I hope you’ll indulge me a little silliness. The following was the result of a writing exercise my writing group did the last time we met, entitled “The Christmas I’ll Never Forget”. This is entirely fictional–after all, they said I didn’t have to write the truth. I don’t, as a rule, write short stories, but here it goes:
“What in heaven’s name?” Mom pointed the spatula at the lumpy, bumpy package that was about the size of my little brother. It was not my little brother, but that would have been cool.
I was busy hip-checking it into the corner behind the tree, but I paused in my exertions. “Huh?”
“What is that?” She poked a finger in IT’s direction and waved the spatula. A piece of cookie dough flew off. It hit the floor and Buster the pug ate it.
“Mom,” I said. “It’s Christmas. I can’t tell you.” The package, wrapped in brown paper, not colourful Christmas paper, could not be hidden. I had used this line on my little brother already.
“Well don’t…” She sighed. “Don’t knock over the tree, Avery. The angel’s about to fall off.” She reached up and pushed at it with one floury hand. Then she turned and marched back into the kitchen, Buster waddling behind her, smacking his lips.
I breathed a sigh of relief.
The present wouldn’t go any farther in the corner. There it would sit, like an overgrown turd. Maybe if I put a bow on it…?
It had cost me my entire piggybank, and selling my Sidney Crosby card, and cleaning Grandma’s driveway four times, and vacuuming all the sunflower seed hulls from Grandpa’s big Lincoln. It had taken me an hour to walk it, in a wheelbarrow, from Field’s Hardware Store to home. I had to pause several times to rest my arms and I had slipped once and nearly tipped it out. It couldn’t break. It was Mom’s gift.
You see, one fateful evening when she’d been out with my Aunt (Christmas shopping, I think), my brother and I had been playing knights and dragons. I was Sir Snodbottom the Valiant and he was the evil dragon, breathing fire and seeking whom he may devour. I chased him into his lair, the glass-walled shower, and stood outside, waving my mace and taunting him.
“Come out, you big baby!” Lord Snodbottom said, shaking his mace. “Come out and fight.”
“No!” came the muffled voice of the dragon. “Leave me alone. I don’t want to play anymore.”
“Come out, you big baby! You can’t hide forever.”
“Yes I can.”
Thus it continued. Lord Snodbottom began to grow weary and decided to take a few practice swings with his mace, which was actually Mom’s metal kitchen hammer. His swings became a little too vigorous and the mace collided with the throne—the toilet.
What was that?” the dragon squeaked, deep in his lair.
Lord Snodbottom took one look at the great gash in the porcelain throne and fled.
Thus the package. Mr. Fields sure had given me a funny look as I’d laid my money on the counter, and another as we lifted it into the wheelbarrow. I didn’t care. I was Sir Snodbottom, and I would redeem myself.
Christmas morning arrived, and while my little brother and Buster capered around the Christmas tree, I tugged the package into the center of the living room. Mom and Dad came out of their bedroom in their bathrobes, rubbing their eyes. I pointed. “Open this one first.”
Mom glanced at Dad, and Dad grinned. By her expression, I could tell she thought it was some odd prank, or a clay sculpture I had made in school, like last year.
She pulled away the brown paper, and there was a shining new toilet.