The moment I woke up this morning, I could sense that something was wrong. The house was too still, too quiet. I ran downstairs, and indeed—there were only eleven people there.
Late last night, the lords had begun to tire from all of the jumping. One lord collapsed onto the couch before Lord Vader decreed it was time for a break. Vader admonished him for his insolence as the poor sap tried to catch his breath,1 then made sure he never caught another one. Again, Vader’s henchman carried the body off.
When I first arrived downstairs this morning, I assumed Vader must have killed off everyone else the same way, but one of the maids set me straight: Overnight, there had been a mass exodus. Vader had stopped to argue with a dancer who had gotten in his way, and the few remaining lords had seen their chance. All but one fled the scene, taking with them five dancers and three maids.2 The one lord who stayed behind has been matching Lord Vader leap for leap ever since. He prefers we call him Michael Flatley, rather than by his formal title, Lord of the Dance. I prefer that he put on a shirt.
The house didn’t remain quiet (or relatively empty) for long. Just before we left for work, eleven men in kilts arrived at our door. We let them in, and, not wanting to be around for what happened next, promptly ran for our cars.
Denise did stop home during her lunch break, and she called to fill me in on the morning’s events. It seems that when the plumber showed up mid-morning, the Scots sent him packing, cursing at him unintelligibly until he fled. Then they piled up their bagpipes by the door and went down into the basement.3 They repaired the leaks and started pumping out the water, but then they also began to completely rework all of the plumbing. Plus, they insulted Denise (from what she could decipher), made unkindly remarks to the four remaining dancers, and ceaselessly harangued the pipe-laying geese for not belonging to the Pipers’ Union. Before she headed back to work, Denise also spied a few of them conversing with the mafioso parrot in hushed tones while eyeing the geese, and did not feel good about what might happen. I told her I’d get home as soon as I could.
I begged out of an afternoon meeting and headed home. Though I searched every room in the house, there was no sign of the two pipe-laying geese, and no one would admit to seeing anything. Also, three quarters of the basement now look like one of those old Windows screen savers from the ‘90s.
Bill Gates is at the bottom of this, I just know it.
I thought about asking someone from Jim’s Plumbing – that’s the new van parked across the street – if they’d be willing to strip all this piping out in a couple days, but then I remembered that my last credit card had been shredded earlier in the afternoon, and that my last two checks had bounced. Instead, I decided to drink. Heavily.
And here I always thought Christmas was supposed to be a time of joy, full of holiday cheer and whatnot.4 Well, it’s not a time of joy. It’s a time of pain and death and way too many birds.
Only one more day. One more lousy, stinkin' day. It can’t get here soon enough.
1 “I find your lack of leap disturbing.”
2 I asked the rest of the maids why they stuck around. They said they would’ve left, but hadn’t yet finished their drinks.
3 Sonya, on the other hand, stayed upstairs and spent most of her day attacking the bagpipes.
4 Especially the whatnot.