By Roy Hudson
The group of millennial friends gathered together every year on December 23rd for a nondenominational winter party named for the fictional holiday featured in a popular television series from the 1990’s. The crowd usually enjoyed themselves. This year, Wayne Neuman was invited.
“Did you have to invite him? He’s no fun whatsoever.”
“Look, the guy spends the entire holiday season by himself. He lives across the hall; I thought it might be nice for him.”
The party’s host jumped, not realizing the neighbor that he and his three friends had just been discussing had approached. He nervously said, “Oh, hey, Wayne. Are you enjoying the party?”
“Not really. Did you have to name it Festivus?”
“Well, I didn’t want to name it after a religious holiday, because I thought that then my friends of different religions may have felt slighted. Why? What’s wrong with ‘Festivus’?”
Wayne scratched the back of his portly neck. “Well… it’s just that… my last name is Neuman. And even though it’s spelled differently, I used to take a lot of flack over that TV show. And since your name is Gerry, I don’t know… I can’t help but think that maybe you were mocking me.”
“Wayne, don’t be ridiculous. My name isn’t spelled the same as the star of the show, either. It’s just a coincidence. That’s what I’ve called this party every winter for the past six years, since before you moved here. If you’d like, we can change the tradition.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, we could call it something else. Tomorrow’s Christmas Eve. I read that the night before Santa’s visit, a demon named Krampus would come to punish the bad kids. We could call it Krampus Night!”
Wayne scoffed. “Don’t be stupid, Gerry. Krampusnacht is on December 5th, and he would travel with Saint Nicholas, before the modern version of Santa Claus was ever created.”
Jason, one of Gerry’s friends, said, “I don’t know. If he’s a demon, he could come and go as he pleases, right? He might enjoy a good Festivus party.”
Wayne Neuman was about to answer when a voice came from the door: "Damn straight!"
Without warning, the front door exploded, sending wooden shrapnel flying at the revelers. A demon, presumably Krampus, emerged. It stood eight feet tall, was covered in ash, and its horns curled under a party hat upon its head. With its long tongue swaying from its mouth, Krampus said, “Hello, Neuman,” and with that, it unfolded a large, dirty sack, into which it thrust the screaming Wayne before rushing to the twentieth-storey window of Gerry’s apartment and smashing it. Before making the leap from the window, Krampus said, “Now it’s a great party. Have fun, kids. Be…” It paused, as if the next word came with some great difficulty: “Nice.”
Seconds later, Krampus and Wayne were gone, leaving Gerry’s guests wondering what the hell had happened.
“Jesus,” Jason exclaimed. “No wonder he hates Festivus.”