WELL, LOOK WHO LIED ABOUT LEAVING YOU.
*looks at self in mirror* What is going on, Alli? You just heard the call of the limelight and couldn’t stay away?
You simply couldn’t bear the pain you were inflicting on your followers by leaving them behind on a hiatus?
Okay, so what HAPPENED is that my awesome friend, Kellyn, posted a challenge on her blog for a 1,000 word story contest. This triggered something in my weary brain and reminded me that (whoops, hello Allison!) I had planned to surprise you guys by posting a Christmas story on my blog! And . . . I forgot . . . until Kellyn made a CONTEST (I can’t resist contests). That gave me the incentive to be a good girl and post. Plus enter the contest. And I really wanted to give you this anyway so – erm –
You might recall that I was published in Splickety back in Christmas of 2017 (where did that year go, anyway?). Now that the rights of that story have reverted back to me, I wanted to post it on my blog as a little treat/surprise for my readers who haven’t read it.
^ proud moment + bad photo ^
So – here we go!
Hope for the Holidays
by Allison Tebo
Being a Santa and holding a stupid sign was the worst job ever. It was the scraps thrown to guys that lived in homeless shelters and couldn’t hold it all together—in other words, Jim Landon.
As he stood on the corner in that stupid outfit, something inside him snapped.
He decided to rob a house.
The suit actually came in handy. If he got caught, he could pretend he was a neighbor playing a joke.
Breaking the lock on the back door of the house was easy. There were no cars in the driveway, no lights on inside.
So why was his heart pounding?
He flicked the penlight around the room and nearly died when the lights switched on.
A little girl in pink pajamas burst into the room.
“Santa Claus!” she bellowed.
“Please be quiet,” he said feebly.
“I don’t have to be quiet. Nobody’s here.”
His heart gave a vague flutter. “You’re all alone?” He squinted at her. “Seriously? You don’t have a babysitter?”
“A guy knocked on the door, and she left with him. My name’s Eliza!”
This kid’s parents had really goofed in selecting a babysitter; maybe it was just some kind of horrible mistake.
He glanced around. “Nice house,” he commented.
“We’re going to lose it soon,” Eliza said. “The bank wants it.”
He’d feel like a heel robbing somebody that was already going to lose their house. He knew what that was like. Besides, what was he going to do, tie the kid up?
Forget it, he’d find another house. But he couldn’t in good conscience leave a five-year-old by herself. He sighed.
“Listen, kid, I’m going to babysit you for a while, how about that?”
Her face lit up like the proverbial Christmas tree. “I was going to make you cookies, but you’re early.”
“The early bird gets the cookies,” he said lamely, but she seemed to think it was hilarious.
“I’d make them for you now, but I’m not supposed to do anything in the kitchen without Mommy. Would you help me make them?”
Holy smokes, she wanted him to what?
“Sure, why not?” Yeah, why not—break into a house to make cookies. He followed her into the kitchen, switching on the lights she couldn’t reach. This would make a great memoir someday—Santas Go Where Angels Fear To Tread. He’d have plenty of time to write it in jail.
“That’s my mommy.” Eliza pointed to a picture.
“Wow.” He examined the woman cuddling a younger Eliza. “Your dad’s not in the picture.”
“He left before Mommy had me.”
Ouch. He wasn’t the only one with problems. “I’m sorry.”
She didn’t hear him. She was already babbling about flour.
“When does your mom usually get home?” he asked.
“Not until nine.”
He had forgotten how soothing baking was; there were precise measurements, and as long as you followed the steps, things turned out right. Too bad life wasn’t like that.
“Can we make frosting?” Eliza asked as he slid the cookies into the oven.
An hour later, he stood at the sink gobbling cookies with Eliza and looking out the window at the snow. “Hope your mom has chains on her tires.”
Eliza looked worried. “She’ll be okay, won’t she?”
Idiot. “Sure she will.”
“You don’t have trouble with snow.”
“Nah, snow doesn’t bother me, kid.”
“Maybe you could fly Mommy to work tomorrow!”
Yeah, right, in my dreams. He imagined driving up to the house in a new sports car to pick up that beautiful woman. He ate another cookie moodily and then glanced down at all the dirty dishes. The least he could do was clean up the mess he had made.
“Can I help?” Eliza asked as he ran the water.
“Talk to me while I work.”
It was amazing how quickly it went with Eliza chattering to him. He wondered what it would be like to hear that little voice every night.
“I’ve got to be going now,” he said as he patted her awkwardly on the head. “Be good.”
“I know.” She grinned. “Don’t forget, I want a toy car for Christmas—the kind that I can drive!”
“Got it.” He really did hope she’d get it, but he doubted she would.
“Is there anything you want for Christmas?”
Probably the first time any kid ever asked Santa that. Nice kid.
Sure, he wanted plenty. He wanted a job, a car. He wanted somebody to wonder if he was coming home at night—a cat would do, if he could afford a cat. Most of all, he wanted to get out of here before the police showed up.
“Just a better new year I guess. This one was rough.”
Eliza’s face fell. “Sorry, Santa. Hope you have a happy New Year.”
“Thanks, Eliza—you too. And . . .” He wiggled his false stomach and forced some cheer into his voice. “Ho-ho-ho! Merry Christmas!” Okay, so that didn’t feel too weird.
“Lock the door after me.”
He hid in the bushes and waited until he saw an old car drive up ten minutes later. A woman jumped out and ran inside.
One day he’d like a kid like Eliza to come home to, but he wasn’t going to get that by stealing TVs. He wasn’t going to get peace or security either.
I’ll try again tomorrow, he thought as he returned to the shelter. I have to try again.
The next morning, he was dressed, shaved, and sitting at the employment agency earlier than anyone else.
Thirty minutes later, he could barely believe his ears as they offered him a job at the agency. Not only a job, but a job helping other people get out of the mess he had been in.
He was led to a back office to meet the lady who would be training him.
“Good morning . . .” he began, then broke off as the woman looked up at him and smiled.
It was Eliza’s mother.
This is copyrighted by Allison Tebo 2018© Please do not use or copy without permission.
I hope you enjoyed Hope for the Holidays, my friend! Let me know what you thought in the comments!
Okay, sports fans. Now I really am leaving you. I mean it this time, no joke, I’m going on hiatus.
^ my surprise Christmas present for my Twin, because I know she’s reading this; you’re welcome. ^
No, no – stop holding me back! I know it’s hard, but you have to let me leave you!
Okay, now I’m just being deliberately ridiculous and annoying, but I feel like I have to for this final blog post, because I’m not going to be here to give you your weekly dose of annoying ridiculousness.
That makes me so sad. 🙁 You do have somebody to gif you in my absence, right? I’m going to miss doing that for you. *grabs you and injects a double injection of clownishness to tide you over until my return*
But we’ve hit on the truth at last, friend. Even though I am looking forward to a break and need a break . . . I’m a bit sad, because I’m going to miss hanging out with you. *clingy, sticky, sniffling Alli hug*
And I’m going to leave now before I overload my own Absurdity Circuits. They have a high capacity, but one can never be too careful.
*HUGE GROUP HUG FOR ALL OF YOU*
Okay, that just got sentimental – I’m leaving.