Welcome to the thirty-sixth Weekly Challenge, where I post a topic and then challenge you to come up with a 100 word story based on that topic.
The topic this week was supposed to be selected by Andrew Ian Dodge from Every Damn Blog And Podcast On Earth, but I screwed him over by calling this one, and I chose Christmas Stories.
Fourteen stories were submitted this week. Double digits!
One rookie this week? Yay!
And, as always, the usual madness by Planet Z.
Go ahead and listen to them by clicking on the grammophone thingy there in the left column and then vote for your favorites (multiple selections are allowed):
WE GOTS PRIZES:
I will be sending the winner the cost of a cup of coffee through PayPal. And who’s on the five dollar bill? Heh heh heh…
So listen, vote, and tune in next week to find out who won!
The full text of each story:
I was a bartender once. I hated Christmas, so I always took the closing shift on December 24th.
It was usually a quiet night. One year, this old man wandered in just after midnight. Dirty white beard, paunchy and run down. He ordered peppermint schnapps.
“Laid me off, little bastards” he mumbled as I poured.
I tried to ignore him, but he kept on and on. “Whole thing’s automated, don’t need me anymore.”
Finally I said, “Happens to everyone eventually, old man”
His belly shook violently as he shouted, “Ho, ho, hold on there sonny! I was Santa Claus, damnit!”
She sat on the floor surrounded by presents wrapped in shiny, bright paper adorned with big bows. Her eyes were huge, her smile wide, and she bounced from sheer excitement. She paid little attention to the others in the room.
“Is it my turn yet?”
Every time she opened a gift, there was such hope and light in her eyes that the box in her little hands could have held any one of her dreams or desires. I looked down at the small box in my own and smiled to myself, “Is it my turn now?”
Christians had “Merry Christmas”,
Jewish people had “Happy Hanukah”,
PC people had “Happy Holidays”,
Africans had “Happy Kwanzaa”,
There was even: A Festivus for the rest of us
It was high time the Atheists got together to coin a phrase to celebrate another year on this planet. A planet they knew was not created by an intelligent designer.
The bigwigs got together and after a few heated debates and a couple bottles of brandy, they came to a consensus. From that day on, Atheists around the world would greet others during the holiday season with their own salutation:
Two men enter; one man leaves.
Santa Claus and Jesus Christ will once more enter the ring and battle for the meaning of Christmas.
Claus, the crowd favorite, comes in at 5’11” weighing 285 pounds and is surprisingly spry for a big man.
Christ, the challenger, weighs a scant 112 pounds and stands a diminutive 5’3″. He looks puny but has proven before to be able to take an enormous amount of punishment and keep going.
One offers eternal rewards in the afterlife while the other offers immediate commercial gratification.
They enter the ring…
Down Goes Jesus!
Down Goes Jesus!
Harold wouldn’t see anyone this Christmastime. It was his own fault, grumpy and miserable he’d turned them all away, now they didn’t bother. On his nightly walk he looked in the church’s bay window. The nativity scene was set out. He stared for a time, suddenly the whole scene became surreal, the baby Jesus seemed to beckon him. He couldn’t pull himself away. With tears running down his face, he went home feeling joyful? Then a vehicle drew up outside his house. “Grampa Grampa” came the shouts; his children and grandchildren surrounded him. Tears of joy ran down his cheeks. He embraced them warmly.
Hank spit gristle out on the dusty road. “Sonofabitch tried to kill
my wife…barreling down like a lunatic.”
“Whadya do, Hank?” Teddy asked.
“I shot at the bastard. Near took his head off. Bullet just grazed
that goofy hat, but boy was he scared. Came down from the sky like a
“Where’s he at now?”
“Hog tied in the back of my truck. Buried his sled out in the woods.”
Teddy grabbed another skewer and chomped on his supper, “Damn, these
sure are tender. Better than the usual deer.”
“That’s cause it’s exotic meat from the north.”
“What the hell is coming out of your arse?” I asked amused.
“Its me’ Christmas tail… I thought it might amuse de’ fans who are
sick of all the crap music at this time of year.”
“How’ll they see it…it’s a pretty big arena,” I queried my backing-singer.
“Oh I’ve made sure the camera-man knows about it!” She flirtingly cooed.
“I thought you’d taken up with some sort of S&M club after I saw that
tail,” She… didn’t get it.
I made a note to ask the tour manager to make sure cameras were on her
arse…only very briefly.
Xmas address by the world prime minister, 2046
Citizens, rediscover the true meaning of xmas this holiday. The winter solstice was once usurped as the birthday of a messiah. While enlightenment has not abolished gods, it has properly relegated them to the mythological realm with pseudoscience and astrology. Modern peoples enjoy xmas as a celebration of freedom from the tyranny of religion.
So, while you are shopping the internet world marketplaces, and partying with your avatars and friends, stop a moment to remember that your freedom from false beliefs is the result of thousands of years of evolution of your society, your species, and yourselves. Happy xmas, everyone!
Ho! Ho! Ho!
The visitor took the brightly wrapped gifts from his smoking sack, arranging them at the base of the tree.
He looked around. The children, no doubt, were cowering beneath their bedsheets.
On the mantel, cookies sat next to a glass of milk. He ate them, dumping the milk in the sink. A quick search through the liquor cabinet revealed a bottle of single malt; he drained half at one gulp.
He vanished up the chimney, trailing a faint pong of brimstone.
It was a one-time gig thanks to an unfilled straight, but they’d remember Satan Claus’s visit.
The image of the man did not match either mother or father’s description. If this was the man mother called the devil then his smile should have made him shiver. If this was the man father called one in need of redeemtion his smile should have been sadder.
The grace of his face was like an angle glowing in the Christmas morning snow. He pulled a chair next to the lad and warmed his hands by the fire.
“Have you come to take me away?” ask Tim.
“No I’ve come to help.” Said Ebenezer.
Tim closed his eyes and died.
It was a family tradition that went back hundreds of years. On Christmas Eve the family gathered in the living room waiting for Grandma and her special eggnog. It was a guarded recipe that took weeks to make.
Grandma came in with a tray full of filled shot glasses. It was potent and no one dared asked for more. Each person took a glass and waited. Grandpa gave his speech and all downed the thick liquid quickly.
They went to bed wondering if they would be the lucky one. Wondering who would be wearing The Christmas Tail in the morning.
Inside the warm house, a man sat opposite a glowering fire, contemplating. Saint Nicholas always got credited for delivering gifts to everybody, which was not true.
“Santa” only delivered
gifts to the northern hemisphere. Nick would be overwhelmed if he had to do the whole world!
Yet, no thanks, no letters, nothing! Why didn’t he get any credit!?!
The blue robed man shrugged it off and rose from his armchair, ready to repeat the familiar Christmas traditions that no one appreciated.
Two days later, the “Southern Santa” was in jail… again.
“Why don’t you just take your medication?” his doctor asked.
JIM S THE FOLDERMAN
For years, the feud continued. Both of them believed that there was no way in HELL that the other could have any semblance of truth on their side.
After a long discussion with a third party, he became aware that none of it was nearly as important as he previously believed. After much soul-searching and self-examination, he came to a conclusion.
On Christmas day, he trudged through the snowdrifts and knocked on her door. A VERY long journey would end today. Christ was present in his heart when she opened the door and pulled the trigger, ending their long-overdue reconciliation.
(FrankJ and SarahK as Eric and Susan
Right Wing Duck as Jimmy
Harvey as the Narrator
and a special guest appearance by Spacemonkey as Santa Claus)
Jimmy put the cookies and milk out on the mantelpiece.
“Isn’t that cute?” said Susan. “Our boy is so wonderful.”
“It’s insane,” said Eric. “There’s no such thing as Santa Claus.”
Later that night, Jimmy heard a jingle and a thud.
He jumped out of bed and ran downstairs, giggling.
Santa was in front of the fireplace, his hands on his throat, dead.
Jimmy screamed in horror.
When Susan and Eric came downstairs, they saw the dead Santa and tried to comfort Jimmy.
“I’m so sorry,” they told him.
“I am too,” said Jimmy. ” I was trying to poison Daddy.”
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up
Thanks to everyone for sending in their stories, and I look forward to what you’ve got to write (and say) next week.
The theme for next week’s Weekly Challenge will be posted shortly.
(In case you’re interested, I’ve settled on “Clair de Lune” as the opening music and “Moonshine” by Michael Oldfield from the Tubular Bells II album.)