other house tonight. Maybe one that really doesn’t keep the Christmas spirit with you.”
“No way! Why do you think I chose this house?”
“…Because they’re wealthy and away till Christmas Day!”
“Well, yeah. There’s that…”
“Shall we?”
“Do you think they’ll mention the missing reindeer to the cops?”
“I think they’ll have other things on their mind.”
“Then it’s the perfect crime, now isn’t it? Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas.”


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