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11:11 – Chapter 31Posted: July 3, 2012

Dec. 25, 2011

My notes tell me that I wasn’t a happy man on Christmas Day, 2011.

“Fuck Christmas” is all that is written in my journal. The handwriting gives me the impression I was a touch bent, and perhaps a tad uber-emotional.

I remember that tenuous day well and I suffered. My longing for Carrie, for my daughter, friends and family was endless.

Ten days hazed by leading from our decision — rather, Andy’s decision — to hunker down in Bend. The first mass of snow subsided, some more fell and days blended together because of continuous froasting and drinking.

The longer I spent with these twisted people, the more I disliked them, except Andy.

He fancied himself some kind of spiritual leader and claimed to have been a guru to many. He said everything with a wry smile and joked often, so I assumed his tales were tall and his reasons for saying them so often were to relieve his own boredom.

We began to shun the others who interrupted our lively ranting sessions with dense questions and even thicker comments. This didn’t leave me in solid stead with the rest, but their absolute fear of Andy, compared to my like and respect (I truly didn’t fear him) of the guy, kept me safe from any silliness.

I filled the few days leading to Christmas by writing down observations from the past month, which helped me enormously when it came time to writing this story. I also rooted out a large amount of Christmas ornaments and decorated the devil out of the hotel, and even a few other nearby locations. The heavy volumes of snow and colours of Christmas served to cheer me up, albeit so very briefly.

I could hear Carrie, ever the tasteful decorator who strived to keep clear of overblown or ‘too much,’ remarking that “it looks like Christmas threw up all over the place.”

Come Christmas morning, all the talk meant nothing. All I wanted was my Carrie and everything and everyone else could take a flying fuck.

Carrie’s 10 days passed with equal drag and yawn and bouts of gloomy depression.

They tended to Kenneth who became more cantankerous as his days of inhuman healing passed and they idled their days by reading and scouting out their environment, heavily armed of course.

On Christmas Day, they prepared a modest feast and Kenneth came out of his miserable mood, feeling better and weaned of the painkillers. He told a story of a Christmas he spent in 1842 London with, among other notables, Charles Dickens, as he carved a dry grey hunk of cougar roast. Stacy made the most of the big cat to honour its life and she provided ample sustenance for the three of them, including some lovely breakfast sausages they enjoyed earlier that day. It was the nearly dry, bland roast he carved that retrieved that file from his jam-packed mind.

“Prattling with that lot and suffering through their insufferability and unfounded or welcomed pseudo intellectualistic clap trap had much to do with me packing up and coming back to North America. Enough was enough — bloody Europe,” Kenneth said, handing a steaming plate to Carrie. “It was time to come home and truly prepare as I had been instructed to do. As I am now instructing you two.”

Stacy asked, “What was Charles Dickens like?”

Kenneth handed her a plate and replied, “I actually liked him. He kept quiet. I suspect he preferred to listen and take things in and then regurgitate his observations onto pages, as writers are wont to do. At any rate, he seemed genuine and very clever.”

Carrie was amazed with herself. Not only did she not pause to consider what it was she was eating, she actually savoured it with all taste receptors firing.

Not prone to be as sentimental as I, she didn’t let her day fall into ruin from longing and desire. Instead, she thanked God for her gift of continued life, even if all that Kenneth says is true and she was destined for some form of angelic immortality.

Like an expecting father, Carrie’s acceptance of the reality of her situation would not fully blossom until it arrived and squeezed her finger.

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

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