Friday, December 26, 2014

Story 62: What I Wanted for Christmas

             This year, I decided that I would ask Santa Claus if he could bring me world peace.
            “Santa, all I want for Christmas is world peace – could you just leave it for me wrapped under the tree?”
            “You know that’s impossible, and adults really shouldn’t be taking my time away from the children on the line, so get off my lap before I call Security!”
            I could see that was a dead end, so I lit a candle at Church and prayed really, really hard for world peace.  The next morning, I woke up to the same old garbage: no quick fix there.  There is a crèche set up near my neighborhood, and I walked over there one day and consulted with its residents.
            “What’s the secret?”  “Baa.”  “You guys usually only fight for survival – why can’t humans figure it out?”  “Moo.”  “Is it that there are too many of us crowding for space?”  “Oink.”  “Are we all just born evil?”  “Cluck-cluck-cluck.”  “You’re no help whatsoever.  Say ‘Hi’ to the Baby Jesus when he shows up in the manager, would you?”
            Why can no one give me world peace?  It’s not a selfish wish, and everyone would benefit – is planet-wide serenity too much to ask for?
            I went to my family’s Christmas party and when I was given my baby nephew to hold, I saw that the clichést of clichés was so for a reason: looking into his eyes, I saw pure joy and contentment and I felt that all was well in the two seconds before he began screaming for his bottle.
            Guess I’ll just have to settle for inner peace instead of world.  Oh well, there’s always next year.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Story 61: A Christmas Carol of Christmas Present

            “I cannot perform as Scrooge in these anachronistic conditions!  Shelley’s cell phone keeps ringing, the construction workers are at it again with the jackhammers in the lobby, and that train, that flipping train, keeps coming by blaring its horn every 20 minutes!”
            “You’re an actor, Gary – block it out.”
            “Yes, I am an actor, Steven, one who is attuned to the world around him in order to fully embody his roles, and I cannot fully embody a 19th-century moneylender when I am being constantly upstaged by 21st-century ambient noise!”
            “I understand.  Now take it from the top.”
            (Clears throat and speaks with an upper-crust, old-fashioned English accent) “‘A Merry Christmas?  What right have you to be merry?  You’re poor enough.’  If that fire alarm goes off one more time, I swear to all the ghosts of all the Christmases – ”
            “It’s being fixed, Gary, just – focus.”
            “Easier said than done.  Ahem-hem-humbug-humbug-humbug.  ‘What right have you to be’ – I’m sorry, Shelley, but unless you’re an on-call physician, that phone really needs to be destroyed.”
            “Stake of holly through your heart, Gary!”
            “Shelley, he has a point – no phones on stage.”
            “I’m waiting for a call-back!”
            “Then we need to have a talk after rehearsal.  Continue, Gary.”
            “I forgot my place.”
            “‘What right have you to be merry?’”
            “Oh yes.  Can we skip ahead to the end?  My ‘Redeemed Scrooge’ needs more practice.”
            “Fine, whatever keeps this moving.”
            “Thank you.  ‘The spirits did it all in one night!  They can do’ – ahhhh!!! The train!  The infernal train!”
            “Gary!  Opening night’s tomorrow!  If you can’t do this, I’ll have to bring in Scott!”
            “Not Scott!  He can barely do a passable Bob Cratchit!”
            “Then don’t make me!”
            “That’s the spirit.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Story 60: The Eight Nights of Hanukkah

            On the first night of Hanukkah, my mother gave to me: a 40-inch flat-screen TV.
            “What?!  That’s too expensive – how could you blow the first night on something so big!  I said I was going to buy it myself, and I only got you some gloves!  I can’t believe you spent the money – ”
            “You’re welcome.”
            On the second night of Hanukkah, my mother got from me: a hot stone massage certificate, for one free.
            “Those things are rip-offs – you can’t get more from hot stones than they already can do with their hands, my masseur friend told me, you shouldn’t have wasted the money, here you take it – ”
            On the third night of Hanukkah, my mother gave to me: a set of brand-new kitchen cutlery.
            “I don’t need these.”
            “You can always use new ones.”
            “Mine are new!”
            “These are back-ups: what if you have company and you need more?  And don’t tell me that you’d use plastic – I raised you better.”
            On the fourth night of Hanukkah, my mother got from me: a set of brand-new kitchen cutlery.
            “These are the ones I just gave you, aren’t they.”
            “Of course not!  I figured you also may need back-ups, just in case.”
            “All right, but I have no room, so I’ll leave these in your house until I need them.”
            On the fifth night of Hanukkah, my mother gave to me: a nice sweater, warm and fuzzy.
            “This is great!  I needed a new one!”
            “Don’t be insincere; I know you hate them, but I’m running out of ideas for you kids.”
            “No, no, I like it, I’ll wear it right now, I mean it!  Don’t give me that look, Mom.”
            “I know you’re doing it because you think it’ll make me happy, so I won’t stop you.”
            “Good, `cause I’m freezing.  You really need to turn up the heat.”
            “This is your house!”
            “…Oh yeah.”
            On the sixth night of Hanukkah, my mother got from me: a home-cooked meal made traditionally.
            “Everything is a bit…”
            “I didn’t want to put it that harshly, but yes.”
            “Want me to order pizza?”
            On the seventh night of Hanukkah, my mother gave to me: my inheritance, super-early.
            “And you get all my jewelry, but your brother gets the train set.”
            “Why are we talking about this now?!”
            “I’m out of gift ideas, so I’m letting you know all the gifts you’ll receive in the future.  The very distant future.”
            “It’s no trouble.”
            On the eight night of Hanukkah, my mother and I got each other: nothing.
            “It was fun when you were kids, but now it’s a struggle.”
            “I know!  This is so much better. More wine?”
            “You have to ask?”
            “I love you, Mom.”
            “I love you, too, dear.”