Type of Short Story: Short Story Collection
Summary: This short story collection contains five tales written for the creepiest time of year -- Christmas! From a visit from the jolly old elf himself, to a hungry customer of a typical restaurant on Christmas eve, stories to give you a tingle instead of a jingle.
A Visit From St. Nick
What could Santa Claus want with an elderly Jewish grandma on Christmas Eve?
In the Meadow
Winters in North Dakota can be harsh, but this year the piles of snow are a blessing.
Miracle in 34B
The unwavering belief of a little girl in the magic of Santa Claus restores the faith of an enigmatic man.
It’s a Wonderful Life
A man wonders what good he’s ever done for anybody, until he meets someone who shows what his life was worth.
The last customer in the restaurant on Christmas Eve brings a special gift to the overworked staff waiting to close up and go home.
IN THE MEADOW
“My nuts are freezing off.”
“Geeze, Marty, there’s ladies present!”
Marty Weinbeck blushed. “Sorry, Rita. Forgot where we were for a minute.”
Rita sniffed. Marty was okay, not as crude as some of the others, but it wore on a girl, trying to keep these rednecks civilized.
Just ahead of Rita and Marty, the rest of their hunting party came to a halt at the hand signal from the point man. The scouts had come back to the group to report.
The five of them, dressed in an assortment of camo, jeans and flannel, squatted in the snow while the leaders conferred. One thing they learned the past three months was to take advantage of every break.
After consulting with the scouts, the leader came back along the line, staying crouched below the frozen hedges that lined the town’s center square. He motioned for them to join up, so they duck-walked towards him, closing up the distance to form into a tight circle.
“Seems the furnace in the jail is still firing, so we got some live ones.”
The hunting party groaned.
“Yeah, it’s not what we’d hoped, but the shit is what it is.” Sam Cummings, formerly the mayor of the tiny North Dakota town, pulled a bandana out of a jacket pocket and wiped frozen snot off his mustache. Distracted from his chilled nether regions for a moment, Marty did the same.
“Joe says the strip mall is active, too,” Sam said.
“Piss and hell. I wanted to go shopping and get my kids some Christmas presents.” Rita spit into a snow bank. “Fuck all.”
“Me, too,” Carol Busch nodded. “My boys want one of them new game systems that came out before...” She didn’t finish, but they all knew what she meant. Before the BIG SICK, before the world went to hell without the hand basket, before an unknown virus killed damned near everybody they knew. If they were lucky. The unlucky ones were only half-dead, doomed to wander, dazed and rotting, attacking anything living in their path.
Sam stuffed his bandana back in his pocket and turned towards the front of the line. He looked more tired than usual.
“Remember to follow the plan, folks. We’ll wipe out this batch, clean out any guns and ammo, and get that furnace off. Then we’ll hit up Hornbacher’s, we’ve got a big list today.”
“Nothing like picking up a side of beef, right after you’ve put down the herd,” Marty said. His stomach growled.