Sunday December 18th, 2016

The exercise:

It's one week until Christmas! So let's all write a letter to Santa.

I helped Max write his first letter earlier this month. He got a reply about a week later, which left me feeling very impressed by our local Santa helper volunteers - that was quick work!

There's currently a south wind blowing out there, which is working on bringing the highs from -12 to either side of 0 in the coming days. Thank goodness.


Dear Santa,

My name is Eloise Ivy Danielle Blackstone, but you have my permission to call me Ellie. Just don't think that makes us friends, all right? Because we're not.

I could never be friends with someone who has such distastefully poor dietary habits.

I am, as you may have already surmised, six years old. Despite this advanced age this is, indeed, my very first letter to you. But I'm quite certain you already knew that, what with being all seeing and all knowing. I wonder: are you somehow related to God?

Oh, maybe you're a distant, rarely spoken to uncle! Like my Uncle Elwood. He's an alcoholic, but you already knew that. Could you maybe forget to deliver him his twelve bottles of rum on Christmas morning this year? Everyone would be so appreciative. Perhaps a case of carbonated water instead?

Anyway, getting to the point of this missive: my wish list. Don't worry, it is not lengthy. I know you are a very busy man and am considerate of that. Unlike all the other bratty, selfish children you receive letters from, demanding one of this and one of that and a million of the other.

No, not I. There is only one thing I want for Christmas, and so I am confident that you will be able to bring it to me in order to make my Christmas a satisfying one. Nothing else will do, so don't even think about dumping a sack full of candy or toys under my tree, do you understand?

Good. My wish, then, is simply this: I want my mother's divorce lawyer's cold, lifeless body under my tree this year. Bows and ribbons entirely optional.

I cannot be left in my father's care. I need both of my parents under this one roof, together. At least until I am old enough to inherit the family fortune. If mother and father get divorced before I come of age they will waste so much of it in court, battling back and forth. And then one of them is bound to walk away with half or more of the money (mother, I'm sure) before I am able to get my fair share. That just would not do.

I appreciate that it is only July as I write this, but I hope that you can act soon, before court proceedings get underway next month. I would not mind that the lawyer's body is not very fresh. It is more important that the very least amount be spent on this nonsense as possible.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to seeing the results of your work.

Very sincerely yours,


Greg said...

I didn't know kids got letters back from Santa these days! Does Santa write them himself or delegate it down to his elves? And have you considered that you could write some of those letters? You'd do a better job than me, that's for sure!
Curse those southern winds and their hatred of snow, ice, and all the good things about northern climes!
Well, this is an interesting little girl, if a bit encumbered in the name department! And a little opinionated too, I'm quite sure that Elwood (also an Ellie... I wonder if Eloise has spotted that namesakeness?) will not be terribly pleased by his visit from Santa. I really like her main request though, and her unconcern for the time of year. If kids could really hire Santa as an assassin like that... what an interesting world we'd live in! Great work with this, a really sweet (for certain values of sweet) tale, with just a delicate sting in the tale :)

Letter to Santa
The worm tunnel was everything Kevin had promised: slippery, ridged, slightly damp to the touch, to the point that Samual was pointedly keeping his hands in his pockets even though it threw his balance off slightly. The ceiling was only tall enough for Ernest and Samual in the dead centre of the tunnel, though Kevin drifted a little from side to side as he walked, forcing the other two to bend in order to be sure they were following in his actual footsteps. At first their steps echoed a little, but then they became flat and dull; the ridged walls were clearly anechoic to some extent. After a minute and forty seconds Kevin made them all stop and they waited in silence. There was a sudden huff of air and something swung past, and then Kevin was hurrying them on again.
"The Cyrus family tomb," he said when he deemed them far enough on to be safe. "Also known's the Miley mark, offenlike the tomb's exactly a mile from t'Cathedral.
"I saw something like a pendulum," said Samual, looking back. "I think there might have been someone cling–"
"Move on," said Kevin, interrupting. "Ain't gotten all days."
The next time they stopped worms as thick as a man's wrist and as long as his leg slithered past them on a cross-tunnel that was barely a metre wide. The worms undulated like wild sine waves and had a faint bluish glow to them.
"They eats a fungus down 'ere," said Kevin, his eyes not leaving them. Ernest could hear him counting under his breath when he wasn't talking about the worms. "There was a scientator once, Kelvin, who tried to find out if it was nutri-like."
"Did he find out?" said Samual after they'd started walking again, clearly unable to resist the cliffhanger.
"Could be. He died."
"Of eating the fungus?" Steps appeared in the tunnel and they started to descend gradually.
"No. He was a scientator, not a stupid bugger. He fed the fungus to his serving men and they never spoke again. He hisself took hisself off on a trip to Iceland where he wrestled a bear. For money."
"The bear had m–" started Samual, but a gentle touch on his arm from Ernest stilled him.
"Right, we has to stop here and you-all has to reads," said Kevin. "And I'm serious about this; if'n you don' read all of this then we's not going to get past the Tomb of the Unknown Boulder."

Greg said...

Kevin gestured at a stone plaque set into the wall of the tunnel; it was graven with large, careful letters in Fauxman, the faux-Roman typeface favoured by artists fifty years earlier.
Dear Santa,
The priests tell me that you don't exist or that you are a fanciful delusion of an undernourished mind, but they have more stories to tell me about you and your ways than of their Gods and their ways, so I'm choosing to believe that you are real and that you are a forgotten God, an entity of power who is overlooked by the power-hungry and the powermad. They tell me that once upon a time you brought presents to children, things of beauty and entertainment to good children and coal to bad children. I am happy to be a bad child, oh Santa, for even coal would be a blessing in this cold, dark cell. Though if I am permitted to be greedy, a match would be an additional blessing.
If you should determine that I am a good child and deserving of more then I would still beseech you for coal and a match, or perhaps coal and a cigarette (lit, please). If I am obliged or expected to ask for excess, then perhaps you could pour destruction down upon this town of evil, set your elfish minions to torture, kill and maim, and turn your savage reindeer loose in the churchyards and cathedrals until all us poor sinners are washed clean with the blood of the priests? Let no-one live, oh Santa, lest we foolish mortals start our follies all again.

"A letter to Santa," said Ernest. "A most heartfelt one, I feel."
"A monster's letter," said Samual with feeling.
"Really?" said Ernest. "It reads to me as a letter written by one beset by monsters."
"It matters not," said Kevin. The plaque glowed softly, and he gestured for them to follow him. "It changes every time I'm down here. The first time it was a shopping list written by the wife that I'd forgotten about. I was much obliged to it, 'cos it saved me a ear-bashing of the fourth order. The time after that it was a dirty poem what had me laughing all the way to Jack Chalmers's tomb and offended the grave-wraiths there. Best bloody ode I've ever read."
"I would have liked to have read that," said Ernest, sounding reflective.
"I hope I never meet that Santa," said Samual, equally reflectively.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, it's a template letter, which must be a bit tricky to write (though I do wonder if they have multiple templates to choose from), with a little handwritten personalized note at the bottom. I didn't realize that he would be getting a response when we sent it, so that was a nice surprise for both of us :)

Thanks for the kind words on mine! I had fun writing it.

Hah, I was not expecting you to be able to bring us back here with this prompt, so well done!

That is quite the letter, too. I find myself enjoying Samual's presence in your tale more and more - I really like what he adds. Today's bit about his hands in his pockets to avoid the walls, even though it costs him some balance, is a neat little detail.

Also: Kevin is pretty great.