I want a new story this year. I’ve heard all the Christmas stories—like the ones of whore’s milk—so many times. You know. The one about the whore who goes to buy milk at the store to put in her eggnog while she’s getting ready to go to a holiday party. While she’s drinking the eggnog, she cleans her house of all the winged dust-bunnies. Yeah, those bunnies were winged, since the whore had opened the window to air out the apartment that had become stuffy from the whore’s sweat. But, that story doesn’t really go anywhere.
Then there’s the Dickens’ classic with Ebenezer, Cratchet, Marley and that poor newborn baby—I can’t remember if his name is Pip or Oliver, but it doesn’t really matter. So, the newborn, he doesn’t have a father. Well, he has one, but he’s any one of the hundreds of guys named john. Anyway, I’d be surprised if you’ve never heard the story because it’s real famous. It’s the one with Ebenezer Pimp and Cranberry-Crotch Cratchet—she’s the neighborhood whore who wants Christmas off to be with her newborn. But, Ebenezer Pimp won’t have it. During the story, he’s visited by ghosts: the Ghost of Employee Happiness (I can’t remember if he’s a telemarketer from India, or maybe it was a postal worker), the Ghost of Christmas Safety (he’s a real angry, lonely, drunken bastard that thrashes Ebenezer Pimp around because he’s so mean), and the Ghost of Christmas Cleanliness (she’s a winged dust-bunny that shows Ebenezer Pimp how johns don’t appreciate breasts that are leaky while they’re getting freaky).
Yeah, I’ve heard that one every year since I was real young. I’m 11 now, so that makes a lot of times hearing these Christmas stories. Now, I’m old enough to know what a pimp is. Of course, my brother, George—the one who told me all the Christmas stories—was also the one who taught me the word “pimp.” And then there’s other words like “whore” “slut” “prostitute” “shit” “fuck” “bastard” and “irony.” George’s 17, so he learns all this stuff at high school. He forgot to tell me that people think these words—most of them, except “irony” and “bastard”—are cuss words; a cuss word is a bad word. Yeah, he forgot to tell me they are cuss words, so I got in trouble at school.
Anyways. I really want to hear new Christmas stories. Maybe ones that have happy endings. I mean, it’s no fun hearing all those times about the whore slipping on a dead winged dust-bunny and falling out of her 10th floor apartment window. And then there’s Ebenezer Pimp who is murdered by Cranberry-Crotch Cratchet on Christmas Eve. I mean, sure Ebenezer Pimp is mean and maybe deserves to die, but then Cranberry’s son Pip-Oliver is taken from her forever because they don’t allow babies in prison. My brother thinks this place is like a prison and he wants us to escape. He says there’re places up north where we can live off the fatta the land and raise bunnies on an alfalfa farm. He says that when he turns eighteen, we’re gonna do that. But for now, we just gotta deal with this place he calls a prison. I kinda like it—it has lights, and a tree in the house that smells good, and food that smells good, and a house that smells like cim-anin. But if my brother thinks we should leave, then we’ll leave.
I really love my brother. He’s so smart, and he’s always telling me new stories all year. But, around this time of year, he always tells the same ones. Still, I want a new Christmas story, and I told my brother that just the other day. But he said, “Lennie, Christmas is time for the classics.” And then he told me one he’d told so many times before. And it’s just like all the others that I hear all year round: Sad. Or, maybe not sad. Just not happy, I guess.
Anyways, the story is all about this young boy, maybe he’s six or so. And every year around Christmas, his dad takes a day off from work. The boy, named Gee-Og-Raffy—I know, weird name, but that’s his name. So, Geo—that’s Gee-Og-Raffy’s nickname—gets to do some fun stuff with his dad. They go to the plant shop where they have hot apple cider and popcorn (Geo loves popcorn). They go choose a tree from a parking lot. They go see the Christmas lights downtown. Then, one time, they came home with the tree and Geo’s mom was cleaning the house. She got all mad when dad got pine needles on the clean floor.
After the tree is up, Geo starts to put sparkly things on the tree while dad sits down with his pint of black beer (I hate beer: even though it has bubbles, it smells like sour bread and tastes not good). Geo’s dad loves beer, but he only drinks one pint a year at Christmas. Anyways, he sat down with his pint and started to untangle the Christmas lights. After a little while, he took a big gulp of the black beer. With a white foam mustache, he said, “Ahhh, mother’s milk.”
Then there was a baby’s cry from the kitchen. Geo’s mom comes in and says, “More like whore’s milk. Don’t act like you only have one pint a year. I know what you do out there on the road.”
Mom picked up the pint, wiped where it was on the table and then poured out the black beer in the kitchen sink. Dad sighed loudly and went back to untangling the Christmas wire.
Mom came back into the room with a broom and said, “Are you going to help me clean for my parents? Look around. The dust-bunnies are getting so big, they might grow legs soon. Or maybe they’ll grow wings. Wouldn’t that be great? Winged dust-bunnies for the kids’ Christmas.”
She went back into the kitchen where the baby was crying louder now. Dad followed her, the Christmas light wire straight in his two closed fists. The baby cried really loud now. Mom coughed. Then there were no more words from Mom. Dad came back into the room with a fresh pint of black beer and the baby. He put the pint on the table and held the baby while he untangled some other Christmas lights.
See what I mean? The only thing I like about that story is that the baby’s name is Leonard. I like that part because Leonard is my nickname. Even so, I don’t think the story is sad. It’s just that the ending doesn’t make any sense. I asked my brother George what happened to Geo’s mom. He said that she went on a date with Santa Claus. Then I asked who Santa Claus was. George said he’s Jesus’ brother. Then I asked who Jesus was, and George said Jesus is the guy I share my birthday month with. Then I said that’s cool and that maybe Jesus could come to my next birthday party. George told me he probably wouldn’t be able to make it. George also said that sharing my birthday month with the big guy must really suck. I asked George who the big guy was. George sighed and took the toy gun I was playing with and pointed it at my head and pulled the trigger. Then George laughed, messed up my hair and walked out of the room.