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A Frosty Thanksgiving
Snow had blanketed the ground, giving the outdoors a crisp, cozy look. Phil was surprised to see this; it was only the 27th of November, which was early for such a heavy fall. He smiled slightly as his mind wandered to the football game he was planning to watch; he rather fancied seeing a bunch of 350 pound men trying to tackle each other while sliding around in the slippery snow.
Phil looked appraisingly around the house, which was unusually tidy; maybe not by Aunt May’s standards, but then, he had heard rumors that she had once fainted at the sight of a crumb on her spotless kitchen floor. In fact, he thought that Aunt May should be proud of him, considering that he had spent most of the last week preparing the house for today’s arrivals.
Phil thought of the accommodations his Aunt would require. The candles could not be placed anywhere near her seat; hadn’t she once started a minor fire at his parent’s house by accidentally blowing the candle flame onto the table while fanning herself with a handheld Chinese fan? She always made some sort of fuss over the food; either the turkey would be underdone, the green beans too dry, or the stuffing too mushy. And she was sure to start an argument with Uncle Robert, which was strange, for both were conservative, but they always found some major political issue to loudly disagree on.
Phil sometimes wondered whether he could really be a blood relation of Uncle Robert. Uncle Robert was so haughty that he couldn’t acknowledge that he had one ounce of conceit. Phil thought he compared favorably to George Costanza’s father in Seinfeld, who always failed to grasp the fact that everyone considered him to be an idiot of the highest degree. The only difference between the two was that Uncle Robert was rich, while Frank Costanza wasn’t.
Uncle Robert was the managing partner of an important bankruptcy firm, whose name he had a habit of mentioning to whoever was unfortunate enough to be within earshot. Phil, however, did not remember the name of the firm, for he had become exceptionally good at steeling himself whenever Uncle Robert’s firm became the subject of the conversation; a considerable feat, as this was rather often. However, Uncle Robert had become absolutely unbearable since the beginning of the financial panic, for he was particularly smug about the fact that while the rest of the world struggled to make ends meet, his firm was profiting from the chaos.
Then, of course, there was Leticia—Phil’s sister. Leticia worked for several of the top modeling agencies in the country. Her picture had appeared numerous times in Vogue, Vanity Fair, and other top magazines, and she had quite a following among aspiring female models. Although his sister’s profession rather sickened Phil, he would have been able to put up with her, career and all, had it not been for her obnoxious attitude and narcissistic personality.
The first thing that Leticia had done after she found out that Phil was to be her host was to call Phil and request that he order three bars of Simone France soap, two bottles of Simone France skin care lotion, and a special Simone France hand towel, all imported from France, all for the one meal she was to have at his house, at a total cost of (Phil had held his breath at this point) $467. Phil had considered objecting, but he knew from experience that Leticia’s temper could explode violently when she was given just the slightest push, and so, the next day, he had ordered the soap, the lotion, and the hand towel. He had decided that if it kept Leticia in a good mood throughout her visit, the expense would be worth it.
Phil’s final guest was to be his brother, Charles. Phil was pretty sure that Charles worked as a laborer carrying goods at Pathmark, but Charles went through jobs so quickly, it was hard to remember. Charles was younger than Phil and Leticia, and had dropped out of high-school after 10th grade. Charles said that he now regretted his decision, but with Charles, it was hard to tell; for the most part, he didn’t actually communicate with anyone, save the occasional grunt, smirk, or mean laugh, and those didn’t really count, anyway.
Phil agreed with Charles on two things. One: Football was a great sport, even though Charles preferred to play football, while Phil was quite content to sit on the couch and watch other people do the dirty work. Two: Leticia was, to put it nicely, a ditz. This was as far as brotherhood went in the case of Phil and Charles; disregarding the fact that they did live on the same continent, the possessed no similar attributes.
Phil fell deeper into the depths of his thoughts. Aunt May, Uncle Robert, Leticia, and Charles, all visitors at the same house; what a fabulous combination of dinner guests. Aunt May and Uncle Robert were sure to spend the whole night shouting at each other; Leticia would examine the house with distaste for a few minutes before excusing herself to the bathroom, where she would spend the rest of the night observing herself in the mirror; and Charles would just sit there, sneering or smirking occasionally, stuffing himself with food. How had he gotten himself into this?
Dong! The doorbell rang, jolting Phil from his meditations. It was time. He didn’t know who was at the door, but he did know that he or she was the first arrival to what was going to be an interesting Thanksgiving meal.