A Christmas in Hell by Kevin Atherton

We couldn’t believe it. The bastard’s house was lit up like a hooker’s face on her first real date. Ed and I snuck up to the door where a bunch of shimmering elves gawked at us with saw-toothed smiles. Pointed teeth gnashed in rhythm to some psychotic bastard’s headache. Blinkin’ lights hovered above like mindless fireflies, and the combination of all this made me wanna puke.




Ed said, “Hey Jimmy, I thought this was supposed to be some kinda hideout. It just ain’t right.”




I said, “No shit.”




Ed said nothin’ and I meant to get the cash regardless of what the dipshit put up for Christmas decor. We delivered the guns and dope. It was time to collect. Some things are simple.




I tried the door handle and it was open. Another part of the shit that wasn’t right, but Ed was too busy starin’ at the huge Christmas tree to comment. A twenty footer decorated with danglin’ 50 caliber slugs and more firefly lights glimmered in a parody of the world’s shittiest Christmas Tree.




Ed freaked out. Didn’t know what set the dork off, but he sprayed that freakin’ tree with his Mac 10 and it shook like an epileptic fool on a roller coaster. Then I saw ears hangin’ on the boughs —morbid decorations to enhance the bullet motif I figured. Some sported fresh blood, and others looked like slimy turds that smelled like an outhouse in the desert.




A door exploded off its hinges and our delinquent thug, Butch Worsley thundered into the room. His toothless face was the color of pancreatic cancer. His eyes were bottomless inkwells dilated with insanity. I could smell his putrid breath from ten feet, and I could imagine squiggly stink lines shooting from his mouth like a character in some dumb-assed cartoon. He pointed a gun with a bore big enough to stick your dick in. Not advisable, but an OK plan if you’re a goddamned idiot.




I said, “We’ve come for our money.”




Butch replied with incoherent burbles and started shakin’ while aiming at Ed, then me —back and forth as if he thought he was shootin’ and wonderin’ why we didn’t fall. Again, I got the cartoon thing. Didn’t want to, but no help for it. He looked like Elmer Fudd made up for a role in some stinkin’ zombie movie. Like a spastic moron, Butch ran back and forth between us screamin’ in his eerie Elmer voice.




“What’s a coupwa fuckin’ wats doin’ in my house?”




Ed finished reloading and said, “Drop the gun.”




That wasn’t happenin’ and Ed unloaded his Mack 10. There was nothin’ cartoon-like about it. Butch collapsed in a pool of blood while specks of bone and brain matter splattered against the wall —looked like some cannibal had a bad case of projectile vomiting.




I kept expectin’ him to pop back up like those zombies in shitty horror B movies so I used the tip of my boot to flop him over on his back. Nope, dead as a bucket of fish guts. That was nice, but part of me thought somethin’ could still happen and I wanted outta there pretty damned quick.




We found a pile of money and more guns than we really needed to recoup our losses —time to go. A little gas here, a bit there, and the joint was like Christmas in Hell. I could hear the toothy elves screamin’ as we ran to the car.




The house blazed like the Devil’s furnace and the sound of Christmas lights popped in cacophonous tinkles and firecracker blasts. Black smoke belched into the sky and blotted out what little light sifted through the dismal gray clouds. Some dimwit across the street had Silent Night playin’ through the world’s loudest outdoor amplification system. I wanted to go over and ring the dipshit’s neck. I thought that maybe I should some night. New Years Eve sounded like a shoo-in.




We drove away and Ed said, “That idiot was checked out of it wasn’t he?”




I replied, “It happens. Too much meth and he’s thinkin’ we’re rats from Pluto or somethin’ equally as stupid.”




Ed said, “At least we ain’t out nothin’ —Merry Christmas Jimmy.”




I laughed and replied, “Yeah, and fuck you too Ed.”






Author Kevin Atherton doesn’t celebrate Christmas in the tradional sense. He uses it only as an excuse to get extraordinarily drunk.



4 thoughts on “A Christmas in Hell by Kevin Atherton”

  1. “shimmering elves with gawked toothed smiles” “Black smoke belched into the sky ” what a perfect blend of christmas sheer with devil leer. I enjoyed this, Kevin.

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