Rain Soaked Soil Reminds Me of Home

At the beginning of the year, WordPress released a PDF’/Kindle format ebook type thing with 365 days of word prompts. I downloaded it and then didn’t look at it again until a couple days ago.

I don’t intend to do one every day but I liked the one for today so I thought I would post it.

January 18
Free association

Write down the first words that comes to mind when we
say . . . home. . . soil. . . rain. Use those words in the title of
your post.

Naturally the first thing that came to my mind was the start of a short story. So here it is and I hope you like it.

*****************************************

When I close my eyes I can still see it clearly. That old wooden house with the decrepit and barely functional wrap around porch; a chain still hangs there holding a lopsided and abandoned swing.

In front of the house there is an old oak tree.  I can’t help but smile when I think of summer afternoons climbing that tree with my brothers. There was something pure about it. Natural. The kind of perfect day you lose as an adult.

But nothing so much reminds me of home as walking through the park-even a thousand miles away-in the rain.

The smell before it has ever touched ground fills my nostrils and I’m back home, running through the mud with my Golden, Roxy.

And when it starts to fall, hitting my warm,clean skin I could swear I’d never left. Momma is in the kitchen, cooking her special “rainy day gumbo” which is really nothing but leftovers she finds in the kitchen that are about to go bad.

I never minded it. It was food and I was a growing boy.

I know I had to leave there. Growing up in the South isn’t for everybody and it sure as hell wasn’t for me. It takes a certain kind of person to be a Southern boy. And I’m just not that person.

I don’t think about home that often. My parents are gone and my brothers have scattered to the four winds. I’m happy with my life in the big city. It makes more sense to me, I guess.

Sometimes I miss the purity of the South though. Church on Sundays followed by family dinner and football-either watching or playing it never mattered much.  Beers with the co workers on Friday and, on warm summer nights, maybe even Saturday too.

When I stopped going to church, things changed.  It wasn’t anybody’s fault. It’s just how it was. And I left.

No, I don’t miss it.

Except when it rains.

www.depositphotos.com
http://www.depositphotos.com

The Truth About Rudoloph

So it seems, my dear readers, that we have come to our final tale. The story of stories, myth of myth’s and legend of legend’s.

The lie of lies.

Let me take you back. Way back to the day a little reindeer was born. A reindeer with a red nose.

Rudolph came into the world by the traditional means: a stork carrying a blanket delivered him to Donna and David Deer.

They loved him as soon as they saw him, as parents do. And when his nose began to glow around the age of two (the movie may have sped up the timeline) they were delighted! Their baby was special and everyone would know it.

They did not fear he would be persecuted. We are talking about the North Pole; the most diverse and accepting place in the whole world after all.

Rudolph started deer training school as do all North Pole deer around the age of five. As his parents expected, his bright glowing nose was met with exclamations of delight and wonder.

He became very popular very quickly. Rudolph was known to be charming and witty and sometimes he was bright. He was also daring, wanting to do and try things no one had before or that had been expressly forbidden.

Of course that only made him more popular.

One day when Rudolph was a little bit older there was an awards ceremony for the graduating class and for any reindeer who had shown extraordinary ability in the younger classes.

Santa himself came down to deliver the awards to meet the deer that would eventually work for him, either pulling his sleigh on Christmas Eve, being on a backup team or being on a sled team for local trips.

Not all the deer would go into a career at the North Pole, of course, but they all dreamed of it.

Santa stood before the deer who had just received awards, Rudolph among them. He wore just black suspenders and white long johns, hands on the wood podium they had placed before him.

“Future sleigh deer, I stand before you truly impressed with this years talent.” To be fair this was the standard speech. Also to be fair, every year the talent did improve.

But then Santa did something unexpected.

“I don’t usually do this,” he began, causing every deer who had ever dreamed that Santa would call them up on stage and recognize them as being the best that he had ever seen to hold their breath. “There is one deer that I believe may be of great use to my team as soon as this Christmas Eve!”

What? Santa was adding a member to the team? The team that had been together for centuries was getting a new member and it was one of them?!

Dead silence filled the air as snow began to fall from a crystal blue sky. Snow is a good omen in the North Pole, you know. They are a very optimistic people.

No one dared to do anything other than stare and listen.

“Rudolph come on up here!” Santa said. Nobody said anything for a long second while Rudolph trotted up to the front, chest out and head held high. His nose was glowing like the first star out on an early summer night, lighting through the fog that was descending with the snow.

The cheers began slowly but when they came they were genuine and emphatic. But there was more than disappointment in that pause.

Rudolph was an all right flyer, not as fast or as steady as some of the others. His own father had been the top of his class and stories about his speed and agility had reached legendary proportions, perpetrated by the very deer who had taught David, but he had never made the sleigh team.

Rudolph was okay, as I said, but he had a long way to go. Even his teacher, who theoretically should have been proud of his student, gaped at Santa wondering if he had gone senile.

All the deer who spent hours after class training and practicing while Rudolph followed the doe’s around or did some crazy stunt felt their heart sinks.

But Rudolph was their friend and they were proud that someone from their class had made it, so they cheered and started dreaming of next year.

Santa put a hand up to silence the growingly rowdy group.

“Rudolph,” he said speaking to Rudolph but loud enough for the class to hear, “Won’t you join my sleigh this Christmas? We could really use you on those foggy Christmas Eve nights,” (which is most Christmas Eve’s in most of the world) “Will you lead my team?”

There were excited murmurs of “lead?” No one leads the sleigh team. They work together, paired off. Or at least they always had for as long as anyone there had been alive. What Santa was suggesting was considered ludicrous.

Then they all silently began to wonder if Santa had consulted the sleigh team who were conspicuously absent and, if he had, what they thought of a child being put out in front of them to guide them around the world.

Understand, we all knew the logic behind Santa’s decision but the sleigh team was royalty in the North Pole. They were looked up to and admired almost as much as the big man himself. To suggest someone so young, who had never even left Candy Cane Village lead them just because his nose glowed seemed like a slap in the face. They had been fine through the fog for centuries after all.

You might think Rudolph would have said yes(he would be crazy not to, right?) and that would be the end of this story.

But you would be wrong.

It’s okay. It happens to all of us sometimes.

Rudolph said no.

“Santa,” Rudolph began, “Thank you for the offer. Truly. But I don’t want to be on the sleigh team. I have bigger dreams than that.”

Then Rudolph stepped off the stage and no one heard or saw him again for almost five years til he walked back to the cave where he had been born to find only his father, dying and alone. Nothing like the regal, proud father Rudolph had grown up with. Not even a shadow of his former self.

The story Rudolph would later learn was that after he had left his mother, fearing the worst had sunken into a deep depression. She wouldn’t eat and she wouldn’t drink. She just wasted away. David followed her shortly, dying of a broken heart.

For now, though, Rudolph just went and lay next to his father who barely looked at him until he finally took his last breaths.

Rudolph stumbled a few days later out of that cave after his father had faded away to dust and magic as all magical creatures do.

Rudolph, feeling every bit the disappointment, headed straight for Santa’s workshop.

Santa was in the stables brushing Prancer when Rudolph walked in.

“Rudolph!” Santa exclaimed in surprise and delight.

“I’m ready to join your sleigh team, Mr. Claus.”

“I’m afraid I can’t let you do that, Rudolph. You have proven yourself too unreliable. I’m sorry.” Santa said.

Rudolph looked lost and confused.

“You said you needed me.”

“I said we could use you and that is still true. But if you can’t decide what it is you want I can’t ask the other deer to follow you. You don’t work for the team, Rudolph. You work for you. That won’t be good when we’re out there being pummeled by snow and ice and wind. You have to trust each other. I’m afraid you’re not trustworthy.” Santa said; Prancer nodded in vigorous agreement.

“But I know what I want now.”

“I’m sorry, Rudolph.” Santa answered; and he genuinely was. It was not in his nature to hurt people, intentionally or otherwise, unless he had no choice. In Santa’s mind, as much as he knew what Rudolph could do and that he could grow to be great leader he had to do what was best for the team right now.

Rudolph wandered out into an oncoming storm, disappearing except for the glow from his nose into darkness.

He would return, a month later, with a lawyer known around the world for taking on high profile cases for people who believed they were victims but that had not actually been victimized. She almost always won, despite her reputation.

Rudolph was suing Santa to be on his sleigh team and they would go to court out of the immediate area where no one had ever heard of Rudolph or personally met Santa before.

The court case took one day. Santa made his case, telling the truth (his first mistake) from his side of the story. He told the judge, whose name was Hearney from the Island of Misfit Toys who had once dreamed of becoming a dentist, about offering Rudolph a place on his sleigh team. He had people testify to Rudolph’s often reckless and unpredictable behavior.

Then the lawyer, Gloria, stood up in her blue power suit and spoke the words that a dwarf in the courtroom would later publish as a song.

“You know Dasher and Dancer, of course. Prance and Vixen. Comet, Cupid Donder and Blitzen. But you have never heard of this deer. This reindeer who should be the most famous of all. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Rudolph, as though on cue, had his nose began to glow a bright blinding red.

Gloria then began to spin for the courtroom, and the mistreated elf judge, the tale you are now familiar with and sing a variation of several times in a year. The tale of a mistreated, downtrodden reindeer who only ever dreamed of being on Santa’s team but was never allowed because of his “deformity” Then Santa had offered him a position only to take it away from him.

A story you now know to be completely false.

Anyway, long story short since you know how it ends.

Santa lost the case; Herney, being a misfit himself empathized with the deer and ruled that Rudolph deserved to be on the team since Santa himself had said he would be a good addition.

The legal system doesn’t always work even in the magic lands.

Or it works perfectly based on your perspective.

Rudolph’s first flight was an exceptionally foggy night and Santa was glad to have him, fearing that even his highly trained deer would have gotten lost.

The rest of the team followed Rudolph because they were professional but when they were on the ground, for the first time in his life, Rudolph really was an exile.

As the years have gone by, the team has come to accept him and he apologized for his childish lawsuit. He even offered to leave the team but no one would hear of it.

Finally, they grew to be the team Santa had always believed they could be.

They just didn’t get there the way you were told they did.

Dear Reader,

So there you have it. The true Christmas stories.

Nothing is what it seems, is it? But that doesn’t mean that these stories lose their meaning because of how they really happened.

Except Frosty. There is no excuse for Frosty.

Jack found his calling in a curse and Rudolph through a lawsuit. But they became who they needed to be and they serve the world yearly.

And who is to tell what will become of them in the future? What stories will you be telling your children? What stories will they tell theirs?

A story hasn’t done it’s a job unless the reader gets something from it.

So let this be your lesson this Christmas season:

It’s never too late. You have not laid down your pen and your story is not over. You may not be where you wish you were or who you wish to be but you aren’t finished yet.

Merry Christmas.

-Cornelius-

The Fourth Christmas Ghost

You know what my Christmas stories have been missing up to this point? A love story. How about the story of the Fourth ghost that Ebenezer saw that night. The ghost that actually opened Scrooge’s heart and mind to what the Ghost of the Future had to show him.
Look out tomorrow for the truth about Rudolph and my closing remarks.
-Cornelius-

You know Ebenezer Scrooge don’t you? Of course you do. He’s iconic. Scrooge, Marley, and the Four Christmas Ghosts.

What’s that?You only know of three? That’s right. Old Charlie decided that the story would have more of an impact if seeing his past, present and being forced to realize the lonely future he would have if he stayed on his path were what led Scrooge towards his inevitable change toward the better.

And that’s a beautiful sentiment but there was a fourth spirit. Between the present and the future. He was brief and (admittedly) somewhat useless, but he was there and he deserves to have his story told just like the others. He was not the most profound of spirit but he served his purpose in preparing Ebenezer to hear what the future spirit had to say. Or point.

You know what I mean.

Scrooge shivered after being left, invisible, in the cold December dark on the outskirts of town.

He called out to the spirit of the Present to return him to his bed. His calls, however, went ignored or unheard.

Scrooge went to huddle with the homeless by a neglected fire.

Suddenly he heard the sound of someone tripping over their own feet, somehow both very close and very far away at the same time.

“Hello?” Scrooge called half-heartedly; It really was a bother to be there and have no one realize it.

“You’re telling me.” Spoke an out of breath, awkward looking man shimmering into view.

The spirit was tall, thin and held himself as a person whose limbs had always been too long for his body and he was just acclimating to being proportional.

He was less formal looking than the other two. No gowns or extravagant robes. Just a regular three piece similar to what Ebenezer wore to his office every day.

“Are you the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come?” Scrooge asked.

The spirit, fumbling with a canvas he had been carrying barely paused to answer.

“What? No. No. I’m the ghost of What-Could-Have-Been. qqq wThings that might happen on any given path; things that could have been if you had chosen different roads at any given time from any given choice. Things like that.” He was setting the canvas, which Scrooge now saw held hand painted graphs.

“Didn’t the other spirits cover that already?”

“They can only show you on a very small scale. I can show you any outcome from every possible situation and the events that would or would not have led to said outcome.

“That sounds rather time consuming,” Scrooge answered, grimacing. The Sprits face fell momentarily and then he recovered. He was used to that reaction after a few centuries of following up the other two.

“Let me show you one thing. One ending you could have had. Let me show you Belle.”

“The last spirit already showed me Belle. I have no desire to see her again, thank you.” Ebenezer crossed his arms, nodding his head as though to say “that’s that.” He was freezing but he still had his dignity thank you very much.

“He showed you Belle with her husband and their children. You saw who she became with him and what she now thinks of you. Haven’t you ever wondered what would have happened if you had followed her that day so many years ago?’

‘Their ending together would not have been yours.”

Scrooge hesitated. He had wondered from time to time what would have become of him if he had followed her. Who hasn’t lay awake at night replaying moments in their lives with different endings? Belle had been his only love. And he had loved her deeply.

The person he had become, greedy and cold as he may have be had began as a genuine effort to be good enough for her. His father had drilled it into his head that he no one would ever love him. All he wanted was to be worthy.

It was ironic. Trying to be good enough to deserve her had driven her away from him.

“Okay.” Scrooge said, his voice barely a whisper and cracking as he spoke through the lump that had formed. He was afraid of what he might see next.

Would he have made her miserable or would he have made her happier than ever? Could he have learned to want more than money?

“Take my hand,” the spirit said. Scrooge put his hand on the skeletal hand of the ghost.

In a dizzying whirlwind they landed flat on their backs in a mercifully soft snow drift.

“Sorry. Sorry. Still working on the landing.” the spirit said, standing up and shaking powdery snow off his brown overcoat. He reached a hand down to Scrooge and heaved him to his feet.

It took a moment, but Ebenezer located Belle. She was smiling hugely, holding hands lovingly with an older Scrooge who was half laughing, half speaking. Four little girls screamed with delight as they ran between and around their parents legs playing tag. They all ranged from 5 years old to probably about sixteen or seventeen Scrooge guessed.

Scrooge and the spirit followed silently behind him. The spirit was content with silence and Scrooge was lost in thoughts he wished would leave him alone.

The older Scrooge still laughing, though now Belle spoke, telling her own story when Scrooge’s old partner, Jacob Marley, ran up the path towards them. He paused only long enough to pick up the youngest daughter.

The current day Ebenezer felt his jaw drop.

“Are you really trying to tell me that if I had gone after Belle Jacob would have lived?” Scrooge asked, baffled and full of doubt. He felt as though he had been tricked.

“Humans can rarely see the consequences of their smallest actions. You following Belle would not have only changed your and Belle’s lives. It would have changed his as well not to mention the lives of most of the people you have met since you let her leave. None of your conversations that you remember ever happened. Marley lives because he has something to live for. He died because he had nothing to hold on to. Nothing to fight for. Love of money is never enough to save a life in despair, Ebenezer. Despite what you have convinced yourself. Marley got sick around the time that Belle became pregnant with Christa there. He got better after she was born.”

The spirit continued walking while Ebenezer let it all sink in.

“Now you know for certain how your life could have ended, Ebenezer.”

“Is that all you have to show me?”

“Do you need anything else for me to make my point?”

“No.” Scrooge said, looking away. Then,”Why the chart?”

“What? You think you’re my only appointment tonight?” the spirit scoffed and then vanished, leaving Scrooge back in the cave just in time for the Spirit of Christmas Future to drag him away.

All the while, from one desolate, lonely place to the next Scrooge was painfully aware of what he had seen and where he might have been.

And when he saw the tombstone with his own name burned into the granite and realized what would become of him, he pictured her smiling face, hand in his, sending him off with a kiss.

Frosty the Snowman

Let the true tales from the North Pole continue.

-M and Cornelius-

Frosty was featured in Doctor Who. So you know how evil he really was. -Cornelius
Frosty was featured in Doctor Who. So you know how evil he really was. -Cornelius

 

For being one of the most beloved Christmas characters, those who actually met Frosty tended to hate Frosty the Snowman. He was the most self-righteous, arrogant combination of ice, coal, vegetables and magic that you would have had the misfortune to meet.

Probably the only one you would ever meet but that’s no excuse.

Frosty was notorious for parading up and down Snowflake Plaza ranting about global warming and the environment.

That’s right. He was an environmentalist.

Don’t get any ideas about nominating him for sainthood or anything. His motives were purely selfish. He was afraid of melting which, while being a valid fear for a snowman, is not worth sending trillions of non-ice based lifeforms into a global ice age. Which he would have done in a heartbeat to save himself.

Not him and his people. Himself. There are no other sentient Snowmen on the planet. And to that I say good riddance.

Frosty’s existence came about when some idiots traveling through the tundra happened upon the North Pole during it’s most magical time of the year. They made a snowman because, apparently, that is what people do when they see snow.

And ta da. There was Frosty.

The people who made him were never heard from again while Frosty remained. I’ll let you think about that one. Just know it was all speculation.

Nothing was ever confirmed.

When Santa and his merry band of elves came to the North Pole, Frosty welcomed them in and helped them build their village. Which he then started terrorizing.

Frosty would stop people on the street and yell at them for some imagined wrong Frosty had figured they had committed.  He would throw snow dyed red at people walking to work at Santa’s workshop, yelling slurs. He would call them murderers because the coal we were burning for energy was bad for the planet and was going to kill all the snowmen.

By all the snowmen he meant him.

He had even been accused(though we could never prove it) of kidnapping elves. Elves he would take a particular interest in would disappear. Never to be seen again.

Frosty was not a good…person…for lack of a better term.

Centuries passed and Frosty only got worse. Where he found his information was anyone’s guess, but eventually even Santa couldn’t abide him anymore and asked Frosty to leave.

Frosty left dejectedly. He did not leave quietly, mind you, but he did leave taking his soap box and his picket signs with him.

Everyone was relieved. Of course, the quiet couldn’t last.

Frosty reappeared a year later.

I remember sitting at home on my day off, watching my television in a fairly good mood. It was nearly Christmas time and we were all right on track for toy production. My Christmas tree was lit happily in the corner of my living room. All seemed right in the world.

Then Frosty showed up on a commercial. He was wearing his ridiculous top hat with a little pink flower sewed on the front and he was accompanied by none other than the Coca Cola bears.  They were pleading with people to limit their carbon footprint; to recycle and not use aerosol for any reason. It ended with some graphic of Frosty melting.

I’m not going to lie: for a second I was very hopeful.  Until I heard his voice narrating the end of the commercial and proclaiming it wasn’t too late and to follow the link to the website listed on the screen.

I sat in dumbfounded awe until the ringing phone snapped me out of my stupor.

It was Jack Frost(prior to his exile) and he was laughing.

“Orn, it’s Jack.” he said.

“Hey, Jack. Did you see what our old friend the snowman is up to?”

“I did. It gets better. Keep watching.” Jack could barely contain his delight at whatever was about to happen.

I stayed on the phone while I watched another commercial-this one was being filmed live a voice announced-and Frosty sauntered onto the screen. Sarah McLaughlin was playing in the background.

I wish I was kidding.

After he had meandered on to the screen, none other than the Abominable Snowman walked on behind him.

Let me just break for a moment to say that the Abominable Snowman gets a bad wrap but he wasn’t really a bad guy, just misunderstood. Like Bigfoot and the Yetti. He also hated Frosty as much, if not more, than the rest of us.

When I saw him standing there, beside the idiot in the top hat, a grin broke out across my face.

Frosty began his spiel yet again.  Same speech, different props, when all of a sudden Abominable bent down and bit off Frosty’s head . He chewed the snow slowly and then spit out a rumpled, dripping top hat. The rest of Frosty sat there, held up by his large base while Abominable stood there.

There was panic from the network. I could hear the camera man and the producers shouting orders, but all too afraid to move on the big, white furry beast.

It didn’t take long until a red and green “We are experiencing technical difficulties” text came up on my screen.

“You knew he was going to do that?” I asked Jack over the phone. Jack was trying to catch his breath. I think at one point he even dropped the phone.

“Yes.” he said between fits of laughter.

“How?” I was laughing as well.

“Abominable told me that Frosty tried to recruit him. And, while we were both all for saving the planet we were pretty tired of Frosty’s methods. Abominable suggested that the only way to kill a monster and be sure it was dead was to take its head. I may have encouraged him to try it.”

This may seem cold blooded. And, to a degree, it was. You shouldn’t go around killing people who disagree with you. But, sometimes, extreme measures do need to be taken. Abominable did what needed to be done.

Frosty was gone but magic endures.

Which leads me to the Frosty you know.

Frosty lived long enough to develop a soul.  It may have been mostly black, but it was a soul none-the-less.

Frosty was, however, a product of magic and not “divine intervention” so the soul was never full formed.

When frosty “died” , what existed of his soul, having nowhere else to go, jumped into the hat.

The hat was picked up by the win and carried hundreds of miles away to a small town in Colorado where some unfortunate kids found it just as they finished building a snowman.

They placed the hat on their new Frosty and the first thing he said ,(what would become his most famous catch phrase before he would once again begin trying to bring about an ice age) was:

“Happy Birthday.”

What was left of his soul may have been a little slow.

Hahaha.

Jack Frost

Tardis

 

Hello,

These are the continuing stories from the hard hitting expose:

Rudolph Was A Liar: Confessions of a Former Christmas Elf by Clarence A. Meant.

Enjoy,

-M-

Let’s start close to home with Jack Frost.

The story you know is of a happy little blue elf with pointed shoes who flies around coating grass and windows in a sheet of white cold that somehow manages to be less pleasant than snow but more pleasant than ice.

But you never really hear where Jack Frost came from

The truth is both sad and wonderful at the same time.

The truth is Jack Frost is cursed.

Many centuries ago, Jack Frost was my best friend. He was a Christmas elf too, you know. We made toys together, our workbenches set up side by side. I had a picture of my cat he had a picture of his wife at the time (I am sad to say that she left him shortly after he found himself turned blue) We would talk and we would laugh.

I thought everything was fine for the most part.

Until one day, Jack put down the painted green and red striped hammer he was holding and said,

“I’m getting out of here. You should come with me.”

This wasn’t the first time in the years that he had seemed dissatisfied with his working conditions and had threatened to leave. In the past, though, I had always been able to convince him that he was overreacting or seeing things that weren’t there and he would be quiet for a few more years.

But something was different this time.

His sapphire eyes were colder than they normally were.  As hard as weathered stone and just as sharp.

“You don’t plan on just leaving do you?” I asked him. Jack looked away, ashamed that I had so easily seen through him.

“If we left we could go anywhere. We could do anything. But he keeps us here.” Jack’s face was turning red though he was careful not to meet my eyes again.

“We can go anytime we want,” I scoffed, “Santa doesn’t hold us here.” Jack looked at me like I was terribly naive.

“If we can leave anytime we want then how come no one ever has? You think I am the only one to ever question his authority or my place here?”

“Yes.” I rolled my eyes. “Why would anyone want to leave? We make people happy. We make children happy. We are all well taken care of and given whatever we want. Why would anyone want to leave?”

(The hypocrisy of that statement would come to haunt me many years later when I chose to leave myself. For the moment, however, I remained blissfully ignorant.)

“We slave all year long, hardly ever having a break so that his highness in the red jumpsuit can take all the credit. Santa’s helpers? Please.” Jack said, his tone growing dark.

Now Jack was attracting attention from some of the nearby elves who were less than stealthily pretending not to be listening to our conversation.  I knew if he didn’t knock it off we would be taken off of toy duty and end up shoveling snow off the the sleigh track and down main street (Which we called Snowflake Lane, naturally) for the rest of the Christmas season.

You read that correctly. There is a job shoveling snow at the North Pole. You perhaps understand why, despite my sympathy for whatever it was Jack was going through, I really wanted him to shut his over sized mouth.

And he did. Right then at least.

In hindsight, I realized that he gave up too easily. He was never quite so easy to calm down when he got his mind fixed on something.  But at that particular moment, all I could feel was relieved.

Over the next few weeks, however, odd things began to happen around the workshop.

At first it just seemed like coincidence. Eventually, however, I began to suspect it was more and I knew exactly who was behind it.

At first, the machine that manufactured wood toy parts for things like wood soldiers and nutcrackers got so horribly jammed that it was going to take days to fix. This was in the days before iPods and blue-ray players you understand.

Tools started to go missing and then the power went out at the same time the backup generator failed. We worked for days by candlelight in the cold.

This was when I started to suspect Jack.

We had the backup generator in case the magic that powered all of the North Pole went down-Santa’s magic. In the entire existence of the North Pole his magic had never once failed.

But now it had and not even he knew why or was able to put it back in place.

Throughout this whole time-all of the failures- Jack hadn’t said a thing.  He had been silent about his unhappiness though he now had more reason than ever to complain and, for once, he wouldn’t have even had to keep his voice down to avoid attention.

He would have simply been saying what dozens of elves with strained eyes and bone cold fingers would have been thinking.

That made me more suspicious but I wasn’t ready to confront him yet. If he told me he was behind it, I would have been forced to tell Santa. My sense of duty was very strong at this time in my life and Jack had caused a lot of undue suffering.

So I worked, shivering in the darkness.

It should be noted that through all of this, we never saw Santa. He never walked around the shop to see how we were doing. In my darkest moments, I perhaps saw what Jack was getting at.

Mrs. Claus-Isabelle Claus for the curious-came by to bring us candles, candy canes and hot cocoa throughout our shifts.

Weeks went by and nothing was getting better. The mechanics hadn’t been able to find the source of any of our shutdowns-not even the human made backup generator-and we were all getting tired of trying to paint and put together minuscule parts with aching eyes and pounding heads.

That was when Jack struck.

He-over dramatically if you ask me-threw down the tools he had been holding and climbed up onto our workbench. His feet threw sawdust into my fast, making me cough and rub my eyes.

He was set in what he was doing, however, and didn’t even notice me sputtering beneath him.

“This cannot go on!” Jack yelled. There were cautious mumbles of agreement around the workshop. “Where is our fearless leader now!?”

Jack gestured to Santa’s cottage which we could see from one huge bay window on the East side of the workshop. It glowed happily. It was easy to imagine Santa in his red jumpsuit sitting in a rocking chair before a roaring fire. Even I felt a twinge of bitterness as the image filled my mind.

“While we freeze and work our fingers to bleeding to keep to his quota he sits up there on his throne! Warm and lit and waiting for us to finish so he can have other creatures drive around a sleight and take credit for our live’s work! No longer! Santa’s reign ends now!” Jack was panting, staring around the faces of the crowd who were fixated on his words.

No one stopped him or corrected him.

We all feared he might be right.

We had all been so conditioned to love Santa. We thought of him as God. But better because we could see and touch him. Jack’s words-the words that brought to life every negative thought we had all had over the past weeks-was almost like forcing us to become atheists.

To see our God not as a God, but as a man.

And we didn’t know how to deal with it. So we stayed silent. Neither agreeing or disagreeing. Just waiting to see what would happen.

Jack let out a groan of frustration.

“Stop being so afraid!” he yelled, his voiced bounced around the workshop.

“That is enough!” a booming, painfully familiar, voice said from the back of the workshop.

All heads turned in unison to see Santa in red work pants and long sleeve shirt with a brown welders apron hung around his neck striding towards Jack.

“I have not abandoned you. I have been here all along, helping you. I did not think I needed to announce my presence. Nor did I think you would turn so easily.” he said to all of us, not just Jack.

He didn’t seem angry, just disappointed. We all bowed our heads, faces hot with guilt and shame.

“The rest of you I will forgive. You were frustrated, cold and tired. I perhaps should have let you know I was here. I am sorry. I am working to get the shop back up and running again and I do apologize it has taken so long. Though I now believe I know the reason.’

“Jack, you have gone too far. Over the years I have tolerated your attitude. I have tolerated your low opinion of me. You were welcome to leave at any time but that wasn’t good enough for you. You tried to sabotage our work here, punishing millions of innocent children. You tried to mutiny me because you are selfish.’

“As punishment you are banished from this place. You will live out your name, Jack Frost. You will travel the world in winter so that millions may awaken every day to the kind of joy you were willing to rob from them. They will wake and they will remember that I am coming and it will make them happy.’

“When you are not flying the world, you will work under father winter making and stocking snow flakes. I think your toy making skills will come in very handy, Jack.”

Santa’s skin began to glow gold red, as though is veins were on fire, and Jack Frost turned the dark blue of an early winter morning sky. A gust of wind ran through the workshop and Jack was swept away from the North Pole, set to his task and unable to resist anymore.

But I told you his curse was a wonderful thing as well as sad, didn’t I?

Well, I still see Jack from time to time and you know what?

He’s happier now than he had ever been before.

 

Christmas Stories

 

I do not own the above picture.  All rights reserved to the original artist
I do not own the above picture. All rights reserved to the original artist

 

 

I love tales re-told from the point of view of a new or unexpected character. They make me happy. Wicked by Gregory Maguire, Til We Have Faces by C.S Lewis etc…

In my writing, I have occasionally experimented with telling stories from a new Point Of View.

Last year for my friends and family, I wrote a book of short stories called “Rudolph Was A Liar: Confessions of a Former Christmas Elf” by Cornelius the Elf (A.k.a Cornelius A. Meant.) A grumpy old elf who wears half-moon spectacles and, in fact, looks exactly how a Christmas elf should look. Right down to the striped tights. (Don’t bring those up…he’s very sensitive about it)

In my book(ahem..I mean CORNELIUS’ book) of short stories I wrote the true stories of Jack Frost, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph among others.

This month, I am going to be sharing those stories with you. Because I love Christmas and my stories amuse me. I hope they amuse you as well.

For today, I am going to give you just the Prologue (A.k.a Cornelius’ letter to those reading the book)

Prologue

Dear Reader,

You know those wonderful Christmas stories you grew up loving? Those stories that still have a place in your heart? The same ones you watch year in and year out while smiling as you put yourself into a nostalgia and eggnog induced coma?

Well, I have some good news and some bad news for you. Which do you prefer?

For the purposes of dramatic storytelling, we’ll start with the good news first:

All those beloved characters are real. Yep. Take that in. They walk among you. Sometimes visible and sometimes not. Sometimes they even work in malls throughout December. In any case, they’re all there.

Now the bad news. Are you ready? Are you sitting? You should sit.

I’ll wait.

While the creatures may exist, what you know about them is completely false. Stories are called such for a reason. They change from person to person either because of outright lies (“artistic license”) or perception.

But fear not! I’m here to tell you the truth. These lies have been perpetrated long enough!

To begin…

I’m sorry? What was that? Who am I? Well who blasted…all right. As you wish.

My name is Cornelius A Meant. My friends call me Orn. Orn A. Meant. Yes. I know. I really don’t know what you expected.

I used to work for Santa Claus. I made toys-as most elves do. It was all I wanted and dreamed about growing up. All I ever wanted until about two years ago in fact. I dreamed frost filled dreams of becoming head elf. Of Santa having to step down one day and choosing me, Cornelius, to run his shop.

Hey, an elf can dream can’t he?

In recent decades, the North Pole has gotten political. Too political, if you ask me. Another decade or two and I expect to see Santa on the campaign trail.

I was uncomfortable with the state of the place I had called home for centuries so I left. It was not easy-as you will see- and I have taken up residence in a small bed and breakfast in North Dakota. It’s almost like being at the North Pole, after all. Now I write full time as a writer.

Are you satisfied with my credentials now? May we move on?

Lovely…

*****************

Hope you enjoyed the taste. In the next couple of days be on the look out for the true story of Jack Frost.

-M-