Merry Christmas Larry.
Larry flicked the power switch and his house lit up like a Christmas tree.
He lived in a four-storey townhouse on the outskirts of Amsterdam and his house was completely covered in synthetic pine needles and an absolutely ridiculous amount of little lights and twinkly ornaments. A myriad little angels and luminous vines covered the entire facade.
"are you sure that's enough?" Barbara said as she came out of the basement hatch, she had to, the door was obscured by a thick layer of needles and a huge 3D rendition of Santa Claus. "You don't think so? It took me a week to apply all this stuff, the needles alone took me three days! I'm sure they're more than happy with all this!." He spoke the words boldly but he looked unsure, Barbara smelled blood and decided to press on, "well last year that attitude got you a week in prison and we all know you didn't like that." He looked at her in astonishment, "this isn't enough? They couldn't do that to me again! Could they? I mean... I have all this stuff now..." She looked at him with a weary smile and opened the hatch, "It's up to you honey, you know how they feel about repeat-offenders."
As she descended the stairs the hatch closed automatically leaving Larry feeling terribly nervous. Last year he had failed to partake in public celebration in a satisfying manner and they had picked him off the street for it. He had been cuffed and everything, the trial had been broadcast on city-wide holo-vision. He had been the scorn of the neighborhood for weeks afterwards.
With a desperate "oh fuck! They're going to do it again, there is no way this is enough!" He rushed for his car. He got in and almost screamed at the sat-nav, "Home Depot! Now!" A calm woman's voice replied, "Destination unclear, do you wish to go to ‘Home Depot' or ‘Home Security Now'?" Larry was what most people would call ‘flippantly neurotic' about home security. He had sensors on all corners of his house, camouflaged and linked to three security firms and two independently functioning combat AI operated TASER hard points. He had little of value but nobody was going to touch any of it if he had anything to say about it. He was the only person who got volume discounts at ‘Home Security Now'. The car took off and two minutes later he arrived at Home Depot. He ran in and when he came out fifteen minutes later he had two carts full of lights. He had almost every conceivable color in there. He had even bought another Santa Claus just in case they drove around the other side of the house and missed the first one. Larry Sunderland was not going to jail again! He felt reassured by the humongous amount of decorations in his trunk but as he was being driven home doubts started nagging again. What if they were only counting reindeer? Or maybe they would bag him for using up too much electricity, or perhaps... He calmed himself, he was going to be fine. He had almost as much decorations as the neighbors this year, they couldn't charge him for that.