Printed from WriteWords -


by  marxpower

Posted: Sunday, January 7, 2007
Word Count: 4552
Summary: A festive Christmas story about a young girl and a bum.

Content Warning
This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.

This is a Christmas story like no other you'll ever bear witness to. The only reason I mention that it's a Christmas story at all is because it starts and ends on Christmas. You won't see this story every year on the same public access television station with cute animated characters; you won't find the DVD version wrapped under your Christmas tree next year; no, this story isn't one you will soon want to remember, but you will. This story doesn't involve Santa Claus. In place of the jolly, old, fat guy is a depressed, fat, loner named Bill. The story doesn't have anything to do with Angels on the top of trees. Instead, you'll find a young girl named Kip, struggling on beneath the weight of the world on her tiny shoulders. She is beautiful, with a smile that could start a war and a personality you only wish you could buy, it's so perfect. Too bad her story isn't a happy one. So let's all ye gather around a fire, fill your plates up with some turkey and mashed potatoes, because this is a Christmas story you will never forget.

December 25th, 1978:
"Get up, get up everyone," Kip's mom said as she shook her and her brother, trying to wake them from their sleep. They hadn't sleep much, though, anticipating what would be the first Christmas these twins would remember. They were four years old and more than a little excited to see what Santa had brought them. Especially since a week before they were at the mall telling some guy dressed up as Santa what they wanted, while they sat on his lap. Little did they know that guy was actually their father, working his third job, trying to make ends meet so Kip and her brother could have a great Christmas. Only he knew that, though. Not even his wife knew that the man she married had kids sit on his lap for fun and extra money; not in a perverted way, although some of them did wet themselves. She just assumed he was working late, or out buying presents, maybe watching a stripper or two. You know, what a regular dad does.

Quickly, the twins raced down the steps, freshly awakened and excited to see their Christmas tree drowned in presents. They turned the corner of the stairs giddy with anticipation but came to a crashing halt, like they had just run into a brick wall. The Christmas tree was beautiful, drenched in tinsle, lit up and shining like God himself had decorated it. But where they had expected to see their presents, they saw a man in a Santa costume laying beneath the tree instead. The smell of him was like the alley behind their small, three bedroom townhouse. There were no presents, no stockings...just their Dad, who had obviously had too much to drink and had passed out under the tree. His Santa beard was half on, his big red suit was open and soaking wet with something, his eyes were closed and his arms were flayed out like a cat sleeping in the sun.

Kip ran back up to her room, while her brother sat in a pool of blood and liquor, crying. Their Mom had called the police, and soon after, an ambulance because their father was dead. The coroner determined he had overdosed on Aspirin, gasoline and more rum than 15 college kids could drink as a unit on any given party night. Christmas died with their father at Kip's house that year, and for the 10 following years, for that matter, until her mom finally re-married some guy named Chris in 1986. Kip had no real interest to ever getting to know him, and he, in turn, had no interest in having kids. He just loved fucking Kip's mom and eating her food; you know, what a regular step dad does. The only thing he did, that a regular step Dad won't usually do, is beat a child to death and get away with it. Kip's brother was 7 when he stole Chris' wallet and lost not only the wallet, but the 10,000 dollars in cash and credit cards inside of it. Chris was so furious he beat Kip's brother with the very phone he used to call the police to tell them that there had been an ďaccidentĒ. Now, this was in 1988, when the whole fascination with crime scene investigation and police forensics hadn't really hit yet, so Chris was able to convince everyone, except Kip, that her brother had fallen down the stairs, killing him.

September 28th 1988:
"Get up, get up everyone" Kip's counselor screamed at her class. Kip had been sent to a Hope for Kids residence, since her mom's new husband hit her and touched her while hitting her. Kip ran away from home shortly after that began and had herself accepted into a program that takes in homeless or troubled teens. It was a safe place to go, and it was a good program too, as it helped those unfortunate kids find part time jobs and put them through school. The program wouldn't just accept anyone either, you had to maintain a 75% average in school and work at least 20 hours a week. Kip was smart, so the school thing wasnít hard. She had problems dealing with all those boys at school who wouldnít stop looking at her, in the way young horny boys do, and dealing with some of the counselors at her residence, who, she felt, looked at her the same way. It made her hate her life even more, while she tried to do homework and work enough to afford to live.

Because of all the distractions, Kip went to the local library downtown, where she would order some coffee and just study. When she wasn't there studying, she worked there. She didnít make a whole lot of money, but people respected her there, and she made friends with many of the regulars. One in particular, named Bill, had been coming in for 10 years. None of her co-workers knew that much about him, but their best guesses were that that he was around 42, lived with his mom and earned an unemployment cheque every week. No one seemed to ever hire Bill because of his appearance; he was not a good looking man. He had spotty facial hair - grey, blonde and black - all the colors of the homeless rainbow. His clothes were always ripped and stained, some new addition every day. Tuesday it was blood, Wednesday it was rum, and the rest of the week was a mix of both. It's not like Bill just came in and did nothing. He usually ordered some coffee and sometimes a bagel, just so they couldnít exactly turn him away. Bill really took a liking to Kip, as most guys did, but with him it was different. They sat and had long conversations, sometimes lasting till after the library had closed. Bill would then walk her home late at night, as the city was no place for a young girl to be alone. More than once some tough guy or police officer stopped them, thinking he was kidnapping her or she was being followed, and then theyíd have a laugh together about that. The two found solace in one another.

January 17th 1998:
"Get up, get up everyone" Bill said softly to Kip as she and her baby woke up. It's weird how much can happen in 10 years. Bill found a job which enabled him to afford a small townhouse for himself. He also still managed to somehow claim an unemployment cheque every now and then. Kip never really understood how, but then, she didnít care. Seven years ago, Bill had asked if she wanted to get out of the Hope for Kids residence and move in with him, once she had finished school, and she more than eagerly agreed.

Kip went through a few changes in her life in those 10 years as well, having finished high school with an 88% average. Unfortunately, the Hope for Kids program had lost its funding just as she graduated, so they couldnít do anything to help her with a post secondary education. For her Grad of '91, she went alone and paid for her own dinner. She had visited every used clothes store in the city in order to find a dress for the occasion. She and her mother had not been in contact in years, which was why she had to find a way to pay for everything herself, there being no help coming from that avenue. Kip was too shy to invite any boys, not that she knew any anyway, and the only person she would've ever thought of bringing probably would've been kicked out before he entered. Bill had been a fill in dad, a fill in brother, and fill in mother for her, and living with him was a dream come true. Even though he wasnít successful or good looking, Kip could not even begin to think of living without him. In the few years following her graduation, she had also kind of been seeing this guy named Danny. Danny also graduated from the Hope for Kids program, the only one with a higher mark than her, at 91%. He was smart and cute, and the only reason he was in the program was because his whole family had died in a plane accident when he was too young to fly. Growing up without his family, Danny eventually fell into drugs and all kinds of other bad shit, but the program saved him from himself. It was there he met Kip, but neither had had the time or confidence in themselves at the time to connect in a romantic fashion. Kip and Danny were then both 24, and had too much in common not to be friends and lovers. Kip had finally found a stable life. She was living with someone who cared about her and whom she cared about as well. Bill stayed up all night with her talking about life and the loss of her family whenever she needed to, and he helped her do her hair and pick out her outfits for when she went out on dates with Danny. Danny took care of her too, and treated her like a woman, with respect and love. It was the first time in her life anyone had ever done so, it only took 21 years, and now she was blessed with two people who truly cared about her.

Kip dreamed of going to school to become a vet, or anything to do with animals. After the Hope for Kids program had been shut down, however, she couldnít afford for schooling herself. She had been saving money ever since she had moved in with Bill, and he didnít ever charge her more than 300 dollars a month for rent because he knew she was saving for own education. Her plans for her future were radically altered in one night in 1994, when she was knocked out after being at a bar with some friends from work and she was raped in an alley. She couldn't remember enough about it to be able to report it to anyone who could help her. The only person she felt she could trust to tell about the incident was Bill, who was supportive and convinced her to keep the baby the rapist had impregnated her with. This new addition left Kip unable to afford the luxury of saving towards school, as every paycheque went to bottles, diapers and food. Bill helped her as much as he could, but he had problems feeding himself. Since he had been so good to her throughout her life, she didnít want to ask him for money, so she just decided to postpone school for a bit, until she could get back on her feet for the third or fourth time and pay for it herself.

June 15th 2008:
"Get up, get up everyone" Danny whispered in Kipís ear. Today was the day of their wedding. Danny had proposed two years ago on New Years Eve. They were walking outside after leaving a party, trying to find a good spot for the fireworks. When the last one had finished exploding and they had shared in a classic new years kiss, he popped the question. After the tears had cleared, she accepted and they made love for hours that night. In the morning Kip told Bill, and Bill took the news strangely; he wasnít happy like he usually was when she had told him great news like this. He just smiled and went to his room. For Bill and Kip, very little had changed in those past 10 years, Sean being the notable exception, a child they raised together as family. Sean was, of course, Kipís son, who was 13 by this time and attending public school. He already knew a better life than Kip would've ever dreamed she could provide. Bill was now around 60, although Kip was never 100% sure of his age. Kip was 34, as was Danny, and now that Sean was old enough to dress himself, feed himself and get to school on his own, Kip and Danny had much more time to plan their wedding. They were all now living together with Bill, who they had informed a few weeks ago that they were planning on moving out on their own after their wedding, having made a down payment on a four bedroom house in the country. Once again, Bill seemed awkward while taking the news, and he wasnít overly excited at hearing it, but Kip just figured it was because she was leaving. She tried to assure him that she would always be there for him and that he would always be a major part of her life.

Kip was alone in her room trying on her wedding dress, happy that she could finally afford a nice new dress. She was so excited for this day, the day of her nuptials, because she, like every other little girl, had dreamed of it since she was a little girl. Then, the dream was of her Dad taking her down the aisle to give her away to someone else who could take care of her for the rest of her life. Now, there was only one person she could imagine of who would do that for her, and that was Bill. Bill was happy to hear that she wanted him to give her away but still seemed to take the news strangely.

1:00 pm
Everyone had already been up for hours getting ready for this wedding. It wasnít going to be held in a church, since the events of Kipís life led her to believe that God most certainly does not exist, and if he does, most definitely isn't looking out for anyone. We're all savage creatures, the products of evolution, trying to get by the best we can while killing each other and reproducing ourselves so that there will always be more of us to kill. Kipís friends from work prepared her to walk down the aisle, fussing over everything the way women in a wedding party do. Danny hadn't seen her all day, since they believed in tradition, and neither of them ever planned on ever getting married again. There was no sign of Bill yet, but Kip was optimistic he was just getting ready as best he could, and would be on time for the four oíclock start.

2:00 pm
Kip had something borrowed, a pair of stockings from one of her friends from work, although they were kind of disgusting, but she had just remembered too borrow something at the last second and it was either that or a pair of panties. She had her wedding dress, which filled the new part of the criteria for her. She knew it was clichťd, but it was the nicest thing Kip had ever worn and she looked beautiful in it. Her teeth were perfect, her lips were drop dead gorgeous, and her eyes were shining with so much life and happiness that she didnít need any make up because they looked like the eyes an angel would look at you with before they took you to the heavenly gates. She had lost all the weight that she had gained during her term with Sean some time ago, and looked great in the body department. Looking at her at that moment, you wouldíve thought that if her life had been just a bit different while growing up, she would be marrying a millionaire, or a movie star, if she hadnít ended up one herself. But she loved Danny, and that's all that mattered. The thoughts of what couldíve been never crossed her mind, she was too excited to think about anything else but her wedding and making sure she didnít screw up her vows. As for something blue, Bill had promised to bring her something and give it to her right before they walked down the aisle, but she still hadnít seen him, and everyone else was already there. Still, she knew he would be there.

3:00 pm
Everyone was in their seats and listening to the 78 year-old pianist play the all classic wedding songs, getting everyone in the mood for love. Everyone was in the mood to witness two people connect in a way that most will only experience once their life time. Kip and Danny had agreed that they didnít want a legal marriage, they would remain common-law. With all the celebrity break-ups and divorces in the past few years reported by the media, the idea of signing a document promising to share your entire life with someone seemed silly to them. They didnít need the government or the church to tell them how much they were in love with each other. They knew they would spend the rest of their lives together and that's all that mattered to them. As far as Kip was concerned, you didnít need a piece of paper to let you give your heart to someone forever.

Sean came in and asked where Daddy was, by which he meant Bill. Kip didn't really know what to say, there was under an hour till the ceremony was supposed to begin and yet no sign of him, no call, no text message, no page, nothing. She gave Sean a big kiss on his forehead and assured him heíll be here, and sent him to go sit in his seat and be ready for them to come down the aisle. Bill had been like a Dad to Sean, and even more to Kip, so it didn't bother her that Sean referred to him as Daddy since he really was, just not technically. Danny's friends had come in to let Kip know he was ready and excited. Kip smiled and said "We'll start when Bill gets here".

4:00 pm
Kip opened her door, looked around and saw no sign of Bill, not even the smell of booze which followed him around wherever he went. Her heart sank and shrunk to the size of a pea, on this, the day it should be as big as a watermelon. Danny's friends had to come ask her if she wanted to start since they didn't have much time left before the bar opened, the food was be served and the cake arrived. Kip wiped a tear from her face and stood up, went down to the hall and prepared to walk down the aisle, alone. Here Comes the Bride was just hitting the first note when the back doors slammed open to reveal a man standing between them. It was Bill, clad in a dirty suit, holding a bottle of rum in one hand and a gun in the other. When they saw him there like that, half the guests hit the floor and the rest of them ran off out the emergency exit doors.

Danny remained at the front of the hall while Kip stood still at the other end and asked quietly "Bill, what are you doing?"

"I need to tell you something Kip, something important," he slurred back. Bill had obviously been drinking and had to have been in a fight or something in order to get the gun, because he had never had a gun in all the time Kip had known him.

"What do you need to tell me Bill? Are you ok?" she pleaded.

"No, I'm not ok. Kip, the only good things I have in my life are leaving. My son, my wife, my daughter, my love. Youíre the only person who didnít just look at me as some disgusting fucking bum" he screamed.

"We talked about this Bill," she replied, "I will always be there for you, we will not lose each other."

"Bullshit. Thatís bullshit. You know that as well as I do. You need to know something Kip. Sean, heís mine. It was me who raped you in that alley. Why do you think I wanted you to keep him? You think you can just take him away from me?!" Bill screamed, waving the gun in the air.

"No! No!" Kip cried, trying to take everything in, as she fell to her knees and drove her head into the ground screaming "No! No!"

"You son of a bitch!" Danny yelled and began towards Bill.

The gunshot went directly into Dannyís forehead. He dropped to the ground with no life left in his face, just a bullet. Everyone who hadnít already left now ran for whatever kind of exit they could find, screaming and calling for help.

"He was never good enough for you Kip, and you've always known it" Bill said flatly, while he wiped the blood from his face.

Sean, from behind a chair, stood up to ask "Daddy, why are you doing this?"

"Because I won't let them take you from me Sean. You are my son. I'm your Dad. You and me are going to be together forever." A strange smirk then crossed Billís face as he drew his gun towards Sean.

"No, you fucking son of a bitch, please! Dear God! Donít hurt...." But before Kip finished her sentence she watched, as if in slow motion, a bullet go right through Seanís chest, dropping him instantly to the ground. He tried desperately to breathe but could achieve nothing more than heaving and coughing. Kip ran to his side and picked up his dying body in her hands.

"Sean, no.... no, God please, please, you're ok, you're ok" Kip wailed. Sean then went completely limp, dead, and the only people left in the room, alive, are Kip and Bill. The sirens outside indicating to them that the police have just arrived.

Bill looked at Kip with a smile "Now it will just be me and you again Kip, like the old days, the good days."

Kip cried back "You bastard, you fucking bastard, how could you do this to me, to us.... Why?...Why?"

Bill then put the gun to his head.

"The only reason I didnít kill myself years ago was because of you, and when Sean came along I had a reason to live. I wonít let you take all that away from me, I can't deal with losing everything again. I love you Kip and I will love you forever in the afterlife."

The last sound Kip heard was a shot, the final shot taking everyone she cared about in her life out of it, for good. The police finally rushed in after the final shot and looked at Kip, with Sean's lifeless body pressed against hers, tears and blood covering the floor around her. It was then she managed to drag herself towards the gun, and managed to pick it up and cry to the police "Iím not strong enough, I don't want to live."

The police screamed at Kip, trying to stop her before she pulled the trigger, but for naught. Kip put the gun to her head and fired. It was empty. There were only three bullets in the gun; Bill didnít want Kip to die, he wanted to make sure she lived, never forgetting him, just like he said. And she didnít. She hated him for the rest of her living life.

December 25th 2018:
"Get up, get up everyone" the Nurse said. Kip has been a resident of the Sherwood Mental Hospital for 10 years now, while trying to deal with the loss of her entire life. She rests under full surveillance suicide watch, because she's tried numerous times to kill herself. Those attempts have failed, either having been stopped in the process or because she failed to do it properly. Because of the permanent psychological damage she suffered as a result of the incident, Kip would always cower in fear anytime someone got close to her. "You have a visitor" the Nurse said, as Kip shrank away. Kip hadn't seen anyone besides a nurse or a doctor in over eight years, and so she had no idea who it could be. An old woman then walked in with the help of a cane, and whispered "Hello Kip."

Kip remained cowering in fear under her blanket. "Don't worry Kip, Mommy's here now" the old woman said. Kip lifted her head from out under the covers and looked at her aged mother. "Mom....what are you doing here?" she asked quietly, while trying not to break into tears. "I've come to give you a Christmas present dear, I read about you in the news." Kip had never had a Christmas present from anyone in her family, unless you count her Dadís suicide beneath the tree. Kip's mother then took out a pill and said softly to her "Here honey, just bite down on this... It's fast." Kip looked at the pill and then looked at her mom. She'd been in this bed for almost 10 years, and she hadnít seen another human being not dressed in medical attire in the same amount of time. Her mom explained to her that Chris had been arrested quite some time ago for planting cameras in girlsí washrooms, and had been stalking and raping numerous elementary school girls for years. He was sentenced a mere 15 years in prison, but he didn't last 15 minutes, before he was shanked in the shower by some lifer. Both Kip and her mother had lost everything in their lives, and they hadn't seen each other in over 30 years but they had more in common than daughters and mothers who see each other every day for 40 years.

"I'm scared mommy, can you help me?" Kip cried.

"Of course baby," her mom replied.

She managed to hop herself up onto Kipís bedside and lay beside her, wrapping her arms as tightly around her frail old arms could. She put one pill in her mouth then and gave Kip the other to put in hers. She kissed Kip on the forehead and said "on three, ok honey?"

Kip slowly nodded and said "Merry Christmas Mom."

"1, 2, 3."