Worst Christmas Ever.
The day after Christmas 1998, I witnessed one of the most disturbing things imaginable. It was late morning, around 9:00 AM, when I decided to eat a baked potato for breakfast, a meal I would soon regret. As I stood in my kitchen, I heard the unmistakable sound of a woman screaming. You can always tell the difference between a playful scream and a genuine scream; the sound a little girl makes while playing is far different than the scream that emits from a woman who has, say, discovered she's run out of canned pineapple while she's halfway through a Jello® recipe.
This lady was clearly in trouble. Her incoherent cries seemed to be coming from the direction of the community swimming pool. (We lived in a condominium development, and the pool was located right across the street from our unit.) When I looked out the upper window, I saw the screaming lady standing over the jacuzzi, too much in shock to move. I instructed my mom to call 9-1-1 as I started downstairs to see what was going on. Upon arrival, I immediately wished I had stayed inside. The woman had found the body of a dead man floating in the jacuzzi.
"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..."
The dead guylet's call him . . . "Stu"had just been released from prison a day or two earlier, and had pretty much been drinking ever since. Stu decided that (in the spirit of Christmas) he would spend Boxing Day drinking in the jacuzzi. Although this was a particularly warm holiday season, Jack Frost was most assuredly "nipping at his nose," if you know what I mean. So the new parolee set out to enjoy his first days of freedom with copious amounts of the most unnecessary pool accessory of alla case of hootch.
Worst of all, at some point during a long night of boozing in the jacuzzi, our hero decided the next best way to celebrate the holiday was to release himself from the uncomfortable bindings of his bathing suit. Now, I don't want to be judgmental, and he was, after all, a new parolee enjoying real freedom for the first time in who knows how long, but I think getting naked and drunk while flying solo in a community jacuzzi right under the warning sign would have been enough to guarantee Stu a lump of coal next Christmas anyway.
Anyhoo, sometime in the early morning hours, with the combined effects of so much alcohol and steaming hot, foaming jacuzzi-water, Stu experienced exactly what the large, red-lettered warning sign next to the jacuzzi said would happen.
Intoxication combined with excessive heat plays havoc with a person's blood presure. Stu had apparently passed out and subsequently drowned.
Poor Stu's corpse must have simmered a few hours before the neighbor-lady located him. And that's how I came to be standing over his ghostly-white, naked, lifeless bodywith a piece of my baked potato still in my mouth and Stu's ghetto blaster still pumping out the poignant strains of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird."
Merry Christmas indeed.