All I Want For Christmas

by Paul de Denus

God it's hot as Hell in here. The smell of wet coats and socks is enough to make me puke. It stinks like Charlie Steele's dog after he's jumped around in the snow all day. I can see Father Malinfant's glistening baldhead at the front of the procession, arms bent, hands up like he's explaining ‘the-big-one-that-got-away-on-his-fishing-trip' lie. He's reading — no - half singing a passage from the big Missal. It sounds like he's drowning, all warble and gurgle. I wish he'd hurry it up. This crummy candle is heavier than Jesus on a cross. My arms are going to fall off.

Davey Turenne is wiggling something awful. He told me before Mass he'd had apple pie at dinner and now I can tell he's fighting the quicksteps. Jesus, he just oinked an F sharp major through his cassock. Throats are clearing. Shit, I see quivering shoulders in front of me. God if they laugh out loud. Wait, there's my demented sister sticking her big head out into the aisle looking at us with her big moon face in a smirk. Man, if she starts laughing, I'll pound her. Please Jesus, start the goddamn music, hold it, the lines moving. Finally. I can't wait for this to be over. Geez, what's that stink?

I want to get home, get out of this cassock and into pajamas, jump into bed and get to morning as soon as possible. I've been pretty good this year and I already know what I'm getting from my parents (cat's out of the bag Santa!) It's a tabletop hockey game, the kind with moving players, not the stupid ballerina ‘stand still and rotate' kind. It showed up a week ago on some early evening delivery when my parents were out at a Christmas party. My brother George answered the door and dragged it in, a long cardboard box all beaten up like the delivery guy could give a shit about other people's Christmas. George shoved it in the hall closet and yelled at us not to look at it - but not before I saw two long metal rods protruding from the end of the box, the sure giveaway of what it was. I was shocked. I'm the only sports fan in my entire family. I watch Hockey Night in Canada religiously every Saturday. My parents wouldn't know hockey from curling. The only ice they enjoy is in their drinks. How they knew I'd love this present is beyond me. Shit, maybe there is a Santa.