One minute it seems months away, then before you know it the big day has arrived, the excitement is all over and there’s winter to survive before Spring cheers us up again. In keeping with the season I changed my mind about the short story to write this week. I hope you appreciate the reason your presents arrive on time; if not, you know who to blame. 😀
My husband drives me to despair. He has no proper job, spends the whole year lazing around, and is forever disappearing to his workshop with his weird friends. Then in the middle of winter he vanishes for days on end, taking some of the Caribou from the fields with him. When he finally returns, he has a stomach ache from all the crap he’s been eating while he’s been away. His favourite suit is covered with soot that takes me weeks to wash out, and he’s full of ridiculous stories from his travels.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite happy for him to have a holiday once a year. I even offered to go on Trip Advisor to help him plan it, but he insisted he needed to be unrestricted so he could get to all the countries he needed to visit. Although I’d asked him a dozen times to bring in a tree, there was still no sign of it when he went missing as usual. The final straw was when I discovered my stockings had gone missing.
At first I thought I might have mislaid them in a box under the stairs where we keep the decorations, but after pulling everything out I knew he had purloined them as usual. Why he wanted my knitted red stockings, I dread to think. Pushing everything back I noticed a young lad with floppy hair, glasses and an owl on his shoulder, sitting in one corner of the odd-shaped cupboard.
‘You still here, Harry? I asked.
‘Yes, I know I’ve been here over twenty years, but I’ll be coming out again in a few weeks. If you’re looking for Mr C he went thataway,’ he replied, pointing to the farthest corner leading off into the darkness.
‘Right,’ I thought. ‘This needs sorting, once and for all.’ I hitched up my skirts, and despite not being a Skinny Minnie realised that if he could get through with his fat stomach I sure as hell could. It was a bit of a tight squeeze, but after I forced my way into the narrow opening behind the meters, I emerged into a winter wonderland. It had been dull and raining when I had glanced out of the kitchen window earlier, but here the softly falling snow reflected in the moonlit night. A noise overhead made me look up to the sky, then have to jump aside as the animals skidded to a halt next to me, dragging the sleigh behind them.
‘Sweetheart, what are you doing here?’ Nick asked.
‘Finding out what you’ve been up to all these years, you devious old man. Rudolph! Stop nudging me. Well? What have you got to say for yourself? And where are my stockings? And why didn’t you bring in the tree as I asked?’
‘I’m sorry my love, but you don’t know how hard it is; sorting through all the letters, keeping the elves in order, making sure the presents are ready on time. Then there are all these new buildings to find, central heating and people moving without telling me. It’s a nightmare. I don’t think I can do it for much longer. It’s why I’m always grumpy when I come home. And some of these kids today are so ungrateful. I give them the latest technowobble, and they still complain because there’s a newer version by the time it’s delivered.
‘In the old days they were happy with an orange, a few sweets and a doll or a toy soldier. We could just carry on production from the previous year, and everything was ready well before Christmas Eve. Now, as soon as we start production things change, and we spend more time updating the machinery than we do on actual production.’
‘You silly old fool. Why didn’t you tell me the stress you were under? Right, let’s get the rest of these presents delivered. I’ll take the reins while you have a doze. From now on I’ll take care of all the letters, and don’t worry about the elves. I’m appointing myself factory manager and they’ll soon learn to do as they’re told, otherwise they’ll be out on their big pointy ears.
‘The only thing you need to worry about is to make sure I have a tree and my stockings back. Now Dasher, now Dancer, and Prancer and Vixen. Let’s get this show on the road. From now on Mrs Claus is in charge!’
© Voinks December 2015
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