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Cillian, an aardvark who still lived with his mother because therapy was cheaper than rent, had taken up the bagpipe. With the help of YouTube, he spent Tuesday and Friday night teaching himself to play Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas (Deluxe Anniversary Edition). For five weeks in a row, Cillian had struggled with the Sugar Plum Fairy Interlude that was first on disc two but refused to move on because only quitters skip songs. His therapist, a gander with a slight lisp named Herbert Sassmensch-Stephens, ascribed this impediment to Cillian’s mother never once having let him wear a kilt.

Music pairing: All I Want for Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey


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