Happy New Year! We Survived!

  If you can see this, you’ve made it through 2016. Or at least, 2016 on the east coast of Canada. Hoisting a glass to you all in hopes of a better 2017.

My resolutions haven’t changed much. Keep fixing up the house. Buy a newer car, as this one is getting up there in years. Take the kid on a trip, since she’s never been farther than my mother’s in her life. And try to get back to writing, which given that it’s another job on top of the two I have already… urgh. But, houses must be repaired and bills must be paid. I’ve requested a schedule change at job one to give me a day every two weeks home with no distractions. So a new resolution for this year is to make that work for me, lol. And, I’m hiring people to do these things, instead of trying to do it myself, because it’ll get done faster and better.

So, as a gift from me to you, for surviving this absolute shit of a year, I give you:

A Nutty Interlude(maybe some slight spoilers? not really. Like Vince is ever going to leave Nathan, right?)

“I’ve never had a real tree before,” Vince said through a mouthful of pine needles. He spit out the branch trying to feed itself to him and peered down the trunk at Nathan. “Now I know why.”

“It’s just a few needles,” Nathan said. “They’ll clean up easy.”

“We should have done this tomorrow. Who takes down the Christmas tree on New Year’s Eve?”

“In my family, it’s a survival requirement.” Nathan was about to explain, when the explanation himself burst out of the tree and landed on Vince’s head. “Luke!” Nathan yelled. “Get off him or you’re spending New Year’s outside!”

The squirrel, a gray-backed cousin of Nathan’s, spun in a circle, digging his claws into Vince’s scalp as he turned. Vince’s eyes started to tear up with pain and the tree slipped out of his grasp when he tried to wipe them. The tree rolled and tipped sideways, and Nathan was pulled off-balance on the slippery front step.

Whoosh! Down he went, bumping over each step with the tree sliding merrily after him and his Cousin Luke yelling excited squirrel obscenities into the chill air.

“Nathan! Nathan? Are you okay?” Vince fumbled his way past the branches splayed over the step and fell to his knees beside Nathan.

“Yeah,” Nathan wheezed. Visions of acorns danced around his head for a moment, unlike the pleasant ones at Christmas, then slowly faded.

Cousin Luke bounded up the tree to sit on Nathan’s chin and peer worriedly at his face, only accidentally sticking his little front paws up Nathan’s nose once. He chittered once, asking if Nathan was okay, and Nathan chittered back that he would, but Luke wouldn’t be if he didn’t get a grip on himself. Luke shot back an angry chitter and spun to race back into the house.

“We better go after him,” Nathan said and began to fight his way out from underneath the tree. “He’ll get into something, for sure.”

“Well, I guess 2016 is having a last go at us,” Vince said as he helped Nathan to his feet. “You sure you’re all right?”

“Yeah. This isn’t the first time Cousin Luke did something landed landed me with a bruised butt.” He smiled and cuddled into Vince’s arms. “You may want to check me over later to make sure there’s no permanent damage.”

“Already in the works.” Vince held him close. “Let’s get the tree out to the end of the driveway and then we can plan our own personal fireworks.”

As they dragged the tree over the lawn, Nathan decided that no matter how bad 2016 had been, he still had Vince, and if even Nathan’s family hadn’t chased him away, then maybe it wasn’t an entirely moldy year after all.

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