"Why didn't you stop me?"
"I tried. You were pretty adamant."
"But I shouldn't have been wielding a hammer. Not after that many whisky and cokes. I don't even really remember much after we got home."
"With the knobless toaster oven."
"I remember that much."
"Maybe we can prop it up so it looks less wonky?"
"I can probably get the nail out and start over."
"Won't that damage the trunk?"
"Well we can't leave it like that... it's like the leaning tower of Pisa."
Five minutes (and some grunting) later
"You're right. Let's just prop it up. Are you okay to get lights and stuff?"
In one of the budget stores in downtown Brooklyn I bought: 1 x string of Christmas lights, 6 x silvery baubles, 3 x kitsch, homemade snowmen, 2 x black feathered baubles, 1 x pack of tinsel threads ("no lead"). It came in under $10, including tax. I also watched an old woman stomp out of the store after being accused of shoplifting by an over-zealous till-girl, who shouted at her hunched back.
"Why she have no bag then? That's all I'm sayin. How she gonna prove she paid? She got paid stickers? Cos I don't see no paid sticker."
I made sure I got my paid stickers.
Back at home we dressed the wonky tree.
"Wow, you got enough lights then."
"A hundred for two bucks. And they're wired in parallel."
"Good GCSE knowledge, right there."
A few minutes later, we turned off the overhead light and pushed in the plug.
"Ummm... do you think we can make them stop? Is there a switch or something?"
"I doubt it. These are seriously old-school."
"There must be a button. They can't just flash like this all the time. They're making me feel sick."
"Maybe there was a reason why they were only two bucks."
"Look. Right here on the package. It says '5 Way Flash'"
"Yeah, and it's flashing in five sections."
"The tree's still wonky, you know."