Tag Archives: Christmas

The Spot Writers – “Unseasonable” by Val Muller

Welcome to the Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is “unfinished business.” Today’s tale comes to you from Val Muller, author of the Corgi Capers mystery series (www.corgicapers.com).

Unseasonable by Val Muller

It was after Christmas, that relaxing lull before going back to work but after the disasters of family gatherings had already happened. Normally, Sharon would be cooped up inside, organizing her holiday things in hope of having a better holiday next year. Like maybe her mom wouldn’t gripe about her house being un-renovated, or her dad would stop talking about grandkids. Or her aunt wouldn’t mourn her as an old maid. She was barely thirty. And besides, after the way her little nieces and nephews tore apart her home every year, what rush was she in to spawn her own?

After the family went home, Sharon kept inside. If she felt especially trapped or restless, she might venture out to tackle some post-holiday clearances. Once in a while she could find stocking stuffers for next year.

But mostly she stayed in. She would stand at her sink with her endless line of dishes to wash…the cookies relatives had brought and left all came in their own containers which were never dishwasher safe, the fancy turkey platter and silver and crystal all had to be hand washed, so she lined it up on the counter to do a couple pieces at a time. Each piece had to be hand-dried and placed in its little box. A gift from Mother, thinking Sharon ought to have grown up serving-ware by now. While she labored, she looked out at her yard at the unfinished garden that always would be done “maybe next weekend.”

It have been left by the previous owners and included a lovely birdhouse and bird bath that the owners explicitly listed in the contract as conveying with the house. The woman, her name was Martha or something like that, invited Sharon over for coffee before the house got sold. She wanted to tell her things about the house, important things. Like how important it was to feed the birds, since they had grown accustomed to it. So for the first couple years, Sharon had kept the bird feeder stocked and the bird bath full of water. But it was old, and the bird bath concrete absorbed water, which froze each winter. It started out with a few cracks until it wouldn’t hold water and then the birds went away and then the big wind storm came and snapped the birdhouse in half.

Without the birds, there was no need to weed, and the whole thing got overgrown. For the last two years it had been staring at her every time she did the dishes. It was one of those unfinished things that she never found time for since it was so dependent on the weather. But it always seemed there was something more important. The timeliness of Thanksgiving preparations or Christmas cleaning or wrapping presents.

And then when there was so much time in the winter, it was too cold or buried in snow so that there was no use thinking about it until spring. Then when spring came along, spring cleaning always seemed more important, or going for a run, or catching up on reading.

But this year, Christmas was followed by a strange warm streak. It had been off Sharon’s radar because she always assumed Christmas was followed by cold. She had her snow boots already taken out and snow shovel wind up in the garage ready to go. So when she went to take the trash out and the weather was 60 degrees and then 61, she knew it was her second chance.

She hurried inside, knowing at any moment winter weather could return. The crystal could go in the dishwasher later, for all she cared. What would it hurt? And she donned her gardening boots and work pants, clearing out weeds and dilapidated bird equipment. Several new gift cards would help provide new ones.

As she stood back to survey her handiwork, a voice cleared its throat above her. It was a neighbor, a young man she had seen a few times before, but who has time to talk to neighbors these days?

He was standing on his balcony with a pizza box and a paper plate. “Beautiful weather,” he said.

Sharon startled.

“I’m sorry. I’ve been watching you.” He blushed. “I didn’t mean it that creepy. I just meant, well…they build these houses so close together.” He chuckled. “I’m so bad at these things. I guess what I mean to say is, I have this whole pizza, and it’s just me. Would you like some?”

Sharon nodded. She had enough leftover turkey lately. Pizza sounded amazing.

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.ca/

+++
C.A. MacKenzie is the author of (among other books) the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers including Amazon [https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/].

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The Spot Writers – “Dinner with Mrs. Claus” by Chiara De Giorgi

Welcome to The Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is to title the story “Dinner with Mrs. Claus.”

This week’s story comes from Chiara De Giorgi. Chiara dreams, reads, edits texts, translates, and occasionally writes in two languages. She also has a lot of fun.

***

Dinner with Mrs. Claus by Chiara De Giorgi

Hello, and welcome! Please, come on in, help yourself to some mulled wine. Excuse me if I don’t sit with you, I still have some preparations to do.

You know, it’s just once a year that I have the family reunited under this old roof, and I want everything to be perfect. It’s a lot of work, of course it is, but I love this time of the year. The smell of roasted almonds and sugar; the sound of the wood crackling in the fireplace; the whole world outside, silenced by a thick blanket of snow; the balls of colored yarn, chased by the cat before I knit happy Christmas sweaters… They indulge me and they all wear theirs – I know they’re too funny to be fashionable, but it’s a sweet kind of fun, it tastes like tradition and love – it tastes like family.

Christmas is all about family, after all, isn’t it?

I love it when Mr. Claus returns from his trip and we all cheer, then we sit and have dinner together. We chat, we laugh, we exchange tales, small presents and hugs… now, that is Christmas!

Pinocchio always has lots of adventures to tell, honestly, that boy! He’s always up to something, and the three little pigs are constantly giving him ideas! And the girls! I swear they get prettier every year. Last Christmas Cinderella had dyed her hair blue and you couldn’t believe how lovely she looked! Prince Charming was stuck in the traffic, so Snow White borrowed the seven-league boots from Puss in Boots – he was already drunk, you see – and was there and back with the poor prince in a matter of minutes. Between the boots and my Christmas sweater, she looked a bit like a scarecrow, but adorable nonetheless.

Pass me those napkins, would you? I want everything to be perfect, although I know that nobody would mind if we ate cookie dough out of the bowl. Oh, the fun we have! It’s such a wonderful, festive time, it gives me such a boost! I swear it’s better than a pot of coffee, he he he. I cherish the memories for months, I wrap myself up in them as if in a warm blanket.

It will be good for you to be with us this year, you’ll see. Please, invite whomever you wish, from whatever realm: everybody is welcome. On Christmas night, you can be with your loved ones and keep them in your heart for as long as you want. Oh, don’t ask me how. You know how. It’s magic. It’s love. Aren’t those the same thing, in the end?

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/

+++

C.A. MacKenzie is the author of the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers, including Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/.

 

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The Spot Writers -“Come as You Are” by Phil Yeats

Welcome to The Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is “Dinner with Mrs. Claus.”

Today’s post is written by Phil Yeats. Last December, Phil (using his Alan Kemister pen name) published his most recent novel. Tilting at Windmills, the second in the Barrettsport Mysteries series of soft-boiled police detective stories set in an imaginary Nova Scotia coastal community is available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Tilting-Windmills-Barrettsport-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B07L5WR948/

***

“Come as You Are” by Phil Yeats

The invitation was odd: Dinner tonight, 6:30, come as you are – Mrs. Claus. Nothing else but an address and a cryptic postscript. ‘We know what you’re wearing’.

I didn’t know a Mrs. Claus, but the address was nearby, it was already 5:45, and I hadn’t started cooking. My jeans and a golf shirt like I wore to work every weekday shouldn’t cause any embarrassment.

I laced on my boots and donned my coat. I mean, I couldn’t venture forth into a December night without a coat and boots. Who would I meet, and what would they be wearing?

Come as you are reminded me of my first term at university, the only one I spent in a students’ residence. One Saturday morning, meddling colleagues intent on developing camaraderie in the dorm knocked on doors at six. They insisted everyone come as they were for breakfast. They enforced the edict by dragging everyone from bed and herding them to the dining room dressed as they were. The few early risers they caught in the showers arrived wearing only towels.

That was ten years ago, and the present situation was hardly comparable. But there was much to be curious about. Who was Mrs. Claus? Why did her invitation say come as you are? And the postscript had rather sinister implications.

Several questions. I loved a mystery. I hurried to the address.

The meal, red or white wine and an extensive buffet was great, but it lacked the mysteriousness I’d psyched myself up for. Mrs. Claus, as I guessed, was not her name. Most of the participants were people she knew, ones she’d invited days earlier. Only a few strangers like me had received the enigmatic last-minute invitations.

Our hostess, a young woman new to the neighbourhood, had chosen an unusual method to meet other young adults. The come as you are instruction was simply a tease, and the postscript an outright lie. Or was it? I departed two hours after I arrived, hoping it was a lie.

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/

+++
C.A. MacKenzie is the author of (among other books) the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers including Amazon [https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/].

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The Spot Writers – “Dinner with Mrs. Claus” by Cathy MacKenzie

Welcome to The Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is to title the story “Dinner with Mrs. Claus.”

This week’s story comes from Cathy MacKenzie. Cathy’s novel, WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama, is available from her locally or on Amazon. MISTER WOLFE, the sequel, coming early 2020. Watch for it!

https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/

***

Dinner with Mrs. Claus by Cathy MacKenzie

I set down my beer and picked up the remote, lowering the volume on the television. Had I imagined the thud at the front door? I listened for the doorbell. Nothing.

Another noise. As if someone kicked at the door.

I flicked on the outside light and peered out the window. A Mrs. Claus stood on the top step.

I opened the door. Nope, she wasn’t the real Mrs. Claus, for this one was too young. Her blonde hair curled around the white fur of the Santa hat as if she’d been wearing the hat for months. Snowflakes dotted the red of the hat. I eyed her svelte figure beneath the matching red coat.

“I’m making dinner tonight.” She smiled slightly but didn’t move as if waiting for an okay to enter the house.

I scanned the yard for a vehicle, barely seeing anything through the shower of snow. My car, parked in the driveway, would soon be unrecognizable as a vehicle. I shivered, wishing I had driven it into the garage. Where was her vehicle? I looked around again. No other vehicles in sight. Had she borrowed Santa’s sleigh? I listened for the grunting of reindeer—I’d heard they made those types of sounds.

“Well?” she said.

I shook my head at my silliness. And for ignoring the beautiful woman facing me. “Sorry.” I took three bags from her. “Come in.”

She kicked off her heavy boots and trudged to the kitchen as if she owned the place, setting the remaining two grocery bags on the counter. I added the ones I carried.

She removed her mid-length wool coat and handed it to me. “My hat stays. What about you? Where’s yours?”

My Santa hat was under the Christmas tree. “I’ll get it.”

On the way, I hung Mrs. Claus’ coat in the closet. I located my hat amongst the gaily wrapped gifts, positioned it on my head, and headed to the kitchen.

She had opened a bottle of sparkling wine. Rosé. “Here you go.” She held out a glass, one of the crystal glasses usually saved for special occasions. Was this one such occasion?

She eyed the cookbooks on the shelves, humming and hawing as if performing the eeny-meanie-catch-a-red-nosed-reindeer chant. “This one,” she announced, thrusting out Special Pastas for Special Times. “What do you think?”

“Fine by me. You’re the boss.”

She giggled. “I am, aren’t I?” She tilted her glass to lips as red as Rudolph’s nose. Her eyes sparkled like tree lights.

I sat on the stool and watched her bustle around the kitchen, taking this pot and that pot, selecting one spice and then another, pausing occasionally to sip the wine. The aroma of garlic soon permeated the room. With a spatula, she flipped the shrimp and scallops as if she were a well-trained chef. Water soon boiled.

“Want me to add the pasta?” I asked, feeling guilty.

“Nope, I’m good. You relax.”

I adjusted my hat. “Okay, but I need to remove my hat. This heat is getting to me.” Was the wine or the stove making me sweat? Perhaps it was the company.

Mrs. Claus examined my face. I thought she was going to reach out and touch it at one point. “I’m getting a bit hot, too, truth be known.”

“So, we’re done?”

She quickly faced the stove. “Done?” Her voice faltered. “Done…as in dinner?”

“Done as in the Christmas charade, Missus Claus.”

Her shoulders relaxed, and she glanced at me.

My burden lifted, too. I hadn’t realized I’d been so uptight.

“Okay, Mister Claus. Yes, we are done.” She pointed to the ceiling light, which hung low over the kitchen island, and beckoned with her little finger. “Come, give me a kiss.”

I looked up. Mistletoe. Where had that come from?

Mavis and I had a simple Christmas tradition in our household. We never ignored mistletoe. After dinner, I planned to propose another. No more silly tiffs. My bed—our bed—had been cold and empty the previous night.

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.ca/

+++
C.A. MacKenzie is the author of the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers, including Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/.

 

 

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The Spot Writers – “Consignment Sale Santa” by Val Muller

Welcome to the Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is “Dinner with Mrs. Claus.” Today’s tale comes to us from Val Muller, author of the Corgi Capers mystery series. Find out more at www.CorgiCapers.com. Val, who usually writes by hand, is currently typing this tale with a wrist brace because of… well, you’ll have to read the story to find out. This one’s based on truth, or at least it starts that way.

***

“Consignment Sale Santa” by Val Muller

Molly

This was the scariest Santa there ever was. Mommy used the term “aggressive,” which she says means someone who acts like Charlie at school. No one likes Charlie.

So there I was playing with a dollhouse at the cob-sigh-mint sale when Santa comes down the aisle between boy clothes and costumes, shouting “Ho, ho, ho.” He walked slow, like the robot at Martin’s that tries to come get you. I don’t like the robot at Martin’s probably more than I don’t like Charlie.

They’re both aggressive.

He saw me right away, even though there was other kids playing, too. He came right over, slapped me on the shoulder and said “Ho, ho, ho” again, like he was a robot and that was the only thing he was built to say.

I did what any kid would do. I jumped onto my mom. Moms protect you from anything.

Mom

Like when you try to give a cat a bath. That’s the only way I can describe it. When that Santa came down the aisle, Molly spontaneously developed physical prowess and coordination that defied the laws of gravity and physics. She jumped up at me, expecting me to catch her.

I always thought that moms need about eight arms, and today spoke to that certainly. This “Santa” they had looked impressive. I think his beard was the real deal. He sure looked the part. Old, but in a timeless way. Energetic, but controlled. He was practically perfect for the role, except he seemed to have let it get to his head. He walked in like he owned the place, slapping kids on the shoulders and spouting out holly-jolly from both sides of his—

Anyway.

I’ve never heard a “ho, ho, ho” louder than what came out of his mouth. No concept of Indoor Voice whatsoever. When he came over to Molly, I knew we were in for something. He singled her out, as if he were one of those hounds that smells fear. “Little girl, I’m headed over to that chair for any children who want pictures with me.”

I was holding three toys in my left arm and looking at a doll that I was holding in my right. Things were going unusually well, me finding great deals on consignment toys for Molly and her cousins. When she jumped up at me like that, motherly instinct kicked in. I dropped the doll and caught Molly while simultaneously catching the doll in my left hand and balancing the three other toys in my grasp.

Really, it was amazing. I deserve a trophy.

But the brunt of Molly’s thirty-something pounds landed smack in the palm of my hand. None of it supported by my arm. Pretty sure wrists aren’t made to support that kind of surprise. I managed long enough to get a picture—after much hemming and hawing and torment on Molly’s part—of Molly sitting with Santa. Not on Santa’s lap, mind you. And who could blame her?

No, Molly was sitting on the lap of Mrs. Claus. The saintly woman accompanied Santa, giving apologetic looks to the customers every time Santa’s cheer was a little too jolly. Her look told me immediately they were married in real life and she was kind of just along for the ride.

It was nice what she did, though.

Mrs. Claus

When I saw that poor woman with the little girl, I knew I had to help. I saw the exact moment her wrist gave out. Saw it in her eyes. Her girl jumped up into her arms like a cat avoiding a bath. Poor lady didn’t realize what had happened, though. She was too focused on protecting her daughter from the traumas of my husband.

James means well, but my if he isn’t just a bit too eager to play the most emphatic Santa you’ve ever seen. James shaves his beard exactly one day each year. January 1. Out with the old, in with the new. Then that maniac starts growing it again so it’ll be long and impressive by the following November, just in time for him to play Santa.

I can’t tell you how many children he’s scared over the years. “Santa has to be confident,” he always tells me. “You don’t run a toy empire being polite.” I never intended to play Mrs. Claus. Sure, they pay extra for two instead of one, but it’s not about the money. I’m the protector of children. When they’re afraid of James, they’ll sit on my lap for pictures. I have a calming presence. Always have.

Which is why I stepped in and offered to drive that Mom and her daughter to the hospital. It was clear she needed that wrist looked at. I saw her wince in pain simply pushing the camera button on her phone. That’s no minor sprain.

But of course, an injured wrist is no emergency, and the wait at the ER was going to be long. She insisted I just drop her off and leave. She’d take a taxi home. But that poor woman would eat up all her consignment sale savings paying for a taxi. Better to spend that money on gifts for the kids. I had time, I told her. I’d wait.

But a three-year-old doesn’t know the meaning of the word. We tried reading to her, letting her watch the small TV screen in the waiting room, lettering her play with the tiny assortment of waiting room toys. But she wasn’t having it. And the Mom looked so miserable. The pain was taking its toll.

So I did what any Mrs. Claus would have done. I offered to take that little girl to the McDonald’s across the street.

“There’ s a playground too,” I told her mom. “That’ll tire her out.”

The mom looked at me thankfully, completely trusting. This would be her Christmas gift.

Molly

Mommy got a new brace for Christmas. It’s super cool. It makes her wrist look like the Incredible Hulk. She said Santa gave it to her, but I think it was Mrs. Claus. She’s the one who took me to McDonalds, and then brought me back to Mom after I fell asleep on the playground slide.

Did you know Mrs. Claus has superpowers? She went up to the counter and got the nice lady to give me all the different Happy Meal toys. So now I have one of each. A complete set! All the kids at school will want to see them. And they’ll be so surprised to hear I ate dinner with the real Mrs. Claus. She answered all my questions about elves and reindeer. Did you know elves drink sugar water, like hummingbirds? And reindeer can only fly when it gets super cold.

I’ll let all the kids at school have a turn playing with these toys.

All the kids except Charlie.

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/

+++

C.A. MacKenzie is the author of the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers, including Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/.

 

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The Spot Writers – “What Do Elves Do After Christmas?” by Val Muller

Welcome to the Spot Writers. In our last prompt for 2018, we had to use the following words in a story: stables, swimming pool, pavement, trees, mailboxes. Today’s prompt comes to us from Val Muller, author of the YA novel The Girl Who Flew Away and The Scarred Letter, a modernization of Hawthorne’s masterpiece.

What Elves Do After Christmas by Val Muller

Most of the elves were at the festival. They’d be there a week longer—every year, the festival ran from Santa’s return until January 6. It was a time to celebrate, to burn off the adrenaline of the Christmas rush. Hot chocolate spiked with crème de cacao and harder stuff, too; candy cane casserole, gingerbread mansions. The feasting hall boasted a swimming pool filled with marshmallows. And, oh, the reindeer games!

For most elves, Christmas was life. It was their only purpose, and Santa’s insistence on waiting until January 7 to begin planning for next year left many elves feeling glum. Which is why, decades ago, the festival was established. It gave the elves purpose while Santa rested and recovered on his yearly stay-cation with Mrs. Claus. For elves, otherwise, two weeks of idle time would be a prison sentence.

It was existentialism, really. But only Ronnie knew it. He was the only one who used his vacation days to read. Or think. It wasn’t even New Years, and he’d already gotten through Hamlet, The Life of Pi, The Stranger, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead—for good measure. Together, the works had wracked his brain. He planned to tackle some Kafka next, and read The Myth of Sisyphus before being summoned back to work.  

He’d read enough to know the elves had become defined as what they did every day, 353 days a year. They were cogs in the Christmas Machine.

The arctic sun rose as high as it was going to, and Ronnie took advantage of the midnight darkness to take a walk. The roads of the North Pole were paved, but the festival meant no one was available to plow, so the pavement remained covered in drifts of snow. Colored light strings showed the way to the Grand Hall, their incandescent bulbs melting some of the snow and causing icicles to form on the wire.

Ronnie passed several mounds—the huge mailboxes, now empty and covered in snow, that would fill in the later part of the year with letters from children asking for sleds and snow globes and dolls and technology.

As he trekked away from the Christmas village, the trees shrouded the perpetual darkness, their piney arms bending in defeat. Ronnie had seen a television show once—televisions played nonstop in the workshops, blasting Christmas movies and TV specials 24/7. It had been about an elf who wanted to be a dentist. Everyone acted like it was the most absurd desire in the world, to want to shake off the mortal coils of toy-dom.

But standing in the twilight snowdrifts and looking back at the colored lighting running up to the Grand Hall, and the gaudy lighting it threw up into the sky, Ronnie could understand that. All year, he had been in charge of placing computer chips. Almost all toys had them nowadays. His name seemed superfluous, even. Ronnie? Why call him Ronnie? He might as well be Chip-Placer. Or maybe give him a serial number. That’s all he was. A cog in a machine.

But what was the alternative, he wondered as he looked over the winter wasteland. Where could he go? Who would employ an elf other than Santa? Humans were known to be prejudiced against the pointed-eared little people. Ay, there’s the rub.

What lay beyond the North Pole? What fate awaited him if he were to leave?

*

The faint echo of a drunken Christmas carol wafted toward the stables as Ronnie opened the door. The stables were maintained by a skeleton crew these few weeks, so the reindeer remained fed as they recovered from their Herculean ordeal. A pile of curly-toed shoes peeked out from the hay, and the snoring of drunken elves suggested the reindeers’ keepers were well-provided for during the festivities.

Ronnie selected one of the reindeer overlooked for Santa’s sleigh ride this year. One of the Dashers, a young one, seemed especially restless. Maybe he, too, wanted to leave this place. So Ronnie saddled him up and left the stables. The gaudy lights of the Christmas village disappeared into nothingness as he rose toward the moon and toward his future.

He could be anything, now. Anything at all. Even a dentist.  

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/


+++

C.A. MacKenzie is the author of (among other books) the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers including Amazon [https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/].

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The Two Births of Jesus

The Two Births of Jesus
by C.A. MacKenzie

According to Matthew’s gospel:
Joseph had a dream
that Jesus, his son, was to be born.
In Jerusalem amongst a thorne,
there were three magi—
three wise men who would care—
who came from the East somewhere,
who saw a star to gleam
and knew Jesus was there.
The three magi followed the star so bright
to Bethlehem that night,
coming with gifts to give the son,
gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Falling in love with a Jesus so young
and scared of the future to come,
the magi did not tarry
but left to go back home.
And an angel did come to Joseph and Mary,
telling them to flee that land,
to avoid the danger to come from afar,
and so off to Egypt they ran.

Luke gave another story:
Of Gabriel, the angel of God,
who was the spirit of truth
and a messenger from God,
telling Mary she will have a son,
her son to be named Jesus.
Mary and Joseph leave Nazareth town (in Galilee)
to travel to Bethlehem, Joseph’s ancestral home.
Mary and Joseph, they did roam
but could not find a place to stay
before the baby was born that day.
And after his birth
in a manger the babe to lay.
And in another place, far away,
an angel of the Lord came down
to the shepherds in the field on earth
who were caring for their flock.
The angel brought them news of a birth,
news of such great joy,
of the birth of Jesus, a baby boy.
Said they would find him wrapped in bands of cloth
and laying in a manger trough.
And after the angel spoke the words to savour,
came down a Heavenly Host from above
who said in a voice of love:
“Glory to God in the highest Heaven
and on earth peace
amongst those whom he favours.”
The shepherds hurry to Bethlehem,
for Jesus they want to see,
and to Mary and Joseph they tell
the story that the angel did tell to them.
The shepherds then return to their flocks,
and Mary and Joseph left as well
to return home to their Nazareth.

And that is how Jesus was born that day.

 © C.A. MacKenzie (written many years ago)

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!

I wish everyone peace, joy, and love.


+++

C.A. MacKenzie is the author of (among other books) the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers including Amazon [https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/].

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The Spot Writers – “A Christmas Tale” by Chiara De Giorgi

Welcome to The Spot Writers. The June prompt is to update a legend or legendary character/beast: bring it into the modern world, or add a twist that isn’t consistent with the original legend.

This week’s story comes from Chiara De Giorgi. Chiara dreams, reads, edits texts, translates, and occasionally writes in two languages. She also has lot of fun.

***

A Christmas Tale

“Guys, I don’t want to repeat myself, but rules are simple: one story for Christmas, one for Midsummer, one for Halloween. You’re always late, and I find myself publishing scary stuff for Christmas and dealing with the fairy folk in November. Santa and the reindeers are always complaining that, by the time we publish something Christmas-related, it’s almost time for eggs and bunnies. Who, by the way, are pestering me because they want to be featured as well. I mean, come on! Why must you always be so lazy? Use your brain for something useful, for once, and give me something worth publishing at the right time. Shall I remind you, that last year our Winter issue featured a story about Zombie Fairies? A pathetic attempt to merge Midsummer and Halloween, no doubt, and yet you delivered it so late it was already Christmas by the time we managed to print it! I can’t do this anymore. You’re the greatest disappointment and I would close the magazine down at once, were it not for those fluffy reindeers expectantly looking at me. To be honest, I’m also a tiny bit freaked out by all those magical creatures. I mean, they’re sweet and all, but what would happen if they got angry? I don’t even want to think about it. So, please, I beg you: concentrate and write.”

The editor-in-chief left, his unfinished cigarette forgotten in the ashtray, dropping ash on his desk. No one spoke. The clock ticked and tocked, and the faucet in the restroom dripped. Drip. Drip. Drip. Someone had left the door open. Again.

“Well…”

“Yeah.”

“After all, you know: he’s right.”

“I must say, I liked the Zombie Fairies piece, though.”

“At least we always try to be original.”

“You mean ghoulish.”

“I mean our stuff is never predictable.”

“Guys, he’s not complaining about the quality of our work, he just needs us to be on time.”

“Hey, it’s not easy writing stuff about Christmas when you’ve just booked a week at the Bahamas.”

“Why, doesn’t Christmas happen at the Bahamas as well?”

“Yeah, you just need to wrap up some loving feelings in sugary goodness coated with pink little hearts, et voilà! A Christmas story ready to be printed out.”

“That’s not original, though.”

“Nor ghoulish.”

“We don’t really need to be ghoulish.”

Knock-knock.

“Who’s there?”

“Er, hi. May I come in?”

“Sure, Mr… Don’t I know you from somewhere?”

“My name is Santa, you might have heard of me.”

“…”

“I overheard you speaking, and it is my understanding that you’re facing some sort of difficulties because of me and my sweet reindeers.”

“We… er… I mean…”

“I wonder, therefore, if you wish me to be of assistance.”

“Hey, why not? We need inspiration: we have to write a story about you!”

“Ho Ho Ho! What a coincidence! I can tell you some very personal stories about me. After all, I am Santa. I know each one of you.”

“You do?”

“Of course! You, for example, devilish child!”

“Me? What? Why?”

“In a time when finally, finally!, children started being rational and stopped believing in me, so I could seriously consider retirement, you campaigned for me! You convinced all your little friends that the poor old man does exist and loves all the children and the least we can do is believe he’s real! You devilish, devilish child! Me? Loving children? Ha! All I want is to permanently move to a desert island in the middle of the ocean, with a giant drink in my hand and a beautiful, curvy blond by my side, and never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever see a child again!”

“I’m sorry, I guess? I had no idea…”

“Of course you hadn’t! And, by the way, where has all that fierce love you had for me gone now? You aren’t even able to crank out one little story for me in one year!”

“Well, we’re trying to…”

“You’re trying, what?  I remember of you as well, you know.”

“Oh. Ahem. Really?”

“Sure! You’re so smart, in fifth grade you stole all of your classmates’ letters to Santa and signed them yourself, thinking you’d get twenty-five presents!”

“I’ve always been a resourceful kid.”

“A liar, you mean.”

“Come on, children’s lies are not really lies…”

“Is that what you tell yourself?”

“I… No, I actually…”

“What? No words? You? Nice writers you are, the lot of you! But I had enough of this. I am here to put an end to all your Christmas-related issues.”

“Really?”

“Yes. Think of it like the ultimate Christmas present, from Santa himself.”

“Sounds great!”

“Yes, I am great, as a matter of fact. May I have a coffee, please?”

“Sure! Sugar?”

“Two.”

“Cream?”

“A drop.”

“There you go!”

“Mmmmh, smells divine. I’ll just set it aside for the moment.”

“And why’s that?”

“First, I have to eat.”

“Eat? Wait, we should have some crisps somewhere…”

“Don’t bother, I don’t need crisps.”

“…”

“Guys, have you noticed the reindeers? Why are they circling us?”

“I’ve no idea. It looks like they’re glaring at us, doesn’t it?”

“Now that you mention it, it does, yes.”

“Do I sound very stupid if I say that it looks like they’re going to eat us?”

“Actually, yes, you do sound stupid. But I admit I agree.”

“Mr Santa… Are you going to let your reindeers eat us?”

“Not completely, no. I want some bites as well.”

“I’m not sure this is going to help us with the difficulties we’re experiencing regarding a Christmas story, to be honest.”

“But of course it will help you! Didn’t you want a ghoulish tale?”

“…”

“Rudolph, go on: first bite’s for you.”

***

The Spot Writers:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/

 

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The Spot Writers – “The Perfect Christmas Present” by CaraMarie Christy

Welcome to The Spot Writers. The prompt for this month is to focus on ending and new beginnings. The story must also feature a fruitcake!

This week’s story comes from CaraMarie Christy, marketing intern for Alex Westmore and author of Fairies Fly. Check out her blog for writing samples and great short stories by the Spot Writers!

The Perfect Christmas Present

“Yes, I’d like to get everybody a little something for Christmas, but I don’t know if I can get them exactly what they’ve always wanted, mom,” says the petite, attractive, mid-forties blonde, sipping on her Starbucks latte, while I ring up her items. It’s a bit of a pet peeve for cashiers, when the person they’re ringing isn’t paying attention to them. It often leads to an un-bagged loaf of bread or a double scanned can of corn, but I don’t mind. Saves me the trouble of having to make conversation and I’m not some run of the mill seasonal associate. I’m not going to mess up. Her items are all what I would figure from a woman in early December, a handful of gift baskets featuring cocoa, a Barbie for some niece she barely knows, a makeup set for an ugly aunt… But at the end of the conveyer belt of boring items, Ms. Typical has something that, the more I look at it, is beginning to peak my interest. The woman on the other end of her call snaps at my customer and she barks back, “I can’t get everyone exactly what they want. Because some people want a bit more than others.”

One of her items is strange. As one of the best, most enthusiastic Super Shopper Hopper employees, I’ve taken care of the Christmas section of our Super Shopper Hopper Store for five seasons straight. There are all sorts of sweets and candies that, unbeknownst to most buyers, go up on the racks every year. Corporate fails to send us enough Christmas stock to make the store look full, so we just stick the archaic candies behind the newer ones and hope that we never get any moldy returns. I mean, sugar never goes bad right? It’s probably fine. Personally, I’m fond of one item that has seen this process numerous times.

A five-year old fruitcake that is so old, by Super Shopper Hopper standards, that we might get a fine if anyone from corporate ever found it. And now that fruitcake, my Christmas treasure, is sitting at the end of this woman’s shopping list.

“If Cousin Brittney really wanted a Roomba for Christmas… She’d quit travelling to Germany every other month and get a job.” Ms. Typical doesn’t see the horror she’s ignited in me.

My fruitcake is the best fruitcake of them all. It’s been through so many seasons, that the spirit of retail Christmas has seeped into its sagging cardboard, the stench of pine air fresheners has killed any chance it ever had of smelling like a baked good, and it’s built a thick layer of dusted glitter from all the ornaments that have dangled above it. I’m determined that this fruitcake will never sell, that it’s a yearly tradition to stuff it behind all the fresh fruitcakes.

But there it is. I look Ms. Typical up and down while I scan a tiny, overpriced footwarmer for her. Is she going to see the fruitcake reach the counter and decide she doesn’t want it? Is she going to ask me to go find her a new one from the back?

“I don’t know what she would do with a Roomba.” Her tone is sour and she wrings her scarf while she taps a manicured nail to the back of the phone with the other. “I don’t know if there’s even room in her apartment for one.”

“Yes, I’m going to get her something nice instead,” says the woman, as her eyes sparkle and she sets her coffee cup down to fish a wallet from her purse. I’ve reached the last item. The fruitcake. We look at each other, then down to the fruitcake that I’m about to scan, and when I look up at her again, her smile has grown ten sizes. Ms. Typical whispers into her phone, as I bag the fruitcake that I thought I’d never part with, cutting off the woman howling on the other end, “Oh, don’t worry, mom. It’s fine, you’re right. I’m going to give Cousin Britt exactly what she needs for Christmas.”

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Dorothy Colinco. www.dorothycolinco.com

CaraMarie Christy: https://calamariwriting.wordpress.com/

 

 

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The Spot Writers – “The Fruitcake” by Cathy MacKenzie

Welcome to the Spot Writers. As the year ends, we’ll focus on the topic of “Endings and New Beginnings.” In keeping with the December theme, a FRUITCAKE must also appear.

Today’s post comes from Cathy MacKenzie. Check out her anthology, OUT OF THE CAVE, horror stories for 13+. Great for youth AND adults. Twenty-one stories by twenty-one authors. Available on Amazon and Smashwords. Makes a GREAT Christmas gift!

https://www.amazon.com/Out-Cave-stories-Stephen-Millard-ebook/dp/B01ICAWBVU/

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/648922

***

The Fruitcake

Barb often wished her life was better though she shouldn’t complain; life could definitely be worse. But, as every year, the approaching holidays depressed her.

The other day she wondered if she might be manic depressive or perhaps she suffered from SAD. SAD: what apropos initials. Had someone picked the words “seasonal affective disorder” on purpose?

No, she reconsidered; she wasn’t depressed due to illnesses, physical or mental. She simply suffered from loneliness, and the holidays made it doubly worse. And Nick, her wanna-be boyfriend, didn’t cut it. She felt lonelier with him than without. She sighed and ran her fingers through her unruly hair.

She needed more—more than Nick could give her. What that “more” entailed, she wasn’t sure, but with the year soon ending, she had made up her mind: Nick would be history before the start of the new year.

And speak of the devil: there he was, the fruitcake himself. On her doorstep!

“Hey, Nick.”

“Hello, gorgeous.”

She loved that he thought her attractive, but he was a nerd—and a dumb one at that. Thus his name though she’d never used it to his face. She wasn’t that nasty! “You been stalking me?”

His face fell. “Of course not. Just waiting for you to come home.”

She eyed the gift-wrapped package under his arm. No, not a present. Looking at it spurred her on. She must let him down gently before Christmas—not after. She wouldn’t waiver this time.

He thrust the gaily wrapped package at her. “Here.”

“For me?” Why am I acting surprised? she wondered. ‘Cause that’s what females do. But I am surprised, just not in a good way.

“It’s nothing much. I’ve been sensing you’re down lately. Thought this might cheer you up.”

“Do I open it now?”

“Yes. It’s not a Christmas present. Just a cheering up gift.” He giggled.

She must get rid of him, sooner than later. Despite that, she dug into the small but somewhat heavy, rectangular package, ripping off paper like an eager child.

She stared. Stunned. “What’s this?” What a stupid question. Of course she knew what it was. Who wouldn’t? Fruitcake!

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Dorothy Colinco. www.dorothycolinco.com

CaraMarie Christy: https://calamariwriting.wordpress.com/

 

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