Monday, December 24, 2012

Winston's Christmas - Part Two

This is re-posted from last year.  Lots of tech problems with the DSL network - Merry Christmas from ATT!

Follow this link to Part One, if you're tuning in late.

Back to The Plan 
As he watched the truck recede into the distance, with his Christmas list on the old leather front seat, Winston stood stunned for a moment. "Maybe I don't have the list, but I've got most of it memorized!” There was no time to waste, now. Winston ran back up the hill to his bike. His feet mercilessly pounded the pedals of his trail bike slamming it into Turbo Warp Velocity. His head was swirling with the items of his list, trying to remember all of them, letting none slip away. As he reached the Brookridge Mall, Winston hit the ground running, leaving his bicycle on its side right next to the main entrance. He ran to the center court of the mall.

 But, something was wrong. It was too quiet in there, hardly any people. Santa was not in his customary place. “Maybe he's on his break” Winston hoped frantically to himself. 'Here Comes Santa Claus’ was blaring frantically from the ceiling, a jabbering chorus of of annoying adults trying to sound like annoying children.

A voice interrupted the music. “It is now 3:55 p.m. The Brookridge Mall will be closing in five minutes. Happy Holidays” The music cut back in, a frantic cacophany of Deck the Halls with blaring guitars and artificial snare drums.

Eyes wide with panic, Winston cut through Santa's village over to the registration desk. A teenager in an elf costume was talking on her cell phone. He tugged at her sleeve, to get her attention. She snapped her head around and glowered at Winston.

“Where's Santa?” Winston nearly shouted.

The elf-girl, annoyed, said “I'm sorry, we're closed.”

“I’ve got to see Santa!” Winston tried to keep the panic out of his voice.

“I SAID, I’m sorry, we’re closed. I need you to leave, now. Have a nice day.”

As he left, Winston said under his breath, “I need you to fall off a cliff”

And the cold, gray reality came rushing around him like an icy fog. Winston was too late. Jagged fragments of his utterly failed plan fell about him as he slouched out of the mall, and back into the cold late-afternoon sunlight. Santa would never know, now, what he wanted for Christmas. Even the reconstructed list (which could possibly be missing a few items) was worthless now. Just as his brother had been telling him -- Santa would make the assumption, since he hadn’t heard from Winston, that Winston didn't want anything at all this year for Christmas. Or, worse yet, Santa would think that Winston didn't believe in him.

As he headed back up the hill, he came to the spot where he had met the truck. He could see the skid marks his bicycle had made earlier, back in a happier time when he had been a Robot Ranger traveling full of hope at Turbo Warp Velocity. He had been on a mission - a Robot Rangers Expedition. Winston stopped his bicycle, no need to hurry now, and looked back down the hill. Under the last reddish glow of sunset, the lights of the town below were coming on. In the wind-less, chill silence, Winston realized how seriously his mission had failed. “Operation Giftwrap”— indeed. His words came back to mock him.

“Well, at least I got that old man’s damn truck started!” he said to himself, fighting back the tears. “I hope that old fool has a nice Christmas, in his stupid old truck!” In the early evening sky, a falling star winked brightly and briefly, or maybe it was just one of the town lights distorted in a tear.

Back home, Winston passed unnoticed through the front hallway, where his sister was on the phone with one of her girlfriends. “Yes, a pen and pencil set. A Stupid Pen and a Stupid Pencil in a little velvet box. Yes, I showed him the necklace in the catalog. But my father said 'it wouldn't be appropriate'. Too young, my eye! I'm 16.

A Valuable Lesson
In the living room, his older brother Joshua had already opened his present from Mom and Dad — a Remington manual typewriter. "Back to basics" his father had reasoned. “Computers make things too easy, and the Internet takes all the challenge out of doing research.” Joshua poked listlessly at the keys, pressing them randomly, just for the old-time sound they made as they hit the paper.

Winston, sat down, talking to nobody. From the kitchen, he could hear his father's voice talking to his mother “This should teach him a valuable lesson in cooperation”. Great. His own parents turned against him, too! A valuable lesson! That’s what he’d be getting for Christmas. A valuable, bleak, hopeless and empty lesson. He pretended not to hear, just staring straight ahead without seeing. .

A sound penetrated Winston’s thoughtful wall of despair. A regular thumping noise seemed to come from inside the wall of the living room next to the front door, repeating at one-second intervals. From the kitchen, Winston's mother said, “Winston, what's that noise? What's going on out there? ”

Joshua could see that Winston was just sitting limply in his chair. He taunted — “Maybe it's Santa's reindeer on the roof with your stuff. Maybe we should all go out and help you bring in the big haul! HAHAHAH!” Winston jumped up, ready to punch his brother, but paused when the thumping noise stopped.

The sound of a truck door slamming. Winston froze as, one second later, an explosive POW! was followed by a deep roaring engine-sound that resonated with something recent in his memory. Winston bounded for the front door, and ran out onto the lawn looking down the road. But all he could see was a cloud of dense dark-gray smoke covering the road, tinged blue in the cold Christmas Eve moonlight. The engine sound was fading, and Winston thought he heard someone shouting “Merry Christmas” over the engine's roar.

Winston turned back to the house. It was unbelievable. The thumping sound they had all heard was explained. Packages were stacked on the front porch, on both sides of the front door. The veranda was FULL of gift-wrapped presents, and all of them had Winston's name on them!

Joshua put the typewriter in the attic, only to discover it a few years later. The attic became his “garret” from which he still writes all of his best-selling novels.

Megan began doodling with her pen and pencil set, and, as anyone who frequents art galleries will tell you, the rest is history.

And Winston? — Well, let's just say, he's in the Package Delivery business. And, yes, he works on holidays...

Merry Christmas!  "God Bless Us, Every One!"

The preceding is a work of fiction. If you notice any resemblance to real persons living or dead, then I did it right.  It was originally written for a Christmas variety show about 10 years ago, and has been re-written many times since.  Maybe this is it.

Thanks for listening and contributing. I'd love to hear from you.

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