peppery

“Hey loverboy,” she said, spying him spying through the limbs at the limbs. “Tree’s over *here*.” Marty moves his eyes from what Lichen called her sister to the now Santa-less tree. “Now all we have to do is change the lights out and we’re done, Christmas Tree to Winter Tree completed.” Marty kept thinking about the sisters, one blacked haired, one blonde, the one that less interests him strangely enough now his hair had been dyed. Ditsy was her name, she said. Didn’t sound like a real name to him, didn’t ring true. Yet they just showed up and got down on the floor and started talking to each other, giggling, whispering. The other one’s name was Zizzy; just as improbable. They said they were twins.

“Now you’re just looking in the air at something,” she said, still spying. “Come over here and help me take the colored lights off and put the white lights on. Say goodbye to Christmas.”

It was Valentine’s Day and indeed the traditional end of the X-mas season, just like Halloween was the beginning. It now stretched to almost a third of the year, Labor Day and St. Patrick’s Day soon to be threatened at each end if he was reading the signs correctly, which said “Happy Holidays” reduced to one. It was like the Nazis. It was like Attila the Hun. Soon it might be just Christmas and its polar opposite, 4th of Juli, standing. And then…

“*Dearest*,” she said more sharply. “Over here. *Now*.”

——

Soon they would reach the star at the top and have an important decision to make.

Niece Amanda kept carrying around her new uncle’s crappy Valentine’s bear present around, contemplating pushing him into the tree from this angle and ending the ruse. Might be what tips the balance in her favor, she thinks, sensing the building tension between the two. Zizzy, pheh. It was always going to be something new.

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