Christmas Cheer

“Damn.” Frickin’ holidays were hard enough. All his buddies were in lock down with their families. His relatives weren’t worth hanging up on. Alcohol just gave him a headache. Not a damn thing to do until it was over. And now this. Cody looked down. Red with white fur trim. Who’d have thought.

The man was toast. There ain’t no way to survive that kind of head wound.

Macho bullshit, defending home and hearth with a fireplace poker. From a frickin’ guy popping out of the home’s hearth. Should have built a fire earlier.

“Okay buddy, you’re in it now.” A voice from that same damned fireplace.

Cody dropped the poker and raised his hand. Enough was enough. For all he cared now, they could strip the house.

“You have any idea what you’ve done?” A diminutive guy in green and red stood inside the fireplace, hands on hips. Scowling at the dead man at Cody’s feet. “An entire year of training shot to shit.” The little guy shook his head. “Well, big guy, you’re the new ‘big guy’.”

Cody stared. Not another burglar. Not the cops. “What do you mean?” His voice squeaked.

“You don’t think it’s been the same man all these years?” The green and red guy stepped out of the fireplace. “Gotta replace him every decade or so. All that damn parallel time and space travel crap takes it out on you humans.” He looked Cody up and down. “Could use a little more padding. Hope you’re not busy.”

The little man knelt and started removing the dead man’s clothing. “Give me a hand. You got lots of stops to make yet tonight.”