A One-Sided Christmas Tree
Laughing Stalk syndicate
"No, I don't want an artificial tree this year."
"Because we had an artificial tree for 14 years."
"We didn't have the room for it, that's why. We stored it in a giant tub, and we couldn't fit it in the garage last year. It had to go."
"I want a real tree again this year. We had them when I was a kid. And I missed the smell and look of a real tree the whole time we had that plastic piece of crap."
"I liked last year's tree a lot. It was real, and a whole lot nicer than our fake one."
"That's because it was a small tree, and we've got some heavy ornaments."
"Nothing important broke."
"Neither of us liked that one anyway. Who makes plaster of Paris ornaments anymore?"
"But you didn't like your great-aunt Greta."
"I'll make sure we get a stronger tree this time."
"It was weak because it was a small tree."
"Because it was the last one at the supermarket. Supermarket trees aren't real great anyway."
"It was so little. It needed me."
"I am not Charlie Brown!"
"I just like to root for the underdog is all."
"Well, if no one had bought that tree, it would have just ended up in the mulcher and on some garden, never having presents put under it, or making little children happy."
"I am not!"
"The wind blew something in my eye."
"Fine, I'll pick one out myself."
"No, I need you to hold the rope while I tie the knots."
"The carry-out guys are useless. Last year, that kid just stood around and watched me tie everything down myself."
"I know, but what sort of help was he giving just standing there? Why didn't he just go back inside?"
"It really was the wind that blew something in my eye."
"Because I'm tired of artificial trees."
"They're plastic, impersonal, and soulless. Sort of like our last neighbors."
"No, Cassie was never friendly. That was Botox. Her face just froze that way."
"Well, she never liked me. She was spindly and prickly. I swear, if she had stood still long enough, the kids would have hung ornaments on her. And I would have stuck the angel—"
"They can't hear me, they're watching a movie."
"Come on, we'll get a Douglas fir this year. It'll be better."
"Last year's was a Scotch pine. I think that was part of the problem."
"I read an article that said Douglas firs are much stronger and hold the ornaments better. Scotch pines aren't as strong as Douglas firs."
"We've been over this. Because they're environmentally friendly, they're grown specifically for Christmas tree use, and they don't have a carbon footprint."
"Of course they're prickly. Those are real pine needles. They're supposed to be prickly."
"So don't vacuum them up. Pick them up by hand."
"Then get the kids to do it. Tell them Santa did it leaving their gifts."
"We'll put the big paint cloth down first."
"Because the artificial tree gave me a rash on my hands. I hated bending all those branches when we set it up. The only thing worse was taking it down again."
"Besides, I read somewhere that we would need to own an artificial tree for 14 years before there were actually any environmental benefits from it."
"We kept our last artificial tree for 10 years, and you thought it started looking shabby. That's why we got rid of it."
"You didn't? I thought you did. You said it was looking kind of pathetic. You said it looked like someone had stuck a bunch of green pipe cleaners on a stick, and it was looking kind of thin on top."
"We didn't know Cassie then."
"Look, let's just try another real tree this year, and we'll make sure we get a good one. You'll see. They smell good, and they'll remind you of your childhood."
"Thank you. You won't be disappointed."
"I really wasn't. I swear, it was the wind."
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