I struggle for air. I look at my fallen foe. I hold up a white pine tree. It’s Xmas! The novelty of planning a live tree for the spirit is long past. There are things people don’t do at ten o’clock at night.
The wet ground didn’t yield to the shovel well. If I had planned it out, there would be a full moon. Stomping in the mud. Tugging at the live tree. The damn thing just doesn’t want to stay straight.
I stand there in the dark. Staring at the tree. It leans toward the right. No matter how I move it. It leans right.
Hmm, a stone about a foot round becons. A perfect wedge to set things right.
Uummmpphhh! Stone feel much bigger when it’s breaking your back.
It sticks in place like glue. The tree tugged again. It’s pin straight.
Xmas is saved. Well, once the mud is back in the hole. The lights will have to wait.
I’m covered in mud. Scratches at my arms from being grabbed and struggling to plant a beast and a half. My breath is still not right. My heart pounds. The escaping air forms temporary clouds around me.
My last look at the nights work leaves a smile on my face. My eyes held fast on the tree. I turn, returning to the house, five hundred feet in the distance. My right foot kicks something.
My tired eyes see a man’s billfold.
“Oh shit! Uuggghhhhhh! Daniel, I’m throwing it in the lake! Oh hell! You can’t hear anymore. After I put lights on your grave, they come to see you at least. Merry Christmas, old friend!”