It’s in the Shops – a short story (1026 words) (all)

Author’s note:
It may be perception, but each year the Christmas decorations, presents, cards etc seem to come out earlier and earlier. The fact that I bought (and now have) this year’s LEGO advent calendar means that I have already started to think about the basic introduction to the story. The image below came into my head today… and it may be the prequel to the Advent story; but with over a month and a half to go anything is possible. Anyway, enjoy!

2014-10-10 16.43.18

Barry sat down at the kitchen table, his workbook open at a new blank page. He had his new pen in his hand and with his tongue sticking out of the side of his mouth carefully started to write. He knew that his handwriting was wobbly at best, and sometimes he wrote words as he thought they ought to be written rather than as they actually might be, but he figured that as long as he wrote them in his best handwriting that the person reading it would understand. After all, Barry knew that around the world other children would be starting to do the same – and he knew from school that not every country wrote and spoke the same language as he did. He’d asked his teacher about this – and she told Barry that Santa Claus had a whole team of dwarves who would read the letters.
“But does Santa see them?” asked Barry, a little worried that his letter wouldn’t actually be read by Santa, but a “mindless minion controlled by The Man” (as his dad had called a person the other day when he phoned up about a letter he had received from The Council).
“Yes, of course he does” replied his teacher (who was wondering if she should still be discussing Santa Claus, given the last year’s complaints over the school’s attempt at a multi-cultural, multi-none-and-all-religious Winter-Festival-Christmas party). “His elves translate the letter into… err.. Finnish… and then Santa reads them. Now, come along Barry, your parents must be waiting outside for you”.
Armed with all this information, Barry decided that the best chance of getting what he wanted for Christmas was to write his letter early. Then, it would be at the top of the pile – and the shiny new bike would be his.
“Dere Santa,
I hope you ar wel. I am wel to. I hope all the elves are wel. We went to DisneyLand this summer and it was great.
I am writin to you to ask if you culd aranj for me to have a new bicycle for cristmas. I saw the wun I want in Mr Sidwell’s toy shop on the corner of the street. Its the purple wun with 25 gears and the suspenshun.
I have been good this year so I think I can ask for this. If you culd also give mum and dad wat they wuld like for cristmas and my sister that would be great.
Thank you.

Barry carefully tore the page out from his notebook. He looked at the letter and decided that all the letters were between the lines as it should be and each word was legible so it was OK to go. He asked his dad for an envelope and put the letter inside it. He decided not to ask his mum – last time she had insisted on reading the letter and checking the spelling… and it had taken AGES before she agreed to send it to Santa. He carefully wrote “SANTA CLAWS, NORTH POL” on the envelope and then asked his dad if he would send it. His dad looked at the envelope, smiled at Barry and suggested that they went and put it in the post box right away, before it got forgotten about.

In the home of Mr. S. Claus, there was a terrible noise. Shouts and cries, raised voices – oh, it was terrible. It sounded like there was a fight going on… and to some extent, there was.
“Oh, come on ref! That was below the belt! Come on – that was unfair!! What is the ref doing, can’t he see that he’s going for the chair, no no no no… OWWW!!! That’s got to hurt! Wait no, he’s getting up – come on… Hulk Strength is returning, come on… aww! The double leg drop from a triple suplex!! One two.. oh, he kicked out…!!!”
Santa was sat on the sofa, with a few of his elves watching the latest “Hell in an Igloo” wrestling match. The empty cans littered the floor, along with the half eaten popcorn and crisps. Then the door flew open and Nobby, the Chief Elf rushed in.
“Santa! Terrible News! We have reports that IT IS IN THE SHOPS!!”
The happy enjoyment of the wrestling rushed out the door, as Santa picked up the remote control and paused the match.
“Nobby – what is in the shops?”
“The Christmas decorations!! You know what that means, don’t you?”
“Umm, let’s say there’s someone new in the team and they don’t know….”
“It means the world is in a COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS!!!”
“But we haven’t got through Halloween yet!” said Santa. “Rudolph is still walking around like a skeleton!!”
“Ok” said Nobby, “So I needn’t start to worry about THIS!”
He held up a white envelope. It looked a little crumpled, but in carefully written letters it said “SANTA CLAWS, NORTH POL” on the front.
The whole room went silent, except for the sound of a remote control hitting the floor. Instantly, and with a sense of impeccable timing, the match started again and the announcers voice shouted,
“It’s down… he’s out! One Two Three Match Over!!! Match Over!!!”

Far, far away on a hot, sandy beach, Mrs Claus was enjoying the last few weeks of sunshine before returning to North Pole and helping Santa once more prepare all the toys. She knew he did his best, but without her, she knew that it was too big a job, especially when it came to training some of the older elves to deal with the electronics that all the new toys needed. Very few children asked for a cutout of a wooden duck these days.
She heard the “ping” on her mobile phone and casually glanced at the screen.
Mrs Claus smiled. It does seem to come earlier every year, but a little more sun won’t hurt anyone. She called the waiter over and ordered one more cocktail. Just a few more pages and she would be finished with the story and she can then pack and fly home.

To be continued… 🙂


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