“So what I’m wondering is, why is this a matter for law enforcement?” Officer Faltermeyer said, squinting at the object in front of him, thumbs beltlooped.

“What I’m wondering is, how is it being powered?” Officer Hickenlooper said.

They’d gotten the call from MetroMart, concerned over unauthorized merriment that didn’t fit their corporate image–their store manager’s exact words to Jimmy Przewalski, the dispatcher. Two squad cars had responded because it was a slow Thursday, and they’d found an old drywall bucket filled with cement with the lopped-off head of a distinctly deciduous tree set in it. It was gaily strung with cheap LED lights, with the wires disappearing into the cement to draw their juice from a hidden, secret source.

“I guess it could be a bomb,” Hickenlooper went on. “Seeing as it seems to have some source of internal power.”

“You think someone would go to all the trouble of making a bomb in the shape of a half-assed Christmas tree?” replied Faltermeyer. “If they really wanted to hurt people, they would have spent ten dollars more for a whole-ass tree and put it at the front.”

“Well sorry, I did not realize you was an expert on bombs as well as Christmas trees,” Hickenlooper whined. “Did you get your Doctor of Trees degree first, or was it Doctor of Bombs?”

“I think someone had a vision that they lacked the arboreal and electrical skills to fully realize,” Faltermeyer drawled. “And upon this sobering realization, they abandoned their creation to which they had given light and life, much as the modern Prometheus Dr. Frankenstein spurned his own creation and recoiled from its ugliness.”

“Doctor of Trees first, then,” Hickenlooper said. “Sounds like there was an English major in there too someplace.”

“If you can’t liven up a weird-ass call on a boring-ass Thursday with a little rhetoric, then what are we even doing in the world?”

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