You lucky devils, you’re being spoilt today! (Whoa, shades of my Grandma in that one.) Today you get TWO Christmas countdown stories. How we’ve ended up with two rhyming masterpieces in one day, I have no idea, but savour them because they’re both damn good.
So far we’ve had a Murder Mystery courtesy of Brian Taylor, a Christmas Western by Beau Barnett, a Classical Christmas tale from the lovely Leah Rhyne, a Yuletide Ghost story by Jessica Collins and a beautifully crafted Time Travel poem/short story by Tammy Farrell. NOW allow The Midnight Type to treat you to some wonderful weirdness with an Absurdist Fiction piece by R. Scott Whitley. He usually writes YA, Sci-Fi and Horror, so I gave him Absurdist Fiction hoping he’d go crazy with it – and he did.
You are gonna love this. Prepare to be shaken like a snowglobe.
A Perfectly Wicked Smile
by R. Scott Whitley
To look at Hooverille Place you would think that every motherfucker out there loved Christmas. That they loved the goddamned thing more than any thing that existed in all the places in all the lands on the entire Earth. That they loved this thing where people spent money and claimed it was to celebrate the birth of the Easter Bunny’s brother, Jesus.
Everybody loved Christmas.
I’ve hated Christmas since I was small. My mom and stepfather always said it was because I hated it all. I hated all things that included anything that most everybody liked. I hated doughnuts (who hates doughnuts?). I hated puppies (who hates puppies? – I do, I used to kick them just enough so that they would always have something wrong with them. Like, the vet would later see it and – well, I never kicked a Christmas puppy, haha, so on and on.)
I’ve been to every psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist, and hypnotherapist that is in the phonebook – not that people know what that is. Amazon and Apple aren’t in the phonebook. They’re online.
The little camera watches you.
But they all said ‘psychotic with borderline personality disorder. Signs of OCD’.
All because I tied my shoes over and over again.
All because I felt like my neck was too short for the size body I have. It is too short… Fuck them.
I think it has something to do with a physical thing that isn’t in my head. I’ve hated people at Christmas time my whole life. That’s different than some head issue. That’s different than some ‘I’ve got this wrong with the balance of things in my head.’ This physical thing was tension and it would sit in my chest like some kind of deflating balloon – squeezing my heart until it felt like it would simply go away.
But, my squeezed heart couldn’t afford a car or a scooter or a bike.
I had to ride the bus.
The bus was all I could afford.
One dollar thirty cents.
One paper, two coins.
Fuck OCD, those are the important numbers to me.
That’s the numbers I had to count.
I wasn’t like those assholes who had jobs sitting in suits and in little boxes typing away all day. Fucking computers. No, I rode the bus down to the cafeteria where I made the breads. That was my life. Ride the bus, make the bread.
My bus stop was down by Hooverille Place Mall, and I could see it and I had to watch it. When they put out that fucking Christmas tree… when they started playing their fucking music everywhere. I could see them. They made some guys, grown men, wear Santa hats to put up the wreaths. These guys I’m sure smelled like liquor and old whores and they were forced to wear Santa hats to hang fake greenery on the front of the building. A building that for six weeks sold and sold and sold – each sale eating away at the soul of mankind.
And my soul.
Santa / Satan.
Stupid church people and their stupid ideas.
Dildo / Liddo – rearranged letters mean nothing at all.
The apartment complex I lived in had kids who would get just complete shitloads of toys on Christmas. They would be loud, banging and screaming like someone was holding a squirrel by the front and the back and pulling on it so it would shriek. It sounded like that.
They would move the Hell I watched from my bus stop to my apartment complex. The noise from that place now stabbing at the temporal lobe of my brain. I could almost smell it stabbing.
And while I’m eating cold chili from a can, they are eating huge birds and pigs. I could smell it in my apartment. It was atrocious. I hated it. Burned birds that they would strip free of flesh, throw away legs and arms. Legs and arms flailing from the bird because they weren’t the ‘best parts’.
Legs and arms
Like something being shot.
On fucking TV they would show it too. Hooverille Place was home to a thing called the Singing Lights – a local group of who would come together at Christmas, dress as Christmas lights and sing. It was horrible. I could hear it from my apartment, and then when I would turn on TV I could see it there. They would sing the fucking Santa and Jesus and Front Teeth songs. Fa la la fuck off.
I looked at my calendar.
That god-for-fucking sake commercial always said “December 21st” as the date. That date must have been something special. It would draw the people to Hooverille Place and they would be there to shop and they would be there to listen to the Singing Lights. They would all be there. All of them.
And I could end it.
This year there would be tears at Christmas….
I had only shot one gun in my life and it was my grandfather’s old rifle and I was terrible with it.
Grandpa took the gun away.
I knew though that if you had enough guns and people were close enough it didn’t matter. If they were standing in front of you and you had a shotgun you could almost blast them in two. Zombie films weren’t real, but a fucking blast to the skull will blow anyone apart.
I figured I needed two shotguns. A pistol. Some kind of knife. Lots of ammunition. Bullets, I mean. Ammunition sounds like something from a movie.
I could dress in the holiday stuff the people went to the mall in. I could dress like the people who wear those Santa hats while hanging wreaths. If I’m lucky maybe I can smell like an old whore too. Probably good to get one more of those in before all this happens.
I didn’t have a Christmas shopping bag. I fucking hated the idea. I hated the idea of going down there and buying anything from a place so that I could have the bag to put my shotguns in.
My two shotguns that I would buy and take to the mall.
No more Christmas this year.
I would make a bag strong enough for my guns. I could paint a bow on it. It would be a Christmas bow and it would look fine. I’ll make a bag instead of buying something. I’ll put my shotguns in it and then I’ll go to Hooverille Mall.
Two days before December 21st, I got my guns. I had them and I read instructions and I loaded them and I sighted them (if that’s even a fucking word). I looked at them. I wondered if they would really do what they did in the movies. What happened when you shot someone right in front of you? Would it get on you?
A perfectly wicked smile.
I tried on my Santa hat that I stole from the ridiculous wreath downstairs, and I had a red coat already. I painted my pants with this old red wall paint that I used in the bathroom. I had it to cover up a pimple that popped and blood that had gotten on the wall and wouldnt’ come off.
I couldn’t look at it b/c it made me gag.
So I painted the walls blood colored to cover up that blood.
And now I painted my jeans red.
Beautiful when they were done too.
And then, it was December twenty first and I dressed at 7am. I didn’t go to work that day because why would I? I sat in my chair, my shotguns at my sides, my pistol in my pants pointing at my cock. I really hoped that when I grabbed it I wouldn’t blow my dick off. That would be a wonderful ending to all this, me on the ground dickless.
No whore smell on me.
Dickless, no whore smell on me ever again.
That’s OK though I didn’t really like the smell.
I wondered if shotguns were the right way to say this. It was naive sounding. Like, maybe they are called something else and I’m just saying fucking ‘shotguns’.
I was sweating.
Pants that are covered in red wall paint are hot.
Green sweaters are hot.
Red coats are hot.
Sweating and it was soaking into my clothes.
It was 10:30 when I put my shotguns into my newly made Christmas bag and started walking from my apartment down to the bus stop. From there I could see the Hooverille Mall and I could make my decision on where to go. Wherever the most fucked up shoppers were, that’s where I’d go. Blasting them so that their red splattered all over the green carpet and decorations. Red and green like all of Christmas.
Fuck them and their money.
Fuck them and their toys.
And their children.
And their Jesus.
From the bus stop I could watch them. I saw where the Singing Lights were setting up in the parking lot. I could see where the people were all filing into the mall. Tons of them.
In the mall, go get, go buy, shop, spending, spend, give me more, more, more, more.
I started walking down the hill from my bus stop towards the parking lot of the mall. I wanted to yell ‘ho, ho, ho’ b/c I looked like a fucked up Santa Claus. It would be great if I could have some of these people sit on my lap before I blasted through them. Red all over my green sweater. You wouldn’t see it on my red pants. That’s OK.
Walking across the parking lot I could barely breath. Sweat soaked my sweater and trickled down my back.
The shotguns were heavy in the bag.
When I got to the mall, the door slid open, and there the smell of cinnamon, and spices, and money, and sweat, and people, and music shot up my nose. I wanted to vomit. There were green bows and fake snow and fake presents and fake people everywhere. I had wanted to get further in, but the mall was closing in around me. The snow mostly. Clouds and clouds of fake were creeping towards me.
I dropped my bag and pulled out my shotguns. I pumped it and fired at a set of stacked presents blowing them into the air. I blasted the wreaths and two windows of stores. I swung my gun at a trash can knocking it over.
Screams came from the interior of the mall. I was still close to the door. I made sure I had my other shotgun close to me as I walked further in.
It was there, close by my hand.
And then I ran into the main part of the mall. The Santa display was right before me. People were everywhere. I cocked my shotgun, and I got ready to fire. I was ready to see blood and hear screams. I wanted to see red splatter over others. Decorations sticking to the bodies of the dead. The people I had taken Christmas from. I would take Christmas from all of Hooverille Mall.
But then, just as I was about to fire.
I was staring down the barrel of my gun.
At a little girl.
Tiny… maybe two years old.
And she wasn’t crying.
Maybe she was too young to know.
Maybe her mom lost her in the fright.
I watched the girl, not dropping my gun from her, but I watched her standing there. Tiny and quiet. She wasn’t buying anything. She wasn’t wearing Christmas Clothes. She was just a little girl. And she was just there. In the mall. She was just there. Waiting on her mother.
I dropped my shotgun down so it was no longer pointing at her.
Cindy Lou!!!! her mother screamed and the little girl turned and walked towards her and away from me.
My chest got so tight that I felt my head burst.
My eyes were full of light.
And then darkness.
When I was able to open my eyes I felt the manacles that held me to the bed. I heard the beep beep beep of the machines monitoring my heart. The balloon swallowing up my heart was gone though. It felt the right size now. It felt like it had been fixed.
I remembered where I had been.
I remembered what I had done.
Closing my eyes I remembered the little girl.
“Maybe Christmas,” I thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
“Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.”
I would tell them myself what I had done and why. I would tell them that I meant to kill them all. I would tell them that I hated Christmas and that I wanted to take it away. I would tell them that I was lucky that this little girl had gotten in my way.
I would tell them that “I MYSELF…!”
The Grinch… carved up my beast.