I could scarcely believe that someone would dare to shatter the perfect Christmas atmosphere that I had finally attained. Yet there it was again, ringing out and filling me with as much dread as though it were the death knell of a dear relative. No, hang on, I didn't have any dear relatives. The lot of them were insufferable.
However, like any sane person, I ignored the interruption, preferring instead to return to the nirvana of my sofa and television set. Bliss.
I attempted to shut it out and instead concentrate on the tire commercial I was watching, but it was difficult to hear what it was saying over my doorbell, and even I couldn't pretend to be interested in it anyhow. I changed the channel, but it seemed that no matter what station I chose there was only yet another Christmas special running, the ones that made me want to scream because of the sheer number of times I had seen them, and because they reminded me of family Christmas parties where they were about as regularly in attendance as aunt Beatrice, who also made me want to scream.
Ding-Dong, Ding-Dong, Ding-Dong!
Now it was getting unreasonable, like a small child going to visit a grandparent that they could expect a good deal of spoiling from. I was certainly not anyone's grandparent though, and nobody could expect any spoiling fro me. However, at this rate I was going to need a new doorbell and it was far easier to rage at the person on my front stoop for a moment than to fix one of those. I sighed and got up.
I opened the door.
My first impression was that one of Santa's elves had gotten lost in my neighborhood and confusedly supposed that my house was the north pole. She had a round pink face, and a round body, though I couldn't tell if it too was pink because it was clothed in gaudy green and red attire. She even had a red hat with an annoying bell on the end of it.
"Merry Christmas, and thank you so much!" she exclaimed with gap-toothed grin. "I had begun to think you weren't home, it took you so long."
And without further comment she ducked right past me into my house. I was so shocked that the first words of my angry rant dribbled uselessly out of my mouth in the form of bemused splutters. Finally I regained control of my tongue.
"Who the hell are you, and what are you doing in my house?"
The woman looked confused for a moment, then fished inside of a garish Christmas tree-patterned purse and produced a small, red envelope.
"My name is Mary Fiddleworth, and you invited me."