If “The 12 Days of Christmas” Happened in Real Life

So. Much. Bird poo.

december january 2016 department of witSteve Wacksman for Reader's Digest

Day 1: On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree. Such a thoughtful gift; she knows how much I love fruit. She also knows my building’s pretty strict about pets, so the bird threw me a little. But he is a cute little guy.

Day 2: On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, two turtle doves. Wow, she’s really into the avian theme this year. Um, thank you? I guess I’ll just put them in the kitchen with the partridge and the pear tree, which suddenly seems a lot bigger than it did yesterday.

Days 3 & 4: On the third and fourth days of Christmas, she gave me three French hens and four calling birds. Funny, I don’t remember telling her my dream was to one day open a chapter of the Audubon Society. You know what would have been nice? Some birdseed. I’m out of saltines, and things are starting to get weird in here.

Day 5: On the fifth day of Christmas, she gave me five golden rings. See, now, that’s a nice gift. A nice, practical gift. A little on the feminine side, but I’ll take it. These Christmas gifts are perfect for your loved ones. 

Day 6: Six geese a-laying. Hmm, that’s so strange because I was just telling someone that I could use some MORE @#$%*& BIRDS. Do you have any idea how much poop six geese generate in a single day? Literally pounds. And in case you’re curious, all six of them have been a-laying since they got here. There are no fewer than 75 enormous eggs in my apartment right now. I just tried to make an omelet out of one of them and almost ralphed. Very gamy.

Day 7: Guess what I signed for this morning when the UPS guy rang my doorbell. Seven swans a-swimming. True story. So … no more baths for me, I guess. Thanks for that. These are terrible gifts! Terrible, confusing gifts. Oh, and guess what swans don’t get along with. Geese, turtledoves, French hens, calling birds, and partridges. Glad you did your homework there.

Day 8: I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt on this one in case you ordered these eight maids a-milking online and there was some confusion, but just to clarify, there are eight middle-aged women wearing bonnets in my apartment right now. And they each brought a cow. Do you understand what I’m saying to you? They’re all here, in my STUDIO apartment, and judging by the size of their suitcases, they aren’t leaving anytime soon.

Day 9: Big day today. Not only did I receive the unexpected gift of nine ladies dancing, I also got a nice little note from my landlord. He covered all kinds of stuff, but in a nutshell, it was about excessive dancing, illegal livestock, unnatural amounts of bird feces, and me not living here anymore. Big day.

Day 10: Ten lords a-bloody-leaping! Yes, they are. Ten leotarded jerks are literally jumping around my apartment screaming “Wheeeeee!” every time their feet leave the ground! WHY?? Why are you doing this to me? You’re sick! I loved you so much, and you destroyed it. You destroyed everything. Tensions in here are escalating faster than I could have imagined. The maids and dancers appear to have laid territorial claims in opposite corners of the apartment. They are not the same civilized ladies who arrived here a short time ago. They bear a darkness now. One of them stole my golden rings, and I know just the one who did it. I’m waiting until nightfall, and I will reclaim them … through any means necessary.

Days 11 & 12: These final days have come and gone in a bewildering fog. I remember drummers. Pipers. Lots of them. I haven’t slept or washed my body in quite some time. Food is scarce … the fighting, fierce. I captured a lord today! Snatched him right out of the air. Now he doesn’t leap anymore. I used his leotard as a net to trap one of the swans. She was delicious. Didn’t even cook the old gal. Ha! I made everyone gather to watch—that’s what you do when you want to send a message. A very important message! This is my castle! Do you all hear me? Do you see what I’ve done? What I am capable of?!! No more eye contact with the king; do you understand? Or I will end you! I will end you all right here and now!!

Now, one of you fetch me a pear. The king needs something sweet.

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Colin Nissan
Colin Nissan is a writer and voice actor who lives in Brooklyn, New York.