Bright streamers are strewn about the ceiling, mistletoe is hanging on random doorways. The electric tree slowly spins on its pedestal. A radio blasts "PA RUM PUM PUM PUM" over and over to the point of madness.

There is a chatter in the living room. It's as if the whole town has been crammed into this one house, and everyone has been given a glass of vodka.

There's cheerful smiles, giggles, chit chat and similar, all combined to become a murmuring noise, a single "rhubarb", as they do in movies.

Tonight, mistakes are seen as trivial follies. If you knock over a prize ornament of the glass variety, you'll only receive laughs, not repercussions. Later, the host will find the smashed remains of the figurine and, perhaps, cry a little, but they'll never know it was you. Many here are far too drunk to tell the difference between a coffee table and a dog.

A small one that is. Terrier. Running through the crowds, occasionally barking as if he's ordering the intruders of his little world out. And people just make kissy noises and say "What a cute little puppykins!" when the fact is, he's quite full grown.

In you stumble. You meander through the crowd, the world a haze, drunk as the next man around you. You're smiling, but you don't know why. The music changes to "Rudolph" and suddenly everyone bursts into song. You sing with them, although you haven't sung this song since you were five. Some people are dancing. You clap your hands, bounce up and down on your knees perhaps.

The song's soon over, and everyone gets back to the chatter. You walk around and through, trying to get to the buffet. You eventually get there, and just stand there staring at the food, as if not quite comprehending it. You then wave a hand over the food randomly, looking off in another direction, and close your hand around the last shrimp on a stick, a sad, shriveled little thing. You stare at it, then eat it.


You turn around. You see the shape of a woman. This woman is obviously not drunk. And she is obviously angry.

"I told you not to drink." she snaps. "Look what it does to you."

You do not recognize this woman. You stand back slightly, looking at her with an unfocused glare.

Then you look at a nearby bookshelf and begin to walk to it.

"Did you hear me?" you hear her say behind you. You just keep walking on, maybe this strange, obviously crazy woman will go away.

You feel something grab your shoulder. A threat. Someone is trying to kidnap you! You spin around with a sudden force and slap the offender. It is the strange woman. The strange, crazy woman. She falls to the ground, clutching her face. The noises of the party stop, as if a switch had just been pulled. Millions of eyes are turned to the exact spot where the crazy woman is now lying. You can hear her crying.

The radio blasts Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time" as time itself stands still.