EE took the package, promised he would open it on Christmas, and thanked Mrs. V. He didn't want to seem ungrateful with this much mistletoe around--she was in a prime position to poison his coffee with it.
As she released the package, she said, “Well, it won't matter, really. If you don't open it, it'll open itself by the end of the year.” A flirty smile twitched on her lips and she was gone, taking her new pencil sharpener with her (EE had picked it up on the way to work, wrapped it in the cash register receipt--with all those colorful ads on the back it seemed environmentally prudent not to waste the paper and ink--and used a bit of mint-flavored dental floss to tie it up and make a bow; he shuddered at all this niceness, but he had to do his bit to keep his ass out of hell another year).
He put the lonely package under the cactus-promoted-to-Christmas-tree that Mrs. V had given him last year. He didn't have a real tree. Actually, he didn't have a house. He slept on the copy machine, which was always warm, and wrote it off on his taxes.
Christmas day found E in a haze of drug-induced manuscripts. He was just putting another manuscript on the fire when he heard a soft rustling sound. Ok, which minion had sent him a snake? Whirl? But no! It was coming from Mrs. V's package!
He armed himself with a stapler, tore open the paper and... Bunny slippers? Bunny slippers. And they were wiggling, sniffing the air, eying his cactus hungrily. EE poked one of them. It squeaked. That did it. EE headed to the copy machine to sleep it off.
When EE woke, he scanned the room for the slippers. Nowhere to be seen. He eased off the machine, and nearly jumped through the ceiling the moment he touched the floor--both feet squeaked. The slippers were on his feet. What the?! He kicked his feet frantically trying to get the bunnies off. He bent over to pull them off, but only made it as far as his knees. Ok. Coffee. Coffee made most things better. He made a pot and sat in his favorite rejecting chair with his fluffy feet propped on the footstool, and pulled up a stack of bad writing.
EE was halfway through the pile when his feet started to tingle. He watched in disbelief as his bunny slippers began to crumble, a few tiny fragments at first and then swarms, crawling toward the slushpile. Could it be? Yes!
Good ol' Mrs. V. He raised his glass to her, as he watched the slush being chewed into sawdust.