Ladies and Gentlepersons! Come one, Come all to the somewhat annual, Aawesometastical, Splendiferous Fondue Writer’s Club (and Bar & Grille and Laundromat)’s FREE FLASH FICTION CHRISTMAS EXPLODE-A-GANZA!
We have a lot of great stories in store for you this year, and we can wait for you to read them. Before we get into that, I just wanted to say thanks for joining us in our slog through the holidays this year. We hope you’re all healthy, that you’re all happy, and that Santa brings you everything you wanted this year.
In an effort to save the best for the “not first” position, I’m leading off again. Here’s my story … THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER
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It started off innocently enough.
“Hey Joey. Wanna get some ice cream?”
I was eight years old, and my brain hadn’t developed enough yet to realize that when Mom comes right out and offers ice cream, there are always strings attached.
Five minutes later, she pulled into the parking lot at our church
“Just go to play practice, sweetie. We’ll get ice cream afterward.”
“But MOM. I don’t WANNA be in the Christmas play.”
Mom had been doing this to me for years, tricking me into being a part of the annual Children’s Christmas Cantata at Forest Park Baptist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was a wise man one year, and a cowboy on crutches the next. But the worst was the last year when I had to play the back half of the Christmas Donkey for an hour long manger scene.
There’s nothing worse than making a literal ass of yourself on stage.
This year, I had vowed not to participate, but my mother was cunning, playing on my love of sweets, and as I watched her drive away I knew there was no getting around it. I had lost yet again.
Because I was one of the oldest and most outgoing kids, the director handed me the lead part: the Angel Gabriel. I had to wear a flowy white gown, and say the big line at the end: “His name will be Jesus, the savior of all mankind.”
My friends caught wind of the story, and keyed in on the gown.
“Dude! You’re wearing a dress? ON STAGE? I’m bringing a camera. I NEVER want to forget this!”
Two months of agonizing play practice later, and the night of the play arrives. The audience is packed. My family is in the front, my friends with brand new disposable cameras sitting in the back. Everyone I knew or interacted with was there to see me make a ffool of myself yet again.
The play went on as planned. We got to my big line at the end, I stepped forward in my flowy white gown, heard the hundred snaps of disposable documenting my humiliation, and reached skyward.
“His name will be…. “
But my mind went blank. Nothing. Zip, Zilch, Nada.
In a Baptist Church on CHRISTMAS EVE, I had forgotten Jesus’ name.
But that’s not the bad part. The bad part is what came next.
“HIs name will be … F(UDGE), I orgot my line.
Only I didn’t say FUDGE.
Confession time. I come from a long line of people who RAISE the use of profanity almost to an art form. And in what was likely my most horrific display of artisanal linguistic prowess to date, I dropped the F-Bomb right there in church.
I watched from the stage as the effect hit the audience like a tidal wave.
Parents covered their childrens ears. The old ladies in the back frowned in disgust. The deacons snickered. My friends in the front put down their cameras and just started clapping.
It was pandemonium.
The last thing I saw was a little blonde girl in the front who turned to her mother and said “Mommy, what does F(udge) mean?” right as the curtain closed on yet another successful Christmas Youth Cantata at Forest Part Baptist Church.
The car ride home was silent. I could feel my mother fuming in the front seat as the wheels in her brain turned over several sadistic punishments she would lay out for me when we got home.
But My Father broke the silence
“You know what, son, I think you’re probably a little too old to be in the church Christmas play. I think this was your last year.”
“Yeah. I was thinking that last year after the donkey incident.”
Mom crossed her arms in a huff as her gauntlet of punishments evaporating into thin air. She would eventually find a way to pay me back for my insolence. But it would not be this day.
“Can we get some ice cream on the way home?”
“Sure! That sounds Great!”
We hadn’t even opened presents yet and, already I knew this would be the best Christmas Ever.
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If you have the time, please check out the sites for ALL of the Fondue Writers: Joseph Courtemanche, Jamie D. Greening, Kathy Kexel, Derek Alan Elkins, Rob Cely, and Dr. Paul Bennet. If you like what you see, why not pick up a few copies of their books? It covers the cost of everything, and it gives us hope in those long, dark nights when we’re dreaming up new stories, that Christmas miracles really do come true.
If you’d like what you see, you might also check out our first collection of short stories, The Covid Quarantine Catina, written during the first months of the Covid-19 lockdowns. It’s available in Kindle, Paperback, and Audio formats.
Rob Cely will be back on Wednesday with the next story. Until then, watch your language, keep an eye out for kids in flowy white gowns, and, as always, don’t break anything.