Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Merry Christmas

Before I take a breather from the blog I give you another holiday story.

Have a safe and Merry Christmas.

The Lottery

Ned Campbell stared at the empty space underneath his Christmas tree. Work at the factory was slow this year and overtime pay was cut back in the summer months. Without the added revenue Ned could comfortably pay his bills but it was a struggling week-to-week process. If an emergency arose some bills would be paid at a later time. This year, Christmas was the emergency.

In October his hot water heated was replaced. Later during the month the television quit. His bills approached the sixty days past due point and he anticipated a visit from the repo man. One more month of putting off the bills would ensure a quick trip to the street.

He gazed at homemade stockings hanging above a fireplace and shook his head. Santa was still apart of his two son's lives. Without a visit from the jolly man in the red suit the children would believe themselves naughty, when, in actuality, they were decent kids. Ned pondered the idea of breaking the news of Santa's fictitious nature, but they were only five and seven years old.

He sighed and lowered his head. Before his vision fell to the floor a small present stashed behind the tree caught his attention. Head perked up he walked to investigate. He retrieved the gift and smiled upon reading the nametag. His wife, Katie, found a little spare cash to purchase him a gift. Tears welled up in his eyes.

The gift seemed empty when he shook it, but he did hear a faint noise. He smiled and placed the present back under the tree. Then he picked it back up again. He pulled back on the end of the wrapping paper in hopes of seeing the present before it was time. Looking around the room he peeled off one strip of tape. Soon the box was uncovered.

A tree branch hitting the ground startled him. He thought it silly acting like a school kid, but he wanted to see the gift. Slowly he opened the box. Inside was a piece of thick paper about the size of sporting event ticket. He read the words on the paper: MEGA LOTTERY - SCRATCH TO WIN.

He reached in the front pocket of his jeans and retrieved a penny. With the lottery ticket in one hand and the penny in the other he scratched the silver covering. If the three silver boxes matched then he was an instant winner. The first scratched off box read $10,000. He scratched the second box. $10,000. His heart raced. He thought about scratching the third box slow to build anticipation. Throwing the thought aside he cleared the box in four swipes. Reading the contents his mouth dropped open. He rubbed his eyes and read again. $10,000.

He jumped around the room like the floor was on fire and screamed, "Yes! Yes!" At once he stopped when he heard a roar of an engine coming up the driveway. He peeked through a window to see it was somebody using his driveway to turn around. Walking back to the tree he placed the ticket back in the box and rewrapped the gift.

He checked the balance in his checkbook and smiled. The day before was payday so money was in the account. Grabbing car keys and a jacket he walked out the front door.

***
Ned was sitting back in his recliner when Katie and the kids arrived home from visiting the grandparents. The kids screamed with excitement when they say the mountain of presents under the tree. They ran to them like a kitten to a ball of yarn. Katie's stood in the open door way, mouth gaped.

"Merry Christmas," Ned said as he stood up. He walked over to Katie and gave her a big hug and kissed her on the cheek.

Katie asked, "But how did…"

He placed a finger on her lips. "Don't worry, hun. It's all taken care off. Just sit back and enjoy the holiday."

Shaking her head she said, "I don't want to know." She looked at Ned and smiled. "But thank you." She wrapped her arms around him and squeezed.

"I should be thanking you," Ned said.

Katie asked, "What?"

"Never mind."

The kids were moving present around making a total mess of the living room.

Ned watched and laughed.

Nighttime came and a light snow started to fall. A fire was in the fireplace and the kids were nestled in their beds. Before long, and after many parental trips to their bedroom, they fell fast asleep.

Ned raced to his bedroom closet and pulled out bikes, remote controlled cars and various other toys and placed them all beside the glowing Christmas tree. He took a drink of the milk and a few bites of the cookies that the kids sat beside the fireplace.

Katie watched all this in amazement. "You have to tell me how you did this?"

Ned walked over and kissed her cheek. "Like I said, don't worry."
"But."

Ned gave her a smile.

***
Christmas day the kids awoke with smiles and laughter. This stirred Ned and Katie out of slumber. After pouring a cup of coffee Ned looked out the window and gazed on a thick blanket of snow.

"Ned?" Katie placed a hand on his shoulder.

He turned around to see Katie handing him the small gift that he previously opened. He acted surprised. "For me? Thank you hun." He kissed her cheek and tore the wrapping paper.

The youngest kid said, "Mom, look at this." He held up a toy train.

Katie replied, "Yes, that's nice." She walked to the child.

Ned turned his back and retrieved the lottery ticket from the box. He acted like he scratched off the silver. He took in a deep breath and screamed, "Oh my God! Honey! Honey!" He ran over to her, picked her up n the air, and squeezed.

She looked shocked, but there was a slight grin on her mouth. "What is it?"

Ned set her down and showed her the ticket. "This ticket you gave me?"

"Yes."

"It's a winner. Ten thousand dollars!" He stressed each syllable.

"Oh my God! Really?" She grabbed the ticket.

"Yes, really." Ned started dancing around the room screaming and yelling. He stopped upon hearing laughter from Katie. Ned asked, "What are you laughing at?"

"I got you good this year, sweetie."

"What do you mean?"

"The ticket is a joke, a fake. All these years playing jokes on me and I finally got you back." She bent behind the couch and retrieved another small wrapped gift, walked over to Ned and handed it to him. She kissed him on the cheek and said, "I'm sorry. But you should have seen your face. Classic."

Ned looked at the new gift, eyes wide.
Katie said, "Here's your real gift. Merry Christmas."

Ned turned and looked out the window again. Heavy snow started to fall.

3 Comments:

Blogger Dot Bar said...

OMGosh! I think I'm going to be sick! You are a really good writer...I want to jump into that story, grab that woman around the neck and choke her to death...grrrrr. lol.

December 23, 2004 at 8:52 PM  
Blogger Theresa Wells said...

Thank you for your kind words.

December 24, 2004 at 4:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your stories are good. If you want more people to read them, try www.eastoftheweb.com/uncut/

You'll also get some constructive criticism from old time writers.

Happy Holidays!

December 26, 2004 at 6:06 AM  

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