By Niles M Reddick

Grandma sent me a Trumpy Bear and I don’t care. I don’t even like him, don’t like his comb over, don’t like his fake everything. I already threw him in the trash. He’s over there in the corner, stuffed in the can, face down and big ass up, ready for the crusher at the dump. Trumpy bear would be upset that the crusher operator is probably less of a liberal than a moderate, hard- working fellow who has had it with these phonies and fakes on both sides and is ready for a convention of states to turn the ship around before China or Russia does it.

Grandma obviously has dementia, Alzheimer’s, or maybe she’s just gone crazy. We all said she would. She didn’t like that Christmas song about getting run over by a reindeer one bit last year when she finally heard it, and told us so, but we knew she had nothing to fear. She wouldn’t stumble into the snow. She’d pass out before leaving. She might have one cup of eggnog spiked with vodka, but after that she said, “To hell with eggnog. Just give me the vodka.” Gotta love her, though. Family’s family.

What I really wanted was cash for some of that Proactive pimple popping wash that cleared the FDA after being used in rocket fuel for the past twenty years or some teeth whitening formula four out of five dentists recommend to clean my nicotine stains since I quit smoking, not from Chantix, the NicoDerm patch, or even the gum, but from will power and the simple fact that after losing my job at the bowling alley, I can’t afford six damned dollars a pack. I wouldn’t have minded some of that Lutein to get rid of the extra pounds I’ve gained after I lost my job and ate a million potato chips and drank cases of cokes, but I don’t want any of those frozen meals they sell for weight loss, mostly because the microwave quit after I burned a bag of Jiffy Pop with the tin foil on it instead of cooking it on the stove top like the directions said.

I guess I’ll just go downstairs, get on that little boy bike I used to love to ride, and ride awkwardly around town putting in job applications. That would be a resolution after that stupid ball drops and people wish each other a “Happy New Year”, stuff themselves with food and liquor, as if they hadn’t done enough damage to their bodies over Christmas, and pretend they are changing something about themselves they’ll forget about before Martin Luther King Jr. Day. No, the real reason they wish everyone and celebrate the New Year is because they are proud they survived another year, cheated fate and death, and got to stay a bit longer in this world before their next hell. Maybe one of them will be so happy they’ll hire me, so I can buy all those things I need and so I can finally get a date, go to a dance, or wedding, stop with the imaginary lovers, move out of my parents’ house, maybe go back and get a GED, get a career going, travel the world, and see the wonders using a Visa that offers free sky miles with purchases.

I hope I can quickly find a job. I heard my parents talking about my mooching, that they once had such high hopes for me when I was little. Talked about making me live with Grandma and keep an eye on her. Make sure she doesn’t send all her money to wounded warriors, PETA, or the Shriners to get the free blankets just because her blood is thin and she’s cold. If I move in with her, I’ll probably start smoking and drinking again, watching infomercials day and night, and see her Trumpy bear all the time. Better get to that bike and get going right after this rerun of Naked and Afraid.