I shall chop down this tree with my axe

I shall chop down this tree with my axe

During my formative teenage years I did some stupid things. Hey, everybody does. Kids are plain dumb. It’s been proven time and time again. You always hear about some kid blowing his hand off playing with fireworks. Or burning their house down playing with matches. Or going blind playing with themselves. That last one was a joke. You won’t go blind by masturbating. Trust me, I know, first hand. Or right hand, as it were… So have at it.

One December morning my father gave me twenty dollars to go buy a Christmas tree for the McMorrow homestead. It seemed like a solid plan. We needed a Christmas tree, and I was blessed with the god given strength to lift one. So I took the money and set about the task of acquiring the most beautiful tree that had ever been found in the forest, lovingly admired, and then murdered for its beauty. I called a buddy of mine from the trusty rotary phone in my kitchen and said something along the lines of, “I got twenty bucks to get a Christmas tree, let’s get fucked up”. So we did.

We got a local miscreant to purchase us a pint of Jack Daniels, because as I have stated before, that’s what Nikki Sixx drank. We paired the JD up with a pack of Marlboro Lights and all the unbridled youthful enthusiasm of two sixteen year old boys being cool…. So fucking cool. We went up to the old railroad tracks and we drank whiskey and we smoked cigarettes and we laughed laughs and swore swears. A good time was had by all. And by all I mean by the both of us.

The next day my father inquired about the tree. He asked me where it was. Being a boy with impeccable on the fly storytelling skills, I deftly spun a web of lies about this majestic tree that I had hand selected from thousands of other, less desirable trees. I told him I had used my intimate knowledge of horticulture to select the perfect tree for our particular needs. Full bodied, robust in woodsy pheromones. Not too fancy, but fancy enough to say, “Hey it’s not too fancy but it’s fancy enough to say it’s not too fancy”.

I purchased said tree for exactly twenty dollars, cash. No change. The register was out of paper so no receipt was given upon purchase, which made me a little uneasy about the transaction. But the proprietor assured me that everything was on the up and up, and that all applicable state and federal taxes were being withheld and reported on the sale as required by law. Being a concerned citizen I felt it my duty to delve deeper into the issue and investigate further, but in the spirit of Christmas I decided to take the man’s word for it. I also had shit to do, and the paperwork alone involved in uncovering a massive widespread yuletide flavored tax fraud was overwhelming in and of itself.

So I said I got the tree, but that I had taken it to a friend’s house to open it and let it fall, to make sure it was the right one. Now the friend whose house I said I brought it to actually lived in an apartment. A third floor apartment. On the third floor. Of an apartment building. Yeah, that made sense.

I carried this ruse on for weeks. My father would ask about the tree and I would make up another story about the plumage not being right, but I was waiting to see it in the right sunlight before I knew for sure. I just wanted Christmas to be magical, for Baby Santa. He did die for my sins after all, the least I could do is get a fucking sweet ass tree in his honor.

“Soon Dad, soon. This tree is gonna blow your mind with its Christmasity. It’s that awesomely awesome.”

“Oh, I’m waiting for Scott to get out of work so we can tie it on the roof of his Monte Carlo and bring it home. No, I can’t tie it to the roof of your K car because it’s to small. The Monte roof is six inches bigger….Oh shit, the Monte got a flat. We’ll get it tomorrow. Or the next day.”

As Christmas Day fast approached I got anxious about finding a proper tree and redeeming myself to myself. We drove around at night looking to steal a tree from some tax dodger. We almost got a nice one but were chased away at the last moment by some dude with a gun. Or maybe it was his car keys. I don’t know, it was dark.

Christmas Eve Eve, we convened down Elias Pond, the local teen watering hole, to assess the situation and determine a course of action. Just drinking and thinking and solving riddles. I decided that I would just cut down my own tree like my forefathers had done for generations. My friend Mike said, “Hey I got a saw. Why don’t you take it with you whilst you walk home through the woods all drunk and find your family the Christmas tree they so rightly deserve. Claim your birthright!”

So, invigorated by the challenge at hand, as well as a few too many boilermakers, I set off. I walked the old railroad tracks home, eyes scanning the woods surrounding me. There had to be a suitable tree. A pretty pine, a fine fir, a supple spruce. Something…….. anything.

As I left the railroad tracks to cut through the half mile or so of woods to my house, I felt the panic set in. I was going to have to fess up to my misdeeds. I was going to be judged in front of Baby Santa for the crimes that I had committed. I was not gonna be getting shit for Christmas. No gifts for you! I fervently eyefucked the landscape for my prey.

And then I spotted him. Nestled on a hill. In two feet of snow. Sleeping. I scaled the mountain and arrived at the tree around three in the morning. I spent the next two hours digging snow with bare hands and cutting down my precious with a very, very, very dull saw. I carried the tree the last quarter-mile home and set it on the back porch at 5:30 AM. I crept ninja style into the house, so as not to awaken anyone, and then went to bed for a victory sleep.

I was awoken a short time later to the wonderful tones of my younger brother joyously screaming, “HE RUINED CHRISTMAS!!’. I had to get up and find out what was going on. Who had ruined Christmas? What had they done? And was the damage beyond repair? Was there nothing we could do to salvage Christmas? Or was it just a wash, better luck next year type of gig? As I walked out into the kitchen my brother was frantically pointing at the tree and yelling that I ruined Christmas. Me. Wait, Me? How the fuck did I ruin Christmas?

Well, evidently the beautiful Christmas tree I had hand-selected had thorns and berries on it. It sure looked like a Christmas tree in the dark and cold, when your drunk. It was pretty horrible looking in the light of day. It was even worse looking when I woke up 9 hours later with a hangover. We decorated the tree, I even remember picking berries off of it before just saying fuck it and trying to cover them with tinsel. The funny thing is that my father never said anything about it to me. Not a word. He either didn’t know or he didn’t care. I prefer to think that he didn’t care. Because there’s no way he didn’t know.

The fucking thing had thorns and berries, for Baby Santa’s sake.

8 responses »

  1. free penny press says:

    Well on the bright side, you got a tree..and I must say you are a brave little bugger.. I’d have been nervous as hell carrying on that lie…

  2. I love your writing, in part because we come from the same era (Mesozoic, right?), in party because it’s so funny, in part because it’s sad. =/

    • billmcmorrow says:

      Thanks Stacie. Sometimes I think I’m Mesozoic.Hahaha, some of it is sad, but I didn’t realize it at the time. It was just how it was. Now that I’m older, some of it just seems crazy, but almost like I was watching it happen to someone else.

  3. Simon says:

    This is so good. really smart and funny.

  4. Vagina says:

    Yeah…you were a little shit!! But as it were….all kids are. Fucking little shits!! Impressive though…being able to have “the ruiner of christmas” under your belt. I mean….that is not an easy task to achieve. Truthfully though…people stick fake berries and thorns all over these damn trees we put in our house…so technically you helped the christmas celebration along by bringing in a tree that was already adorned with berries and thorns. Some people pay big money for that shit! It’s all perspective my friend…

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