I got up around noon o’clock today. Something large and furry was spooning me from behind, so I assumed either our larger cat was sleeping with me, or my wife had neglected to shave her legs. But this furry thing had a distinct feral odor, and it was breathing much too heavily to be cat or human.
Slowly, very slowly, I turned over and saw that which I dreaded most – Maintenance. A large, hairy, green monster with telepathic abilities. The hideous beast is almost always with me, suggesting I do this, or insisting I do that. And as I’ve gotten older Maintenance has become ever-present, exuding his foul odor, keeping me from occasionally regressing into a child-like state of happiness and wonder.
Today’s suggestion exploded into my brain like a firecracker buried inside a huge pile of mashed potatoes:
“You have to take the outside Christmas decorations down today!”
“No,” I thought, “this is my day off. I should be out drinking, or getting a massage, or both at the same time while reading old Howard the Duck comic books.”
Maintenance just smiled. “Hurry up and get it done, because you still have to go grocery shopping later. And don’t the back tires of your truck need to be replaced?”
“It can wait until tomorrow!” I screamed at the hideous creature.
“No,” he thought back at me.
So I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, brushing my teeth, with Maintenance standing right behind me, laughing, mocking me. “Don’t forget to floss. Those dentist bills can be huge, and you don’t want to use up your deductible too early.”
A few minutes later I was scaling a ladder that was leaning against my roof, slick from the occasional rain drops and the moist air. Maintenance was just a few rungs below me. “Make sure you get all those little plastic light clips off. You won’t want to come up later to unhook them. Don’t forget to separate the outside lights from the inside lights. Have you eaten breakfast yet? I hear your stomach growling. Oh, look, they’ve picked up your trash and recycling. You’d better get those bins back into the garage! And what about…”
“Enough!” I said, as I kicked Maintenance down off the ladder and into the plants below.
“Oops,” he said, “I seem to have broken a sprinkler head. You’ll have to fix that right away.”
I grabbed the ugly, green monster by the scruff of the neck and dragged him back inside the house.
“Uh oh, we just trashed your door mat. You’ll have to clean that later.”
“Damn you, vile beast!” I shouted as I yanked twenty feet of dead tree lights off our Christmas tree.
“You know, you really ought to take this thing down. It’s almost mid-January.”
I then wrapped his ankles together with the string of lights and rolled him across the carpet until he was trussed up like a Wookie in a rodeo. Maintenance looked down onto the floor. “Hey, is that a wine stain in your carpet? You’ll need to… Umph.”
I ripped the huge Santa off the top of the tree and crammed it into Maintenance’s mouth. Just then his lights went on and his green fur started glowing from the bright, white lights.
I popped open a cold beer and settled down on the couch. I pulled out the remote and started doing some serious channel surfing while Maintenance struggled beneath the Christmas tree, steadily blinking on and off. “You’re right,” I said to the bound beast, “I really should take this tree down some time.” I burped loudly and took another swig of beer.
“But it can wait until tomorrow.”

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