Sunday December 20th, 2009

The exercise:

Today's prompt is the classic: jingle bells.

I just discovered Sinatra's version of the song today and it's making me feel very mellow.


The silver bells attached to the top of the front door jingled as yet another snow-encrusted customer entered, bringing a blast of cold air with him. I stood a little closer to the portable heater I had placed at the foot of the cash register and tucked my chin into my sweater.

"Hey there good looking," he said as he sauntered over, pulling off his black leather gloves. "Merry Christmas!"

You've got to be kidding me.

"Merry Christmas," I reply with a bright smile that swallows my pride.

"I'll get a dozen roses," he said as he leans an elbow on the table. "The exact shade of your hair, if you've got 'em."

And are these for the missus or the mistress?

"I'm sure I've got something close," I replied with a wink before disappearing into the back. I dug around until I found the bucket of roses nearest to death and bundled them up in white wrapping paper and a red ribbon. As I returned to the register I caught him admiring his reflection in the glass window. "How about these?"

"Just like your smile: perfect."

I think I just threw up in my mouth.

"That'll be thirty-five dollars," I told him, adding on an extra ten dollars that he'll never know about.

"Keep the change," he told me with a lingering stare after dropping forty on the counter. He turned away and slipped out into the snowy outdoors, the door bells jingling in relief at his departure. I placed twenty-five in the register and fifteen in my pocket and told myself it would all be worth it one day.


Greg said...

Hmm, that's a character with a story to tell, your shop assistant. I wonder if we'll see more of them for these Christmas prompts?
I like the customer though, he seems very cheerful, and I like your attention to little details throughout the piece too.

Jingle Bells

The two Christmas trees nearest to Santa's throne were especially bushy, and wound round with tinsel until they almost glowed in the fairy-lights scattered artfully around the grotto. They had lots and lots of silver, shiny baubles that caught the light and dazzled the eye, and strings of golden bells. And, as Santa leaned forward to listen to a small child whisper in his ear their requests for Christmas, one was shivering as though caught in a winter gale.
"Vince!" Dave's voice hissed through the headset that Vince was wearing. They were both wearing headsets, on account of them being dressed as heavily-decorated Christmas trees and stood behind Santa's throne.
"Yes, Dave?" Vince's voice had reverb on it because he'd been playing with the controls on the headset.
"Why are you shivering? Trees don't shiver!"
"Aspen do, Dave."
"Don't -- Vince, stop being clever and just answer the question."
"I'm getting into character, Dave. Trees rustle and shiver in the breeze."
"They also have birds nest in them and squirrels run around in them, Vince. What were you planning on doing for that?"
"I've got a squirrel he--"
"Shut UP, Vince. Jesus, this is such an easy job, too."
"Yeah, about that, Dave. What are we doing again?"
"Taking Santa in."
"Why, exactly?"
Dave sighed, thinking for a moment that if the tinsel were only the barbed wire it reminded him of he could leave Vince trapped in his costume at the end of this gig, and said, "He's a deadbeat dad, Vince. He owes a lot of money to his children so we're arresting him and handing him over to the province authorities."
"He's Santa, Dave."
"He's scum, Vince. You're not allowed to have children, you wouldn't know."
"I do have a child, Dave."
Dave paused, remembering that Vince had mentioned that before.
"You shouldn't be allowed to have kids, Vince," he amended.
There was a long, slightly awkward pause, and then the child left and Santa was alone in his grotto.
"Now Vince!"
Bells jingling on their branches, the two Christmas trees lurched forwards, closing in on a startled Santa.

Marc said...

Well, she just might sneak back in. Perhaps to face a bleak mid-winter? :)

And it gave me the warm and fuzzies to see the lads doing a good deed.