HAPPY HOLIDAYS

CATHY
So, what are you doing home so early?

STEVE
I took the afternoon off.

CATHY
Is everything all right?

STEVE
Yeah, I just had some shopping to do. I picked up Jenny and Michelle and we went shopping for Matt. Where have you been?

CATHY
I was out shopping myself. It’s insane out there. People in the malls have lost their minds.

STEVE
You can say that again. Here’s to Christmas in the malls, a practice run for the apocalypse.

CATHY
That’s for sure. If you don’t mind, I think I’ll have some of your eggnog.

STEVE
Easy does it. It’s—

CATHY
It’s all nog. Wow, that’s stiff. Any particular reason you’re drinking dragster fuel in the middle of the afternoon?

STEVE
Because it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

CATHY
Well, I guess you had about as much fun shopping as I did. So what did you get? Did you by chance make it by Toys-R-Us?

STEVE
Yep.

CATHY
Great. Did you find Matt’s game?

STEVE
Yep.

CATHY
Did you pick it up?

STEVE
Nope.

CATHY
You’re kidding. For god sakes, were they out already?

STEVE
Nope.

CATHY
Well, was there a problem with the credit card?

STEVE
Nope.

CATHY
Okay, I’m gonna ask you one more question and this time see if you can string at least five words together. Why didn’t you get the game?

STEVE
Because, well…because I couldn’t.

CATHY
Oh, that’s real good. All right Steve Newberry, come out of the nog fog right now and tell me why you didn’t get that game or you’ll be having Christmas dinner at Denny’s.

STEVE
I wonder if they’ll serve turkey bacon with the Grand Slam breakfast.

CATHY
Now, Steve.

STEVE
All right. I didn’t get it because I was asked to leave.

CATHY
You were asked to leave the Toys-R-Us?

STEVE
No. Actually I was forced to leave the Toys-R-Us.

CATHY
Oh, you’ve got to be kidding. Why? Was it the kids?

STEVE
No, no. It was daddy.

CATHY
What? What did you do?

STEVE
I lost my Christmas spirit. I took it and shoved it up Santa’s ass. Right in front of everybody.

CATHY
You did what?

STEVE
The kids got to see daddy take down Santa Claus.

CATHY
Are you telling me you beat up Santa?

STEVE
Yep.

CATHY
And exactly why was St. Nick on your hit list?

STEVE
All right, here it is. I pick up the kids from school and on the way to the store, Jenny throws up in the back seat because her moron teacher let her gorge herself on candy canes at the school Christmas send off. Michelle starts crying because Jenny got puke on her and Jenny starts crying because, well, she puked. I get the girls calmed down, we stop at the car wash to clean up the mess and some bozo in a rusty Broncho hits the car because the oversized Christmas tree he’s haulin’ back to the trailer court is blocking his view. So I get his info, we get back on the road and Michelle starts crying again because the car smells like puke and then Jenny starts crying again because…she puked. Finally we get to Toys-R-Us. The girls stop crying, we’re on our way into the store and this stupid lady comes flying out of the exit, clips me with her shopping cart and I go crashing into the Bell Ringer. The old man never knew what hit him.

CATHY
Oh my god, was he okay?

STEVE
Yeah, he was fine. Especially when I apologized and put a fifty into his bucket. Christmas is just way too expensive.

CATHY
Well, it’s not like you put fifty into the triple diamond slots. So where does this WWF match with Santa come in?

STEVE
Oh, he’s the next fight on the card. The kids and I get into the store, find the game and get in the check out line. The Russian bread line was moving slow but evidently way too slow for the idiot behind us. I guess I should say, the lippy idiot in a Santa suit. And Santa starts running his mouth.

CATHY
Oh, this is good. Go on.

STEVE
The guys yells out a remark about the lady at the front of the line. Then Michelle turns to me and says, “Daddy, why is Santa being an asshole?” Before I had a chance to be shocked by what she’d just said, the guy taps me on the shoulder and says, “Hey, your kid got a problem?” And, well, I snapped.
CATHY
So you…

STEVE
So I said, “Yeah, she’s got a problem. With your faggy suit, your dirty reindeer, and your fat fucking face.” Then I shoved him into a stack of Tele-Tubbies. It was a god-awful sound.

CATHY
What? Santa hitting the floor?

STEVE
No. A thousand talking Tele-Tubbies going off at one time. I’ve never felt such terror.

CATHY
Not to laugh, but this is unreal. So what happened then?

STEVE
The crowd cheered, the kids cried, and security escorted us back to the vomit van. Then we just came home. I’ve talked to the girls, they’re upstairs and I’m here taking inventory. No pride, no spirit, no game, and no more vodka. Would wine work in eggnog?

CATHY
No. Or I’ll be crying because you got puke on me. No, look, what you need to do is just take a few deep breaths, relax, forget this screwed up day, and let the holiday spirit come to you. Tomorrow’s Christmas Eve. It’ll come, believe me.

STEVE
Yeah. So what do we do about Matt’s game? How about I take you to the Toys-R-Us and you go in and buy it.

CATHY
I don’t think so. Maybe we could find it somewhere else.

STEVE
Why? I’m the only Newberry banned from the store.

CATHY
Well, let’s just say the only “male” Newberry.