“Hi honey, I’m home,” Joe said as he walked into his home. He tossed his keys onto the side table and looked at his uncle, Brian Lee Moose, who was busily weaving a string of lights around the framed photos hanging on the walls. Another person was crouched down against an opposite wall, fiddling with a power supply strip.
“Alright, kid,” he said in his Brooklyn accent, “let it rip!”
The lights flicked on, showing a grid of sparkling lights that illuminated every frame. Joe noticed that the doorways were covered with bright, silvery garland and clear glass ornaments.
Brian took a step back and nodded. “That’s pretty nice, kid.”
“Thank you sir.” The lights switched off, and the figure straightened up. He turned, giving a sharp double profile of Joe. “Anything else?”
“Nah, kid. I think we’re done here in the room.” Brian turned to find Joe. “Heya, nephew. What’s shaking?”
The other person turned to focus on Joe, showing a somewhat carbon copy of him. His antlers were already gone. “Hey.”
“Brad and I were decorating the room,” Brian said, waving a hand to the lights and the garlands. “How went Bar Jocks?”
Joe shrugged. “They want me to dress as Santa. I saw the costume they want me to be in.” He gestured with his hands. “It’s…kinky.”
Brian had to stifle a grin. “No doubt.”
“In the meanwhile, I have to go later today to get a harness measured.” A choking sound had Joe look at Brian. “Eh?”
He shook his head and covered his mouth with a closed hand. “Nothing,” he said as he cleared his throat. “Just a bit of dust.”
Brian smiled. “That’s your father right there, kid. Did that all the time when he was your age.”
Joe blushed. A week after the fateful meeting between him and Brian left him at a loss. How was he to deal with the situation?
“It’s a damned shame you ain’t old enough to see him in action,” Brian continued. “I’d happily get you in if you wanted to.”
“Uncle!” Joe exclaimed. Brad went into a fiery blush.
“Heck, he could get a few lessons from those two rats.”
Brian held up his hands in mock surrender. “I’m just saying, nephew. Just saying.”
Joe sighed heavily and gave his uncle a steely glare before going up to Bradley. “Anything you want for Christmas?”
Joe reached over and pulled his son into a tight hug, which was returned with interest.
“It’s been tough on you, I imagine,” he said, rubbing Brad’s back. “I don’t even know how you celebrated the holidays. But I’ll make it up to you.” He hugged tighter, giving his son a trademark moosesnug. “I promise.”
“Mmmph!” Brad said, waving his hands a bit.
Moose immediately loosened his embrace. “Oh yeah, sorry.” He chuckled a bit. “I get carried away sometimes.”
“That’s saying something, kid,” Brian said. He was standing next to the power strip and pushed the button there, illuminating the room. “You always get carried away.”
Joe stuck his tongue at his uncle, then focused on his son. “Alright, tell me what you want to do, and we’ll do it. Deal?”
Brian nodded slowly. “Deal.”