Friend Christmas//Trevor Shikaze


            Friend Christmas is going to be the best this year. No one knows I’m in town. I take the bus to Sean’s house, where a bunch of kids are playing in a sandbox out front. That’s weird. A sandbox in front of a house seems weird—or even a sandbox at all, in this age of E. coli and broken glass. I find a bunch of logs jammed in a box that seems designed for this purpose, and among the logs is a Christmas tree. It’s lush, maybe six-footer, I find I can carry it easily. The kids watch me carry the tree into the house. I’m pretty sure some of them recognize me. They won’t call the cops.

 

            Inside, the place is already full of Christmas décor, including several trees. The trees look professionally decorated—you can tell because all the baubles are the same, and no actual human family has all-matching Christmas baubles. The baubles are large and purple and fleshy, like grapefruit made of flesh, like tumors. But nice tumors, festive tumors. I maneuver between the trees with my own tree carried ahead of me like a knight’s lance. I’m afraid of knocking something over. There are glass decorations on the floor—glass hound dogs howling at sirens and glass cats playing with yarn—and I am sure these are heirlooms, the sort of thing that doesn’t just break, but breaks hearts when it breaks. Not just an object. A symbol of something or someone, some uncle or grandma. This is Christmas, after all.

 

            I come to the stairs. The tree will be easier to carry if I raise it above my head, I think. I hold the tree up and begin to scale the stairs, and something about the posture makes me need to go to the bathroom. I know there’s a bathroom upstairs. I suddenly need to go really bad. The tree is heavy. Just then my pants slip down and I feel myself accidentally poop twice. I look back, and there are two wet-looking swirls of poop on two separate steps, one clean step between them. How did that happen? My pants are back up. I get to the top of the stairs as the friends arrive at the front door. Oh no!

 

            I run to the bathroom, find a fresh roll of toilet paper, roll the paper over my hand until I’ve got a mummy fist. I run back to the stairs. White carpet! Why white carpet? I tell myself that when Sean has kids of his own, he’ll have to deal with this sort of thing all the time. Wait—Sean does have kids. And the carpet is spotless. Except for these two wet coils of poop. I look up and see friends at the door, a pile of them, and I turn my back, scoop up the coils as well as I can. They come clean off the carpet. Christmas is saved!

 

            I run upstairs. Don’t think anyone saw me. I throw the giant wad of toilet paper and poop into the toilet—but I pause before flushing. Is that going to clog? I hear the friends. No time. If it clogs, it clogs. People will understand. Toilets clog, even on Christmas. I’ll just give it a few seconds, let the water really soak the toilet paper, dissolve it a bit. Okay—flush! I push the handle. The toilet half-flushes in that terrifying way that says clog. But then, maybe because it is Christmas, the toilet tries again. The water swirls properly and my disaster is gone. I wash my hands. I wash them well. They are about to be shaken. I don’t want to give any of my friends E. coli.

 

            I head downstairs and Geoff is there with a pair of people I don’t know. He introduces me and they both have artist names, so I have to ask them to repeat them. I really can’t get the guy’s name. He offers, without my asking, to spell it out.

 

            He says, “A, A, A—”

 

            —Something something, and then I shake his beautiful wife’s hand. Oh, my god, her teeth are beautiful. I just want to watch them bite down on something! Merry Christmas everyone!

Trevor Shikaze‘s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming or hasn’t even occurred to him yet. Find him online at www.trevorshikaze.com.