Christmas Eve Gift

“I’m too excited!” I said. “There’s one I want you to open now.”

“But it’s only Christmas Eve!” she said, finishing the last of her hot chocolate. “Surely it can wait until the morning.”

“Oh come on! Just this one,” I said, scrambling over to the pile of presents beneath the tree. I found the one I was excited about – the big, square one I’d wrapped in red foil. I brought it over and set it down on her lap.

“Ooof! It’s heavy!” she said. She shook the box back and forth and the contents thudded around inside.

“Go on, open it! Open it!” I said.

She smiled widely and with excitement began tearing off the festive paper.

“Oh, what could it be? What could it be?” The paper crackled noisily as she crumpled it away. Finally she opened the cardboard flaps at the top.

The dead eyes of her ex-husband stared up at her, still frozen wide in terror inside the head, just as they’d been the moment I’d severed it with the swing of my machete.

She squealed with delight. “Oh, how did you know?!”

I smiled and draped my arm around her, and she kissed me on the cheek.

“Merry Christmas, honey.”

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