The Dead Chrstmas Carol

by B. Lappen © 2002

Jerry felt his arms tense. He slowly leaned back on his chair and tried to seem calm. Jesus Christ, he thought, Jesus Christ who forgot to lock the back door! But it was too late for that now. He tried to keep his eyes steady, but it was hard. The Christmas lights from the tree blinked on and off, on and off. There was the slight sound of cars on the highway off in the distance. But they where alone, too damned alone. Seated directly across from him was Mark Ranger, a gun resting firmly on the armrest of his rocking chair.

Jerry hadn't seen Mark for some time now, four years to be precise, four years on this very merry day. Mark hadn't shaved for several weeks and he looked thin and pale, dead to the eye. Jerry had always thought Mark looked like Charlton Heston, and now with his wild hair and gleaming eyes, there was an even more striking resemblance. He looked like the actor when he was locked in that cage in Planet of the Apes. Stay calm, Jerry told himself, calm.

"Merry Christmas to you." Mark slowly. And Jerry managed a nod.

There was a long silence, broken only by Marks raspy cough.

Jerry's mind raced wildly. He had to say something. He had to find out what the man wanted, though he already knew. "Would you like a cookie." Jerry said slowly, and there was another pause, A cookie! Jerry thought to himself with annoyance, c'mon Jerry'o that was lame. You can do better then that! What would that line lead to, "Would you like a cookie, though please take one, because Santa gets two."

"Can I help you?"

"What did you do it for?" asked Mark his voice shaking.

"Do what?"

"Damn, do I look stupid." Mark almost yelled.

"Oh-that. No I didn't have anything to do with…."

"Of course you did. C'mon man do you think I'm stupid. It was that silly gift you gave my two year old Sally. That Christmas clock that went tick, tick, tick. We were in the car when it went, tick, tick, tick, boom! You think I'm stupid don't you."

"C'mon why would I want to kill you?"

"You know why. You killed your wife. CNN reported that she wrote a letter then shot herself. I saw you write that letter.

As Mark spoke Jerry was slowly easing down in his chair. He reached between false armrest to a little grove where he kept a gun. He tried to keep his face straight, but already his fingers were placing themselves around the long metal handle. Damn, Jerry thought, and he knew his frustration showed on his face, his gun had the safety on. He knew how to take it off but it made a little click. Damn why do they make these models with the lock! that makes it so damn hard to kill someone!

"I didn't kill your family OK."

"You think I can believe that. I would believe you never meant to kill my family. I was the target. But you missed. I went into the drug store when the bomb went off.

"I know-it was in the Sunday paper. To bad your story didn't hit big though. That was back in 98'. Monica Lewinsky stole the front page."

"Damn you Jerry. Don't you have any remorse."

"Yes… I'm sorry for you. But I never did-"

"You have two daughters in collage right now. How would you like it if they hit a mine in the road on their way back to school."

"You wouldn't do something like that." Said Jerry slowly. "You wouldn't kill someone. Not like that."

"I wouldn't. You would."

Jerry's mind was racing. He had to think of something fast. Mark would really pull that trigger. It was in the man's eyes. "Listen you don't have proof. Let's-lets talk this over. K'?"

But already Marks fingers were tensing on the trigger. Jerry felt his heart start to beat fast again, Too fast. He was starting to panic. "Common I know nothing. I'm innocent."

"Maybe." Came the reply. "Maybe you are. But I don't really care. The second murder was as bad as the first." Mark started to stand. Lifting the gun slowly off the armrest.

"I know something you don't." Jerry's mind was racing. "I know where the bodies are buried."

"At this moment I don't really care," said Mark, and he slowly lifted the gun up high, pointing it straight between Jerry's eyes. "Smile Jerry. Smile your on canned it camera."

x x x

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