(Little did they know that this was)
The hosts greeted their guests to their annual holidays party in their home. There was a smorgasbord buffet, there was elegant booze, there was untalented singing, and there were naughty games. The Christmas tree was ablaze in all its ornamental bubble light glory, the Hanukkah menorah had two candles poignantly lit, the Kwanzaa candles were at the ready, and all was well.
“You know, I heard Winter Storm Leviathan is supposed to hit our area tonight,” one of the guests told one of the hosts over glasses of eggnog. “I’m surprised you guys didn’t reschedule.”
“Yeah, well, you can’t reschedule an immovable feast,” Host 1 chuckled. “Besides, that forecast was a maybe at best.”
“It’s pretty definite now,” the guest showed Host 1 what was displayed on the oracle/cell phone.
“Huh. Well, we have tons of food and drinks, so I think we’ll be pretty OK if the Apocalypse hits,” Host 1 said.
“Hey everybody!” Another guest came in from the outside, all bundled up and covered in a layer of white. “Have you looked out the window lately? It’s three feet of snow out there already!”
Almost everyone went to the front windows to see; the ones who did not were too weighted down by food to move from their comfy chairs.
“Don’t be dramatic,” Host 2 said after looking at the front lawn. “That’s gotta be only two feet, tops.”
The chorus of “I think we’d better head out”s began, in spite of the hosts’ protests that the party was just getting started. The exodus soon ended when everyone realized that the streets had not been plowed and probably would not be for quite some time.
As they heard ice and wind beginning to hit the windows, Host 1 asked “Anyone up for a game of strip poker?” – there were five takers. Before they began the game, Host 1 murmured to Host 2 “Turn on the faucets to drip, would you?”
“Already did,” Host 2 said, before unobtrusively turning up the heat.
Six hours later, with the storm raging on, the hosts bowed to the inevitable: air mattresses were broken out and shower schedules were drawn up.
“Would anyone like some of the baked ziti for breakfast?” Host 2 asked those who were hungover.
“I can’t open the front door!” A guest panicked. “It’s daytime – why is it still so dark outside?!”
The hosts checks the exit doors and saw that icy snow had drifted up against the house at all sides and were encroaching up the windows as well.
“We’re trapped!” Another guest panicked, effectively spreading it to the rest of the group.
“We are not trapped; you can easily climb out of the jalousie window in the main bathroom,” Host 1 said. One of the guests ran to that room and began pounding on the door to do just that, but was rebuffed for an hour by “Out in a minute!”
The classy booze ran out by 3:30 p.m.; the lights flickered around 5:15 p.m.; the power went out completely by 7:00 p.m. The second night Hanukkah candles and the first night Kwanzaa candle were lit and immediately snuffed to preserve the wax. Flashlights illuminated the scared and shivering faces throughout the house.
Host 2 said in a sing-song voice, “So: who wants to open presents?”
The snow, wind, and ice raged on.
Bodies huddled together under piles of blankets and quilts, and showers were reduced to two minutes after the hot water heater gave up. The gas stove still worked with a candle lighter, until the gas lines also froze and that was that for the coffee people, who took that as a sign that the end was nigh.
The snow ice tapered off just enough for one guest to sneak out the jalousie window that was not completely covered; her husband threw her thick coat after her for her to quickly put on, and he watched from the bathtub. She managed to snatch a bird from a high tree branch that was now eye-level to her and she tied a note to its leg that read: “Dear Katie, Know that our thoughts are with you every day; be a good girl as Samantha earns her overtime watching you, and please quickly learn about how to ration your food. Mommy and Daddy love you – be brave, little one.” She emotionally released the bird, which then returned to its branch and remained there.
“You didn’t think that actually was going to work, did you?” Her husband’s voice asked through the window. She raised her fists to the heavens as the snow ice gently swirled around her.
Inside the house, Host 2 had just broken up the seventh increasingly petty squabble when she cornered Host 1: “I’m not sure what’s going to do us in first: the cold, the smell, or the oxygen deprivation. Do you think we should try tunneling our way out with a broom handle and some fire?”
“I would say yes, except where would we go?” Host 1 was showing the signs of despair taking over. “The roads still aren’t plowed, I doubt the cars would start even if we could un-snow them, and everywhere we could walk to is probably as bad off as we are! This is it, this is how it all ends, we’ll be crushed by ice and there’s nothing we can do about it!” She slapped him. “Thanks, hon.”
“We can’t fall apart now; we’ll all kill each other before our own home does!” She shook his shoulders for emphasis. “I already had to stop people from climbing up the chimney, and I think we’re running out of cheese and crackers!”
“Hey guys?” A guest peeked her head around the corner. “I think the water stopped coming out of the faucet.”
Host 1 and 2 looked at each other and screamed.
Host 1 sat up suddenly in bed. “Do you hear that?”
Host 2 woke up and listened. “Sounds like running water.”
Host 1 jumped up and ran to the window, tearing open the blinds as Host 2 ran up next to him: “It’s rain!”
They stared out the window, not quite taking in that the previous eight feet of snow and ice had been reduced overnight to a mere foot-and-a-half.
“Oh rain!” Host 2 rapturously exclaimed. “Blessed rain! I will wake the others!”
She ran to the living room and kitchen, shaking the malnourished bodies. “Awake! And greet the new morn! All our trials have been washed away! Oh wondrous day! Oh – ”
“Hon!” Host 1 stood in the hallway, flabbergasted.
“Got a bit carried away there,” Host 2 said.
One of the guests checked his phone: “Leviathan was downgraded to Minnow and it’s now 60° out there. Good thing for us that global warming turned our snow to rain, eh?”
Cheers rang throughout the house as everyone rushed the front door and danced in the slush, joined by the rest of the neighborhood. After hugging their hosts and everyone secretly hoping that they would never see each other again, the guests cleared off what was left on their cars in record time and sped away on the wet streets, celebrating the return to their normal settings.
With the power and water back on, the former hosts began the long clean-up.
“You know, I kind of wish this whole thing had lasted just a few more days,” Former Host 2 said as she gathered the blankets from the floor to burn them.
“How can you say that?” Former Host 1 asked, relighting the candles and the tree. “We teetered on the edge of annihilation there!”
“Yeah, but I’m supposed to go back to work tomorrow.”