Solo Christmas by Chris Keane
Things like this only
happened in the movies, or so I thought.
It turns out, some of the ridiculous scenes in Christmas films do happen. Only, I didn’t wake up in a big Victorian with
my beautiful wife resting by my side.
There weren’t two mischievous, yet extremely charming children,
slumbering down the hall. There was no
stack of silver-and-gold pile of gifts waiting under the tree. My life was far less glamorous than
that. I was living alone in a winter
rental. My family was scattered all
across the US. And, despite the few friends I had still
living in Delaware, I felt alone. The
holidays were just making it worse.
guess I had seen too many Christmas movies.
I never seemed to bump into an attractive girl, who I had once dated in
high school, in town for the weekend. I
never had that harmless fender-bender that led to sharing a warm cup of hot chocolate
in a cozy little diner. Nor did I have a
co-worker, who maybe had too much wine at the holiday party, reveal she had a
big crush on me. The holidays didn’t seem to hold any special power, at least, not
I had mentioned, I was living alone in a winter rental. It wasn’t super nice; but it was close to
work, just five-hundred bucks a month, and utilities were included! I
should mention that roaches were also included, as well as a pack of rabid
squirrels that lived in the attic. But
it was all I could afford in Rehoboth Beach.
woke up tired. I hadn’t been sleeping very well lately. All night long I had
been haunted, not by three ghosts, but by the fond memories of childhood
Christmases past. Now it was Christmas
day and I wasn’t feeling the magic. It was just another Tuesday. I hadn’t even put up my tree yet, looked like
that wasn’t going to happen this year. I thought about taking a walk on the
boardwalk to lift my spirits. But, by late December, the beauty of the beach had
faded into a strip of splintered wood set against dark, ominous water. The sun hid behind cumulous cloud formations in
a pale gray sky.
I clicked on the fluorescent lights to my kitchen I heard the familiar pitter-patter
of tiny roaches retreating to the cupboard. But other than that, not a creature was
stirring. Even the squirrels which
normally rustled above me must have had holiday plans, because they were
strangely silent on that winter morning.
Everything was exactly as I had left it.
The sink was full of dirty dishes.
A forgotten gallon of warm milk and the leftovers from last-night’s
dinner rested plainly on the
counter. My advent calendar was still
stuck on December second. I grabbed a pack of blueberry Pop-tarts from the
shelf and a can of Coke and started my day.
soon as I stepped into my living room, I noticed something was wrong. The box of fake candles I had bought for the
front window sat unopened on the couch next to the spot where my Christmas tree
was supposed to go. I may not be able to magically produce a Christmas tree and
decorate in one day, but I would be damned if I couldn’t plug in some fake
candles to go in the front window. I
quickly dismantled the box and searched for an extension cord. I had to
disconnect the fish tank, but I finally found one.
I approached my front window, I saw the large shadow of a tail in the Venetian
blinds. Seconds later, a large squirrel lunged
past me, slamming into my prized collections of sea glass and beer bottle caps.
Unlike the furry Hollywood variety, this
squirrel clawed and shrieked at me as he leaked feces over the white carpet
like a gumdrop trail from hell.
never plan for bad things to happen. I
didn’t wake up thinking that my apartment would be invaded by an ill-tempered
squirrel. Like most things in life, it
just happened. I wish I could tell you I
rushed to face my attacker with bravely and was victorious. But what really
happened was much less glorious. I grabbed my keys, and then sprinted down the
stairs to my car wearing only boxers.
squirrel peered down from my second floor unit me hiding in my car, taunting me
as I speed-dialed the superintendent but got the answering service. They took the message but didn’t promise
anything. At that moment, it hit
me. It was Christmas Day. There was no one coming. I was on my own.
limbs froze in my car, while my mind boiled with the thought of the squirrel
running wild in my apartment. I wasn’t
going to let some little rodent steal my home and my Christmas. I finally got out of the car and ran through
the door. The courtyard was empty except for an old woman walking her dog. She took one look at me, and headed off in the
I climbed the stairs of to my apartment, my breath quickened. I could hear the squirrel grinding through my
living room above. When I finally made
it to the top of the stairs I stopped dead in my tracks at the door. With my fingers on the cold brass knob, I
tried to summons the bravery of George Washington when he crossed the Delaware on
Christmas night to surprise the Red Coats. But did I really want to spend the holidays
getting a round of rabie shots to the stomach?
I could turn the knob, my superintendent came bounding up the stairs. I smelled alcohol on the old guy’s breath as
he blew past in a bright red jogging suit.
He could have passed for a Santa, a mall Santa anyway. Just like the real St. Nick, he went straight
to his work.
This pretty much
included swatting at a squirrel with a broom stick. “Open all the windows!” He yelled.
froze in the middle of the room as the squirrel bounced around the apartment
like a pin ball.
on! Open up!” My superintendent screamed, louder this time.
I sprung into action. With my head down,
I plowed through the living room towards the front windows. I jimmied the locks
open with the skill of a master locksmith.
Mission accomplished, I swept through the rest of the apartment clearing
multiple paths to the outside world, or egress as the military say.
whole ordeal jump-started my body. I
felt the rush of adrenaline pumping through my veins. I felt alive again, like I could run a
marathon. I wouldn’t say it was
Christmas miracle because those don’t typically happen when you’re naked. But,
for the first time in a long while, I had hope that things could only get
better. I would start with the
lol Great Christmas story! I laughed out loud as I remember having a crazy squirrel get into my apartment years ago when my son was a baby. I did just that, swatting with a broom out a window.. lol but I was fully clothed ;)ReplyDelete
Glad you enjoyed it! You're braver than I am..lol I really think squirrels are getting out of control!Delete
I believe they are! I really dislike those furry creatures.Delete