#54 – Christmas time in Babel: A short story.

“But you gottta have snow,” Snake tells the younger Corporal.  “It isn’t Christmas without snow.”

The Corporal might only be ten but he is more philosophical about it.  “Are you going skiing on Christmas?” he asked.  “Or tobogganing?  If there’s no snow, you change your plans. Go for a ride on your bike.  What’s the problem?”

“No, no, no,” Snake responded with the certainty of all of his 12 years.  “You’re missing the whole point of Christmas.  With adults, like Mum and Dad, or the grandparents, it’s all in the spirit of the occasion.  Adults need snow to get into the right mood.  If they don’t feel Chrismassy, we’ll be lucky to get a few puzzles or some dumb clothes on Christmas morning.

“Remember last year?  There was more than a half metre of snow in November, even more in December and we cashed in.  The grandparents must have robbed a bank to come up with all the stuff they gave us,” he said to a nodding Corporal.

“And Mum and Dad went all out.  Remember the lecture I gave them on wasting my inheritance on childish toys,” he added.

“Well, I thought you were a bit too hard on them on that score,” the Corporal commented somewhat thoughtfully.

“Naw, they deserved it.  Did you know that Dad hocked his GPS to buy Mum a zircon necklace to match the earrings, he got her for her birthday.  Which was even funnier when she admitted she had sold the earrings to buy him an updated map package for his GPS,” Snake laughed.

“Grampa said it reminded him of a story by a guy named after the Oh Henry chocolate bar,” the Corporal told him.  “It had something to do with someone called a ‘Magi.”  It sounds like a short magician,” he added.

“No its not,” exclaimed Snake.  “Grampa said that there was no connection with chocolate bars.  The writer lived before the candy bar with that name came along.  And it was O. Henry, without an ‘H.’  The story is called The Gift of the Magi. Grampa wrote it down for me so I could get the book at the library and read it.  He said there will be other great little stories with it.  It seems that this guy, O. Henry, wrote what are called short stories.”

“You mean, short like me?” demanded the Corporal belligerently.

“Naw,” said an exasperated Snake.  A short story is one where you tell people what happened and then you stop.  It’s like an early form of blog, before there was an Internet.  They are not supposed to take long to write or long to read.  That makes the writer happy and the reader even happier.”

“Well,” said a mollified Corporal.  “I like stories that end happy.  Happy stories are what Christmas is really supposed to be about.”

(With acknowledgement to O. Henry.)

– 30 –

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