Wednesday December 21st, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the secret Santa.

Late last week Kat and I realized that if we're going to put something under our (very little) tree at our house for Max to open 'from Santa' Christmas morning, two things are very, very likely to happen. One: he'll love it.

And two: he's going to want to know why Miles didn't get anything from Santa. And why we didn't either.

So we decided to use some of my points at Shoppers Drug Mart to get ourselves and Miles something small to go along with Max's present. We knew we'd have to get there without Max, which is no easy task. And then I started getting calls for work and more work and more work and... we had to scramble.

We met there after I got off work at 4 today while Max was still with Kat's parents and had a bit of fun picking things out for ourselves that we wouldn't normally get. Now we just need to wrap all the 'Santa' presents and keep them hidden until he goes to bed Christmas Eve.


"So who did you get for the office secret Santa gift exchange?"

"You know we're not supposed to tell anyb-"

"I got Shauna."

"What? Dude! Come on, not cool!"

"I just thought you should know."

"And I just thought everybody knew to keep things secret. You know, it is kinda right there in the name. Secret Santa?"

"Whatever, man. If the situation was reversed you'd tell me."

"No, I don't think that I would."

"She's your ex, man. You should know I'm getting her a present."

"Well, whatever. It's not like you're choosing to. Her name came out of the hat, you're stuck with her. No big deal, okay?"

"Yeah, okay."

"So... um... what are you going to get her?"



Greg said...

I like the way you're thinking about Santa and Max's reaction to him, though I'd probably have taken the easy option and told Max that everyone else had been too naughty for Santa to leave them any presents. Or possibly that Santa only leaves presents for one person each year, so it'll be four years before he gets another present from Santa. Actually I like that one best :)
It's still the wrong weather for Christmas here so I think I'll celebrate Easter instead.
Haha, I love how your secret Santa is going, and I don't think it's all that farfetched either! I wonder what will happen when it gets to the present-unwrapping though...

Secret Santa
The room had last been decorated before the war -- the first world war -- and the carpet smelled strongly of mothballs and mildew. The walls were papered with a thin, yellowing, peeling paper that might have been newsprint once, and the windows were tiny panes of dirty, warped glass that distorted the light so badly that some of it went straight back out without ever getting inside. The light in the room came from a genuine chandelier of candles, positioned over the table so that the wax dripped down onto either the centrepiece (flowers and holly) or the food (turkey and mince pies) depending on which draught was blowing the strongest.
There were eighteen chairs around the table, and each was occupied by a woman of a certain age. Most of them were short and stocky, many of them were wearing supportive hosiery and sensible shoes, and all of them dyed their hair. Gimlet-like eyes bored into one another across the table; wrinkled hands with bulging knuckles gripped knitting needles and crochet hooks like gang-weapons, and every brain contained a record of victories and defeats at the bridge table and the lawn bowls association.
Someone farted.
"Secret Santa," said Agnes, completely unembarrassed. "To remind everyone of the rules one last time: no complaining about the rules, no finding loopholes in the rules, no gift to cost more than £25, no gift to be wrapped in wrapping paper that would signficantly increase the value of the gift, no gift dependant on the life or death of another participant (here she sighed just a little sadly), and no gift intended to be combinable with another gift in a way that would cause the death of another participant." She looked around the table. 'It appals me that I have to read that list of rules out," she said.
"It appals the rest of us that you're the reason for each one of those rules," said the woman to her left. She had a leather eyepatch and a face like that of a parrot chewing on a live electrical cable.
"This is a tontine," said Betty, sat on Agnes's other side. "The whole point is to be the one who outlives everyone else."
"Not at Christmas!"
"Fine," said Agnes bitterly. "Christmas spirit it is then." She raised a hand but a voice came across the table, hard and cutting:
"Which bloody spirit?"
"...rum?" said Agnes as innocently as she could manage.
"And not say, the ghost of Christmas Future Perfect? Which might, in some deranged painting hanging in an obscure art gallery in... oh, Hoxton, say, depict the death of sixteen little old ladies?"
"You wound me," said Agnes. She puffed her chest out and attempted dignity. "I barely go to Hoxton these days."
"Rum it is then," said Betty, trying not to smile.
Agnes raised her hand again. "Let the gift-giving commence!"
As each woman reached under her chair to retrieve the gift, neatly wrapped in newspaper and labelled with the recipient's name, Agnes leaned over to Betty and whispered "It better bloody not be Harry Potter wands again."

Marc said...

Greg - I'm not sure he'd be okay with us being 'bad', and I know the every four years idea would result in a tantrum :P

I hope you ended up having a good Christmas, regardless of the inappropriate weather :)

Really enjoyed the bit about some of the light going right back out without ever making its way in. Also quite liked the dialogue and characters in this scene. Lots of fun details.