The hated date, as every year, was fast approaching. Certainly the twenty-fifth of December - although a wholly arbitrary date, chosen from Pagan myths - had once held genuine significance to the pious. This, however, was the modern age, wrought with fervent commercialism and materialism. Merriment and the exchange of possessions, concealed beneath brilliantly patterned paper and ribbon, is no longer the progeny of genuine affection, but rather the spawn of greed and extravagance - a competition of wealth.

Yet, being merely human, it is impossible to fully escape this ridiculous expenditure on luxuries for others, and begging luxuries for myself. It was on a particularly despairing eve, that the notion of the perfect, most incomparable gift one could give. Something so precious, only the few dared offer it.

Reflecting over past pages of calendars, long since removed from the wall, the date upon which such notions had been first placed within my mind proved indiscernable. I cannot recall the origin of how I had come to regard my existence as futile, expendable, a mere sacrifice to those who held me dear. Merely that the notion had been placed within my mind was enough - there seemed no better excuse to act upon it.

The days immediately preceeding that most hated of dates, I feigned of cheer and merriment, boasting that I had found the ultimate gift for each and all. Inqueries were made, at the lack of packages bearing gift tags with my signature, denotating by whom the item was purchased. A devious grin was flashed, a shrug of the shoulders issued, and the topic neatly skirted. They would see soon enough.

Come the eve of the day, the typical rush of relations, forgotten 364 days of the year, bearing small offerings and victuals, invaded my residence. Their presence, odious as ever, pushed me to the limits of my sanity, perhaps even beyond. Their departure was early, the house quieted by slumber preceeding the roll of the hands into the morrow.

Now thoroughly alone, I gathered the needed goods, and set myself before the sacrificial pine, ornamented in a mockery of its former beauty. A handful of tiny caplets, black upon grey in the ambient illume of the middle nocturne, swallowed in quadruplets. In murder of time before the numb of pills would set in, I cut a large shape of paper, lacing a sheer crimson ribbon through a single hole. The tiny razor, concealed within one hand, draws liquid life from my opposing forearm; the ink with which my message was to be penned. Completing that task, the razor is produced again, to be slashed from ear to ear. The crimson lifeforce flowing, drop by drop, from my animatron corpse, I tie the gift tag about my neck. Two words, written thereupon, could explain it all, so simple, so true.

'Merry Christmas'