I’m nine years old. I am in my bed and it’s Christmas Eve.
My family, consisting of Mom and Dad, nine of us kids, and a few spouses, has just smoked, drank, eaten, and exchanged presents to the point of exhaustion.
There is nothing left for me to do but go into a slumber and wait for morning to see what Mom and Dad Claus had given me. My bed is cool and soft; I shall sleep well.
As I lie there in and out of consciousness, my brother John comes in and gets into my brother Marty’s bed. (No, he’s not molesting my brother Marty, you sick bastards.)
Marty must have fallen asleep on the basement couch. I yawn, fix my pillow, and am soon asleep.
I am dreaming about the weather forecast set that I had asked for. I see visions of my anemometer spinning in the winter winds, and me carefully marking the changes in pressure on my barometer.
In my somnolent Christmas Eve world, all is well.
Suddenly, my dream takes me for a dive into a swimming pool.
This nine year old stud is in his swimming trunks splashing around with a scantily clad Veronica from the Archies.
As we playfully wrestle and kiss each other on the cheek, I am praying like hell for her top to fall off.
And then, BAM…
The splashing noise becomes louder and louder, a discordant mélange of cymbals, tone deaf church bells, and grindstones resonate inside my head as the half naked Veronica fades away.
And, as the booming tones grow exponentially, I writhe and force my eyes to stay shut so I can re-animate Veronica and finish my exuberant, pre-teen squishy dream, but...
It is no use; the noise puts my wet dream orbit into decay and sends me back to reality. I sit up and try to focus on the origin of the cursed noise. It is my brother John.
An orchestra of sound is emanating from his all but motionless body. Pane shattering, nails on the chalkboard sounds…end of life sounds that I had never heard.
It’s the personification of a dirge. My brother John is dying.
I run to Mom’s room and tell her to hurry, John is dying. She takes my hand and we race to the bedroom. She listens for a second and begins to chuckle.
“Holy Crap what’s so funny? Do something”, I say.
Mom responds, “Matt…Maaatt, John’s not dying. He’s grinding his teeth in his sleep; now go back to bed.”
When I awoke Christmas morning, John was still alive, my folks came through with the Weather Forecast kit, and life was good. Sorta…
You see…the one thing put a cloud over that Christmas and pisses me off to this day is that, December 24, 1974 was my first, last, and best chance to have wet, chlorine soaked pool sex with Veronica Lodge.
Thanks alot Brother John, you wretched, erection killin’ bastard, you. Whose Christmas woody are you going to put in the dirt this year?