[Originally published December 23, 2009.]

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Day 1

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree. Such a thoughtful gift, she knows how much I love fruit. She also knows my building’s pretty strict about pets so the bird threw me a little. But he is a cute little guy.

Day 2

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, two turtle doves. Wow, she’s really into the avian theme this year. Um, thank you? I guess I’ll just put them in the kitchen with the partridge and the pear tree, which suddenly seems a lot bigger than it did yesterday.

Days 3 & 4

On the third and fourth days of Christmas, she gave me three French hens and four calling birds. Funny, I don’t remember telling her my dream was to one day open a chapter of the Audubon Society. Jesus. You know what would have been nice? Some birdseed. I’m out of saltines and things are starting to get weird in here.

Day 5

On the fifth day of Christmas, she gave me five golden rings. See, now that’s a nice gift. A nice, practical gift. A little on the feminine side, but I’ll take it.

Day 6

Six geese a-laying. Hmm, that’s so weird because I was just telling someone that I could use some MORE FUCKING BIRDS. Do you have any idea how much shit six geese generate in a single day? Literally, pounds. Pounds of green, grassy turds. And in case you’re curious, all six of them have been a-laying since they got here. There are no less than seventy-five enormous eggs in my apartment right now. And as a side note, I just tried to make an omelet out of one of them and almost ralphed. Very gamy.

Day 7

Guess what I signed for this morning when the UPS guy rang my doorbell? Seven swans a-swimming. True story. So… no more baths for me, I guess. Thanks for that. These are terrible gifts! Terrible, confusing gifts. Do you know how big a fucking swan is? Or how mean those bastards are? Oh, and guess who swans don’t get along with? Geese, turtle doves, French hens, calling birds, and partridges. Glad you did your homework there. There’s more bird-on-bird violence going on right now than I care to mention.

Day 8

I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt on this one in case you ordered these eight maids a-milking online and there was some confusion, but just to clarify, there are eight middle-aged women wearing bonnets in my apartment right now. And they each brought a cow. Do you understand what I’m saying to you? They’re all here, in my STUDIO apartment, and judging by the size of their suitcases, they aren’t leaving anytime soon.

Day 9

Big day today. Not only did I receive the unexpected gift of nine ladies dancing, I also got a nice little note from my landlord. He covered all kinds of stuff, but in a nutshell it was about excessive dancing, illegal livestock, unnatural amounts of bird feces, and me not living here anymore. Big day.

Day 10

Ten lords a-fucking-leaping! Yes they are. Ten leotarded assholes are literally jumping around my apartment screaming “Wheeeeee!” every time their feet leave the goddamned ground! WHY?? Why are you doing this to me? You’re sick! I loved you so much and you destroyed it. You destroyed everything. Tensions in here are escalating faster than I could have imagined. The maids and dancers appear to have laid territorial claims in opposite corners of the apartment. They are not the same civilized ladies who arrived here a short time ago. They bear a darkness now. One of them stole my golden rings and I know just the one who did it. I’m waiting until nightfall and I will reclaim them through any means necessary. I’m beginning to fear something isn’t right with the birds, they’re watching me… conspiring… it’s just a matter of time.

Days 11 & 12

These final days have come and gone in a bewildering fog. I remember drummers. Pipers. Lots of them. I haven’t slept or washed my body in quite some time. Food is scarce… the fighting, fierce. I killed a lord today! Snatched him right out of the air and killed him with my bare hands. Now he doesn’t leap anymore. I used his leotard as a net to trap one of the swans. She was delicious. Didn’t even cook the old gal. Ha! I made everyone gather around and watch—that’s what you do when you want to send a message. A very important message! This is my castle! Do you all hear me? Do you see what I’ve done? What I am capable of!! No more eye contact with the king, do you understand? Or I will end you! I will end you all right here and now!! Now one of you fetch me a goddamned pear. The king needs something sweet.