“It wasn’t supposed to go down like that, hear? But a man can only be pushed so far before he’s bound to spring back. And I told that fucker that I’d spring like God’s guiding my hand.
“And so you understand where I’m coming from, his daddy’d been trying to outdo me for years. At least since Eisenhower. You’re a young-un, so mind, back then there wasn’t this whole spectacle, ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ and what-all. Back then, we’d crack some Bohs and have us some neighborly rivalry.
“Anyway, somewhere round ’64, ’65, things changed. Can’t remember exactly, but some money was laid, some stakes was upped, some decorations was tampered with. Huh? Course it was that sonbitch. I ain’t the type of man to lose, but when I lose, I’m a man. I don’t go round no one’s house and stick pins inside the electric socket to blow out someone’s lights. Someone’s ass get turned to fried chicken that way.
“What? Of course there was retaliation. I won’t strike first, but sure as shit I’ll strike back. I waited till they were out shopping for their little one—the one in question today—then let myself in and gave their candy canes a little extra attention. Big Dick wasn’t none too pleased.
“From there it kind of, well, escalated. Let’s put it this way, the right kind of fiberglass insulation looks a hell of a lot like fake snow. One year you remove screws in the gutter, the next you tarpaper nails to the roof. Then you’re spraying down the plastic reindeer with acetone and to even the score, you get back on the roof with black paint. You wouldn’t know it if I didn’t tell you, but when you got an illuminated ‘Peace’ over ‘Season’s Greetings,’ you cover up some lights, and sure you gotta look at it a spell, but get one gander and all you see is ‘penis,’ five feet tall.
“Shit, why d’you think we call ’em Big Dick and Little Dick when their name is George and Junior. What, about Little Dick? I’m getting to it. You need to understand the situation so you understand the severity of response.
“It was all in good fun, and we had our rules. Being good Christians, we never touched the Nativity, and we knew where the line was.
“Anyway, after the fiberglass incident, things cooled. We were getting on in years and thought an unspoken truce—neither of us would concede—would be safest. So we quieted down.
‘Till this year, that is.
“I caught Little Dick messing around with my decorations two winters ago. Childish stuff, but a certain amount of fecal matter pushes it from juvenile to what-the-fuck. I read Big Dick the act. Next Christmas, same shit—but worse. I ring up Big Dick again, threaten him this time. Little one’s creating a biological hazard, I tell him.
“That? Nah, not him. He’s a sociopath, but that’s those hoodrats coming round as of late. Who puts KISS makeup on our Lord and Savior? Sure, I got my dick wet to them a few times, who hasn’t. But chopping off the Blessed Virgin’s head and putting it in baby Jesus’s cradle? That’s something I can’t truck with.
“Now, you might say, ‘You monkeyed with their reindeer, so don’t get mad about yours.’ And you wouldn’t be totally wrong, but when I melted Rudolph, they was those pieces of shit you bought from Caldor. You know how long I waited in line for mine? Animatronic reindeer ain’t cheap neither, ’specially when they’re brand-goddamn-new. That Japanese poly-whatever feels like real fur, and they got some supercomputer to make random movements, like real reindeer. These sons of bitches are top of the line.
“So you understand why, when I walk out of the house this morning and see Little Dick balls deep in my reindeer’s butthole, my first thought was grab my gun and tag the fucker. Way I see it, boy’s lucky I aimed low. It’s what I was saying about the principality of the situation, officer, knowing what’s what. Some things should be understood.
“You can’t fuck a man’s reindeer and not expect to get shot.”