And so, every year, the whole house fills with the enchanting aroma of spices, sugar, and warm, baked cookies, until it just about drives a person crazy with desire. The kitchen becomes Cookie Cooking Central. Empty flour bags and dough cover the counters. Small glass dishes full of brightly colored candies and cookie cutting presses in all sorts of shapes and designs lie everywhere. Tubes of icing spilling their contents out their pointed metals ends are stacked on top of each other like cordwood.
By the time the cookies are finished, my wife is covered with flour and icing and looks like a giant cookie herself. In the end, it’s all worth it though, for the cookies far surpass anything you could buy at the store; they are cookie perfection.
So, what’s the problem, you ask? Why does the thought of all this culinary nirvana send me into a state of gloom? Because my wife put me on a diet, that’s why.
“You look like you’ve got a bun in the oven!” she said to me in November, just after Thanksgiving. “Either have that baby soon, or you’re going on a diet!”
Needless to say, I didn’t have a baby; and so now there I was on Christmas Eve, restricted to salads and diet soda. Meanwhile, the carols are playing, the tree lights are twinkling, the cookies are sitting on their pretty Christmas plates calling to me, and my stomach is grumbling like the Grinch. It was like being locked in the Christmas dungeon.
However, speaking of the Grinch, I had a plan. It came to me while watching that green goblin on TV, as he snuck down chimneys and through houses; I’ll just get up at 2 a.m. on Christmas morning while the Diet Detective is asleep, creep downstairs, and gobble down all the cookies I want. I could taste them right then. I saw myself biting these little brown heads off those gingerbread men. Scream all you want fellas, it won’t do you any good. I would trim those green Christmas trees with my teeth and melt those snowmen in my big, fat tummy; and the best thing is, my wife would never be the wiser.
So, there I was, ever so slowly sliding out of bed. She’s snored so loud it was like sleeping with a buzz-saw; drooled too. I could have done jumping jacks on the bed and she wouldn’t wake up.
I slide my feet into my Mickey Mouse slippers (a gift from the kids last year), slipped on my bathrobe with all the Homer Simpsons on it, and started my nefarious trip around the bed to the door.
Drats, caught! I froze, grumbling curses under my breath, ready to weep with disappointment.
I smiled innocently and turned around; “Yes, dear?”
Her eyes were closed as she pulled her pillow closer. “Turn off the air conditioner. It’s too cold in here.”
Oh, happiness! She was talking in her sleep! A quiet joy settled over me like a magical Christmas snow. I grinned with victory and tiptoed out the door.
Down the stairs I almost leaped to the bottom floor, my heart leaping like a gazelle and visions of sugarplums dancing in my head.
The lights were out, so I didn’t see the roller skate on the floor at the bottom of the stairs. Suddenly I was airborne; skidding across the floor in instant total terror, yelling at the top of my lungs, wondering what precious body part I’d break when I finally stopped and gravity takes over.
I whizzed past the tree, a dark shape in the gloom, past the living room couch. Why couldn’t I land there? At least it’s soft. On into the dining room, past my prize, the cookies set on the table, on into the kitchen, where all kinds of sharp things waited to impale me.
Bam! I hit the counter! I fall to the floor, dazed, but seemingly intact. And that’s when the end of the bag of flour I disturbed opened and a cascade of flour fell on my face in a puff of white.
I opened my eyes and blinked flour. I sat up and a white cloud followed me. I shook my head and more came down like a buildup of snow on a roof. I did a mental check; I’d be sore in the morning, but nothing seemed to be sticking out at odd angles. My large belly cushioned me; and my wife says being overweight is good for nothing!
I listened for the dreaded sounds that said my screams of terror and the noise of my crash had awoken the sleeping Prison Warden upstairs, but I hear nothing. I stand up, using the counter for support, and get uncooked dough on my hand. I wipe it off on my pajamas. The pictures of Homer Simpson on my robe smile at me like kindred spirits.
I’m wounded in body and dented in spirit, but it’s going to be worth it; I’m almost there. I head back into the dining room. It’s hard to see. Do I dare turn on the lights? Why not? It seems my lovely spouse can sleep through anything.
I flip the switch. Ah; there are the cookies, heaps and heaps of them, delectable and inviting. I take a step towards them, licking my lips.
Suddenly the air is shattered by the frantic howling of a wild beast! I jump back in panic and look towards the source of the sound.
Oh, diabolical wife of mine! She has tied our dachshund Linky’s leash to the table and left him as cookie guard! My normally loyal friend and lap buddy acts as if he’s never seen me before in his life.
The lights come on; my heart sinks as I realize that the jig is now up, thanks to my little canine Judas. My wife looks at me from the stairway, a smile of victory on her face. I smile back, trying to act natural.
Back in bed after a nice shower and a kiss from my jailer, I relish in the pleasure of the one cookie she let me have for my efforts; it was a tree with red sprinkles, and it was wonderful.