FREE Manlove & Kickerdick Xmess. LET IT SNOW $0 on Amazon for Christmas!

BoxermasSo tomorrow is the big day, and many of you will be getting new ereaders and what-have-you. Many of you will go collecting free ebooks based on two sentence reviews and vague taglines or synopsesesisses. My gift to you this holiday season is the full, unexpurgated version of A Very Special Manlove & Kickerdick Xmess, currently included in the incredible holiday collection LET IT SNOW: SEASONS READINGS FOR A SUPER COOL YULE! which also features tales of not-so-ordinary Holiday shenanigans by such indie luminaries as Jessica McHugh, King of Zombies – Jack Wallen, Red Tash, Tim Tash, Mercedes Yardley, T. Lee Harris, Claudia LeFeve, Marian Allen, Connie Roberts-Huth and some dude named Axel Howerton.326880_294351443998388_1803338722_o

All of these stories are set in these authors existing worlds and, while dazzlingly eclectic, all feature some sort of holiday sentiment, be it “holly jolly Christmas” or “Joy to the New World Order”. This things has it all – sci-fi, fantasy, horror, crime, comedy, dark fic, etc etc etc. The entire collection will be FREE on Amazon for Christmas Day. So read my little take on the High Holy Hollydaze and then pick up the whole shlamozzle tomorrow for your new machines or old pals.

SO check out my story, on me. Merry freakin’ Christmas. Ho! Ho! Ho! Then, tomorrow, check out the rest for free from Amazon!

Read on for the Xmess crazy:

A Very Special Manlove & Kickerdick XMess

Axel Howerton

“So what the hell do you want, you big fucking baby?”

“I told you, I don’t want nothin’”

Jurgen Kierkedoek stomped off, his size fifteen Doc Martens leaving thunderstorms in their wake. The sky followed suit as the grey haze opened up and pissed down a cold December drizzle.

Menlowe gave a loud sigh and shook his head at the darkening sky before turning to follow the giant.

“Sweetie, all I was saying…”

Kierkedoek stopped and swung his wide, fur-lined shoulders back to face the smaller man.

“All you were saying is that there ain’t no Santa. Which you’ve been hassling me about for years. Fuck you, man. You know how mad that makes me. I know you aren’t allowed to believe in him, doesn’t mean I can’t.”

Menlowe stepped gracefully over a small puddle and gently placed his hands on Kierkedoek’s furry chest.

“You’re right, Yergie. I’m sorry. I’ll stop teasing you. Now will you calm down so we can get to this job?”

Kierkedoek snuffed an unpleasant-sounding amount of snot back into his sinuses and spat it out into the street, where it slapped loudly into the gutter slush.

“Fine. Fuck it, man. Let’s get it done. This fucking sucks.”

Menlowe shuddered at the expellation of loogie, but moved to feed his arm through Kierkedoek’s.

“I know you’re upset about working on Christmas Eve, but I promise I will make it up to you in the morning.” Menlowe purred.

“Did you get me the new Halo? And the anti-grav controller?” Kierkedoek bounced as he walked.

“I am not telling you.”

“A puppy? Is it a puppy? You fuckin’ did too.”

“No, I didn’t get you a fucking dog. You know we can’t have pets. I have sensitive sinuses. Just realize that my gifts better be pretty damned amazing, Big Boy.”

The street was filled on both sides with an ocean of last-minute shoppers, rushing and shoving, jockeying for position in the crowd. Nobody seemed to notice the mismatched pair as they strolled arm in arm. Arthur Menlowe, wrapped up in his pristine, and very new, Helly Hanson parka, and Kierkedoek, towering beside him in what could only be described as a 70’s style bear carcass of a fur overcoat, made a distinct impression.

“Is it that Japanese import of Foxy playing Budokan with The Buzzcocks?” Kierkedoek asked, spinning nimbly to walk face to face with Menlowe.

“OOH! Is it the limited edition green-and-gold swirl vinyl of Foxy’s new Atomic Sphinkters album?”

Menlowe rolled his eyes and threw his arms up in exasperation.

“I will never understand your obsession with that drunken idiot!”

“Don’t.”

“First off,” Menlowe continued, stabbing a finger up into Kierkedoek’s growling face, “His name is Danny. You know that. We know him. He’s an asshole.”

“Stop.”

“Secondly, he ruined our Halloween party. He screwed your cousin in our laundry room and he stole Mrs. Tiddlywinks!”

“He didn’t steal your fucking rat.”

“She was a hedgehog!”

Kierkedoek glared down at his partner before plowing through the crowd like an angry bull, strafing the streets of Pamplona. Menlowe huffed and followed at the acceptable distance for a lover’s tiff.  The big man came to an abrupt stop in front of a questionable-looking old rummy in a frayed and stained red suit, lazily flopping a hand bell from side-to-side as he mumbled incoherently.

“Good afternoon,” Menlowe sang as he stepped up behind, “Liquid lunch today, Santa?”

As Menlowe waved his hands in front of his face in the generally-accepted symbol of stank drunk, Kierkedoek shoved one giant fist inside of his coat pocket and thrust a fistful of crumpled bills towards the swinging ball of donations.

“Don’t you dare!”

“Merry Christmas, man.” Kierkedoek grinned at the red-suited bum, ignoring Menlowe’s protests.

The rummy gazed up and sputtered out a thank you and a “Happy Holidays, Bub.”

Menlowe refused to speak again until they were on the number seven bus, headed away from the six other street corner Santas who had received large dispensations from the meaty hands of a man who, three nights a week, goes by the name “Kickerdick”.

“You and your fucking Santas. This is why we have to work on Christmas Eve.”

“You’re just jealous that you ain’t got one. Whole lotta candles and shit, no happy elves with awesome presents.”

“No, we get thousands of years of tradition and eight nights of presents.”

“Eight nights of wooden spinning tops and fuckin’ chocolate coins.”

Ben sharmuta” Menlowe countered, shoving a very specific choice of fingers in his partners face.

Another game of ethereal ten-pin was booming through the clouds by the time Menlowe and Kierkedoek found themselves parked in a black limo on South Figueroa. The massive brick monument of The Jonathan Club towered above them, marking its place as the center of rich, white Angelenos for the past hundred years. The slush was still running sticky in the streets and what few people remained on the sidewalks were hustling by in their parkas, desperate to escape the coldest winter in memory. Of course, in L.A., that meant what would have been considered a mild spring in most other parts of the country.

“Christ, these people!” Menlowe laughed, watching an old man in a fur-lined parka waddling intently toward his Hummer, “They’d curl up and die if they ever spent a Hanukkah in Pittsburgh.”

“Pittsburgh. I miss the snow in Pittsburgh.”
“You would, you big dope.” Menlowe chuckled, slapping the big man’s knee.

“Hey, you’re the one with the big new parka. You looked like you were going skiing in Aspen or some shit.”

“One has to stay stylish in this town, honey. You don’t see me making fun of your pimp coat.”

“Pimp coat? What? I like my coat. It’s warm.”

“Never mind, sweetie. Here they come.” Menlowe stepped from the car, slipping a black chauffeurs cap onto his head and taking the long way around the front of the car. He opened the rear door and stood to one side, free hand at the small of his back and head dipped in deference to the customer.

“Mister Roman,” he offered, with no hint of his usual lilt, “we are at your disposal, sir.”

Alexander “Chips” Roman, banker, millionaire, right-wing Senator from the state of Connecticut, was a fit and imposing man at the age of sixty. He came from a long line of achievers and manipulators. He was a ruler and abuser – of the system, of his fellow man, of anything he could get his hands on. His Brioni suit and Brooks Brothers tie bespoke his status as one of the hereditary elite. Remarkably, perhaps, none of this was lost on Arthur Menlowe, who came from a long line of middle-class Jewish businessmen who held men like Roman in the greatest esteem. Menlowe, himself, had oft wished to be one of the “beautiful people”, and had spent his teen years modeling himself as the “slightly gayer James Spader”. Menlowe held himself back from fondling Chips Roman’s Vicuna overcoat as the magnate ducked into the car. The teenage boy that followed him in was decked out in the most expensive trash money could buy. Skinny jeans hanging off of his skinny ass, giant high tops half-unlaced, neon spattered hoody under a five-thousand-dollar fur-lined parka. He wore oversize Fendi sunglasses, dark as midnight, despite the fact the streetlights were in full force.

“What the fuck are you looking at?”

He had the requisite over-enunciated smarm of a prep-school kid, and the condescension dripping from the insult made Menlowe wince. Any other day of the week, he would have bent the little shit over his knee. This was a job, and Chips Roman could buy and sell Arthur Menlowe a million times over. Menlowe smiled sweetly and let it go, tipping his hat to the boy before slamming the door on his boney ass. The resounding thud, and the following exclamation of Oww, shit! Gave Menlowe a tremendous amount of satisfaction as he skipped back around to the passenger seat, already calculating the ways he could get the boy alone for some patented “Manlove” payback.

The intercom sounded before he could shut his door.

“I would suggest that you watch your manners with my son, young man. I understand that this is probably not the kind of job you people usually do, but I expect nothing less than the utmost respect and discretion. Pull anything else like that and I can easily have you regretting the day you were born.”

Menlowe ground his teeth as he spat out his reply.

“Yes, sir. I’m sorry, sir. Where are we going, please?”

“Dinner. Beverly Wilshire.” The speaker crackled back.

Kierkedoek was spinning the tires away from the curb before Menlowe could reply.

Menlowe and Kierkedoek stood at attention like a couple of mismatched Marines. They had been roughly instructed to “stand over there, don’t move, and don’t talk” as they accompanied Roman and his son into the private room in the back of the Cut steakhouse. Cut was one of those exclusive places that served two-hundred-dollar steak dinners to the rubes, but had rooms in the back for high rollers, where Wolfgang Puck or some other white-coated superstar would whip up garlic mash with gold flake and truffle oil, pan-seared fresh-butchered milk-fed veal, or exotic fishes and strange fruits paired with two-thousand-dollar bottles of Chateau Lafite Rothschild.

“Look at these rich assholes,” Menlowe whispered through the side of his mouth, “I bet this dinner costs more than our rent.”

“Shut the fuck up, Artie.” Kierkedoek hushed back.

Chips Roman sighed heavily, threw his napkin to the table, and pulled himself away from the table.

“You two had better shut your goddamn mouths!” he barked up into Kierkedoek’s thick jaw.

“Yes, sir”

“Look at you. What went wrong with you, son? Covered with tattoos, Nazi symbols, all that metal bullshit in your face. Where are you from? Shreveport? That accent. Can’t hide that, can you boy? I bet you could have been a damn fine defensive tackle. Here you are though, some white trash gorilla in a suit, paired up with some smart-mouthed asshole Jew.”

“Yes, sir.” Kierkedoek repeated, this time through grinding teeth as his eyes lit up with volcano fury.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Roman. That was my fault. We’ll be quiet and on guard the rest of the night, sir. Don’t mind us,” Menlowe interrupted, carefully inserting himself between his gargantuan partner and the Senator, “go back to your meal, sir. Terribly sorry. Won’t happen again.”

Roman looked Menlowe up and down and shook his head in disgust before returning to the table.

“Thomas,” he said to the boy, “remind me to have words with Joe Muscatelia about his suggestion for our replacement security.”

Thomas glowered up at his father from the video game in his hands, shoved his plate away and huffed in reply.

Roman leaned in towards his son. “That is a fifteen-hundred dollar meal, you little shit.”

“Whatever.”

The slap came fast and not entirely unexpected. The boy was knocked back in his chair, more surprised than injured. The Senator remained stolid.

“Shut your mouth.”

Kierkedoek tensed and took a half-step before he felt Menlowe’s hand on his, pulling him gently back to the wall.

“Why’d you even bring me out here?” Thomas pleaded.

“Because your damned mother didn’t want you. She went to Paris, presumably to screw around with some gold-digging gigolo.”

“I’m almost twenty, for chrissakes. I could have stayed at home.”

Roman slammed his silverware to the table.

“So I could come home and find you and your little friends drunk on my liquor cabinet? So you can sell your mothers pills? Crash my cars? Chase away the staff?” He used his steak knife to bayonet his perfectly marbled slab of Wagyu beef. “You little asshole.”

Thomas shrugged him off and slumped back in his seat.

“I hate you.”
“I’d tell you to join the club, but you can’t afford the membership fees.” Roman snickered.

“You.” He jabbed a finger towards Menlowe. “Bring the car around.”

The next thirty minutes passed in abject silence, as Chips Roman sipped scotch in the backseat, his son as far away as the seats would allow. Thomas continued to alternately click away at his phone and thumb the buttons on his game console.

Menlowe and Kierkedoek sat quiet; occasionally sneaking the small glances that they hoped assured each other that they were nothing like these people. That they cared deeply for each other. That they would never treat each other with such callous malevolence and meanness. Menlowe subtly slipped his hand across the console to lace his fingers through Kierkedoek’s.

When they arrived at the destination Roman had set them, Kierkedoek pulled in to the large round drive,  leading up to the biggest southern-style mansion he’d ever seen in California. It was the kind of place that Kierkedoek remembered from his childhood. Driving out on I-10 East, between Lafayette and Baton Rouge, big monster houses, set back in the trees, standing disused and ruined, leftovers from the plantation owners and rich bastards of pre-Civil War Louisiana. They always gave little Jurgen a feeling of ominous foreboding, as if he could feel the ghosts of the monstrous people that had once lived and died there. This house was new and delicious, towering above them like a glorious cake, scrolled and frosted and layered with lights. Kierkedoek took a sharp breath at the sight of it.

“Holy shit! Would you look at this place,” Menlowe growled from beside him with a punctuating whistle.

A light snow was powdering the well-tended grounds, and twinkling lights surrounded the various eaves and windows, lighting the whole scene as if it had come straight from the pages of some classic Christmas tale of country pageantry and Dickensian romance. Both men were hard-pressed to keep their eyes from drifting back up to the wide-expanse of the house.

“Do you two bozos think you could pry your eyes away from the pretty house to do your jobs?”

“Sorry, Mister Roman.”
“I’m taking my son in for his early Christmas present. Nineteen years old and hasn’t had a woman yet. You’d think he was a queer.”

Kierkedoek’s door crashed closed, rocking the entire vehicle. Menlowe shot him a warning glance and the big man turned away to straighten his coat. “Sorry, sir. I slipped.”

“Fucking amateurs.” Roman spat.

The inside of the house was even more grandiose and southern gothic, with lit candles in every corner of the room, casting a warm glow over what could have passed for a Civil War museum. Damask wallpaper, Victorian window treatments, yellowing portraits of long-dead gentlemen and corseted women, most with horses, some with beverages, a couple with both. There was an impeccably-kept confederate officers uniform in a mahogany case as you walked in the door. Kierkedoek leaned in for a closer look, recognizing the small Maltese cross medal as identical to the one he kept secreted away at the bottom of his sock drawer. It was the Confederate Cross of Honor. The one in the sock drawer had belonged to Gustafe Willhelm Kierkedoek – Captain, 9th Cavalry, Army of the Confederate States of America – great-great grandfather of Jurgen Gustafe Kierkedoek, part-time hired thug, sex performer and homosexual ex-KKKK member. The one in the case belonged to someone named Reginald Quinton Priest, Major, also of the 9th Cavalry. What in the hell were the chances? Kierkedoek felt strangely humbled and oddly at home in this palatial cultural repository. He could hear tinny zydeco coming from another room, and he could smell cookies, honest-to-God fresh baked cookies. Something crackled in little Jurgen’s chest at a quick flash memory of his dear ol’ Omi baking cookies for the tree, while his father read Weinachten stories and Mama brewed up some of her special crawfish ettouffee for when Papa Noel would come.

Kierkedoek’s reverie was not entirely broken by the appearance of a woman who would have been most men’s ideal.

“Well, hello gentlemen,” she purred. “Welcome, and happy holidays.” She nodded to Chips Roman, “Senator.”

“Ms Priest.” he replied, not softly, but with less hostility than he had shown Kierkedoek, Menlowe or his own son.

Kierkedoek took a deep breath through his nose, trying to capture another sense image from his youth that seemed to be carried on her scent. He didn’t realize he was sniffing her until Menlowe pulled him back in a snit.

“What in the hell are you doing, Jurgen!” he demanded in a harsh whisper.

“Huh?”

“You were sniffing at her.”

“She smells like home.”

Menlowe gave him a rabbit-punch in the leg as a not-so-subtle warning.

“I’m sorry about my guards. You know what it’s like getting help on the holidays. Seems these two idiots are barely housetrained.”

Miss Priest returned Romans sarcasm by way of a raised eyebrow and a mild look of distaste, which may have been meant for any of the newcomers.

“Nonsense, Mister Roman, this tall drink of water must be a southern boy. Isn’t that right, sugar?”

Kierkedoek blushed, which earned him another shot in the leg.

“Yes’m.”

“I see you were admiring my great grandfather’s uniform?”

“Yes’m. My great-great grandfather was a captain in the 9th Calvary.”

Eva Priest smiled warmly, much more warmly than she was accustomed to, as she caught her own blush and immediately turned back to business, though she placed a gentle hand on Kierkedoek’s arm as she led the men to the parlor adjoining the entrance.

“And who do we have here, Mister Roman?” she asked as Thomas gingerly crept in behind Menlowe.

“He’s a good looking young man. Of age, I presume?” her eyes caught Chips Romans as he folded himself down onto the divan.

Roman was not about to be questioned, obviously.

“He’s old enough. I say he’s fine, which means your girls service him, or I make a few phone calls.”

“Mister Roman, we have rules…”

Roman shot up from his seat, slicing the air with his accusatory finger once more.

“You listen to me, you goddamn whore. I will bury you in a cell and burn this place to the ground! You don’t talk to me like some fifty-dollar trick. You will take care of my boy, and you will get some girls down here right fucking now!”

Kierkedoek’s fists were balled the size of ham-hocks and clenched hard enough to be turning purple. He was still standing at attention behind Roman, and Menlowe was eyeballing the situation, praying beyond hope that he wouldn’t have to pry the big man off a US Senator. This was the kind of thing that put men like them in jail for a long time. Probably not together.

Eva Priest simply laughed off Romans display and clapped her hands, shouting “Carmilla!”

She then poured herself into the chair across from Chips Roman and smiled.

“My dear, you are wound tight this evenin’. It is Christmas Eve, Mister Roman. Consider our hospitality at your disposal. You and your entourage are more than welcome here. Just take care to restrain yourselves and play within the rules. I have many of my own friends, Chips. Threats are neither necessary nor effective here.”

A handful of extremely beautiful women, in various states of undress, most coordinated in some variation of greens and reds and whites, entered the room. They were led by a curvaceous brunette with a Bettie Page haircut and a whole lot of va-va-voom packed into a 50’s style bra-and-lacy-panties ensemble, all set atop thick-stemmed heels that made her a full head taller than any other woman in the room.

She immediately zoomed in on Kierkedoek and shot him a wink. Menlowe glared.

Eva Priest stood and whispered something in Carmilla’s ear, which caused her to look Kierkedoek up and down, glance at Menlowe and then pout as she stepped back in line with the rest of the girls.

Eva sauntered towards Thomas Roman as his father rose again; wringing his hands as he greedily inspected the line of women.

“Young master Roman,” Eva was now running her hands across Thomas’ shoulders, “would you care to choose first?”

“I’ll choose his.” Chips Roman growled from behind the girls. “He gets the same one I have. I want to inspect her first, tell her what I want done.”

Eva gave a heavy sigh and kissed Thomas on the cheek. “They’re all good, and gentle, they’ll take good care of you, honey.” she whispered.

Chips Roman stopped and grabbed two handfuls of ass from a tall Latina in black leather hot pants.

“This one. She’ll do. She get rough?”

Eva Priest strutted back towards the Senator with purpose, laying her finger on his chest.

“She does what she’s comfortable with. You break that rule and you will be out on your ass.”

Ten awkward minutes later, Menlowe and Kierkedoek were sitting outside an upstairs room, with Thomas Roman sitting between them.

“Whatcha playing, man?” Kierkedoek whispered.

“I know who you guys are.” Thomas replied. “Manlove and Kickerdick, gay porn guys, right?”

“We are club performers, thank you,” Menlowe answered, “Sometimes it gets filmed for home enjoyment.”

“I saw one of your videos at a party once.”
“Suppose you’re gonna make fun of us now? Call us faggots? Queers?” Kierkedoek growled.

“No. It’s cool. I don’t really… I kind of didn’t… understand it.”

“Didn’t understand what?” Menlowe asked “It’s two guys getting it on.”

Thomas hit pause and set his game down

“I mean, is it the same? As sex with a girl?”

“I wouldn’t know, sweetie, and neither would you, from what your father says.”
“It’s kind of the same,” Kierkedoek added, “depends if it’s somebody you love and trust, or if it’s just, you know… fucking.”

Menlowe’s eyes lit up like firecrackers. Kierkedoek stared him down, then nodded his head toward the teen, hoping to defuse Menlowe’s rampant jealousy long enough to finish the conversation.

“Well, like, you stick it in the ass, right? I mean, I’ve had BJ and handies and stuff.”

Kierkedoek looked to Menlowe again, confused about what was happening. Menlowe had just opened his mouth when the realization hit him, and he sucked in air in surprise.

“Oh my… are you… do you think you’re, maybe…”

“I, I don’t know.”

“How can you not know?” Menlowe shot back.

“Did you always know?” Thomas was shaking, his feet tapping a light-speed rhythm on the floor.

“Of course I knew! I was born this way, kid. What kind of question…”

“Artie,” Kierkedoek stopped him, “I didn’t always know. I tried it with girls, did what I was supposed to. I was from the dirty south, man. You did it with chicks or you got dragged behind a truck… I had no idea until I finally fell in love with somebody and they happened to be, well, Artie here. It never felt right with girls, it was never fun. It was always scary and nervous and… you know… kind of like pretending. Then I met Artie and everything kind of made sense.”

Thomas nodded along, hands clasped in his lap, feet still tap-tap-tapping away.

“So, you guys love each other? Like love love? Like in the movies? You live together and work together and you’re best friends and you’re in love? Like ordinary people kind of love”

“Exactly.”

“Wow. I never. I mean, I’ve seen gay guys before, but it was always, you know, interior designers with pink shirts that sounded like old ladies. You guys are… kinda… cool.”

“We’re the same as anybody else.” Kierkedoek chuckled, “‘cept we do it on stage sometimes…”

“So, it’s OK to be that way here?”

Menlowe laughed out loud. “You’ve obviously never been to L.A. before. Somebody really needs to set you straight.”

“I came to Disneyland once, when I was fiv…”

The crash from the room was accompanied by a scream. Her scream. Then Chips Roman yelling at the top of his lungs. Doors opened, heads popped out. Eva Priest and Carmilla began calling out as they ran up the long staircase. Menlowe was up in front of him, but Kierkedoek set him aside and was through the door with a shoulder by the time anyone else could pick their unmentionables from the floor.

The girl was lying on the floor, cowering against the wall, blood pouring from her nose and mouth. Chips Roman stood in his boxer shorts, pale and unimpressive, fists balled around one end of his belt, tiny buckle scraping the floor.

“I fucking told you not to do that. Stupid whore!” he shouted, “I am not some L.A. queer!”

Kierkedoek saw the belt moving before he heard it whistle through the air. He jumped between Roman and the girl before the thought was clear in his head. The buckle landed behind his ear, removing a small chunk of inked flesh and leaving his collar wet with blood.

“What the fuck are you doing in here? Get the fuck out!” Roman hollered. “I paid for this stupid bitch!”

The next swing was caught and Kierkedoek pulled hard enough that the Senator flew forward, crashing to the floor on his face – teeth, lips and tongue all mashing into one red blur as he landed. The man was up and swinging at Kierkedoek in a split-second, as the crowd pushed in at the door. Thomas was in the corner of the room, helping the girl to her feet and guiding her out of the maelstrom.

“Hey! Getchoor handth off of her Thhomaatthh, you liddell fagggot!” Roman spat through his broken mouth.

Kierkedoek landed a glancing right that knocked him back against a wall, but he was up again fast and running for his clothes on the opposite side of the room. Kierkedoek managed to catch a leg as the old man dove for his pants and came up with a pocket knife, a three-inch blade that he swiped across the back of the giant’s hand, opening another creek of red that dripped steadily onto the parquet floor.

“Fuck!”

“I gothchoo now muthhherrffucker” Roman laughed as he charged Kierkedoek’s mid-section like he was running a fourth-down play. He dove in, knife-first, and while Kierkedoek dodged far enough to keep his internal organs intact, the blade sunk all the way into his shoulder, pulling loose of Romans grip as he roared to his feet, a now fully-enraged bear, climbing to his full height before crushing his attacker.

Kierkedoek planted a fist in Romans gut, burying it to his elbow and lifting the man an easy two feet off of the ground before he flew across the room and crashed through the four-poster bed. Roman lay groaning in the pile of tinder and mattress, as Kierkedoek stalked in to heave him to his feet. Kierkedoek lifted the man by his throat and cocked his arm back ready to strike. That was when he felt Menlowe’s fingers wrap around his bicep, easing him back into reality.

“Shhhh. Yergie, he’s done. He’s just a tired old hateful bastard. Enough. Come on, baby.”

Menlowe steered the still fuming giant away from the bed and towards the door, where Eva Priest took him by the arm.

“Thank you so much, young man.” She said, as she led Kierkedoek out towards the stairs. She stopped at the door.  “Would you mind, helping Mister Roman out of the house, mister…?”

“Menlowe. It would be my pleasure.”

“Thank you, dear. There will be some… gentlemen waiting for him outside in a few minutes”

Menlowe paused. “What about Thomas?”

Eva looked back over her shoulder and smiled.

“Why whatever do you mean? Mister Roman arrived here alone, did he not? I’m sure his son is safe and secure back home.”

“Asshole.” Menlowe shouted as he slammed the door. He’d been slapping the hell out of the man, all the way down the stairs and out onto the steps, but he made sure to plant one solid kick in the balls before he threw Chips Roman, master of the universe, naked into the frosted bushes in the middle of the drive. A black sedan was rolling up with its lights off as he retrieved the bundle of clothes from the steps. The wallet just might have been a little lighter than when they had arrived, but otherwise, all of the Senators belongings, minus his son, had been carefully gathered and accounted for. Menlowe made the handoff to two serious-looking black-suited men, pointed out Chips bare ass in the middle of the bushes, then retreated inside. Curious, as he tended to be, Menlowe watched through the peephole in the door with barely-veiled glee as they retrieved the Senator and stuffed him into the trunk for the long ride to the airport. Eva had explained that Chips Roman would be assured that his presence would no longer be tolerated in her neck of the woods, and that he would be strongly advised to reconsider his ideas about women and those of alternative lifestyles.

When Menlowe returned to the parlor, to his chagrin, he found several of the girls (and Thomas Roman) administering to Kierkedoek’s wounds. Jurgen seemed to be enjoying the attention, despite the bloody bandages he sported in several places. He was having a conversation with Madame Priest, and the girl that he had saved was sitting beside him, one hand on his knee, one hand holding a bag of peas to her face.

“We need to get you to a hospital, you big idiot.” Menlowe said as he stomped into the room and sat next to his lover, brushing the girls hand away from Kierkedoek’s knee.

“No fucking way man!” Kierkedoek laughed. “I been stabbed plenty of times before. ‘Sides. Look who’s here!” He grinned from ear to ear and pointed towards the piano, where a scrawny, pasty dude in a red silk kimono and a Santa hat sat tinkling on the keys. He was singing. Kind of.

Chaystnuts roasting on an open fiyurrrrrrr. Jack Frost nipping at your balllllzzzz…

“Jesus.” Menlowe moaned.

“Nope, just little old Santa me, Manloove! How the fook have you cocksuckers been?” Foxy Thunders hollered. “Though it’s been said, many times, many waaaayyyzzz. Merry Christmas. Happy Hannukah. Merry Christmas. Ahtooooahyoooooo!

Soon the room was full of music, laughing and terrific spiced eggnog that Foxy Thunders had brought by the case from the old country. Kierkedoek was in Christmas heaven, what with fresh cookies and his favorite punk-rock legend tinkling the keys. Menlowe left off his jealousy long enough to enjoy his first real Christmas Eve. Friends and loved ones, singing ‘round the fire, cookies and booze and well-lit trees, girls in bustiers kissing under the mistletoe, and even a drunken filthy-mouthed Santa, who actually did have a bag full of goodies, but that’s a story for another time.

“Yergie?”

“Yeah, babe.”

“Don’t you want to go home and open your presents?”

“Yeah! Shit, let’s go!”

Menlowe smiled at the childish twinkle in Kierkedoek’s eyes.

“Wait.”

“What?”

“What about Tommy?” Kierkedoek jerked the thumb of his bandaged hand towards the boy. “Can’t leave him here, can we?”

“Yergie…”

“Please?”

“No.”

“Please, babe?”

No!

“Pleeeeeease?”

“Fine, we can keep him. For now. But he sleeps on the couch.”

© Axel Howerton 2012

And don’t forget to look for more Manlove & Kickerdick in HOT SINATRA, the new crime-comedy from Axel Howerton, coming from Evolved Publishing on January 15!

Reindeer Games

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