It was, while recently in the midst of compiling the annual (and always dreaded) Christmas gift wish list — that itemized-in-order-of-importance list requested by those who are close enough to me to desire purchasing a holiday present, but not in tune enough to recognize my tastes or likes and dislikes — that I made a startling self discovery.
Reminiscing on Christmases past, I revisited Santa letters remembered from my youth, searching for perhaps one item requested, yet never received, a long since forgotten link to my carefree past. Sitting there in the soft glow of the computer monitor, scanning and re-examining and ranking my wants, I found myself 10 years old again and staring straight into the face of one of my deepest, darkest fears.
Those beady button eyes, unblinking, distant and lacking all emotion, gazed directly into my soul. The lips, permanently curled into a blood red smirk, grinned as I imagined the devil would. I shuddered, while the hair on the back of my neck stood on end, and I had the distinct and uneasy feeling of something standing behind me. As much as I wanted to turn away, I couldn’t. The hand controlling the mouse was suddenly immobile, paralyzed by some unforeseen evil, preventing me from navigating away from this demons’ visage. I let out an almost inaudible whimper just as my wife walked into the room, glanced over my shoulder and exclaimed in that familiar, exasperated tone I’ve come to love, “Really, all the things you could ask for this Christmas, and you’re looking at a sock monkey?”
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