Flash Friday 12/12/2014: Coming To Town
Peter had not gotten through telling his wife and two sons about his brave fight at the orc encampment over dinner, before a man fell down the chimney.
Jessica screamed as she stood from her chair, huddled against the wall and staring at the fireplace in terror. The two sons, sharing their dad’s bravery, simply shuffled away from the sprawled man covered in soot, eyeing him with suspicion.
At first, they thought the man was dead. A muffled groan, followed by a slow and agonising session of getting up from the floor, confirmed that he was very much alive. When he had finally arisen, he beamed a charismatic grin to the family.
“Sorry about that,” he said, dusting down his red and white clothes and picking up the brown sack that tumbled down with him. “Had to come down the chimney. Front door was locked.”
Peter stood from his chair, wearing a face of fury. “You’d best start explaining yourself before I get the town guards.”
The man backed away, his hands up in surrender. “There’s no need to be getting ahead of ourselves here. You can’t just go and lock up the very embodiment of Christmas, now, can you? All the kids would be crying their eyes out.”
“What’s your name?”
“Ah.” The man gave a flourish of a bow, as if presenting in front of a clapping audience. “My name, good sir, is, um..Santa…Claus. Yes! That’s it. Perfect. You, sirs, madams, and children of all ages, may refer to me as ‘Santa Claus’. Yes, I really like that.” Santa nodded to himself, as if seeing himself wearing good clothes in a mirror. “Rolls off the tongue.”
Peter folded his arms. “Okay, then, ‘Santa’. Tell me why on earth you came down my chimney and interrupted my Christmas meal, or else I’ll be serving your head for tonight’s supper.”
Santa whistled. “Gosh, tough crowd. You come tumbling down someone’s chimney, and all of a sudden, you’re the villain. Well, thanks a lot for your horrible criticism, friend. You’re just jealous because you’re not getting any presents.”
“Right then.” Santa clapped his hands, a grin on his face. “Let’s get to business, shall we? Come here, little tykes, come here. Santa has something he’d like to share with the both of you.”
The two sons eyed each other with suspicious looks. They both stepped forwards.
“Now.” Santa rubbed his hands, crouching down to their level. “Which one of of you two is the oldest? No, wait! Let me guess.” Santa tapped his chin, alternating his gaze between the two. “I’m going to go with you, because you’re the tallest. Am I right, or am I right?”
“I’m the oldest,” the shorter one mumbled, clutching an arm. “The doctors say I was born with stunted growth.”
Santa bit his bottom lip. “Yes. Right. Well. I mean, that was just a joke. Because he’s the tallest of the two, yet he’s the youngest. You get the little joke I made there, right? You both do, right?”
Neither of them got the ‘joke’.
Santa sighed. “Alright, well. I’ll tell you what isn’t a joke; a Christmas miracle!” Santa waved both of his hands in an arc, as if producing a rainbow with them. “Now, then, mister…?” Santa pointed at the eldest son.
“What would you like for Christmas, hm? What would be the best present ever? C’mon, hit me with something.” Santa made boxing motions. “Give me something good, something I can work with. I can take it.”
“Well…” Jake scratched his head. “I’d really like a sword and shield, so I can help dad fight off the orcs threatening our town.”
“Really? Because what I think you meant to say was that you’d like…” Santa reached into his brown bag. “A ball-and-cup game! It’s very fun. See, you have the ball, and you have to flick it into the cup like this, and it’s all very good. Here you go, just what you wanted.”
Santa passed Jake the toy. Jake looked down at it like a dog staring at an empty food bowl.
“Right.” Santa stood, clapping his hands together. “Well, that’s the present-giving done. Now, how about we all–”
Santa froze at the sound of Peter’s interjection. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Trevor, the youngest son. What does he get for Christmas?”
“Ah.” Santa met eyes with Trevor, who was looking annoyed. “Ah, see, you thought I had forgotten about you, but I had really not. See, what you get is, uhm…”
Santa looked into his now-empty brown sack with hopes that something had materialised. Nothing had.
“You get, uhm…” Santa continued, looking around. He reached down to the fireplace and picked up a present, handing it to Trevor. “This. Enjoy!”
Trevor looked down at it. “It’s a lump of coal. From our fireplace.”
“Yes. That’s right. Because, you’ve been a, uhm…a very bad boy! Yes. You’ve been bad this year, so you get coal. I hope this proves to be a valuable lesson.”
“I’ll have you know,” Peter said, “that Trevor came second in the school’s mathematics competition.”
“Ah. I see. Well, then…he should have come first.” Santa gave a smile and a shrug.
Trevor stared daggers.
“So now that that’s out of the way, how about a little festive spirit, hmm? Some sing-alongs, some story telling, some–”
“What would get you to leave?”
Santa frowned at Peter. “I’m sorry?”
“I said, what would get you to leave my family in peace?”
Santa looked to the floor. “Well, to be honest, I am kind of peckish. And a little thirsty.”
“There’s cookies and milk in the other room. Take them and go.”
“Really?” Santa said, with wide eyes. “Well then, I think that’s enough festivity for one day. See you!” He turned and fled the room in the general direction of the kitchen.
Jessica scoffed. “Entertainers are getting worse by the year.”
Peter nodded. “He’ll never catch on.”