Chris reached out to the storm door. Sleet pelted the back of his hand then clung with a nearly lost hope. The cold metal handle stung his fingers as the latch pinched his thumb.
"Fuck," he said sucking at the cut.
"I hate this fucking weather !," Chris called down to the farmhouse basement.
Grit sloughing from the hand laid stone walls turned slick under his damp boot soles. Chris slipped over the steps but caught himself. He descended on his toes from the storm's evening twilight to the sawdust twilight of Zach's basement woodshop.
"I wondered if I'd see you before the first," Zach called as a greeting.
Chris helped Zach's cottage toy industry ostensibly for the choice of a winter's evening companionship. The checks Zach left taped to Chris' front door at uneven intervals didn't hurt. Their friendship lingered from Chris' high school days when Zach taught Shakespeare with a passion now absent.
"The irregular blocks need trimmed for the lathe if your are of a mind to cut some elf bellies." Zach hadn't turned around yet but sorted bits of blond wood trinkets into a distressed apothecary's cabinet bearing the labels Viking horns, fish fins (small), and Chris' personal favorite: pirate parrot beaks.
Chris pulled the first of dozens of clamped wooden cubes from hooks screwed into the exposed floor joists above. He turned to the band saw.
"God damm it – this fucking table is still fucking covered in blood !" Chris yelled to Zach. "Didn't you think to fucking clean this bitch ?"
"You think I got the fucking time to do maid service, asswipe ?"
"You're a fucking slob, Zach. I don't know why I--"
The phone interrupted. Zach snatched up the receiver. "What ?!" Chris started to wipe down the band saw while Zach took the call. "Jesus Wept... ! Listen, you fat fuck, we're going as quick as we can. We're not fucking magic. You'll get 'em when they're ready. What's the fucking hurry ?"
Chris grabbed some wood.
Zach sighed. "Yeah. Yeah I guess that's-- Yeah, okay. But don't be surprised if they look as rough as a whore's . . . okay. Okay.... !" He slammed the phone down. "Fucking Santa Claus. Reindeer screwing dipshit."
Chris didn't reply. He remembered what it was like being on the Naughty list last year.
Opening: A. Snarkling.....Continuation: Anonymous