Christmas Tree Debacle of 2014
Shawn stared at his enemy. It was just the two of them, no one else. The Psychic Detective held a box cutter in his hand, ready to slice into his opponent's protective shell. He approached cautiously brandishing the sharp weapon.
"Alright, it's just you and me. Let's do this." Shawn took a deep breath as he cut the tape off of the box that held the brand new Christmas tree he'd bought for his and Juliet's apartment. It had been forever since he'd set up his own tree, but Juliet had asked him to do it while she was at work. Before, Gus had been the one always picking it out, and lovingly decorating it every year at the office. Though, Shawn insisted that he always be the one to put the star on top.
Shawn opted for a fake tree, something Gus and his father would never approve of, because he and Juliet had been too busy lately to take care of a real one. If neglected a real tree would dry out and become a brown, pointy mess. Nothing like a low maintenance Christmas. He grinned to himself.
He pulled open the package, and groaned when he saw that he'd have to bush out the metal branches to make it look like an actual tree, rather than just bunched up, oversized, pipe cleaners. So much for low maintenance. The tree was also in three sections, rather than once piece and he'd have to attach each one in the correct order.
Luckily for him he had instructions.
"Insert side 1 of part B into side 2 of part A and tighten bolt... OW!" As he grabbed for the first piece, a sharp point of the metal end of a branch caught him in the finger. He grabbed a tissue and wiped away the blood. Maybe I do need to protect myself with a box cutter. It's already trying to kill me! Instead of the razor blade, he went and grabbed his leather motorcycle gloves to protect his hands. He hardly needed them for anything else now anyway, with his motorcycle sold weeks ago.
As he finally got the first two pieces out, he ran into another problem. The plastic needles, while not sharp themselves, irritated his skin and almost instantly started to give him a rash on his inner arms. "Damn it!" He threw down the pieces and came back five minutes later with a longer shirt. It was one of his dad's that he'd accidentally grabbed during the move, but it was thick and would protect his skin.
Once the tree was finally together, Shawn stood back and looked at his handy work. The branches were even, and the needles spread out. "Not bad if I do say so myself." Then, he got to work with the actual decorations.
However, instead of getting better, things got worse when he started adding the lights. The itchy needles started rubbing against his face while he was reaching around the tree to wrap the strings into the branches. He quickly remedied that situation by digging out his face mask from his and Gus' Canadian ski trip and putting it on. It was really hot in the long sleeved shirt, gloves and now face mask, but it did the trick and the offending needles couldn't reach him.
"Suck it tree!" He exclaimed in triumph. Maybe next year I will get a new one, or just have Gus put it up for me.
After putting up the bulbs, other little ornaments, and the star on top with no problem, he looked at the clock. Juliet would be home any minute, and he still needed to put the finishing touches on the tree. Shawn quickly grabbed the tinsel from the box and spread it out as best he could before grabbing the can of artificial snow.
Shawn quickly popped the top off and started to spray around the tree quickly, getting the fake snow everywhere. While spraying the aerosol full blast the fumes started to get to him and he started to cough, inadvertently inhaling almost an entire lungful of chemical in the process.
"Ohw22;*Cough*w22;crap!" He lurched to the closed window and opened it, hanging his head out for a few seconds to clear the air in the house. After another couple of minutes, he was able to breathe again, but his throat was sore from coughing.
Finally, there was only one thing left to do; put the presents under the tree. With everything that had happened, he figured it would be safer to just leave the extra clothing on for a little while longer while he placed them. Better safe than sorry. With a hoarse sigh, he went to the closet to get the gifts.
Juliet arrived home a little late. She'd stopped at Shawn's favorite restaurant in town and gotten him a six pack of tacos and a pound of Mexican potato rounds. She ended up getting a burrito for herself as well. It was supposed to be a thank you for putting up the tree, but with Shawn's track record she doubted he'd gotten more than the box open so far.
She entered the house, and was more than shocked to see that not only had the tree been put up, but it looked beautiful! Complete with fake snow and tons of decorations, just like she loved it. It was then that she realized the room was drafty and the reason for that was an open window. Juliet narrowed her eyes, wondering why in the world Shawn would leave a window open when it was only 50°F out.
"Shawn?" Juliet called cautiously, putting the food down. It was too quiet, and it wasn't like him to not greet her at the door, especially after he'd done something she'd asked.
Suddenly, from around the corner, a masked man appeared carrying multiple wrapped packages. From the looks of the scene, the man had come in the window, and was stealing their presents. Juliet instantly drew her side arm at the unfamiliar figure. "FREEZE!"
The man jumped and raised his hands, dropping the presents. A scratchy and sinister voice pleaded, "Wait! Don't shoot!"
"Where is Shawn!? What did you do to him!?" She tried not to let her voice squeak with the emotions that were roaring up inside her. Where was her fiancé? He wouldn't let someone in the house without a fight. Was he okay?
"I can explain..." The man grumbled out, but Juliet wasn't having it. She launched herself at the man and knocked him to the ground. She put a knee on the back of his head and grabbed out her cuffs. "You're under arrest for breaking and entering! You have the right to remain silent!" The man under her made choking sounds and she let up the slightest bit on his windpipe. She then grabbed the top of the mask, and no doubt some of the man's hairs underneath too, before ripping it off to see the intruder's identity.
"AAAAAHHHHhhhh!" The man screamed from getting a handful of his hair pulled out. A handful of familiar hair, attached to a familiar face.
"What thew22; SHAWN!?" Juliet exclaimed and rolled off him. "What the hell are you doing dressing like that? I could have shot you!"
"I was trying to surprise you with the tree and presents, and stuff happened." While he let out a few pathetic whimpers she uncuffed him.
Juliet finally took a closer look around the tree, and noticed the fake snow, and a strong aerosol smell. Both of which would explain the open window and his scratchy voice. Shawn also had a rash on his face, and that explained the mask and heavy clothes. Her cousin had been allergic to pre-packaged trees and couldn't even sit by them at their Christmas gatherings. Shawn must have had the same reaction and put on clothes to prevent exposure... all for her.
"I'm so sorry Shawn." She helped him to his feet and kissed him on his nose. "Let's get you cleaned up, and we'll eat okay?" She hoped the promise of food would make him feel better. He obviously went through a lot of trouble to do what she'd asked, even if it didn't quite work out the way he'd planned. "Thank you for trying Shawn." She said, "But next year, I'll put up the tree."
"No arguments there sweetie. It is all yours from here on out." He patted his head where his hair was pulled and frowned when he realized he had a small hairless spot. "If this is what happens every time someone puts up a Christmas tree, no wonder my dad and Gus are bald."
Even though she felt guilty about it, she laughed at his reaction. "Merry Christmas, Shawn."
He smiled back, even through the pain. "Merry Christmas Jules."