CHRISTMAS TAKEOVER 2022: Armand Rosamilia

Cookies & Brownies

Todd Minor had done it again. Screwed Al Binder out of a promotion at work, likely ate his yogurt and definitely stole his future ex-wife.

The guy had been a thorn in Al’s side for years. He always got the better jobs, the most attention and the bigger awards at work.

Al knew it was all based on looks, too. Todd was half Al’s age, a good-looking guy with long dark hair pulled into a ponytail, even though the handbook clearly stated men could not have long hair. He had a great smile, too, which the ladies in the office swooned over.

Todd also had a nice car, the latest, fanciest model out there. He’d brag about having to order his next car. Custom-made this and that. If electric cars were the new thing, Todd had the next generation of them already. Total douche-bag.

Todd always frowned at Al when they were alone but never said anything, as if he was disgusted with him.

On Monday morning, Todd would bring in two dozen donuts from Dunkin for everyone on the floor. Knowing Al’s responsibility was to get there first and unlock the doors.

It meant Al got to eat the first donut. Usually the first three.

Todd did this on purpose, as he knew Al was struggling with his weight.

The pretty bastard just didn’t seem to care, wrapped up in his own perfect world.

He was in the break room with half of the women on the floor, showing pictures of his recent vacation to Italy. Al shook his head when Todd showed a picture of himself without a shirt on, and the women all smiled and moved around like the friggin’ Beatles were in concert back in the 60’s.

Al needed to get rid of this guy, and he’d started devising a plan. The Christmas party was coming up in three days, so he needed to put this all into action. Get rid of Todd once and for all. Make sure he looked like the fool he really was, and all these fawning women would feel stupid for thinking he was such a great catch.

Even Joselin, the woman Al had been trying to woo for months, would see what a waste of time Todd was. The two of them had lunch together most days, giggling like high school kids in the cafeteria.

It made Al sick. He’d tried to sit at their table once, a few weeks back, but Todd asked Al to sit somewhere else because they were having a private conversation and normally he wouldn’t mind, but… they were talking about things not meant for other people.

Not meant for Al.

Todd was strutting around the office the morning of the Christmas party, wearing a stupid Santa hat and handing out candy canes to the women. Not to the men.

Al wondered if he could get Todd in trouble with H.R. or just wait until tonight and get his plan into action.

Stick with the plan.

The biggest part of the plan would be the Santa suit. Al had spent a fortune on the rental this time of year. If he’d been better prepared, he would’ve thought up this plan weeks or months ago and gotten it then. Heck, for the rental price he could’ve purchased one last January or February.

Al hid the suit in the janitor’s closet upstairs and acted like nothing weird was going to happen. As if this was just another office party, where the same people were going to get drunk, the same people were going to be mad about the others getting drunk, and Al would eat way too much food and have some of the people stare at him.

Not that he cared. This was the meal he waited for each and every year. He’d make sure to swipe as many cookies and brownies into napkins and then head to his desk, where he had his drawers filled with Tupperware containers. He’d be feasting for the rest of the week.

Todd arrived fashionably late to the party, wearing what looked like a tacky tracksuit. Red and green and festive.

He still had on the dumb Santa hat and was all smiles as he went around and shook hands with the men (but not Al, who he casually ignored) and made sure to hug and/or kiss all the ladies.

Al was pissed. Almost mad enough to not eat the bacon-wrapped shrimp or the delicious meatballs coming around on trays. Almost.

He drank a few shots of bourbon to loosen him up and get him in the mood to do what needed to be done. Al kept watching the clock. He’d set his plan into motion right at eight o’clock, when everyone was in the building but before the real Santa, or the person playing him tonight, was going to show up.

Al watched as Todd kept making the rounds, never staying in one place for more than a minute. Smiling and slapping backs, as if he was everyone’s friend. As if he was important.

A quarter to eight, Al went upstairs and got dressed in the Santa outfit, which was hard to do in the confined space of the janitor’s closet.

He went back downstairs and when he exited the elevator, he made sure to smile. “Ho Ho Ho,” he yelled.

Everyone stopped talking and stared at Al. Only the music still played, which happened to be a Rick Astley song. You know the one that they always play.

“Why is Al dressed like Santa? He looks ridiculous,” Todd said loudly.

More than half the people laughed.

Al was furious. He wasn’t going to let Todd get the best of him yet again. He needed to remain calm.

Instead, he pulled the .357 tucked in the suit and pointed it at Todd.

Men and women gasped, everyone fell back, and gave Al room.

Everyone but Todd, who smiled and shook his head. “Seriously, Al?”

“Serious as a heart attack,” Al said and hated what he’d said. That was corny and typical. He’d think of a better comeback later, when all of this was done.

“You won’t get away with this,” Todd said, waving his hand. “Whatever this is, actually. Is there a point to you dressing as Santa and pointing a weapon at me? Have I wronged you, Al?”

Al laughed. “Have you wronged me? Of course, dammit, you’ve wronged me. So many times I’ve lost count.”

Todd shrugged. “Then I’m sorry. Can we get back to the party? I’m looking forward to the seafood entree option this year.”

Al was also looking forward to it, but he wasn’t going to walk away now. Not with all of these witnesses.

Now he was scared. If he shot Todd in front of everyone, he’d likely need to kill all of them, too, or he’d go to prison.

Al hadn’t brought enough ammo with him, though. No way he’d be fast enough to shoot everyone before they escaped, either.

“You’re coming with me, Todd. Get on the elevator,” Al said. He needed to get back in control. Already a few people were looking around for the waitstaff to get a fresh drink. The food would be out soon, too.

“I’d rather stay here with all of my friends and have a good time,” Todd said.

Al was furious. “No. I wasn’t asking if you wanted to go onto the elevator. I was demanding it.”

Todd shook his head. “Not interested.”

Al shot into the air and a large piece of the ceiling tile fell, nearly hitting him.

Everyone stopped moving. No more looking for the next drink, no more eyes on the door where the food was going to come out of.

“The next one will be a warning shot through your chest,” Al said to Todd.

Todd shrugged again, as if none of this affected him. “Fine. Everyone, enjoy the party. Don’t worry about me and Al. We’ll talk this out like gentlemen. Like adults. Figure out why Al thinks I’m so against him and everything about him, all the things I don’t like and talk about.”

“You’re talking about me?” Al motioned for Todd to get on the elevator.

Todd got on like they were simply heading upstairs for another mindless day of work.

Al stepped in, still aiming the gun at Todd.

“Where are we going, Al?”

“The roof.”

Todd smiled. “Can we stop at my desk and get a sweater first? It might be cold.”

“No.” The doors to the elevator closed and Al saw everyone else was rushing forward. If he was smart he would’ve sent the other elevator up first.

They rode in silence. Al was surprised and also a little frustrated that Todd seemed so calm.

“You go first but go slow,” Al said when the doors opened and they were on the top floor. To the left was a doorway that led to the roof itself, exposing them to the elements.

It was December but it wasn’t as cold as it usually was. No snow, no strong winds.

“Now what? Are you going to push me off of the roof, shoot me and push me off of the roof, or shoot me and leave me on the roof?” Todd asked. He still looked calm.

Al saw there was no locking the door to the roof from this side. He wished he’d figured that out sooner, because he would have devised a way to keep the door locked. Blocked would’ve been good.

“I’m sorry. Is that what you want to hear, Al? I apologize for being mean to you. Did I know I was being mean? Yes.” Todd shrugged again. Al hated when he shrugged. “I guess, if I had to do it all over, knowing we’d get to this point, I would still do it. I gotta be honest. I’m sorry I got you this mad. Obviously I didn’t realize you had a few screws loose. I knew I was getting under your skin, and that was the fun of it. I’m a bully. I pick out the weakest in the herd and make their life miserable. It makes my life better.”

“You’re even worse than I thought,” Al said. “What a horrible person.”

“Guilty as charged.” Todd smiled and started to walk toward the door. “I’m going back to the party. By now the police have been called and are en route. You’ll be arrested for brandishing a gun. Making pretend you’re Santa, too. That has to at least be a fine.”

Al had the weapon inches from Todd’s head as he walked past. “Stop or I will shoot you.”

“No, you won’t. Because you’re spineless, Al. if I thought for a second you’d actually shoot me, I would actually be listening to your direction,” Todd said.

Al shot him in the back of the head.

Todd fell to the ground and Al emptied the gun into his back.

The door to the roof opened and his coworkers rushed out.

They saw Todd, bloody and dead on the roof. Al holding the gun.

“Police are on the way, Al. Put down the gun,” someone said.

Al didn’t want to go to jail.

He ran to the side of the roof, looked down at the busy street. Saw red lights in the distance and knew the police would be here within the minute.

“Don’t do it, Al.”

“Let him do it. It’s my tax money that’s going to have to front the bill for his time in prison. Let him jump.”

“Have some compassion. Al is disturbed. We all knew it. Is this all really a surprise?”

“No, but still… we need to be the better person. Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Al walked around the roof until he could see the parking lot below.

Every day, Todd parked in the first spot closest to the upper management parking area, as if he was one small step from being a boss.

Al began to strip out of the Santa suit. “Hey, can someone return this for me? The receipt is in the pocket. Thanks.”

“No. Do it yourself.”

“I’ll do it if you promise not to jump.”

“He still has the gun.”

Al moved a few inches to his left, trying to gauge the wind up here. No use in doing this if he’d miss his target down below.

He unzipped his fly and began to pee over the side, hoping the urine would hit Todd’s car far below.

It maybe did, a few sprinkles, but most of it was taken on the breeze.

“Feeze,” a police officer yelled from the doorway.

Al turned and all of the fellow employees got a good look at his small package. He didn’t bother to zip back up.

As the police officer started to approach slowly, Al saw two more cops ushering the people back inside.

“This was some party,” Al yelled with a smile and a wave. “Save me some cookies and brownies.”

Al stepped backward, into space, and waved once more before he plunged down to certain death, willing his body to hit Todd’s car.

Boo-graphy: Armand Rosamilia is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes when he’s not sleeping. He’s happily married to a woman who helps his career and is supportive, which is all he ever wanted in life…

He’s written over 150 stories that are currently available, including horror, zombies, contemporary fiction, thrillers and more. His goal is to write a good story and not worry about genre labels.

He not only runs two successful podcasts…

Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast – interviewing fellow authors as well as filmmakers, musicians, etc.

The Mando Method Podcast with co-host Chuck Buda – talking about writing and publishing

But he owns the network they’re on, too!

He also loves to talk in third person… because he’s really that cool.

You can find him on his website for not only his latest releases but interviews and guest posts with other authors he likes! and e-mail him to talk about zombies, baseball and Metal.