I don't want to say anything, but God gives the crappiest Christmas gifts.

Well, you know, I was going to deck my post-Christmas blog entry with complaints but as it seems that thousands upon thousands of people are currently either dead or dying or merely enduring a tragedy of mind-boggling proportions, it feels wrong somehow.

But I will tell you about my Christmas present from our dog Charlie. Was it vomiting all over the backseat of my dad’s new car? No, that was his Christmas Eve gift. Charlie is nothing if not generous. Charlie’s Christmas gift was the gift of poop. All over his body. Yes, so filled with the Christmas spirit was Charlie that he elected to cavort in poop and then enter my parents’ home all proud and jaunty in his freshly browned fur.

He was less proud and decidedly less jaunty when we threw him in the bathtub and covered him in almost every solvent my mother had under her sink. (We spared him the Ajax.)

Other than that, wow, I’m speechless. Is it the apocalypse already? I had assumed we would be given maybe a few more decades.

To distract yourself from all the pipin’ fresh horror, I recommend a trip to your local bookstore to pick up a copy of Fence Magazine, Fall/Winter 2004/5, in which my story “The Panty Thief” appears. (And if that title doesn’t get you off your couch I don’t know what will.) This is not the first time my fiction has been published, but it is the first time I’ve been paid for my made-upperies, so I want to encourage everyone and anyone I know to buy a copy and reward Fence for their niceness. It’s a good magazine, really, and chock full of quality. But mostly you should read it for me. So go. Now. You heard me. I thank you.