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  • Writer's pictureJeff South

The Kilroy All-Star Christmas Spectacular: Chapters We Have Heard On High

It never snows on Nitz. A number of atmospheric and gravitational reasons account for this and it is absolutely bitching that I know that. A year ago I wouldn't have known that. All I knew about weather was from an app on my phone telling me what the temperature was. Now, I have a nanotech in my brain containing all the gathered knowledge of the cosmos. It's opened up parts of my brain I didn't know existed because I never used those parts. How could I know what parts of my brain there if I didn't use the parts that told me what those parts were? You see what I'm saying.

Having this nano means I know about planets and moons no one has heard of, like Nitz. I live in a lab/lair/base thing built by my dad that I never knew I had until a few months ago. Then, he died shortly after that. Living here on the moon base keeps me connected to him. So does the nano, since he is the one who invented it. Also, the nano means I can pretty much clean up at any bar's trivia night.

Not having him here at Christmas sucks. Maybe it shouldn't bother me but I literally just found out about him and bonded with him and then he died protecting me, my mom, and our friends from Herpezoids. Freaking Herpezoids, man. Last Christmas I didn't have the nano or my dad. This Christmas I have the nano, but no dad. There is probably a lot of symbolism and metaphors tying together the nano, no dad, and no snow, but I'm not sure what that would be. A poem I have memorized even though I've never read it is something called "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening." Some guy is pausing while heading home in the snow to look at the trees. He talks about "miles to go before I sleep" which, I think, is supposed to mean death. If Nitz has no snow, do I live forever?

Last Christmas I also had a girlfriend. Leigh Ann. She was amazing. Beautiful, funny, smart. Not nanotech-in-the-brain smart. And not educated, booksmart. She wasn't really well read or informed. She didn't possess what might be called street smarts, either. But, she was smart in her own Leigh Ann kind of way and that's why I loved how smart she was. This Christmas, I have no Leigh Ann. She broke up with me last summer after she was possessed by an artificial intelligence. It's a long story and i don't wanna get into it. For now, I'll sit here drinking Al'jandarian booze that I smuggled across the No Trade Zone and smoke my Mongalisonian tobacco and try not to think about how goddamn lonely I am. Listening to U2's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" on repeat while staring at a picture of Leigh Ann posing provocatively on the hood of my Chevy Vega doesn't help. The Vega is gone now, too. I had that last Christmas. This Christmas, I don't. Another long story that is related to the larger narrative of my dad and Leigh Ann. Maybe one day I'll write a book about it all.

The combination of the booze and dope is working it's magic. My head tingles and my muscles are heavy and floppy and Jason Statham is sitting across from me. Well, it's a hallucination of Jason Statham and he is sharing his thoughts on the poem.

"The most significant symbol in that poem," he says, "is the woods. They represent the beauty and mystery of the world that we are all too busy to appreciate. What are your thoughts?"

"Thinking about last Christmas makes me think about Wham! song 'Last Christmas," I tell him. "And I hate that freaking song with the white hot intensity of an exploding solar system. If you've never seen a solar system explode, just know I'm using a metaphor. Like the snow thing in the poem. And the woods."

He nods. "You're spiraling. This is not good."

"I gotta get outta here. But I don't wanna go anywhere. Is that what depression feels like?"

The giant flat screen TV on the wall across from me starts beeping with an alert: Infinity Jones is calling. That was my dad's nickname for my mom for reasons I'd rather not speculate about. I really need to change that in the contacts list. I shut off U2, click the remote and her warm smile fills my screen.

"Hi, honey." Her voice soothes me. Everyone should have a mom whose voice soothes them. "Whatcha doin'?"

I hold up my glass of liquid escape and my space joint and she nods knowingly.

"That's not healthy. Especially during the holidays. Why don't you come home for a few days?"

"I'm good. I have imaginary Jason Statham to keep me company."

"Too bad it's not actual Jason Statham. Otherwise, I'd have to come to your place for Christmas."


"Come home. It'll do you good."

I pause and throw back my last bit of liquor and avoid looking directly at the screen. Mom is doing that thing with her face to make me feel bad. It's not a pout. It's not judgment. She is telepathically telling me that I can do whatever I want but in a passive aggressive way that says what I want will disappoint her. If I avoid direct eye contact, I won't succumb to her sorcery.

"Kilroy." My mom never calls me Kilroy. "Please come home."

Well, shit. I guess I'm going home.

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