Read The Housewife Assassin's Killer Christmas Tips Online

Authors: Josie Brown

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The Housewife Assassin's Killer Christmas Tips (4 page)

BOOK: The Housewife Assassin's Killer Christmas Tips
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“Not fair!” Jeffrey protests. “Cheever farts all the time, and it smells like tofu!”

Mary also opens her mouth to argue, but closes it just as quickly when she sees the look on my face and realizes I mean business.

I wonder if the store sells gas masks and chastity belts, too.

Chapter 3

When You’re Dreaming of a White Christmas

 

Forget green and red. An elegant Christmas is white, all the way!

Stick to a monochromatic color scheme for your ornaments and lights. Adding glistening tinsel and white flocking on the tree, your days will certainly be merry and bright!

In fact, maybe it’s time for a total home makeover. Why not paint your furniture white, and recover cushions with white fabric as well? Go for nubby textures as well as fabrics with a satin finish. The same goes for your walls. Don’t stick to one white, but at least three (trim, walls, doors) whiter shades of pale that contrast and complement each other. A white Christmas will inspire calm and quiet through the holiday season!

However, if your version of peace on earth and goodwill toward men is sullied by bad guys, don’t be afraid to bury any Grinches who wish you and yours harm under a sheet of ice.

And guess what? Since a body's temperature will drop much more slowly if it’s been exposed to extreme cold, you’ll have plenty of time to get away before the snow has melted and any bodies are found. You’ll undoubtedly be long gone before anyone can determine when rigor mortis set in.

 

 

The parking lot of Toylandia is deserted. It’s not in a great neighborhood. Nor is it in a strip center around other stores.

Still, it’s got what I need. “Okay, everyone out,” I say to the kids.

“No way! This place looks creepy,” Cheever whines.

“Don’t worry. We won’t be here long. I’m running in and out, so stay close to me, and no wandering off.”

They grumble as they exchange glances and trudge reluctantly into the store.

The place is small and dark. With the holidays upon us, you’d think the aisles would be bulging with toys, but no. It’s as if the Grinch has stolen this neighborhood’s Christmas. Because of its price tag, the one Furby left in the store is under lock and key in a glass case, and the only clerk has to be nudged out of his nap in order to unlock it.

Cheever plucks a box off an open shelf. “
Seriously?
Super Nintendo? This is
so
last century.” He tosses it back, with a frown.

The clerk’s eyes narrow. “Haven’t you ever heard of vintage, you little shit?”

Cheever glowers back at him, but thank goodness, he waits until the clerk has ducked behind the counter to unlock the Furby cabinet before shooting him a bird. The last thing I need is for that little brat to get me thrown out of here before I can buy the last Furby left in the store—a Voodoo Purple.

Thank God I got here in time! “Let’s do it,” I say to my gang.

By the time the clerk has rung it up, Mary and Trevor are somewhere deep in the store’s maze of aisles. They won’t get far. Reconnaissance is second nature to me. By using my iPhone to tap into the security cameras, I break the code and secure all the exits.

Nope, it’s not a spy toy, but momware. These days, there’s an app for everything.

I pull them out of their lip lock, and drag them out the front door and toward the car. Morton, Cheever and Jeff trail behind, snickering.

Mary’s raging hormones notwithstanding, this has been a pretty successful side trip.

At least, that’s my opinion until I hear the click of a gun behind us. “Turn around, slowly,” a voice says.

All of us do as requested, except for Morton, whose throat is being cradled in the crux of the arm of a bulky masked gunman holding a 9 millimeter pistol.

A friend of the gunman is circling Mary, licking his chops and flicking a long knife. Mary looks straight ahead and tries to ignore him, but I can tell she’s as scared as I am for her.

Morton is trembling so badly, I’m afraid he’ll wet his pants. Trevor, ever protective of his younger brother, clenches his fists. But before he can take a step forward, I say, “Here, take what I just bought, and let the child go.”

“Hand it over, along with your purse. And those other brats need to take out their wallets, and place them, slowly, at my feet.”

Jeff, Cheever, Mary, and Trevor look over at me, their eyes wide with fear. I nod slowly, but I keep my eyes on the gunman.

After they drop their wallets, the gunman growls, “Now pick them up, lady, and walk them over to me, with your purse and the toy. Hope you can walk in those heels, because we’re taking the car. Maybe the girl, too.”

I walk over slowly, toward the dude with the gun. When I’m a foot away, I offer up all the goodies. “Here you go.”

Just when he reaches for them, I shove Morton out of the way. In his place goes my foot. My roundhouse kick has the gunman doubling over before he falls onto the asphalt. As his gun flies through the air, I catch it with one hand, and whip it around so that it’s pointed at the creep threatening my daughter.

“If you want to keep that head of yours, you better start running.”

He’s either too shocked or too stupid to believe what I say. I’m guessing too stupid because he grabs for both Mary and the shopping bag with the Furby, as if they’re his ticket out of hell.

Wrong. My first bullet whizzes two inches from his right foot. When he takes a step with his left foot, another bullet stops him short. Unfortunately, it ricochets off a dumpster and into Furby, which cackles as it explodes into a cloud of silicone chips, plastic, and purple fur.

Damn! There goes
Trisha’s Christmas
.

I’m hopping mad, but soon this stupid thief is, too, thanks to the three bullets that barely miss his feet.

Finally, he takes the hint and runs down the block. His pal skitters along after him, still doubled over.

The kids stare after them. Then slowly, their heads turned toward me.

I know what they’re thinking. Yep, I kick ass.

As I saunter back to the car, I toss each of them their wallets. “Soup, sandwiches, and homework, in that order.”

Before Mary gets a chance to do so, Trevor jumps into the front passenger seat. “Mrs. Stone, you were
awesome
.” He leans in with a smile and tosses his bangs out of his eyes with a quick nod of his head.

If didn’t know better, I’d think he was flirting with me.

Oh no.
Mary’s boyfriend is flirting with me!

She knows it, too. But if it isn’t already blatantly clear, Trevor says to her, “You don’t mind changes places, right, Mary? I get carsick in the back.”

“Since when?” Morton asks suspiciously.

“Since the odds increased that you pissed your pants during the holdup,” his big brother mutters. 

His remark nudges Morton into silence. Guilty as charged.

I look from Trevor to Mary. She turns her head quickly, so that Trevor can’t see the tears in her eyes as she stumbles into the middle seat, dragging Jeff beside her.

I nod at Trevor. “Well… okay sure, if you want.”

Reluctantly, Cheever follows Morton onto the last bench. “If you did wet your pants, I’m shoving you out the hatch.”

What Cheever doesn’t know is that each of the seats has an ejection button, controlled by the driver. If I’m doomed to have the reputation as the worst carpool ride in Hilldale, when Morton hits the pavement, Cheever will, too.

Note to self: after today, no afternoon carpooling.

Chapter 4

’Tis the Season!

 

There are certain things that trigger that oh-so-great feeling of holiday cheer! One is hearing the sound of gay carolers (or straight ones, for that matter, albeit you’ll miss that beautiful falsetto harmonization in the last stanza We Three Kings). The second is the tinkle of silver bells. (Admittedly, the tinkle of urine on porcelain has the same affect for anyone who ever got drunk on spiked eggnog.)

And finally, it’s seeing your neighbor decorate his house with Christmas kitsch.

Granted, his taste may leave a lot to be desired. But let’s be honest. Aren’t  you being a Scrooge to think the blow-up Santa and Mrs. Claus behind his plastic manger is lowbrow? Is the four-thousand watt glare of the twenty-six thousand colored LED lights, not to mention the revolving spotlight seeking out Rudolph and the sleigh, really all that annoying? And isn’t it a bah-humbuggery to want to shoot your neighbor’s outdoor speakers after the five-hundredth time you hear Alvin and the Chipmunks sing their Christmas Song?

It’s only once a year, right? For, like three weeks.

No? SIX? Six whole weeks of that annoying crap, and you haven’t shot him yet? Why not? Do you really think anyone will miss him, other than the electric utility company he’s helping to support?

If you do lose it, don’t worry. It’ll be our little secret.

 

 

Ryan Clancy, the titular head of Acme Industries (and for that matter, my boss) is gulping wine from an old Strawberry Shortcake Sippy cup and cradling a humongous slice of sausage pizza on a tiny cocktail napkin.

That’s what happens when your pretend husband forgets to load and start the dishwasher.

The good news, at least for the kids, is that Jack bought enough pizza to feed a small army, so everyone gets a reprieve from my stopgap menu of soup and sandwiches.

Besides the kids, Ryan, Jack and myself, I’m also hosting Emma Honeycutt, who handles communications and signal intelligence between Jack, Ryan, and me. Because of Emma, we hear any and all scuttlebutt that may lead us to our target. Her pie of choice: artichoke and spinach on a cornmeal crust.

I’m not the only one who notes this. Ernie Locklear, our tech ops expert, has a crush on Acme’s resident goth girl. I forgive him for talking with his mouth full (and for ordering a deep-dish pineapple and ham, double mozzarella) because his surveillance bugs, spy toys, and computer worms have saved my ass more times than I can remember. Unlike most techies, Arnie isn’t afraid to get out into the field. When needed, he acts as a cutout, something he doesn’t mind because it allows him to dip into his closet of disguises. This is a bennie for the rest of us. If you’re stuck for a Halloween getup, he’s your go-to guy.

Last, but never least, is Abu Nagashahi, the Sikh who heads our watcher teams and handles drops and conducts passive probes. Let me put it this way. No one ever suspects the guy who drives the neighborhood ice cream truck.

He picks up a little pocket change that way, too. Never a bad idea for those of us trying to get by on a government paycheck.

If you haven’t guessed it already, I’m the team’s swallow. That is, when I’m not acting as its hard woman.

Cheever stares at our naked Christmas tree. “Hey, why isn’t your tree decorated?”

I slap his hand away before he tips it over. “We just haven’t had time.” Heck, I’ve barely had time to put a wreath on the door. So far, the only Christmas bling we’ve set out are my collection of twenty-two snow globes, many that I’ve had since I was a kid.

“Morton picks up one off the mantel. Sometime during our first year of marriage, Carl brought it home from a trip to New York. It shows the skyline and skaters around the tree in Rockefeller Plaza.

Morton pumps it like it’s a martini shaker. “Hey, look! Global warming!”

I grab it out of his hand. “No touching. Or I’ll…”

I let the sentence trail off into some dark alley of his imagination. He backs away slowly, his hands held high.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Just as Cheever is about to cram a slice into his face, I grab hold of his arm. “Whoa, cowboy! That’s not gluten free. And I’m guessing it’s not organic, either.”

He frowns up at me. “Screw that! It’s pizza!”

“Sorry, but no! I don’t want your mom to declare war on me.”

“Oh, yeah? Well, what do you think would freak her out more, knowing that I ate this, or that you took us to the worst part of town, where we were robbed and nearly killed?”

BOOK: The Housewife Assassin's Killer Christmas Tips
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