Glüton’s Christmas Blast
Glüton looked forward to Christmas more than any other holiday, except of course, every other holiday. Despite his track record – the previous year had been a letdown courtesy of a pack of disgruntled chinchillas – he tried to push the past aside. There was the carnivorous snow-blower, the strangling strands of Christmas lights, indigestible feather pillows, cannibals with the best of intentions, and Fanny. He felt tears and the familiar itch in his nose when he thought of Fanny.
This year would be different, at home, no Christmas cruises or dates, no family, and no accidents. He recalled the bruises from eight tiny reindeer and sniffed the last of the memories away. For a moment, he considered locking his door, turning out his lights, and hiding under his bed until January 1st. No, it was Christmas, Christmas had food written all over it, and his friends were depending on him.
Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, candied yams and pumpkin pie were distant Thanksgiving memories, but not to be crossed off a Christmas menu. To this, Glüton added cookies and cakes, candy and chocolates, and bread. Rolls, loaves, muffins, biscuits, all in their buttery glory; he couldn’t turn his back on that, could he?
He looked at his day planner: only two days to go before his first annual Christmas Blast, and this year he had taken precautions. He had checked the guest list thrice, inspected the structural integrity of his floor twice, and even sent a priority letter to Santa asking that no harm or accident would find him during the holidays. Sticking out of his day planner was the return receipt that arrived that very morning double signed: S. Claus and K. Kringle. He would be safe.
Today he had to work, but first, a quick trip down to his Pinto to retrieve the final ingredients for his seasonal soiree: two bags of flour, a bag of sugar, and six cases of cane-sweetened Coca Cola from Mexico. There was no way injury would find him and he would be early for work.
He stepped into the hall and looked both ways, just to be safe. Nothing was out of place. The smell of baking bread came up through the vents and floor boards; the bakery on the ground floor was in full operation. He selected this apartment in memory of his first bachelor pad. The smell of yeast, flour, baking bread, the most simple of carbohydrates wafting around him in a protective cloud of comfort: he was safe. He continued, down the stairs, and out back to the parking lot, bells jingling, belly jiggling. His red Santa pants were riding up a bit and rubbing him wrong, but he only had to sit in them when he was working, he told himself.
The Pinto was undisturbed, although the dents and scratches sent a shiver up his spine: Chuy’s Chinchilla Bordello, his six siblings, and all that food lost. He cleared his mind, shook himself, and set himself to carrying the last of his confectionary necessities up to his apartment. After three trips, the fabric between his legs was still bothering him. He could feel the hair on his legs standing straight up from the static electricity. He saw his reflection in the glass of the back door and stopped.
He was made to play Santa. He would never work as a supermodel or an athlete: Glüton-sized seats were never part of the seat designers' plans for commercial air carriers and he had yet to meet a Lycra garment that stretched as advertised. Big and Tall were stores for lesser men and super-size was a description for a hors d'oeuvre, not an entrée.
He needed to finish and get to work. He grabbed the metal door handle and fell back. The discharged static almost knocked him flat. These pants were not working out. He would talk to his supervisor when he got to work.
After getting the six cases of Coke and the bag of sugar stowed in his kitchen without further incident, Glüton decided he could probably carry both bags of flour. He retrieved the flour and had almost made it to the second-floor landing when one of the bags started to slip. He tried to catch it, to move with gravity and stop its fall, but his efforts only unbalanced the other bag: both fell from his shoulders and bounced their way down the stairs in an explosion of gritty white Christmas. At the same time, his pants showed their saber-toothed crotch cricket tendencies and he almost jumped down the stairs after the bags. He reached for the railing. His hand found the metal fittings.
Glüton would have wanted it this way: going up in a fireball of self-rising flour in a Santa suit. The inspector from the fire department, however, was confused. Ground zero was not the bakery and red polyester and white fake fur were not common ingredients in explosives.