You can touch Shax, but only by “appointment.” First you have to establish eye contact with the old tom and at the same time make a “scratchies” gesture with your index finger. If you correctly spy permission in his imperious gold eyes, then, and only then, may you apply a “scratchie” to the surprisingly short distance between his ears. Any failure to comply with this procedure will result in a personal math system based on the number nine.
Christmas was coming. Who’d be Santa Claus had suddenly gotten sticky.
There had to be forty or so kids living in the urban cul-de-sac, all of them in squashed-in apartments in a dozen three- and four-decker buildings, the pigeons on the roof often mingling with the kids at tall hide-‘n’-seek, romances in dark budding, now and then some contraband or stolen goods getting exposed, two or three gymnasts every generation that managed and used the roof tops for exercises, dares, escapes of one sort or another. Merton Place, from various points of view, was a city in itself.
And Christmas was coming. It was around the corner.
We love Christmas, Sandra and me. We love all its traditions, like mince pies, and getting presents, and stuff like that. The best bit as far as I’m concerned is the swilling down the booze so I can’t remember what happened the morning after, but Sandra says that’s not very healthy and I have to ease up a bit this year.
‘Twas the night before Christmas
And in the alehouse below
A creature was stirring
A miserable old crow…
“Stirring’s a bit strong a word for it to be fair Nug, but I admire your cheery optimism.”
Nugget shook his lumpy, misshapen and somewhat yellow head. “You know me Bresst. Ever cheery.”
“Been meaning to ask you something though, Nug. What’s this Christmas thing you keep singing about?”
“That? The celebration of Christopher Thomas?”
“Christopher Thomas? You’ve heard the tale of Old Chris surely?” Nugget laughed goldenly as Bresst shook his head. “In that case I propose the same again to lubricate the tale. And,” he continued, poking the form slumped over the table beneath a black feathered cloak, “We’d better get another ale into him if we’ve got any chance of him functioning. Now where’s my favourite…ah! There she is! Menna! Three ales please darlin’. And a couple of those otters on a stick if you’d be so kind.”
It has been a strange week for me this week folks. I met a guy I went through secondary school with. I reckon I hadn’t seen him for around thirty years. I was very surprised when he asked about my writing. He had seen an article regarding the anthology over a year ago and had remembered. It was nice to be asked. Not many people ask, but to be truthful, not many people know or realise what this all means to me.
I mentioned last week about me writing poetry and I’ll admit, I am the most un-poetic person ever! I’m even surprised that I do it! I have always kept all my writing a bit hidden. I am not as guarded now as I once was and if anyone asks what I do in my spare time, I champion this site and all our stories.
Simon sat at his desk. His boss Michael walked in.
”It’s approaching the holidays.”
”You mean Christmas?”
“No, we can’t say that.”
“Because we don’t want to offend other religions?”
“We don’t want to offend large groups of consumers, yes.”
It’s bedtime now. Santa will only come after you have gone to sleep.
‘Oh Grandpa, tell us a story.’
Only if you both stay still, no jumping around. Come on now, settle under the blankets and listen. Let me tell you about Grandma’s Christmas bauble.
It was a dark wintry night and we were huddled together reaching towards the small fire, stretching our hands into the warmth. No one spoke because they were afraid, so afraid that if they slept they might not wake in the morning.
‘We’ll wake, won’t we Grandpa?’
Shussh, let me tell the story.