It was already morning this side of Grande. I woke in an instant. Blindly molesting the Santa Claus bed sheets my mother made my old twin bed with, I searched for the source of the portentous Sencha alarm tone.

I found it. Then I woke Sis. Get up, It’s two days before Christmas, I whispered, and we didn’t get Pa his three-for-fifteen-dollars Kirkland Signature button downs yet.

Sis and me clambered into my Honda Geo. It weren’t bigger than a Sonata, but it’d give any Fiat a run for its money if size is the only contest. Sis was clad in her Ugg boots and me in slippers of my own.

I brought a revolver just in case. You hope you don’t have to use it, but we were headed to a place called Costco—godless territory covered in cement varnish, where wild men purchase deluxe two-gallon tins of popcorn any day of the year.

The road stretched on speeding beneath the Geo away from us, barren, empty, and cold. If luck was on our side we’d reach the gates of Costco and lay claim to eight checkered button downs and maybe a Roomba for Ma and be out before anyone had to shed any blood.

Surely, I told sis, we’ll have to succumb to the ancient song of the Aidells sausage sample server.

As we rounded the corner into the driveway, the fog took on an unmistakable navy and maroon glow above our eyeline, and as we drew nearer, the awesome words Costco and Wholesale emerged through the mist.

The parking lot brimmed with disorder—chaos. It took what seemed like the better part of a fortnight to navigate the Costco tributaries and lines of nomads seeking affordable gas prices.

Traversing the lot, it seemed that every driver had forgotten how to use the gas pedal and I’d sooner be brought to a place where rage and fury became separate and distinct.

This I’ll be harder ‘n than we thought, Sis. We’ll have to shack up in front of a Diddams Party Supplies. No one who ever parked at Diddams went to Diddams.

So we walked. The parking lot spanned beyond the misty gray cloud in every direction until it blended into the Costco Auto And Tire Center, and two became one.

The revolver came in handy when we were met with an imposing and manic Beast-Woman in slippers with her cold, disinterested beast-children on iPads. The Woman wanted a cart that was mine. Sis was frightened by me. I told her, Justice has a price, and owes no man woman or child. Everyone is my enemy during the holidays. And we are all God’s at Costco.

After lowering the hammer of my sidearm, we mustered the cart and pressed on not knowing exactly why we had a cart if all we needed were button-downs.

Before crossing into the great wide wholesaler, we negotiated with a man peddling hot dogs and low-quality danishes parked in a shanty trailer hitched to a proud Chevrolet. Didn’t matter what we ate. Didn’t know how long we’d be here. Could get caught behind someone trying to return a giant stuffed bear without their membership card.

Inside, towers of one hundred per-cent Japanese liquid crystal display loomed above our heads recycling stock video footage of land and bridges. Below our gaze, at the base of the towers we saw the destructive paradise of endeavor and personal vanity.

Bodies. Human bodies. Mangled, and stacked five high from the Toshiba’s all the way to the Vizios.

Pay it no mind, Sis. Decent quality products and a fair price never holds court on Christmas. Don’t you forget, I tell her. Smart TVs always cost more than the holiday door-bustin’ price of $249.99

Up ahead, Sis saw it first. Men’s husky-sized clothing. Below the sign lay the button downs. I could nearly feel Pa’s belly swell with the mirth he’d get unwrapping those heavy cotton casual dress shirts he’d get to wear to both work and church.

It was clear these shirts were wanted. We quickly made due with the three they had left because the floor surrounding the shirts made for heavy fathers was slick and crimson with blood and men’s hair. We felt the crunch of teeth under our slippers. Beside the shirts, were blood speckled tubs of Cheese Balls.

As a last ditch effort to fill Pa’s stocking, we made for West-of-the-store in search of socks. A man is no man if he never desires socks, I told Sis.

Whatcha got there? Came a shriveled voice from behind me as we passed the books on clearance. I could feel the pupils of a double barrel shotgun staring at the center of my back.

Just picking up a 36-pack of men’s size 9-11 crew socks.

In the cart.

Last minute Christmas shopping for our father.

Funny. Me too.

You forget about him, too?

Never do know what to get. Cycle through different clothes each year. On shirts.

Button downs, I know it. You got a husky daddy?

Yup, right.

Well, I took the last three. Go on, look for yourself.

I finally turned to see a stark naked inbred, half-wielding an over-under shotgun. He trembled like a newborn fawn. Gently, I inched the shopping cart toward the waning man. As he bent to inspect the shirts, I unhooked the revolver from its holster.

Before I could use it, Sis clubbed the man across the septum with a leather bound special edition of Bulfinch’s Mythology. He crumpled to the floor, and thick globs of blood leaked from the half-breed’s nasal cavity.

Let’s go, Sis. No time to let this one wake and rally his kin waiting in the car outside. You did fine.

In a hurry, we crossed the bloodstained shopping center and checked to see if there were any Roombas in stock. We found none but haphazard drapery of fresh scalps hung above the aisle—warning any who wish to make the lives of their anxious mothers and wives a little bit easier to just not.

In a hurry, we left.

We’ll try Target, I said to Sis.

We’ve no use for this mess of land anymore. It’s got no use for us, ‘neither.

Costco’s not meant for anyone.

As we dodged the receipt checker's vulture eye, we could still hear the faint melody of an Aidells Sausage representative disbursing her humble wurst for anybody who desired a delicious taste this Christmas.