Chip’s White Trash Christmas
It was the most magical time of the year again, and Chip had just been released (I.e. kicked out for bad behavior) from another 28-day rehab program. This time, the rehab facility was an inpatient program in Montana, which his wealthy, older brother, Professor Peeper, had so graciously footed the bill for. It was the third time in four years that Chip had been to rehab for alcohol and class A substance abuse, and the third time he’d failed to complete the program. Chip called his parents in Greenwich, CT, to see if he could crash there until after the holidays, but they were on a cruise in the Mediterranean and were not comfortable with Chip being alone in their house.
Unfortunately, Chip’s best friend, TJ, was going through a nasty divorce and had also resorted to moving into his parent’s plastic tool shed, so crashing with him was no longer an option. Out in the cold, and without money for even a bus or plane ticket back to the East coast, Chip used a payphone in the Greyhound station to call up his brother, Professor Peeper. Peeper, ever the concerned and dutiful older sibling, told Chip he could Western Union him some cash for a plane ticket, and that he could spend a couple of weeks in his Manhattan town house.
The only foreseeable issue, was that Professor Peeper was set to leave for Africa to do his usual pre-Christmas charity sabbatical. Every year, he took a two week leave before Christmas to help de-worm orphans in Somalia. He couldn’t cancel the trip, but he certainly didn’t trust Chip to be alone in NYC and alone in his multi-million dollar townhouse. But, family is family, and even if his brother was a troubled, tortured, reckless drug addict with a penchant for fucking shit up, he couldn’t stand to turn him out onto the streets before the holidays. He also didn’t want to put him up in a hotel, because the last time he did that, there was a legal suit involved after Chip threw a party involving call girls and members of the Mexican drug cartel and trashed the room.
And so it was, that Peeper ended up sending some money via Western Union and instructed Chip to catch the next flight from Montana to JFK. Chip was really excited to be in NYC during the holiday season – it had been years since he’d taken a trip there before Christmas, and he couldn’t wait to see all of the lights and window displays. He caught a cab to the airport, and upon checking in, he was offered an upgrade from coach to first class. Chip had never flown first class before, and was really excited. After checking in, he decided to treat himself to a couple of brewskis, with some of the extra cash his brother had sent, while he was waiting for his flight. He never was a fan of flying, and since he didn’t have any xanax on him, he figured a couple of beers would help ease his anxiety before boarding the plane.
First class was better than he expected, and feeling both self-indulgent and luxurious, Chip decided to treat himself to a few bloody-Mary’s over the course of the flight. By the time the plane touched down at JFK, Chip was three sheets to the wind. Knowing that his brother would be waiting at the gate for him, Chip attempted to pull himself together and appear not as drunk as he was… but it was impossible. Luckily Peeper was not there, but instead he had sent his private driver, Gustav, who was waiting with a large sign which read “CHIP ROTHSCHILD III.” Chip felt his face grow hot with embarrassment when he saw the driver holding a sign with his full name on it. He marched drunkenly up to the driver and said “Geez buddy, put that sign down. I don’t want people questioning who is a Rothschild around here!” The driver obliged and led Chip to the black, Mercedes-Benz S Class. Chip slid into the back seat and started looking around for the champagne, but there was none to be found. “Hey buddy,” Chip said to Gustav, “what do you say I slide you a $50 and we make a pit stop at the nearest liquor store?” “I’m sorry sir, but your brother instructed me to make no stops and accept no cash from you. However, seeing as how you appear quite intoxicated, perhaps I can make an exception and we can stop to get you some food.” “In that case, get me Wendy’s, homie!” And so, on the way back to Manhattan from Brooklyn, they made a stop at a Wendy’s drive-thru, where Chip proceeded to spend $50 of his leftover cash, on the following: 10-piece chicken nugget, 3 Jr. bacon cheeseburgers, 4 large fries, 1 baconator, and 3 frosties.
Luckily the food helped to sober up Chip before he arrived at 768 Fifth Avenue. Chip rang the bell and his brother opened the heavy front door to find Chip standing on the stoop, with a backpack containing all of his earthly possessions. With a warm smile on his face, Prof. Peeper exclaimed “good to see you brother!” and wrapped Chip into a long hug. When Chip stepped inside the foyer his mind was blown. He knew his brother had money, but he hadn’t been to his new apartment since he moved in 5 years ago. Everything was marble and rich mahogany wood, and heavy velvet drapes hung from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Fresh bouquets of flowers and extravagant Christmas decorations accented and added to the luxury of it all. “Wow, this place is fancy as fuck!” Chip said, as he reached out to touch a delicate, ivory sculpture. “Ah, Chip… CHIP!!! Please don’t touch that. We need to set a few ground rules while you are here, because as you know, I am leaving for Somalia to de-worm orphans tomorrow morning, and I won’t be back until Christmas Eve, when we both go to Greenwich for Christmas with the family.”
And so, chip put his rucksack in one of the five guest bedrooms, and after having a Wendy’s-induced blowout in a golden toilet, made his way downstairs to the library, to chat with his brother. Professor Peeper set several rules for Chip to abide by while he was in Africa, including, but not limited, to the following:
- No guests in the house.
- No touching anything besides furniture and food in the cabinets and fridge.
- No alcohol or drugs are allowed in this house.
- No loud music or loud TV.
- No fires in the fireplace, just use the thermostat.
- Always double check that electronics and stove etc. is off before you leave the house
- Make sure you have the house key before you leave the house.
- And lastly, do not go into the library or my private studio… for any reason.
Chip responded “Yes, Sir!” after hearing Peeper’s list of rules. Peeper made chip sign a contract promising to follow the rules, and afterward, the two brothers went out for dinner at Daniel, the three Michelin-star restaurant (Peeper’s treat, naturally). Peeper had to lend Chip a jacket and shoes to wear, and he prayed that Chip would be on his best behavior, considering that Peeper was a regular there and good friends with the Sommelier, being a bit of a wine-connoissuer himself.
Once they had been seated and the sommelier came over to the table, Peeper and the sommelier made small talk about the benefit gala for underprivileged supermodels they had both recently attended. Peeper suggested that perhaps they might want to begin with a smooth, white wine, with notes of citrus, and the sommelier said he would be back shortly. He returned and presented the bottle to both Chip and Peeper, and poured a bit into Chip’s glass. He stood back and waited. “Bro, what is that?! For the price we’re paying here, you better better fill that shit up to the top. Give me that bottle!” he said, as he reached to take the bottle out of the sommelier’s hands. The sommelier’s mouth hung open in shock, and Peeper put his hand to his forehead and shook his head slowly back-and-forth in disbelief, as Chip filled his own glass to the top, and then proceeded to fill his brother’s glass. Peeper was so embarrassed, that he had turned a shade of fuchsia, and apologized profusely to the sommelier.
After the sommelier walked away, Peeper explained to Chip that he was meant to taste the wine and let the server know whether or not he liked it. Chip explained that the only time he tasted a drink before drinking it, was if there was a new bartender at his local bar and he needed to make sure they made his Manhattan properly, before downing it in one go. The rest of dinner did not go much more smoothly – Chip tucked his napkin into his collar and sat holding a knife in one hand and a fork in the other with both elbows on the table, when he saw their main courses coming out. When the server placed down the plates of duck, Chip said out loud “what the hell is this? A joke? Where is the rest of the bird?!” He made loud slurping noises when he tried to suck escargot directly from their shells instead of using the small fork. But the worst part was when he refused to try a raw oyster, and announced loudly, for all to hear “hell no I ain’t tryin’ that – reminds me of my ex girlfriend’s cooter!”
After Peeper had spent $700 on dinner for two, Chip announced that he was still starving and would need to stop by a taco truck on the way home. “Now this is what I call gourmet,” he said shoving a whole carne asada taco into his mouth. Peeper had fortunately planned ahead, and had his assistant place a grocery delivery order earlier in the day, with all of Chip’s favorite foods – Kraft macaroni and cheese, hot pockets, frozen White Castle burgers, Flamin’ hot Cheetos, red Gatorade, Ballpark wieners, and a case of peanut butter. Knowing that the cabinets would be stocked with Chip’s favorites, gave Prof. Peeper some comfort. He also left some cash for Chip to use for take out, and gave him a list of his favorite take out spots. He told Chip to call him or text if he needed anything or had any questions while he was away. The next morning, while Chip was still asleep, Peeper boarded a private plane for Africa. He prayed that he would come home to an intact house, and that nothing would be broken or missing.
Chip woke up in a four-poster, king size bed in Peeper’s incredible townhouse, and his first thought was “hell yeah! Let’s get this party started.” He counted the cash that Peeper had left him for spending money – $400 to last him 10 days, in a house that was already stocked with all the food he would need. Perfect! That meant he could spend all of it shopping for Christmas presents for his family and on some booze, just to see him through until Christmas. Chip couldn’t wait to explore the city, but first, he explored Peeper’s three-story town house (four-stories if you counted the basement), top to bottom. Even though Peeper had instructed Chip not to enter the library or his studio, he didn’t lock either door. Good to know, Chip thought to himself as he peaked his head inside the just to take a quick look around.
Chip made himself a couple of spiked eggnog cocktails for breakfast (’twas the season, after all!) using a delicious bourbon he found on the bar cart in Peeper’s parlor (The Boss Hog VII: Magellan’s Atlantic). After he had a nice buzz going, he threw on some ripped jeans, a flannel shirt, a too-big puffer jacket that Peeper had lent him, and made sure his wallet and wallet chain were in place. He headed out the door and decided to check out the shops on 5th Ave. He started at Bergdorf’s, since it was next-door. The staff was incredibly rude, and Chip had to hunt down a sales person to inquire about the cost of some rings in a jewelry display. He didn’t know why they didn’t just display the prices to begin with, but when the sales lady took out a ring he wanted to buy for his mom, he almost passed out to learn that it was $35,000 and not $35. “You mean to tell me some polished up rocks really cost this much?! Good luck finding anyone to buy that, lady!”
Chip left Bergdorf’s and headed to Tiffany and Co., where he got caught in the revolving door and banged his head on the glass because it started spinning too fast. The prices in Tiffany’s were even more outrageous than the ones in Bergdorf’s. Chip stopped by Bvlgari, Cartier, Versace, and Miu Miu, where he had similar experiences with rude sales staff and encountered price tags he had never seen in his life. He hit up one of those tourist shops with all of the “I ❤ NY” merchandise, as his final stop of the day, and bought everyone a matching “I ❤ NY” $9.99 tee shirt from the sales rack. He figured they could all wear their matching tees and take a family picture by the tree on Christmas morning. After a long afternoon of shopping and sight-seeing, Chip decided he could use a couple of drinks.
Chip stopped by Playwright Celtic Pub on 8th Avenue and ordered a few Manhattan’s before he grew more bold and decided to try a Strawbellini. The Strawbellini was so good he had a couple more. The next thing he knew, he had rung up a $140 bar tab and had to piss like a race horse. He walked to the men’s room to take a leak, and it was just as foul as the nastiest gas station bathroom he had ever seen. He couldn’t pee there, he thought, otherwise he risked being assaulted from behind by a deviant hiding out in a stall while his back was turned using the urinal. He paid his tab and booked it outside where he found an empty parking lot in which to relieve himself. Midway through peeing, someone hollered “Hey! You can’t do that there! People can see you!” Terrified of being arrested for public indecency (it had happened to him a few times before), he pulled his jeans up while he was still peeing, and ran down the street with his shopping bag in tow. He now had a large, cold wet spot on the front of his jeans, and was so drunk that he couldn’t run a straight line.
After he figured he was safely out of danger’s way, he bought three hot dogs from a corner hot dog stand, and wolfed them down. He choked them down in two bites or less, much like a Coney Island Hot Dog Eating champion. It was quite a sight for the tourists passing by, to see him deep-throating the hot dogs like that. Someone took a video which later went viral on Instagram (but that’s a story for another day). Chip hit up a deli before he reached Peeper’s place to grab a couple 40’s of Olde English. He didn’t want to deplete his brother’s expensive collection of alcohol – he’d done that before, and the entire family was pissed at him for it. Chip watched Adult Swim on Comedy Central for much of the night and then rented some adult films. It was so nice to have cable and all of the premium channel options available, since he couldn’t even afford Netflix.
The next several days were pretty uneventful but a much needed break from the daily hustle and grind to which Chip was accustomed. He started each day with his spiked eggnog drinks for breakfast, and then would take a leisurely stroll around the park, followed by an afternoon spent drinking and shooting the shit with some local barflies at all of the dive bars and Irish pubs on and around 8th Avenue. He had found his tribe! On the afternoon of the 21st, two days before Prof. Peeper was due to arrive home, Chip was hanging out with his newfound friends at Billy Mark’s Tavern, playing pool and getting crunk, when someone suggested they find some blow. Chip told the fellas that he couldn’t do the hard stuff with them, after multiple stints in rehab, but he did have the name of a guy from back in the day.
Chip used his track phone to text his old dealer, Pinky. The guy ran the best drug delivery service in the entire five boroughs, if you were in the market for some grade-A cocaine. He had three or four employees and they would always meet you in under an hour wherever you were – home, out at the club, at a restaurant. It was really a great enterprise. The best part was that they would come into your apartment, so you didn’t have to make any transactions on the street or in a car. Pinky texted Chip back immediately and said he’d meet him at Billy Mark’s in 40 minutes. Chip told his squad, and the guys rejoiced.
Pinky showed up after 35 minutes and came inside to make the deal with Chip. The four guys that Chip was hanging out with, little Kyle, Pedro, Tyrone, and Marv, collectively put in $300 for 3 grams of the good stuff. Chip figured this should be more than enough for the evening, since he wasn’t going to be partaking. The guys had a few more rounds of brewskis before moving onto a celebratory round of Old Fashioned’s, making frequent trips to the men’s room to imbibe in a little nose candy. Chip started feeling left out, and the more drunk he became, the harder it was to turn down offers from the fellas to do a key-bump here or there. Chip threw in the towel and had a couple of bumps before suggesting they take the party uptown to Prof. Peeper’s townhouse. It was against his better judgment, bringing a group of deviants over to his brother’s place, but he wanted to impress the guys and didn’t want go home alone just to watch videos on PornHub all night.
The boys piled into a yellow taxi cab and headed uptown to Peeper’s residence. When they arrived, Marv and Tyrone, who were best friends and convicted felons, gave each other the side eye. As they stepped into the foyer, Marv elbowed Tyrone’s rib cage and whispered, “bro, we gotta get on this shit.” Luckily (or disturbingly, rather), the only way Marv could get laid was by roofie-ing women, and so he always had a couple of roofies on him. They hatched a plan to roofie Chip, in order to steal some shit. Luckily Chip was already well on his way to a state of black-out drunkenness, and wouldn’t remember much of the evening at all, with or without the help of GHB.
Chip gave the guys a tour of Peeper’s mansion, and put some Metallica on the state-of-the-art surround-sound system. They all ended up in the library, as it was the coziest and most luxurious room in the house. Chip got into Peeper’s private stash of alcohol, including the $500 bourbon and a bottle of Fireball. After doing a few rounds of fire ball shots and copious lines of blow, Chip found his brother’s little black book of contacts in a desk drawer. The contact book was full of professionals, intellectuals, professors at ivy league universities, and celebrities. “Hey guys, check out this contact book I just found! Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Prince Charles are listed in here. What do you say we make some prank phone calls?” And so, fucked out of their minds, the boys prank called Oprah first, and then proceeded to call a dozen other celebrities. Chip probably didn’t even need roofying at this point, but when he had his back turned to do another line off of Peeper’s coffee table, Marv dropped a roofie into his shot glass.
Somewhere in between the roofie coming up and making the prank phone calls, lil’ Kyle knocked over a ceramic sculpture that was on Peeper’s mahogany desk as he was twerking to “Whiskey in the Jar” by Metallica. “It’s cool, lil’ Kyle, it’s cool. I’ll just superglue it back together tomorrow”, Chip said. Then suddenly, Chip was overcome with an extreme wave of nausea, and before he could make it to the bathroom toilet, he projectile vomited onto Peeper’s antique, imported $46,000 Persian carpet. “Oh FUUUUUCCCKKK” all of the guys said in unison, as Chip crawled across the floor and onto a leather sofa. “Yo, let’s get the fuck out of here”, Pedro said. The guys grabbed the half-consumed bottles of liquor, and a couple of unopened bottles for the road. On their way out, Tyrone and Marv grabbed a Civil War musket that Peeper had mounted on a wall display, along with one of the original 13-star colonial American flags. “You think he is gonna be OK?” Tyrone said to Marv on their way down the front steps. “Don’t worry, I do this all the time – they usually pass out for a few hours and then just wake up hungover as fuck with no memory of what happened. Besides, we will never see him again.”
Chip woke up dazed and confused 6 hours later. It was 10am, and he had a splitting headache and a mouth so dry he couldn’t swallow. He crawled to the kitchen to to get some water, and surveying the damage done to his brother’s house, considered slitting his wrist. Even though he was beyond hungover, he knew he couldn’t relax. There was vomit all over his brother’s fancy carpet, in the library, no less, the ONE room he was supposed to have stayed out of. There was also a smashed sculpture lying in pieces on and around the desk, empty liquor bottles, and general disarray everywhere he looked. “Fuck my goddamn life”, Chip said out loud to himself thru the brain fog. “I feel like death but there is no way my anxiety is going to let me sleep knowing this mess is here waiting for me to fix it.”
And so, Chip, who was absolutely famished having not eaten any food in the last 36-hours, decided he’d better get some grub in his belly before embarking on the task at hand. He ordered some Thai delivery, and when the delivery guy showed up he realized he was all out of cash. “Hold on a second,” he told the delivery boy, “let me go grab some cash.” Chip remembered seeing some coins on display in the glass coffee table in Peeper’s library. He opened the lid of the display table and grabbed a handful of coins, assuming each one was about $1, since they were the same size as the $1 Sacajawea coins. He counted out 22 coins for the delivery guy, who gave him a funny look. “Don’t worry dude, they’re worth a dollar each… these ain’t no nickels.” Little did Chip know, that the coins he’d just used to pay for his Thai food were actually extremely rare Portuguese coins, which had been salvaged from a 1546 shipwreck off the coast of Barbados. Each coin had an approximate value of $120,000.
Chip spent the next 10 hours scrubbing the vomit from the Persian carpet, carefully super-gluing together the pieces and fragments of the broken ceramic statue, filling empty liquor bottles with water/colored water so they looked full again, and making sure everything was back in its rightful place. He honestly could not remember anything from the night before. He wasn’t even sure how he got home from Billy Marks Tavern, or who else had come home with him. He had a vague memory of dancing to Metallica while standing on his brother’s desk, but that was it. After everything was cleaned up, glued back together, and in its place again, Chip boiled up a pack of hot dogs for dinner and cracked open a ’40 of Olde English, which he had hidden in his backpack a few days ago.
He drank his malt liquor piss warm and watched a YouTube video of guys shooting beer cans, as he gobbled down his dinner of eight lukewarm hot dogs, dipped in ketchup. He felt slightly more relaxed now that his splitting headache and nausea had subsided and everything was picked up. His brother would be home the next day and then they would travel to Greenwich, CT together, for Christmas at their parent’s house. As Chip watched a group of hillbillies shooting beer cans on YouTube, the idea dawned on him that perhaps, he might like to do some target practice too, just to relieve some stress. He found an antique Nazi gun in a lit, display cabinet mounted on the wall behind the desk in Prof. Peeper’s office. He figured his brother wouldn’t mind if he borrowed the gun to bring home to CT, where his parents had a big enough property to practice some shooting. He opened the display cabinet and put the gun into his backpack. That night, Chip fell asleep on the sofa in the living room, watching infomercials about Russian mail-order brides.
Chip was startled awake the next morning by the sound of the front door opening. He was still on the living room couch, in his boxers, with the remote in his hand and infomercials playing in the background, when his brother walked in with two large suitcases dragging behind him. “Hey bro! How did de-worming children in Angola go?” Chip inquired. “It was actually Somalia, Chip. It went well enough, I suppose. I helped to dig three new wells for the village that I was staying in, and I also single-handedly built an all-girls school for grades pre-K to 12th grade while I was there. How was your week in the big apple? Make any new friends?” “Oh, not really”, Chip said. “Things were pretty quiet around here – just did some Christmas shopping for the fam and a little sightseeing.” Prof. Peeper took a look around the room and then brought his suitcases upstairs to his bedroom to unpack and pack a few bag for their trip to Greenwich.
Prof. Peeper was exhausted and jet-lagged from his sojourn to Africa, and so after unpacking, he took a shower, had a light dinner and went straight to sleep, with his bag ready and packed for their trip to Connecticut the next morning. While Peeper was asleep upstairs, Chip got a text from lil’ Kyle: “Bro, you were off the fuckin’ hook the another night! I hope you recovered alright. I was really worried about you when we all left, but the guys said you’d be fine.” FUCK. Chip really didn’t remember anyone else coming home with him or being in his brother’s house. He didn’t even remember getting home himself and figured it must have been by the grace of God or with the help of a guardian angel that he’d gone from doing bumps of coke in the bathroom of Billy Marks Tavern, to ending up safe and sound on his brother’s leather sofa. God only knows what damages he may have overlooked in cleaning the place up, since he didn’t know who came over or what exactly what had transpired before he fell asleep. For all he knew, someone might have stolen something…
The next morning at 9:30am, the boys were packed and ready to drive to CT, when Peeper did a final walk-thru of the house, just to make sure everything was turned off and unplugged, since he’d be gone for a few days. He noticed the coin collection looked a big scant, and he also noticed that some something seemed to be missing from the wall, but he didn’t know exactly what was missing since he had a lot of artwork on the wall to begin with – all of which had been selected and hung by a designer. “Hey Chip, you didn’t rearrange the artwork or anything I had hanging on the walls did you? Things look a little different, but maybe it’s just me.” “No. Absolutely not!” Chip said. Meanwhile, his palms were sweating and he could feel his cheeks flush red hot. “Let’s just hurry up and get out of here. I cannot wait to be home”, he said to his older brother. And so, the two brothers made the two hour car drive to Greenwich.
When they arrived, their parent’s welcomed them with warm hugs. “It is so good to have both of you home at the same time!”, Chip’s mom said. “Yeah, last year it was just the three of us because little Chippy was in that rehab out in Arizona,” his dad said. “Good to have you home, son!”. After the boys put their bags away in their childhood bedrooms and washed up, the family sat down for lunch. Chip’s parent’s asked him about his time at Peeper’s apartment in NYC and asked Peeper all about his travels to Africa. They also set a few ground rules for Chip. “Chip, tomorrow when we go to your uncle’s house for Christmas dinner, you are not allowed to use the bathroom unattended. Ever since you stole your uncle’s pain meds for his herniated disc a couple of years ago, he doesn’t trust you to be in the bathroom alone with the medicine cabinet. He wasn’t comfortable with you coming over at all, but we told him we’d make sure Peeper or your father went into the bathroom with you. We just couldn’t bear the thought of you sitting home alone on Christmas day.”
After they wrapped up lunch, it was decided that Peeper would go with his father to the Greenwich Country Club to help distribute the Toys-for-Tots presents to less fortunate families. This was their annual tradition. Meanwhile, Chip usually stayed home with his mom to help bake and decorate Christmas cookies. But this year, he had a new plan in mind. His mother had mentioned that she hadn’t had time to run to the grocery store yet to pick up a chicken to roast for Christmas dinner. Chip decided he would help her out and go get the chicken himself. He told his mom that he needed to borrow the car to run to the grocery store. She was hesitant to let Chip use her brand new Audi Q5, given his history of DUIs and reckless driving, but she figured he was sober and the grocery store was only a couple of miles away. And so, chip went upstairs and grabbed his backpack, the contents of which included the antique Nazi gun that he had borrowed from his brother’s townhouse. Chip was going to shoot himself a chicken for Christmas dinner, and he knew just the place to do it.
Chip drove his mom’s black Audi Q5 up the hill and out of town to old man Horton’s farm. Chip had gone to school with his grandson, Willie Horton, and when they were friends back in elementary school, Chip had spent many summer days running around and playing on this farm. He knew old man Horton kept a small flock of chickens for laying fresh eggs, and he figured the old man wouldn’t mind if he wanted to use one for Christmas dinner. Chip didn’t see any lights on in the house nor did he see any cars in the drive way. You see – he was looking to let old man Horton know what he was planning to do before doing it, just to make sure it was OK. But since nobody was home, he figured ‘no harm, no foul.’ Chip loaded the gun and walked up to the chicken wire fence, which separated him from the chicken coop, and a small patch of land with about 8 hens pecking around, inside. He took aim and shot a large, rust colored chicken point blank. The sound of the gunshot in the chill, December air was absolutely deafening, and the chicken went down right away in an explosion of feathers. Chip put the gun back into his backpack, grabbed the dead bird by its feet so that it was hanging upside down, and started walking back to his car, when all of a sudden he heard a screen door burst open.
“WHAT IN GOD’S NAME ARE YOU DOIN’ OUT HERE?!” Old man Horton came out of his house and onto the back porch using his walker, moving just as fast as it would allow him. “WHAT in the ALMIGHTY HELL do you THINK YOU ARE DOING HERE?!” Chip turned around, holding the dead chicken, to see the angry old man standing there in long johns, rubber boots and a wool, buffalo plaid vest. He was visibly trembling in anger, and he had a fireplace poker in one hand which he’d raised up into the air. Before Chip could say anything, the old man squinted. Old man Horton recognized him: “Chip Rothschild? Is that YOU?!” The old man yelled. “Boy, you’d better get your ass in here, cause’ I’m calling your Daddy about this.”
Chip walked towards the house with his head down, and laid the dead chicken on a porch chair before stepping inside. Old man Horton called Chip’s dad and explained over the phone how his grown son had just shot one of his chickens, point-blank. Chip’s dad apologized profusely to the old man, and assured him he would be compensated for his loss. After the old man was done talking with Chip’s dad, and before Chip left, the old man then turned to lecture him. He told him that he was lucky he was walking off his property alive, saying that if he’d been a younger man, he would have kicked Chip’s ass or possibly even shot him in retaliation after finding a stranger blasting chickens on his private property. Despite all of it, the old man let Chip keep the dead bird. He said it was of no use to him now, since it was pumped full of lead.
When Chip got back home, chaos ensued. A huge argument broke out between him and his parent’s and Peeper, with all three of them ganging up on Chip and accusing him of terrible things and past grievances, which may or may not have all been true. Then, his parents started arguing with each other, just like they always did when Chip fucked up: “Well maybe if you didn’t keep giving him chance after chance and always letting him come home, he would have leaned his lesson by now!”, his father screamed. “Maybe if you weren’t so hard on him, and didn’t show so much favoritism towards Peeper, he wouldn’t have such low self-esteem that led him down this dark path!”, his mom cried back. Meanwhile, Professor Peeper, who just couldn’t stomach such volatile yelling and tension, began busying himself by cleaning the house and frosting Christmas cookies. It was always what he did when Chip had caused a fight or started uproar in the house – cleaning and baking and cooking.
Chip’s parents asked where the hell he’d even gotten the gun, and he confessed that he’d borrowed it from a display case on his brother’s wall. Professor Peeper couldn’t even be angry. He was relieved when Chip handed over the gun safe and sound. After all, its estimated value was $350K, since it had once been owned by Hitler. He was also relieved that Chip only killed a chicken, and not a person. At least no one was going to jail this Christmas Eve. While the boys’ parents were still arguing downstairs, Peeper lectured Chip in his old bedroom. Chip always felt like such dirt around his family. He could never be good enough. He would never be as smart or good-looking or as successful as his older brother. He was an embarrassment to the family name.
Once Peeper was done lecturing him, Chip told his family he needed to cool down and have some alone time, so that he could contemplate his actions. He told his family he was going for a walk, and then he left the house to take a long walk… right to the local bar. It was already dark, since it was 6pm on Christmas Eve. Chip made the half-mile journey into town, and was happy to see some familiar faces when he entered the bar on main street. His favorite bartender, Amber, was working. He also saw big Dick sitting at the bar, and Mo. Chip bellied up to the bar and ordered a Manhattan made with Wild Turkey – his favorite drink of all time, and Amber knew just how to make them! In addition to the regulars, there were also a few new faces in the bar. Chip spotted a couple of guys that he’d gone to high school with, and a group of guys he didn’t recognize sitting in a corner booth and eating wings. Chip struck up a conversation with Amber: “Kind of sad that we’re all at this here bar on Christmas Eve, wouldn’t you say?” Amber replied, “I mean, we would all rather be here than whatever or whoever is at home right now, wouldn’t we? That’s why I guess we’re all here tonight.”
Chip had another Manhattan and then bought a round of shots for the entire bar (all 12 people), using the money his grandma had sent him for Christmas. Everyone was getting good and jolly, talking with one another and commiserating over the fact that they were all the black sheep of their families, hanging out at the local bar on Christmas Eve. Someone put AC/DC on the jukebox, and shit started to get wild. By this point (9pm) everyone was wasted, especially after Amber made a round of lemon drop shots, and insisted everyone in the bar take a body shot off of her, while she was lying on the bar. Chip struck up a conversation with the group of new guys, and they were getting along well. They had a lot in common – all had grown up in the area, all had been to rehab or jail at least once in their lives, and all of them had rich families who frowned upon their lifestyles.
After bonding with the crew of new guys (there were three of them), one of them, Teddy, suggested that they should all take a cruise around town in his Jeep and look at Christmas lights. He insisted that he was sober enough to drive, and the other guys believed him. By this point, Chip was blackout drunk. He was functional, and you couldn’t tell how drunk he was since he wasn’t slurring yet and could still walk etc.. But he would have no recollection of anything from this point forward. And so, the four guys piled into Teddy’s 1995 Jeep Cherokee, and cruised around Greenwich, CT looking at Christmas lights on yuppy’s mansions and passing around a joint that was laced with Angel Dust. At some point, the guys became convinced that a cop was following them in an undercover cop car. They became totally paranoid, and turned off the headlights and pulled into a cornfield. The car continued down the road that they had been on, and they decided to call it a night.
Chip, ever the one to keep the party going, suggested that perhaps they should all come over to his parents’ house to have a nightcap in the finished basement. And so, they drove to his parents’ place, parked the Jeep on the street so as to minimize any noise, and all four guys quietly tiptoed into the side door of the house and down the stairs to the basement, led by Chip. There was a sweet bar set-up downstairs, and Chip prepared spiked eggnog for everyone while a burning yule log played on the projector. Chip passed out on the carpet with the yule log playing in the background after getting half-way through his eggnog.
Chip woke up five hours later, parched as fuck. He looked at the time on his glow-in-the-dark analog watch, and it was 5:36 am. He was so fucking thirsty he was dying. He crawled up the basement stairs and got himself a large glass of water from the kitchen sink. He plugged in his cellphone, which had died hours earlier, and as soon as it came on again, it blew up with text messages that his concerned parents and brother had sent hours before. “Chip, it’s mom and dad. We are sorry that we yelled at you earlier, but it’s Christmas Eve and we wish that you were going to mass with us right now” (7:40 pm). “Chip, mom and dad are really worried. Where are you???” his brother had texted at 8:28 pm. There were several more worried texts, sent between 9 pm and midnight. Chip sighed deeply. He knew he would be in deep shit tomorrow for not answering his phone, but at least he was home, safe and sound. He got another glass of water and went upstairs to his bedroom.
Chip woke up again at 8:30 am to the scent of coffee brewing downstairs and his mom’s cinnamon buns baking in the oven. He could hear Nat King Cole Christmas songs playing softly from downstairs. He smiled to himself as he lay in bed… some things never changed, and that was a beautiful thing. He might have been hungover as fuck, but he felt like a child again, waking up on Christmas morning in his parents house. He couldn’t wait to see what Santa had brought him. He rolled out of bed and walked downstairs to the living room, with his bag of “I ❤ NY” tee shirts in hand, to gift to his family members. His dad was pacing around the living room nervously, and Peeper was sitting on the couch, watching Chip as he came down the stairs.
“Hey Chip, do you know where the presents under the tree have gone?”, Professor Peeper asked him, quite loudly, before he’d even reached the last stair. “Um, no?!” Chip said. “Well mom put all of the presents out last night when we came home from mass…. and now they’re gone” Peeper said. Chip honestly had no idea where they could have gone or how he could have possibly have been involved in their disappearance. The last thing he remembered, was walking to the bar downtown and having way too many drinks. He didn’t remember how he had gotten home, or anything that had transpired after approximately 9 pm. He vaguely remembered waking up on the basement floor at 5:30 am and then going upstairs to bed. “Peeper, I don’t know where the presents could have gone. Is the front door locked? Was there a break in?!” Chip said. Their mom was in the kitchen, adjacent to the living room, and stood in front of the oven with her hands on her hips and a worried look on her face. “Richard,” she said to her husband, “Why don’t you check the motion-sensor wildlife cam you set up on the side of the house?”. “That’s a great idea, hunny. Let me go grab the USB card.”
Chip started sweating on his palms and around the collar of his tee shirt. He didn’t think he did anything with the presents…. but he couldn’t be sure. He was trying so hard to remember what happened last night – when did he leave the bar? How did he get home? Was he with anyone?? He was freaking out. He had a flashback of driving around in a Jeep and taking a hit from a joint. He wasn’t sure who he was with though. Who the hell was he with??? His anxiety was rising. He hadn’t blacked out this hard in months, and now his entire livelihood and his family’s Christmas was at stake. His dad came inside the house with the motion-sensor camera and went into his office to review the footage from last night. After four or so minutes, an animalistic scream erupted from his father’s office: “CHIP ROTHSCHILD! YOU GET YOUR ASS IN HERE RIGHT NOW!!!!”
Chip was having a panic attack at this point – his hands were sweating, his heart was racing, his throat was tight and he felt like he couldn’t breathe. He walked into his father’s office, with his brother and mother following behind him. “What in Jesus Christ’s name is THIS?!” his dad said, staring at the computer screen. His dad had photos and videos of Chip, with three guys following behind him, coming up the drive way and going into the house. His dad played more footage: at approximately 1:48 am, three guys left the house, carrying wrapped Christmas presents with them. “Chip, Jesus fucking Christ, Chip…. I don’t even know what to say to this. Who are these guys? Why did you let these guys come into our house?!” his dad said, tearing up. “Dad, I honestly don’t know how this happened… I don’t remember anything. I don’t know what to say. I don’t even know who these guys are”, Chip said. Chip started crying. “Dad, Mom, I’m sorry I am such a fuck up and failure… I have been meaning to get this off my chest. I think I need therapy… when I was a kid I was molested by – ” but then his mom cut him off before he could finish. “Chip, I don’t want to hear your excuses. There are no excuses for this. You have ruined Christmas for all of us and you should be ashamed of yourself. A 31 year old man and getting black out drunk like this… What in God’s name is wrong with you????”
Chip started sobbing… he had a fucked up childhood that he had never really divulged the secrets of to anyone, and he really was sure that this was the root of all of his unresolved issues and the reason why he occasionally went off the deep end (so to speak). But clearly, his family didn’t want to hear it now, and it was not an acceptable excuse to them. They were right. He was a fuck up. He was a failure. He was a fucking mess who used drugs and got black out drunk and caused all sorts of issues. Chip couldn’t take it anymore, he ran out of the office and into the kitchen, where he put on his brother’s sneakers that were by the door. He started running, and he didn’t stop running.
He was fueled by his hatred of himself and the hatred that his family had towards him. He was going to run forever, and ever…. until, his mom pulled up beside him in her Audi Q5 10 minutes later. “Chip, you’d better get in the car”, she said. He did as he was told, and as “Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt played in the background, his mom drove him back home. His family members all told him he needed to pull it together before Christmas dinner, because they didn’t want to be the dysfunctional side of the family again this year. As poor Chip sobbed upstairs in his bedroom, all of his childhood demons coming to a head, his older brother applied frozen bags of corn under Chip’s swollen eyes. “Get it together, homie… I’ve had some bad shit happen to me too, and I still manage to hold it together”, Peeper said. “Peeper, you have a fucking Nazi gun hanging on display in your home… I wouldn’t exactly say you have all of your marbles intact”, Chip said. The brothers laughed and then hugged.
Then, they all went to their uncle’s house for Christmas dinner, where Chip refused alcohol, in order to repent for his sins from the night before. Chip’s cousins gave him disdainful looks for showing up empty-handed, and talked shit about him behind his back. All was right in the world. All was merry and bright.