Silent night, holy… shit, people. How the fuck do you do this Christmas thing, year in, year out? For once I’ve been totally and unwittingly embroiled in the whole holiday spirit and good will stuff – yet another ‘perk’ of housesharing, apparently.
Last Christmas I had lost my best friend, all my cash, most of my fucking dignity and had been bitten by a psychotic blood-hungry maniac. Spent the holiday season licking my wounds for a while. happy times. Merry bloody Christmas.
Anyway, Kane’s mom is away visiting her sister this year, so it’s a self-proclaimed orphans’ Christmas in our dysfunctional fraternity. Grae swears he can cook turkey (but as I prefer the other white meat, I’ll be suffering from a mysterious bout of something I’ll invent tomorrow morning). Nik put up the Christmas tree, hung a string of lights, and opened a beer. Since then, our festive conifer has also been festooned with random cooking utensils that Grae will look for in the kitchen and in vain later, a pair of shorts, and the Christmas reindeer novelty head (that Nik neatly pilfered from the poor, sweating, costumed employee at the mall yesterday) is perched with lop-sided precariously on the highest bough.
Underneath is a pile of badly wrapped presents that I sure as hell couldn’t afford to buy but found myself being fucking guilted into. Never had to do the Christmas shopping thing before: naturally I left it to the last possible minute, and I tell you, my wallet bled even more than my most recent dinner date.
So about two hours ago, I’m killing things (on PS3 - relax, will you?), Kane is eating his weight in his namesake candy, Nik is poppping corn but throwing so much of it at Grae (who is being nauseatingly sentimental on the phone to the latest girlfriend) that we have indoor snow that crunches when you walk.
Paper-rock-scissors dictates Nik has to answer it, not me. He mumbles into the intercom, presses the release button, and goes to the door to wait.
“Who the hell is here at this time of night?” Kane says, lazily, sweeping tape and wrapping-paper scraps ruthlessly from the coffee table so he can put his feet up. “Better not be your Amazon, Grae. She’s been over, like, every evening this week?”
Grae demonstrates rapidly and graphically in excellent mime exactly where Kane could shove that particular comment, while still cradlling his phone (and hence the lady in question) under his chin.
Nik comes back, looking surprisingly meek and subdued for him. Just behind is the unexpected guest.
I pause the game and look up.
“Yeah – it’s your uncle, man.”
Tall, impeccably dressed as ever - and even when the dude is standing in our chaotic apartment (surrounded by four scruffy open-mouthed teens, ensconced on a carpet of popcorn, and beside the Christmas tree with the reindeer head bowing down rakishly at him), those eyes and teeth are still… well.
Still all the better to consume you with. I mean – what the fuck do you say at a moment like that?
So I just stood up, brushed myself down a bit, and said: