Eighteen dollars and fifty cents. That was all. Most of it was in quarters and dimes, saved one at a time by bargain hunting the pharmacies for hair gel, skin whiteners and other essentials for life as a vampire family in Forks. At first Bella and her husband Edward tried to live a normal life as productive citizens in a small town that celebrates the diversity of life style choices. That was until Edward crossed the line and became a monster much scarier than some old vampire. Edward became a government biologist. Things went okay at first. Edward worked in a secret room in the basement of the State Capitol in Olympia. They put him in charge of a roulette wheel. Every spin of the wheel shut down a fishing season, boat ramp or fish hatchery somewhere. Being the new guy, Edward was forced to go outside once in a while where all those years of night school at Forks U. came back to haunt him. When the boss biologist sent Edward out to Electro-shock the bull Trout and count the marmots he must have read the memo wrong. Marmots started showing up with patches of burnt hair. Edward threw the bull trout up on the bank to avoid counting them twice. The Boss Biologist called Edward into the office.
“That was good work son,” The boss biologist said. “The more endangered things get the more money we get to study them.” Edward was given a promotion. It was a night job with all the gasoline and ammunition he could burn. Edward would be shooting barred owls. They were after all, endangering the Spotted Owl. The last critter to endanger the Spotted Owl had been the Hickory shirted loggers.
“We couldn’t shoot the loggers. “ The Boss biologists explained. “If they found out about it they could become agitated. So we moved them to Alaska. After that Alaska said they won’t take our owls so we got to shoot them.”
“The Loggers?” Edward asked.
“No, you idiot!” The boss biologist raged slapping his riding crop against his leather hip boots. “The owls.” Edward sucked at owl hunting. He only got paid for the owls he killed and hunting was poor. The young newlywed couple would be broke on their first Christmas. Bella counted her money three times, had a good cry and then powdered her cheeks with some skin whitener. Edward and Bella had met at the dog pound. If there was one thing in which Bella took pride, it was her pack of pit bulls. If Stefanie Meyer herself ever showed up with her own pack of dogs in Forks, Bella’s pit bulls would out wag them ten to one.
And if Boris Karloff himself ever showed his face in Forks chances are he would not be packing near the firepower that Edward had. It was a chrome-plated double action .44 magnum owl blasting nightmare. The trouble was the big pistol kept falling out of Edward’s pants and going off which would wake up the other biologists. Edward needed a holster.
Eighteen dollars and fifty cents, it was all the money Bella had for Edward’s Christmas present. Bella took the pit bulls back to the pound and saved enough on dog food to buy Edward a holster.
By 7o’clock the eggnog was ready. Edward came home and asked,
“What happened to the pit bulls?”
“I traded them for a holster for your pistol.” Bella said.
“I traded my pistol for a new kennel for your dogs.” Edward said. It was probably not the best Christmas ever.