We here at lploudon.com are going on hiatus for the holidays. We are pausing Monsters. However, that doesn't mean the content stops. That doesn't even mean no more Wes before the holidays. In fact, there's a little Christmas snippet below.

Erin and I are going to drop little tidbits throughout the next week or two. Mostly vignettes and sketches with a short story or two mixed in. Yes, they're mostly bits of fluffy nothing, but bits of fluffy nothing help us write the actual stories better. I want to share stories with you all, and while I'm doing that, I want to share the process.

So without further ado, here is a Christmas-themed fluffy nothing that kind of illuminates something more about Wes.

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the apartment, all the creatures were constantly stirring, except for the mice because the occupants of the apartment had two cats and the cats did their jobs properly.

All through the week, Wes baked an unbelievable amount of cookies. The kitchen counters nearly groaned under the weight of all the many dozens of cookies. He made chocolate cherry cookies and sugar cookies and gingersnaps. He made mixed caramel bits and chocolate chunks and crushed pretzels and peanuts and oats and made cowboy cookies. He made little bitesize tarts with pumpkin filling and chocolate and raspberry filling. He made snickerdoodles and spritz cookies. He made thumbprints and molasses drops.

For two days, his roommates delighted in it. They taste-tested cookies. They helped decorate the sugar cookies. They ran shopping errands for him when he ran out of this ingredient or that.

But then Angel began to worry about this odd, somewhat obsessive behavior. “I think we have enough cookies,” she said.

To which Wes airily replied, “There are never enough cookies.”

‘Twas five days before Christmas and all through the apartment, Christmas decorations were hung with near obsessive perfection, from the mistletoe in the kitchen doorway to the garlands around the bannister to the lights on the tree and the wreath on the door. The stockings were hung over the fake fireplace with care.

Angel stared at her stocking in quiet contemplation, at her full name spelled out in beautiful, glittering cursive. Evangeline. “He might be taking this a tad too far,” she suggested.

To which Tom replied, “He likes holidays.”

She remembered Thanksgiving, and the obsessive cooking marathon that had led to the best Thanksgiving meal she’d ever had in her life, but this was far worse. But it was a harmless sort of worse and Wes seemed happy, so she let it go.

‘Twas three days before Christmas and all through the living room of the apartment, Christmas movies and specials monopolized everything. Wes sat enchanted in front of the TV, and seemed to expect everyone else to sit there with him. Even Ainsley sat in his armchair, watching along with young twenty-somethings half his age. Even Carmen, who only stayed with Wes out of fear and did not spend much time with the group watched with them.

During a break between movies, Angel murmured, “What is up with Wes and Christmas?”

To which Tom matter-of-factly replied, “His family kinda sucks.” Then he gave a crooked smile and shrugged. “We don’t.”

And it hit her all at once like a flash. Wes’ parents didn’t get along. Neither of them had much in the way of family. He had always been alone and now he had all of them.

‘Twas the day before Christmas and all through the apartment, there wasn’t a room without a Christmas tree. There was the big one in the living room, but Angel put little ones in the kitchen and the bedrooms and even a little tree she found in a hobby shop in the bathroom. Under the trees in the bedroom, she put new video games for their shared game systems. Under the tree in the bathroom (or more accurately, beside the tiny tree), she put new bars of soap. Under the tree in the living room, she put a shiny new shotgun with a bow on it. She didn’t bother wrapping the shotgun. She was willing to show that she was into Christmas for Wes, but wrapping a shotgun was just entirely too much trouble.

She even went into the kitchen and made Rice Krispies treats with chocolate and peppermint.

Wes beamed at her and said, “You’re pretty much the best, you know that?”

Angel grinned back. “Yeah, I know.”

To which Tom replied, “Yeah, but who’s gonna clean up the mess?”

‘Twas the day after Christmas and all through the apartment, wrapping paper was strewn about, and cookie crumbs littered the living room area where they played video games all day, so it was very lucky that they had two cats who did their jobs properly. The mice didn’t stand a chance at stirring.

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