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Young Liars (My Christmas Story)


This will be long but if you make it to the end you can see a picture of my adorable niece. DON’T SCROLL DOWN CHEATER.

I’m back at work and and i’d rather be anywhere else. Four days off wasn’t near enough because they’re all back. All these desperate weirdos shuffling around, glad to be back at work. I want to be back in my dark, warm room with the door shut and the fan humming back and forth across me. Instead, here i am writing this, subtly looking over my shoulder making sure nobody’s reading over it. I really should go get the machines in order. Start getting more samples ready for analysis. Answer an email or two.

I wasn’t supposed to go anywhere over the weekend. I was gonna shut myself in and only leave in case of a dire emergency like no more beer or someone cuts the tip of their finger off and they can’t drive them self to the hospital or dial 911.

But ten minutes after i was home from work on Thursday, my mom asked me to go to Sam Moon with her. It’s right next to Plato’s Closet and maybe i can get my mom to buy a couple shirts for me for Christmas. I’m not in the mood to drive but somehow i ended up doing it anyway.

Who cares? Who cares about my mundane holiday weekend? It’s just a bunch of shit that happened and i’m gonna try and make it interesting with my words. But really, not a lot happened. Sam Moon was full of women wandering around and only one pretty girl with a great butt who i hope was following me around.

Jeremy is working. He’s  barely been at work for 30 minutes and i can hear him clinking around with beakers, silently hating himself and liberals. This is a guy who brags about being boring. He slides out his chair finally and sits down. I don’t acknowledge him because if i do, then i have to talk to him and that’s kind of like a special sort of torture at 730 am.

Then that night Keely invites me to Molly’s Pub and that’s not something you say ‘no’ to. Her friends are crazy and pretty and they look like these typical white girls until they open their mouths and speak and suddenly i kind of forget i’m there with Keely, even though she’s the prettiest, most interesting one out of the bunch. Her friends take up half the bar and even though we’re only there a few times a year, everyone knows us and hangs out at the table. Maybe i cheated and came to Molly’s a few times with boisterous friends of my own but still. I’m more well known because of Keely’s friends.

I look at the other guys milling around our table and i’m so different than they are. Guys owe it to themselves to improve upon their insecurities and learn from their idiocies. But they’re not doing it. It’s obvious. I know because i went through tons of self-improvement. But look at these guys and all you see in their eyes is neediness and perversion and the girls are completely unaware of them because of it. Keely’s friends are showing me extra attention this time at Molly’s and it’s only because of how i feel on the inside. You can play it cool all you want but if i can see all that bullshit in your eyes, a girl definitely can. I’ve known the coolest, toughest guys in the world but as soon as a girl shows up, it all gets lost and replaced with this horrible, romantic saint. Pulling on her hair and begging for her love and secretly writing up poems in his own head.

This is why i wasn’t supposed to go out this weekend. I’ve been way too paranoid lately and it’s making me hate people when they don’t really deserve it. Or maybe they do, who cares. They all want so sit in their sad, small worlds anyway.

Hugo walks up and talks to Jeremy about his weekend. He tells Hugo a bunch of mumbles and then says he’s glad he’s finally back here. He was getting bored. Then before Hugo can reply, Jeremy says how next weekend (another 4 day one), he’s not leaving his house, not watching any “Yay it’s the New Year” things, not watching any fireworks. What, he’s just gonna sit and wait for the moment when he gets to return to work again? This 9-5 bullshit is the highlight of his livelihood. This bothers me for so so many reasons.

The next day is Christmas Eve and i’m not at all able to fully function after the night at Molly’s. Whiskey drinks and $3.50 schooners of Smithwicks will do that to a man. I don’t fall out of bed until 1pm and i have to eat something before it’s too late. Somehow i manage to put together a breakfast of scrambled eggs, unevenly cooked bacon, and ham fried in the same pan as the bacon. I toast a bagel and butter both sides and give one half to my mom and my plate is gone quicker than it arrived. Now we have to plant some trees she ordered from the Arbor Day Foundation.

Or house was built on a clay topsoil so the only hard part of the planting was digging out the 3 inches of red and grey and tan clay. We put together a nice mixture of miracle-gro and dirt and fill in the holes around the trees we put in and the whole thing takes maybe an hour but the soles of my work shoes (Adidas) are coated an inch thick with clay and mud and any time i step wrong, i sink down into our work. The outside cats run back and forth in the dirt and grass, attacking each other when they’re not looking. They’re not too interesting in our tree, thank God. They’d tear it up for sure.

I walk to my machines and people i barely know and can’t stand say “What’s up, Stephen” or wave at me  from across the room. The water fountain tastes like pencil lead again. The usual people lean in the usual places. Jeremy still sits there working, glad he’s not at home really making something out of himself.

After the trees are planted, i need to go to town and buy AJ his present from the comic book store. Hopefully they’re open. What kind of comic book store is closed on Christmas Eve? Hopefully it’s still in business.

I force myself into my car and head off but first i have to stop and buy the only cure i can currently stomach for my condition. Clamato juice with hot sauce even though i’d much rather have a beer right now. I’m in no condition to be in public right now but i don’t really have a choice in the matter.

If the comic book store is closed, i’ll have to go to Walmart or Target and it’s not something i can fathom right now but i arrive in the shopping center and the store is open. I can’t see inside because the windows are completely covered in posters of superhero shit i don’t care to read. I wonder if they have Young Liars. I wonder if they’ve heard of Young Liars.

I’ve been at work an hour and the only thing i’ve done is work on calibrating one of my expensive machines a little bit. They’re worth about 100k a piece and i work on 6 of them. That’s more than half a million dollars of equipment i muck around with everyday and i don’t even have a degree. The talkers have arrived and they’ve only been here for maybe 5 minutes and they’re already talking Christmas. Where does this morning energy come from? Crack?? I’ve been here for 4 years and i still can’t get used to being awake this early.

I walk into the comic book store and it’s instantly awkward. There’s a couple people playing computer games across the room and the heavy middle-aged man behind the counter says Hi but i can barely send a response back. I need more Clamato but it’s in my car. I feel like this place will be a disappointment. There’s nothing in the middle of the store but tables and all the comics are on the walls. The trade paperbacks, where i’m most like going to find Young Liars, are behind the kids playing video games. I want to get AJ a nice Spiderman comic or action figure but the only thing i see so far are old indie comic toys or World of Warcraft toys. I almost turned around and walked right back out to my Clamato juice.

There’s no real order to this guy’s comics. It’s Marvel with DC with Image with video game guides. Not even alphabetically thrown on the shelves. I’m not going to find Young Liars here for sure but i look anyway. Some of his books look like they’re from his private collection or something. I find a hardcover of Ultimate Spiderman Volume 1 and the cover’s a little wrinkled so maybe i can talk him down a little on the price. But i doubt it because i’m barely able to hold my head up correctly.

A few more kids jingle the bell on the door and walk in and the guy knows them and they talk game cards for a minute, then this girl who looks like a fat Annie walks in and they talk for a minute but i don’t listen and then she’s gone. The kids are here to play some card game, apparently the place has card tournaments. I see the sign for them when i check out the statues but why would AJ want a statue. I read comics a lot when i was his age and i doubt i’d like a friggin Spiderman bust for Christmas.

I can’t be in this store anymore. All i want to do is move these fuckin card tables and organize everything. His shelf for new comics has no order either. This guy doesn’t care about comic books. He’s a gamer fag. I know i’ll regret it but i ask the guy if he has Young Liars and the look of perplexion on his face lets me down gently. I don’t know why i had him special order it because that means i have to come back here. Maybe i’ll just ignore his call when it comes in and then he’ll have Young Liars for the next guy who comes in hungover.

He knocks 10 bucks off of the used comic book because it’s wrinkled a little and i thank him and this other dude comes in looking for dice and the guy behind the counter knows ALL about dice apparently and this store sucks and he should quit trying to small-talk me and just give me my nephew’s comic book so i can get out of here and go lay on my couch for the rest of the day.

I need to go check my machines again. My arms are rubbery and tired because i started my regiment this morning. As many push-ups as i can do before my arms give out. Every morning until i’m in shape. It’s pretty bad when my arm gets tired just from moving a mouse around for too long. There’s an odd burning smell in the air but there’s pretty much always an odd burning smell in the lab. Newton is here and he says What’s up Butthead and i tell him to shutup and i check my machines and sit back down.

The rest of that day was spent in front of the TV and by the end of it, my soul has turned black and dead. How do people watch so much TV? It’s all soul-burning commercials showing us people happier than us buying things we can’t afford or don’t want to afford and it’s reality shows about rich people living their rich lives and it’s hard not to see it as this big conspiracy to keep the poor poorer spending all their money so the rich can get richer. TV is horrible.

My brother calls and needs me to bring him some clothes so he can go to this Christmas party and he invites me and i say yes because i want to hang out at his gym for a minute and ride in his giant truck because i haven’t had the chance to ride in his giant truck yet. So i get everything together and head to his gym and the weather has turned cold and a storm is starting.

Joel is working now and the way he talks is he uses words you’re only supposed to read or write, not say out loud. Words like ‘essentially’ or ‘upon arriving’ or ‘en masse’. His voice is way too loud and fake-happy and he can never seem to tell when the other person doesn’t give a shit.

I down a beer on the way to the gym and the rain gets worse and worse. The wind blows leaves directly at my car and it’s nearly pitch black and torrents of rain assault my car so it takes me longer to get to Josh’s gym. I just didn’t want to get pulled over.

When i get there he tells me his windshield wipers aren’t working. Great. I don’t want to drive, i want to ride in the big truck. He insists on driving though, even though the rain is awful by now. I convince him to not take the back roads because i don’t want to die and the freeway is lit up so not having wipers won’t be so bad. He says he can see but my side of the windshield is all fogged and the ride to the party is terrifying but we manage to make it there.

I’ve been at work 2 hours and it’s time to go find coffee. Maybe i’ll run into Callie. I love running into Callie.

There’s a girl from Alaska at the party so we talk about it for a minute, i spent a summer up there. They know how to drink, this should be a good party. I get volunteered to run downstairs and let someone in the gate because this is the ghetto and there’s no code to get in. It’s still raining and cold and i manage to slosh in every puddle i pass but i make it to the front gate and let the dude in and i run back through all the same puddles and my feet are wet and that was bullshit but at least my shirt’s dry.

The gay guy who lives at the apartment keeps telling me to take off my shirt because i’m all wet but i’m not going to. Besides, me shirt’s dry, if anything i’ll only take off my shoes because of those fucking puddles. I tell him i have a beer gut and i’m not taking off my shirt.

The party is a blur of shots and beer and trashcan punch and my brother telling me to watch my mouth because he doesn’t want to get into a fight at this party but how am i not supposed to say something when this one guy had his tongue pulled out in his hands and he’s trying to fix his piercing IN THE MIDDLE OF A PARTY you ugly slob and somehow i manage not to say nigger or faggot which is good because there’s a few at the party. I never actually call gay people faggots or black people niggers, i only call my friends that. I’m not really a bigot but fag and nigger are my two favorite insults when my friends fuck with me.

My brother and i throw glowsticks at each other across the apartment and i deflect one right into this girl’s back and it’s funny because she was mean to my brother and hurt his feelings and i nailed her pretty good with the glowstick but i blamed her friend. Then i did the same thing to her friend’s boyfriend because he looked like an idiot. Oops.

We leave the party early and go pick up my car and race the whole way home and i don’t really remember being at the house but somehow i made it to bed and slept the whole night.

The coffee was terrible because it’s an off brand because the company’s not spending any money until after the new year and nobody really knows how to make coffee with this off brand. Also there’s no creamer because we ran out but Emily appears and she seems really happy to see me even though she’s dating that pale red-headed guy with the beard and ugly teeth and bad jokes and i hate red-headed guys (they’re evil) but i like red-headed girls. Those are some of the prettiest ones around. Emily has great skin-tone but i’ve never told her that because i can’t think of a charming way to say “I like your skin”, it only sounds creepy. Didn’t run into Callie, damnit. I need to see her.

Finally it’s Christmas so we start cooking the organic whole chicken and wrap the last few presents and then we eat the chicken spiced with a rub i made full of Tony’s and salt and pepper and garlic salt and garlic pepper and a little bit of curry and a little bit of paprika and a whole stick of butter and my mom cooks some fresh sweet potatoes and stuffing and everything tastes perfect, especially the first whole chicken i’ve ever cooked. Next time i’m cooking it on the grill.

And now i’ve been invited to lunch at Red Robin even though i hate that place and i can’t really afford it but hey, Callie might go and Emily will for sure go so i think i’ll go. What if i’m still writing this at 1130? That would be funny.

Then my sister arrives and she has all 6 kids with her. It’s so rare to have all 6 kids in one place but it’s always a riot when that happens. Everyone’s tired though, especially the twins. It was a nice gift-opening. AJ loved the comic book, thank God he didn’t have it already. Matthew and Timothy disappeared to play with their Legos and the rest of the time was spent entertaining the twins with talking ducks and Christmas bows and toy cars that light up when you push the button. The twins are barely two and they’re the cutest things i’ve ever seen. It’s Jacob and Abby and they saunter around like they’ve already figured out the world is theirs. Jacob has perfected this hilarious scowl and Abby’s hair is a wreck and she’s gonna break a million hearts, totally adorable.

Let me tell you, it’s heartbreaking when they cry. I wanted so bad to help them stop crying and they’re not even my kids. They’re way too cute to be crying like that. They love the bells hanging on the wall and like any kids, they’re more interested in the boxes and wrapping paper than the actual presents.

Half of the computers aren’t working right now so maybe today’ll go easy on me.

It’s sad when it’s time to say goodbye to all the kids. I call Matthew nerd-boy until he yells at me and calls me lonely and then i tell him i hope he trips and falls and his face lands in the mud and he tells me he hopes i fall in lava and i tell him that’s impossible and he says nothing’s impossible.

We load all the kids and toys in the van and Jacob is squeezing the car and making it light up over and over again because he likes the little click it makes. He’s barely two years old and he’s already discovered the joys of catharsis. It’s dark and cold and i wish the kids would have stayed longer. But then they’re gone and i promise my sister i’ll come see her when i’m up in Dallas this weekend and that was that. That was my Christmas.

I wasn’t supposed to do anything but i did anything anyway and it turned out beautiful and i wish i could rewind it and do it again and make those twins laugh again.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Alecia permalink
    12/27/2010 10:49 am

    Look at you, loving those kids…you’ll be a great dad one day.

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