DECONSTRUCTING CHRISTMAS

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in
“Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?”

It was January 8th, the second Sunday of the new year; Martha asked her husband George to help her take down the Christmas decorations. As was George’s usual reaction, he sighed heavily, a look that said “anything but that” dripping from his face. He just couldn’t help goading her.

Martha planted herself directly in front of George and began singing an annoying children’s song in a very loud voice. The lyrics had been changed and Martha thought they were so very clever; George thought they were maddening and covered his ears tightly with his hands. Martha pulled George’s hands away and sang even louder until George was ready to explode.

“Enough howling! You sound like a cow giving birth!” George shouted in response. “Well, I guess you don’t leave me much choice.” He inserted a bookmark into his dogeared copy of “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf, placed it on the side table and pushed himself out of his easy chair. 

“Oh, don’t be such an old cluck, George! I have reinforcements.” Martha disappeared into the kitchen and emerged a few minutes later dancing a clumsy version of the bossa nova while rattling a martini shaker over her head.

“Now you’re speaking my language, señorita!” George replied, rubbing his hands together in anticipation. Martha poured them each a drink. George took a sip, savoring the perfectly chilled vodka. No matter what he thought about Martha, she could make a damn good martini. George stoked the logs in the fireplace, enjoying his drink and staring at the flames.

“Are you just going to stand there while I do all the work?” Martha asked, her temper starting to rise.

“I’m getting into the spirit, Martha. Are you going to begrudge me every little pleasure in life?”

Martha drained her glass. “The trouble with you, George, is you’re perpetually petulant!” She struggled with the tongue twister and laughed raucously. 

“Shut up, Martha. You’re incredibly less humorous than you think you are” snapped George as he poured himself another martini. Martha suggested George fuck off and went back into the kitchen to prepare another round. Popping an olive into her mouth, she was startled to hear the sound of breaking glass coming from the living room. 

“Honestly, George! How can you be so clumsy? We’ll be drinking our martinis out of plastic cups at this rate!” 

The un-decorating rapidly deteriorated when Martha realized George hadn’t dropped his glass; it was one of her treasured Swarovski crystal angel ornaments. It landed on the hardwood floor and shattered, the slivers spreading like a crack in thin ice.

“You dumbbell! You wretched, good-for-nothing oaf! I despise you!” Martha shrieked like a wounded animal.

“Oh, stop braying, Martha. It isn’t exactly a Michelangelo, you know!”

Martha picked up George’s beloved book and threw it in the direction of the fireplace. George lunged for it and crashed into the Christmas tree, toppling everything onto the floor. Lights and ornaments smashed under the weight of his body and he cried out as broken glass tore into his skin.

Oh, God! My ass! My neck! Bloody hell! There’s glass everywhere!” he bellowed.

Martha casually finished her martini and threw her glass into the fireplace, delighting in the tinkling sound and the dancing flames. She looked at George entangled in the tree, shards and splinters of glass strewn about, and she started chuckling. Clutching the martini shaker, Martha chuckled more and more until she tumbled into the easy chair laughing uproariously. She removed the cap and poured what little vodka was left straight into her mouth. Standing unsteadily, she looked around the room. 

What a dump!” she quipped.

“Darling, I’m in a fair amount of pain. I believe I’m going to need a Band-Aid … and another martini. Be a dear and make a fresh batch.”

George started laughing uncontrollably as Martha danced around the room singing “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf, Virginia Woolf, Virginia Woolf? Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf so early in the morning?”

Slurring her words to the song, she fell to her knees in a dizzying fit of drunken hysterics.

NAR © 2023