Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas For Older Kids

Christmas Stories For Older Kids

  Sally kept looking at the old grandfather clock as it ticked along.  Time was moving so slow. Would these people ever go to bed?
  “Hot date?”
  She glared back at Ray for a second. What did Gramma see in him? “Sure, I”m going to gang bang the local high school band after you two fall asleep.”
   “Where do you learn such filthy talk?” Gramma handed Sally a cup of coca.
  “I”m seventeen, not twelve,” she mumbled under her breath. Neither of the two could hear much of anything without their hearing aids–which were always turned off to save batteries.
Ray was drinking Scotch, as usual. A shame he didn’t have a fondness for arsenic. “He’s always asking me about boys. Goes on like I’m the local whore.”
  “Stop this, both of you.”
  Why had Mom gone off to Switzerland?  It was the middle of winter. Hans or Gunther or whoever it was this week had money.
   “You redheads all have a temper,” Ray said between sips of his Johnny Walker.
  “I was a redhead,” Gramma reminded him. “Before it went gray.”
  The cookies were good.   On balance, how she hated this season.
  Ray announced, “Well, Ray is gonna turn in.  Maybe Santa will bring him something good.”
  Sally really hated it when Ray started talking about himself in the third person. “Maybe a lump of coal.”
  “Nope, Santa’s getting me a new chain saw. Vroom.”
  “It’s been a long day,” Gramma announced.  “Don’t stay up too late, dear.”
  “I won’t.”  It wasn’t like they had cable or even Internet. Just some fuzzy channel from Denver.
   At least the tree looked nice this year.  She loved that evergreen smell.  Last year, Mom had bought a fake one for the condo back home. It was pink. Gramma would have nothing like that in her house.
Except for Ray, it was at least a tolerable Christmas.  After Grampa died, Gramma married Ray for some inexplicable reason. Old people go to bed early.  That was a good thing. Sally was used to being alone. She didn’t mind it. She gazed out at the snow. Probably more snow here than over in Switzerland.  Mom probably wouldn’t even bother to call.
  There was a present for Gramma Sally had picked up in town at the Rexall.  Mom had sent one for her, and even one for Ray. But Ray wasn’t going to find any present from her under there. No way.        One package looked like a chain saw. He’d be a happy camper.
   She combed her hair and thought about things.  It was only nine o’clock.  At least Ray was in bed.
  The tree put out good light. She left it on and turned off everything else.
  Gramma’s house was so small there wouldn’t be any landing on the roof. Just not room enough for eight reindeer [Do they count Rudolph? He doesn’t exist anyway.] The sleigh would have to put down in the back yard and go between the two cottonwood trees. No other way.
  The guy at Radio Shack agreed and sold her a getup that used a laser beam. It was more reliable that infra red, he’d insisted while he tried to look down her top. It seemed to be working
She found herself dozing off.  Should’ve skipped the cookies and cocoa. Gramma never heard of sugar free products.
  It was beeping.  The TV changed and switched to the back yard.  That hadn’t been hard to connect.     But the guy at Radio Shack initially offered little help. The more she bent over the counter letting him look down her sweater, the more helpful he seemed to get.
  And now it was working.  The sleigh was right where she’d predicted.  And the back door was opening.
  Santa placed his heavy bag on the floor. “At least they don’t have a pink tree this year,” he muttered quietly.
    Sally put her arms around him. “The tree wasn’t my fault.”
    “You’re too old for presents.”
  “You’re never too old for presents. Besides, the older kids hurt the most on Christmas.”
  “You get no presents, Sally. You can’t have any if you’re not sleeping.”
  “Good. I don’t want any.” She released her grip on him. She released her nightgown as well. It fell around her ankles,
  “Oh my God!”
  Santa was shaking.  “Look, five years ago, you were lying naked on the bed. I didn’t know you were here.”
  “I knew you were here.  I wanted you then. I want you now.  I’m not little girl anymore.”
  “You most certainly are ... not an adult young lady. You get your clothes on right now. I’m a married man.”
  “I don’t care.” She started rubbing her breasts. “I could be your mistress. Lots of men have them.”
  “Out of the question.”
  She grabbed him and tried to kiss him.
  Santa pulled away.
  “I’m legal in seven states and half the European Union. Take me there. You’ve got reindeer.”
“Yeah, like I want them telling Mrs. Claus.”
  Sally laid on the couch. “Very well.  Could you at least take Ray’s chain saw back to the hardware store?
  And he was gone.  The sleigh was gone.  And that chain saw was gone.  And there was another box for Ray.
“If you could move that fast, why’d you linger here so long, Santa? You know you want me.”
  The next morning Sally was surprised it was eight o’clock. Old people get up early.
 “You want some breakfast, Sally?”
  Please don’t say “Merry Christmas.
  “Merry Christmas.”
  Sally checked to make sure she had her clothes back on. Her nightgown was in place. She wrapped her flannel bathrobe tight as well. After breakfast they opened their presents.  A gift card to the hardware store from Ray. A stack of books from Gramma–some of them might be interesting. And there was another box, from Santa. She opened it. It was a nightgown, a low cut see through nightgown from Victoria’s Secret.
  “My word. Who sent you that? Gramma asked.
  “It says ‘Santa.’” Sally folded it up. “I don’t know. Unless Mom?”
Ray opened his last box.  “What the heck happened to my chain saw?” He removed a lump of coal from the box. “Now this isn’t funny. Where’s my chain saw?”
  “It wasn’t me,” Sally insisted. She handed Ray the gift card. “Take this and get a chain saw with it.”
   “You don’t have to,” Gramma said.
  “No, he’ll enjoy a chain saw more than a puppy likes a new tennis ball.  Chopping up all that scrub oak.”
  “Well, thank you Sally.  I sure wish I knew who took the one from under the tree.”
   “And that nightgown wasn’t here yesterday.” Gramma pointed out.
  Sally mumbled, “Weird.”  She’d just put a peppermint stick in her mouth.
  “Where’d you get that?” Gramma asked.
  Sally pulled the peppermint out of her mouth. “This?
  “I sure didn’t buy it.  And we didn’t have any yesterday. I’d think it was your mother’s doing but she lacks any sense of humor, whatsoever.”
“ Maybe Santa brought them,” Sally said.
  Far to the north there was one unopened package at the end of the route.  Santa had waited until everyone was asleep to open it. He’d found it in the bag. “To Santa From Sally.”  It was a red colored plastic tube.  Inside was some sort of poster. He unrolled it. It was a poster all right, of Sally in a skimpy bathing suit. Where could he put it? Mrs. Claus was everywhere.  He wanted to toss it into the fireplace, but he just couldn’t do it.

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