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Sloth Fiction: Santas, Santas Everywhere! By fedoralady
Rated PG
It’s been quite a while since I wrote an installment of SF, and this holiday season seemed a perfect time to share. I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a joyous time together with family and friends. God bless you . . .

“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in the old man’s hat . . .” Harry Kennedy, the world’s most adorable accountant, sang with a cheeky gusto on a wet, stormy late December morning in LA (Lower Alabama).


He had a mug of cocoa in each hand and a sunny smile on his handsome face as he strolled into Lady Writer’s guest bedroom.

It was the place she’d been more or less camping out for since her car accident, better known as “The Great Crown Vic Offroading Misadventure” or “LW’s Unexpected Journey,” back in early November.

Recovery had been slow and frustrating. Occasionally, in the wee hours, she would have a little weep.

Still, the support of her own dear Harry Kennedyesque husband, the therapy provided via her cuddly felines-- not to mention all the inspiration given by the Creator and the ChaRActers--helped tremendously.

And on this gloomy morning, Harry’s attire alone was a day-brightener.

“Harry, I swear, it looks like that sweater—excuse me, jumper-- of yours should light up,” said Lady Writer as she took a sip of her cocoa (laced with a dash of Bailey’s Irish Cream).

Harry gave her a cheeky grin. “Funny you should mention that, LW . . .” Swapping his mug of cocoa from his right hand to his left, Harry then squeezed a spot on the neck of his jumper.

Suddenly, the ornaments and lights hanging from the antlers of the smiling reindeer on his chest began to twinkle red, green, gold and silver.

Sitting her mug down on the bedside table, LW clapped her hands in delight.

“Oh, Harry, that’s great!”

He waggled his eyebrows. “Ah, but wait. There’s more,” he said in a husky, teasing voice.

Reaching into the neck of the jumper a second time, he gave it a squeeze.

The strains of “Jingle Bells” could be heard coming from Harry’s chest.

“It plays a medley of six Christmas tunes,” he said, and holding up one long and elegant finger, he added, the merry twinkle in his eye belying the solemn set of his mouth. “And notice-- the lights blink in time to the music.”

“Oh—Harry—I—love—it!” LW was giggling so hard she was having a hard time getting the words out.

Harry shrugged his broad shoulders and took another sip of his cocoa. “Well, I know things have been a bit hard of late. Thought a bit of Christmas cheer would do you good, dear LW.”

“Well, I think it is marvelous. Only you, Harry, could pull that look off, only you,” she replied, wiping her eyes with a tissue.

“You’ve made me laugh ‘til I cried.”

Harry grinned. “My vicar always says a merry heart does you good like medicine.”

LW nodded. “I have to agree. And –like cuddly cat therapy-- much cheaper than some of my meds from the pharmacy.”

There was a sudden ruckus from the vicinity of LW’s front entrance.

She raised her brows. “Wonder what that could be? It doesn’t sound like the dogs bumping against the storm door . . .”

“I’ll go and see, LW.”

Moments later, she heard the sound of several baritone voices mingling and then a loud “shhhhhhh,” followed by a mysterious whispering.

LW suspected a certain group of ChaRActers was up to something.

Harry’s smiling face reappeared as he peeked inside the bedroom door.

“Just the lads, LW. No worries.”

There was a curious clanging sound from the vicinity of the living room, followed by a muttered oath.

“God’s tears! Watch what you’re doing!”

“Sorry, mate. You need to watch where you put those gigantic feet next time . . .”

A loud snort. “MY gigantic feet? Have you taken a look at your feet lately?”

A deep sigh. “Will both of you please be careful and not step on my cadmium red? Monet is coming over later to paint with me.”
A loud grunt.

“Lift with your legs, lads, not with your backs. Otherwise, you could end up injuring your back.”

“Well, you’re the doctor, I guess you would know . . .”

“Ah—things are back to normal, I see,” Lady Writer murmured wryly as she took another sip of her cocoa.

“Let the bickering begin . . .”

Harry disappeared from the doorway, no doubt to referee.

She could hear him shushing his fellow ChaRActers and more rather noisy whispering going on along with intriguing sounds of—furniture being moved about?

Suddenly another head was peering around the door at her. His silky raven mane grazed broad black-clad shoulders; his azure eyes were rimmed in smoky kohl and his mouth was made for smirking, amongst other things.

“Guy of Gisborne. I see you are wearing your funereal holiday black.”

He raised one brow in clear consternation. “It is a colour extremely flattering to me. You’ve certainly never minded dressing me in it in your stories, LW.” Guy gave a manly sniff and tossed back his mane.

LW never tired of seeing him do that. It was a bit like having a beautiful wild stallion hanging out inside your house.

At least with Guy, she didn’t have to worry about him soiling the carpets (he took endless delight in the mechanics of the flush toilet. Such an improvement over Nottingham Castle’s garde-robes).

Although, he could eat as much as a horse . . . where did he put it all?

“Guy darling, I am teasing you . . . of course, I love you in black. Dark, dangerous, mysterious—bad ass. That’s my dark knight.”

Not surprisingly, Guy’s lips curved into a rather smug smirk at LW’s words. He slipped inside the room and folding his arms, lounged against the wall with a devil-may-care attitude.

A deep voice rumbled from the vicinity of the living room, the words tinged with more than a touch of sarcasm.

“Oi. Sir Loin of Beef. We could use your help if you’re not too busy.”

LW was not the only one who enjoyed teasing Sir Guy.

She saw her favourite knight’s nostrils flare and that ominous glint appear in his eyes. Good thing the sword she had given him last year for Christmas could only be employed when SHE said so.

He was apt to fly off the handle every now and then and it was wise to kept sharp objects out of Sir Guy’s grasp.

“Guy. Remember. Play nice.” Lady Writer put down her mug of cocoa and folded her arms, giving Guy as stern a look as she could manage.

“’Tis the season, my dear boy. A time for peace on earth, goodwill towards your fellow chaRActers.”

“Uhmmm—yes. Of course.” Guy gave her a courtly little bow.

“And if you would excuse me, LW, I shall go and see what Sol-, errr-- Sgt. Porter wants.” Guy gave another affronted sniff as he turned on his heel, then paused and looked back at LW, his eyes not quit meeting hers as he gave a nonchalant shrug of his shoulders.

“I—don’t suppose you would care to drop a few hints regarding our Christmas presents, would you, Lady Writer?”

LW pressed her lips into a thin line in an effort not to laugh.

In some ways, Guy was very much like a boy inhabiting a man’s body. Lady Writer found it slightly maddening at times, and yet, endearing.

“If you behave yourself, perhaps you WON’T get a lump of coal and a bag of switches. Anyway—you know I like to keep things a surprise. That’s part of the fun of Christmas. So—no snooping.” LW wagged her finger at Guy.

He gave her another little bow, his eyes glinting with mischief. “Yes, milady. Just remember—the no snooping rule can go both ways . . . but I will say no more.”

And with another sly smirk and a toss of his jetty locks, Guy made his exit.

Lady Writer crinkled her forehead (which, sadly, didn’t look nearly as nice as the Creator’s forehead bearing a similar expression) as she absently wrapped a strand of hair around her finger and pondered Guy’s cryptic words.

“OK, just what ARE you boys up to?” She mumbled to herself before giving in to a sizeable yawn.

It had been a sleepless night, the unsettled weather not helping; Lady Writer decided a little nap might be in order.

She would sleep on the mysteries implied by her Dark Knight.

That is, if he and the rest of the lads could keep the noise down, of course . . .

*~*~*~*
It had been an eventful year for Mr. Lady Writer and his missus.

Some of which they would gladly have done without.

Mr. LW’s summertime “sprained ankle” which turned out to be a broken leg; Lady Writer’s unanticipated loss of her job, and the freakish accident that left her feeling as if she’d been put to the question with a visit to some medieval ruler’s torture chamber.

And then, the sudden, unexpected loss of Lucky Cat, Mr. LW’s last tie to his late parents. Big, stolid, stoic Lucky, with those impossibly huge eyes, the cat who smelled inexplicably of hot buttered popcorn.

If it had been a pickup truck instead of a Crown Vic, and a blue tick hound instead of a cat, I think I’d have the makings of a great little country song, LW thought as she slid her sleep mask into place and pulled the snuggly fleece throw over her.

She couldn’t complain about a dull life, that’s for sure . . .

“Lady Writer . . .”

She opened her eyes and looked up into a bearded face.
A big, fluffy white beard, a lot like—

“S-Santa?”

The blue eyes twinkled merrily beneath the fur-trimmed red cap. “Tell me, Lady Writer, have you been a good girl this year?” Santa’s voice was deep, warm and as velvety as the familiar costume he wore. He sat down on the bed beside her, taking her hand in his gloved palm and patting it.

“I-I’ve tried, Santa.”

Santa crinkled his brow as he studied LW’s face.
“You had that freakish accident in the autumn . . . have you been taking proper care of yourself? Taking things slowly and striving for progress in manageable increments, using hot and cold therapy as needed, taking your pain medications before the pain reaches high levels?”

“Y-e-esss. My goodness, Santa, you sound like a doctor.”

He laughed, a big, jolly belly laugh (although LW had to say that Santa didn’t seem to have much of a belly).


“Well, let’s just say Santa has had to look after quite a lot of reindeer and elves in his time. He wants to make sure all the boys and girls he visits—no matter their age—are in good health. Nourishment and nurturing, that’s my motto . . . now, close your eyes and just relax . . .” His voice caressed her ears and bathed her in a delicious warmth.

She could feel herself drifting away, even as Santa seemed to be—taking her pulse? Odd . . .

“Lady Writer . . .”
A very tall, lanky angel was smiling down at her. An angel with tissue paper and tinsel wings and a coat hanger turned into a slightly askew halo, like a very overgrown member of a primary school nativity play.

Only this angel was also wrapped in old-fashioned C7 bulbs as if he’d had a collision with a Christmas tree. And the lights were shining in a rainbow of colours.

“Must have a battery pack on him,” she murmured drowsily. “Or a really long extension cord . . .”

“Hullo, LW. How are you this lovely morning?” the angel inquired with a sunny smile.

“It’s actually a rather dismal morning—but you certainly brighten things up. You know, I have always thought you were something of an angel. Even dreamed you were one, once,” LW said, smothering a small yawn.

“Excuse me, darling. I am just so tired. But I certainly am having an interesting dream . . .” She narrowed her eyes as she looked up at her angelic visitor.

“You wouldn’t happen to be my guardian angel by any chance? Because if you are, I wouldn’t know whether to thank you or fuss at you after my accident.”

She smiled up at him. “Actually, considering it could have been a lot worse, and I am still in one piece, I guess I should say thank you.”

He gave her another cheeky grin. “Well, there you go.”

LW’s angelic visitor took her hand and bending over, lifted it to his mouth for a hearty kiss.

“Sadly, I cannot lay claim to being your official guardian angel. But I do like trying to look after you. Merry Christmas, dear LW—and best wishes for a better 2012!”

“Merry Christmas,” she said, feeling her eyelids growing heavy once more.

“Ho, ho, ho!” Santa was back, it seemed.

Only this time he appeared to be clad in head-to-toe black leather, topped off with an especially plush Santa hat, his face largely hidden beneath luxuriant false whiskers.

But he definitely was not wearing any false padding under that sleek, form-fitting leather.

Ho, ho, ho indeed.

“So, tell me, Lady Writer. Have you been a naughty girl?” Santa’s voice was deep, honeyed rumble.

LW suddenly realized she was lying there with her mouth hanging open.

“Uhmmmmm . . . why do I think I should say ‘yes’?”

Santa tilted his head and started to tug off his gloves (black leather, naturally) with his incredibly perfect teeth.

“Because—I like naughty girls best of all . . .”

LW’s eyes grew very wide. “Ahhhhh . . .”

Suddenly she felt something soft and fuzzy rubbing against her cheek.

“S-Santa?”

“Muurrrrow.”

“Huh?” She opened her eyes and found herself nose-to-nose with Puddie Cat, who standing on her chest, kneading the fleece blanket whilst purring loudly.

“Ouch! Watch those claws, Missy,” LW said with a small yelp.

“Seems my dream is over with—dang it. And it was just starting to get really good, Puddie.”

She glanced over to the right and saw her sleep mask lying there. Did she take it off in her sleep? LW shrugged. Stranger things had happened . . .

“Lady Writer . . .” Another Santa stood in the doorway. LW blinked and shook her head a little. OK, maybe the Lor-Tabs and muscle relaxers were making her a bit loopy.

“We’d like you to come in the living room. You’ll have to close your eyes, so I will assist you,” said Santa.

“Ah, I must have a surprise in store.” She stood up a bit slowly and creakily and took Santa’s arm.

“Close your eyes, LW. We won’t rush. Take your time.”

They stepped out into the little hallway and rounded the corner into the living room. She could hear more whispering and the clearing of throats.


“OK, LW. You may open your eyes now.”

“Merry Christmas!” A chorus of baritones rang out from—what? Five Santas, identically dressed? And an angel in tinsel and lightbulbs?—all standing in a semicircle in front of the Christmas tree, which seemed to glow with at least a thousand white fairy lights, ivory and gilt ribbons and all the treasured ornaments she had collected throughout the years.

The Christmas tree? Wait a minute . . .

LW’s mouth dropped open. “The—tree. Where did it come from? I mean—I wasn’t going to bother with a tree this year because of my back—and we won’t be here for Christmas. It’s—beautiful.”

“We knew you’d scaled back things due to your back injury--” said one Santa.

“And we also knew you were feeling a bit down--” chimed in another.

“And we wanted to help out--”

“So we went tramping through your woods to find a tree.”

“And got into an argument over which tree was the best.”

“But we think this one is a corker, Lady Writer.”

Lady Writer nodded. “It is, indeed, a corker, lads.”
She felt the tears forming in her eyes and a major sniffle coming on.

“Lady Writer, you are not going to cry, are you?”

“No—well, maybe just a little, you guys.” She heaved a big sigh. This was—incredibly sweet and thoughtful of you all.”


She glanced around the room with a bemused expression on her face.

“Only—I don’t know exactly who is who underneath all that Santa gear. You all do bear a striking resemblance to one another in your street clothes, much less matching suits and beards.”

The Santas looked at each other, nodding. Then, one by one, each Santa lifted his cap and wig and tugged down his beard.

“Ahhh—Guy’s stubble—and now I see those kohl-rimmed eyes a little better. And—Dr. Track! I dreamt about you when I napped. Is that a stethoscope I spy? Lucas—do I detect a spot of paint on your cheek?”


Lucas smiled and nodded his head. “I’ve been painting with Claude.”

The next Santa lifted his cap to reveal rumpled brown locks and neat little goatee. His blue eyes were positively incandescent.

“And a very fine painter he is becoming, too, Madame.”

Lady Writer crowed with delight. “Monsieur Monet! How delightful to see you!”

“Mon plaisir,” he said with a sweeping bow and sweet smile.

There was one more Santa (and Harry the Angel, of course).

“And who do we have here?” Lady Writer said.

The last Santa tugged down his beard.

“Cheers, Lady Writer. Nice to be out of that bloody desert . . . and away from terrorists—and certain scriptwriters.” He gave LW a wry smile.

“Portah! Oh, Sergeant, come here and give me a hug.” Lady Writer was soon enveloped in one of Porter’s bear hugs, the sort that made a girl feel safe and cherished.

“Thank you—and all the other admirers of our Creator—who Loved Me Into Being, granting me SND status. I think that’s the best gift ever, LW,” Porter murmured into her ear.

“Well, we have to give credit to the Ultimate ChaRActer Strike Force, John—led by Lucas and Guy. Once again, all the lads came together in support of their brother,” LW said, her eyes shining with pride as she smiled up at Porter.
“That is definitely one of the high points of my year, John. You are a soldier who so many admire and love. Your Creator gave us a true hero in you.”

John looked down at his feet with a lop-sided smile. “And you gave me the love of my life and a family and a future.” He pressed a kiss to her cheek.

“It was my pleasure, John. And my readers. You are a very popular character, you know.”

There was a sudden sharp rapping at the front door.

“Were you lads expecting someone else?” LW queried.

The ChaRActers looked at each other and shrugged as they shook their heads.

“I shall answer it,” said Guy, clapping on his cap and putting his beard back into place before striding to the door.
Sweeping it open, he looked through the storm door and froze.
“Who is it, Guy? What’s the matter?”

“It—appears to be a bearded creature the size of a child . . .”

“Thorin Oakenshield,” announced the creature, who, though small in stature, possessed a booming voice easily heard through the storm door.

Lady Writer’s eyes grew wide. “Thorin—Thorin’s here. Oh, Guy—where are your manners? Welcome him in!”

Guy’s eyebrow shot up and he gave a sniff—possibly pondering the prospect of the lack of presents for a naughty Guy--before inclining his head. “Of course, milady, I will be happy to let this—diminutive hairy creature in, if you wish it.”

He opened the door and with a flourish of his hand, indicated Thorin was invited inside.

The “diminutive hairy creature” strode purposefully into the living room. He carried himself so ramrod straight in his silver and blue robes and furs, with such a take-no-prisoners glint in his eyes, he seemed much taller than a mere four feet.

Lady Writer didn’t usually feel attracted to such a vertically challenged man. But for Thorin, as for so many other ChaRActers, she was willing to make an exception.
So what if he was a dwarf? Thorin was a proper MAN.

His hand resting on the hilt of his gleaming sword, the warrior dwarf and rightful King Under the Mountain bowed his head before Lady Writer. “My Lady, I am at your service,” he announced solemnly.

She gazed into those keen blue eyes and smiled. “It is a pleasure to meet you . . . and the first time I have welcomed royalty to my home.”

The other characters crowded around Thorin to warmly welcome him as they introduced themselves to this curious new character in their brotherhood.
Everyone except, that is, Sir Guy. He stood back from the rest, those broad shoulders slumping just a little in his Santa suit.

“Guy? Aren’t you going to welcome Thorin?” Lady Writer said softly as she linked her arm with his.

“You—find him quite impressive, do you not, Lady Writer?”

Guy kept his eyes fixed on Thorin as he spoke.

“Oh, yes—the Creator’s newest character knocks my sock off. And a great many other socks, too.”

Guy heaved a sigh and looked at his feet.

“So. I—suppose he is now your favourite.” In spite of the beard masking it, LW was certain the Adam’s-apple was bobbing in Guy’s swan-like throat. “Since he is royalty, after all.”

“Oh, Guy. Don’t you know me well enough by now to realise I am no snob? Thorin is wonderful. So are you.”

She squeezed his arm. “You will always be my favourite, because you will always be the first; the first to earn my love and break my heart. The first ChaRActer to be Loved into Being.”

LW smiled up at him. “So cheer up, Santa Guy. There’s a lot to celebrate. Red velvet cake. Homemade chocolate-covered cherries.”

She saw the familiar gleam in his beautiful blue eyes.

She rose up on her tiptoes and whispered in his ear. “An unopened box of Cheez-Its with your name on it.”

His lips twitched. “Well, between traipsing through the forest and decorating this tree, I did work up quite an appetite . . .”

Lady Writer laughed. “As our friend Angel Harry would say, ‘Well, there you go.’”

“Lady Writer.” John Porter called out to her. “I believe we started a Christmas tradition last year. Serenading you with a song?”

“Oh, yes. Please sing for me, lads.”

“I believe a certain French carol is a particular favourite of yours, cherie?” said Monet.

Harry grinned. “Yep, one that you could say features me.”

LW clapped her hands together. “’Angels We Have Heard on High?’ Absolutement.”

And soon the seven ChaRActers , old and new, joined their honeyed baritones in singing the traditional carol. Lady Writer didn’t think even angels straight from heaven could sound one whit more beautiful than her lads.

What did they get for Christmas? Ah well, that is another tale to tell.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
cassiadewarren
Dec. 25th, 2011 11:42 pm (UTC)
Seven ChaRActers clad like Santas. LOL!

I love that you have a special care for Guy. How sweet, he is jealous of Thorin!

“You will always be my favourite, because you will always be the first; the first to earn my love and break my heart. The first ChaRActer to be Loved into Being.” How true!

I hope you will find inspiration in him again, one day.

Merry Xmas LW!!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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