For disclaimers see parts 1 and 2a.
My thanks again to those who are reading and feeding. Big thanks to Jessie and to Ogre for all the info.
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Something I Said
I arrived at Elmers with a great feeling of trepidation. As I let myself in, I prayed silently that his granddaughter had already called and that I wouldnt have to deal with her, then mentally chastised myself for being so selfish. I had told him I would do it and if I had to sit there and wait until hell froze over, then by all the zits on the ass of the Earth, thats what I would do.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the Christmas tree lying on the floor by the bookcase and decided that the only way to keep myself from having a panic attack was to get busy. I grabbed the tree, put it in an unused corner behind Elmers recliner, and was on my way back for the tree stand when I saw the dried blood on the linoleum in front of the sink. I decided that that would be the first thing on my list of stuff to do while the old man was gone.
After scrubbing furiously on the floor for what seemed like hours and only having to swat Jackrabbit away three times as she attacked my hand, I finally had the floor looking good as new. I threw out the rag I had been using and washed my hands under as hot of water as I could stand. The site of blood had always bothered me and having to clean said culprit was nauseating.
I started on the tree and as I was about to plug in the lights, the phone rang. My heart lurched up in my throat and the room was suddenly so hot I couldnt breathe. I picked it up after taking a deep breath and swallowing several times.
"Hello?" I answered, my eyes squeezed shut in dread.
"Uh, hi, I think Ive got the wrong number," came a hesitant female voice on the other end. A sexy hesitant voice.
"Um Are you looking for Elmer?" My voice cracked and I felt like a pre-pubescent teenager.
"Yes I am. Where is he?" The voice was no longer sexy but angry and accusing.
"Shit-" I clapped my hand over my mouth to stop the deluge before it could get started. That only worsened the ire of the girl I presumed to be Elmers granddaughter and before I knew what was happening she was letting out her own downpour.
"Who the hell is this? Where is my Grandpa? I swear by all the gods if you did anything to hurt him youll wake up with your throat cut and your arms shoved so far up your ass youll be talking in sign language! Now where is he?!"
"Hes in the fucking hospital!" I finally gasped. The amount of restraint it had taken to hold my tongue was taking its toll.
"WHAT!" she roared and I had to hold the phone away from my ear. This was not going very well.
"If youd shut the fuck up for just a minute Id tell you what happened!" I yelled into the receiver, trying to get her attention. It worked because the other end was suddenly deathly silent.
"Are you with me?"
"Yes I am. So spill it."
Her voice was calm, like some psycho Id heard in a movie somewhere. It was quite frightening. I took a deep breath and went on.
"Elmers fine. Hell be home tomorrow, and if you want to call him heres the number."
I read it off to her and hung up before she could shout at me anymore, all the while thinking that she would probably come racing over to the apartment to beat me up. I considered leaving right then but remembered what the old man had said about his family not living around here.
Feeling better, I looked at the state of disarray Elmers living space was in. It looked like Christmas had thrown up everywhere and I couldnt just leave it like that so I set about finishing the job Id started.
An hour later, I was exhausted. It was late and the only thing keeping me from flopping down on Elmers couch was the fact that Jackrabbit would probably claw me to ribbons if I did. I checked her food bowl and refilled it, almost tripping over her as she lunged for the food. She turned to look at me, growling in her usual manner, then walked to me and put a paw on my sneaker. It was strange. Very strange.
I gathered up my things and went to the door, pausing to look at my handiwork before I left. It looked nice. I hoped Elmer would agree.
I awoke the next morning, business as usual. The black cloud that hung over my life was back and with a vengeance. I woke up late and scrambled to get out of the apartment in a timely manner, only to find it had snowed over night. By the time I finally got to the dispatch center at work, the only job left was on a roof helping some nut put up his Santa and Reindeer for the citys decorating contest.
Oh goody, I thought to myself as I trudged to the address the secretary had given me. Lets see how bad I can screw this one up.
I recognized the house I was supposed to be at by the eight reindeer pile-up in front of the house. The sleigh was thrown helter-skelter on the ground beside the pile of horned animals and I couldnt help but chuckle at the sight it presented.
"You here from the agency?" a gruff voice called.
I looked up to see a rotund, balding man standing on the porch of the two-story house eyeballing me suspiciously.
"Yeah, thats me," I answered and made my way up the sidewalk.
He grunted and went back inside, slamming the door behind him.
Suddenly I had a bad feeling about the job. My guts were screaming at me to turn around and run, to go home and relax while I still had the chance. I was seriously contemplating it when the short man came back wearing a hooded parka, gloves, and snow boots.
"They didnt tell me they were sending a woman," he growled as he left the porch and went through the breezeway in the direction of the garage.
Should have left when you had the chance, I reprimanded myself and followed him. Yep, It was looking to be a great day.
Once Stubby, as I had taken to calling him, was up on the roof, he had me haul up the Reindeer and sleigh while he shoveled snow to fit the large set. After being whitewashed several times when he threw the snow off the roof, I began to take offense.
"Hey, watch it Mister!" I yelled at him after the fourth time it happened.
"Get out of the way then!" he called back at me then continued to throw snow.
I gritted my teeth to keep the cursing muted, then began my ascent up the ladder with the sleigh balanced precariously on my back. Two rungs from the top, another blast of snow hit me in the face and I reeled back, forgetting that doing so was a huge mistake. The ladder began to tip and I struggled to lean forward but the weight of the sleigh on my back was too much.
I let go of the sleigh and shouted at Stubby, everything happening in slow motion. I watched as he dropped the snow shovel and started in my direction, his feet slipping from the sharp angle of the roof. My own hands were still grasping desperately for the rain gutter, the roof, for any purchase they could find as the ladder slowly wobbled farther backward.
Stubby let out a cry of surprise and I looked up just in time to see him careening toward me. While scrabbling for something to hold on to, hed managed to flop over onto his stomach and was now aimed feet first at me like a speeding torpedo.
My life flashed before my eyes, the good times and the bad, and the one thing that stuck out the most was the fact that I was still a virgin. I didnt want to die that way, and there was only one thing to be said for it.
"You bald, half pint BASTARD!" I screamed as his feet connected with my head.
The momentum hed gained knocked the ladder away from the safety of the house and as I fell backward, I grabbed hold of his boots. He was clutching the rain gutter for dear life and that coupled with my weight as I balanced from the top of the ladder had him stretched as far as his short body would go. He looked like a bridge between the roof and the ladder.
"Let go!" he shrieked.
"Are you crazy?" I asked in incredulity. "Ill fall!"
"Were both gonna fall if you dont get your hands off of me!" He punctuated his sentence by shaking one leg at a time to try to release my grip.
"Edward?" came a meek voice from below us.
I looked down over my shoulder to see a mousy looking brunette staring at us with wide eyes, her mouth a perfect circle of disbelief at what she was seeing.
"Marsha! Push on the ladder," he called down to her.
"What happened?" she asked, still standing there.
"Im losing my grip now push on the goddamned ladder!" he bellowed.
Terror had set in and just as good old Marsha started to move, so did my mouth.
"Cock sucking bitch in heat!"
Marshas eyes widened in shock and just as she stood frozen to the spot, my hands of their own spineless donkey shit volition, let go of Edwards feet and I went over backwards.
This is gonna hurt, I thought on the way down.
I went ass over teakettle and landed head first in a pile of snow. The shock of stopping so suddenly knocked the wind out of me. I tried to suck for air and found that I couldnt even open my mouth because my head was jammed so far down into the snow. I struggled at first, kicking my legs as hard as I could to try to dislodge myself. All that did was use up what little air I had and threaten to suffocate me.
So I became still, prepared to acquiesce to the situation. It was so quiet in my upside down igloo that I figured if I did die, at least it would be peaceful. That thought went out the window when I felt someone tugging on my legs. Eventually that was given up and things were still again until suddenly a hand swiped across my face and then there was air and light.
I scrunched my eyes closed and sucked precious oxygen for all I was worth. When I felt like I could move safely again, I lifted my head and opened my eyes to find a video camera scrutinizing my predicament.
Thankfully, it was all I could think of to say.
A head popped out from around the side of the camcorder and a concerned looking teenage boy appeared.
"Dude! That was awesome! You should a seen it! You two were hanging there like Evel Knevil doing some weird stunt! If you want I can play it back for you-"
"No thanks," I stated firmly and he promptly shut up.
I looked back to the house to see Edward flat on his back on top of the hedges that lined the front of his house. Marsha was hovering over him, asking him repeatedly if he was all right.
"Im FINE!" he finally shouted at her, his face a red mask of anger.
I got slowly to my feet, brushing the snow out of my hair and face. Stubby saw me out of the corner of his eye and started to get to his feet. The movement caused the hedges to cave under his weight and he toppled over on his head, then jumped to his feet and came at me.
"This is all your fault!" he snarled, pointing a fat finger at me.
"Edward, your blood pressure!" Marsha called after him but he did not listen. He shoved right past her and continued toward me.
"You could have killed me! You foul-mouthed-"
I did not wait around to see what kind of saucy adjectives hed come up with to describe me. I took off running as fast as the snow-covered ground would let me, slipping and falling several yards down the sidewalk.
"Mr. Carson, you should see how red your face is!" I heard the teenager calling to him. It reminded me of Dennis the Menace and I started laughing uncontrollably as Edward turned his fury on the boy.
I stood up and tried to keep going but the ice under the snow had other plans for me. Both feet shot straight up in the air and I landed on my back. In the distance, I heard sirens coming and I prayed it would be the police to save me because I was sure Edward Carson meant to kill me.
"Rotten nun-humping, sway-backed, flea bitten frog shit!" I tried to roll over and get up but a sharp pain down my right leg squashed any chance I might have had for escape. It was then that Stubby made his return known, standing directly over where I lay on the sidewalk and screaming at the top of his lungs.
I managed to block out most of what he said. Instead of listening, I looked around me at the three-ring circus that had formed in the wake of our little mishap. Several neighbors had come out of their homes to gawk at the spectacle. Two cars passing by had pulled over to see if everything was all right (which I thought any fool could tell it certainly was not) and the stupid boy with the camera was having a heyday filming it all. I figured all that was missing was the partridge in the pear tree.
Then the ambulance that someone had thoughtfully called arrived and the EMTs broke up the show. They checked Mr. Carsons blood pressure and my back, deciding that both of us were okay. After some fast-talking and lots of profanity on my end, they didnt take me in to the hospital to get the X-rays they thought I needed. Instead, they felt sorry for me and dropped me off several blocks from my apartment since it was on the way to their next run. It was the only highlight of my day.
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