As I’ve mentioned before, the meetings of the Dunbar Writers always include a 10-minute writing exercise. Last night’s meeting, despite being the end of season social evening, was no exception. Write for 10 minutes about Christmas, was the challenge, and this is what came out of the end of my pen:
Santa groaned and fumbled in the pocket of his red jacket for another indigestion tablet. The 16 millionth mince pie and the glass of very poor cooking sherry had not gone down well; or rather they had gone down, but showed a reluctance to stay down.
He wished, not for the first time, that his elves had not joined the Elvish Temperance League, or that his reindeer might have preferred mince pies to their exceedingly crunchy carrots. He sighed the deep and heartfelt sigh of one whose onerous duties weighed heavily on him. As a job, of course, he had to say the hours were good – 24 hours in 8760 – but the travelling was awful. He got airsick, especially in the long periods crossing the chimneyless tundra, or the camel-free zones of the Sahara. And some of the chimneys were downright unsanitary.
The next house, he was glad to find, had a wide, accommodating chimney with no fire in it. What a blessing. The children were nicely asleep, but when he tip-toed over to the table with the M&S mince pie on it, he noticed the father, alert, and watching him.
“I wonder,” said Mr Cameron (for it was he), “If you could give me any lessons in kindness and generosity?”
“Possible, young man, but I’m not sure if you can afford my tuition fees.”
It doesn’t end happily ever after, but what do you expect?