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Bi-Weekly Story Prompts

December 15 – January 4, 2023 Writing Prompt “To Capture Santa”

Theme: To Capture Santa

Two twin girls set out on Christmas Eve with a plan: to capture Santa Claus.

Required Elements:

  • The North Pole
  • Reindeer

Word Count: 2000

*Note: this is a 3-week prompt to accommodate holiday schedules.

See you next year!!

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91 thoughts on “December 15 – January 4, 2023 Writing Prompt “To Capture Santa”

  • May or may not get a story in, but signing in to read other stories.
  • Adrienne Riggs
    Signing in.
  • Adrienne Riggs
    Hi all,
    I may try to get a story in, hopefully before Tuesday the 20th. After that, it will be iffy. I would greatly appreciate any prayers, thoughts, and blessings you can send my way!!

    My knee replacement was shelved for my shoulder which suddenly took precedence. I have to admit I am more than a little anxious. They are going to do surgery to take out the previous shoulder replacement from 7 years ago which has failed, and they believe is infected and will put in a “concrete spacer” (Concrete? Yikes!) for 3-4 weeks with a PICC line and antibiotics. During this time, my shoulder and arm will be “useless” because there will no joint. Then they will do a second surgery, to remove the spacer and will re-replace my shoulder with better hardware. (I am more than anxious!) I am allergic to most pain meds and don’t handle anesthesia well.

    I can type left-handed if I can handle the pain but may not be responsible for what sense the words make under the influence of pain medication. Just saying! LOL. So, if I am able to write or respond. Keep that in mind.

    • Joy E. Goldberg
      Prayers for you, Adrienne. Hope your recovery is speedy. And that those 2 impish girls don’t get the better of you. LOL.
      • Adrienne Riggs
        Thank you, Joy!
    • Phil Town
      Força, Adi!

      And Happy Christmas! (if poss)

      • Adrienne Riggs
        Thanks Phil! Happy Christmas!
    • Oh my God, Adi. That sounds gruesome as all hell. Kim is going to need a similar surgery. I don’t even want to think about what a nightmare it’s going to be, for both of you.

      However, on the bright side, I look forward, gleefully, to the one-handed, psycho-tropic drug-induced, delirium ravaged stories that may, or should I say, must, must emerge from your tortured, repressed, white-Anglo-Saxon psyche. It will be like Ilana, after one drink. Hahahahahahahaha. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I couldn’t be more serious. I’m a very serious guy, normally. As you know. But sometimes, you just have to stare into the face of infinity and say, ‘Do I know you?’

      • ilyaleed
        HUMMM mmmmm Ken I am not sure whether your sly dig at my lack of drinking prowess hits home. I am rather proud of the fact that I do not sozzle myself every night like some of the mid western 70 plus “ladies” who pride themselves on drinking us more sensitive mortals under the table. I can make a bottle of wine turn to vinegar over months of neglect when I have bought a bottle of moscato and allowed it to “mature” in the fridge for some time. then again a good moscato I can measure out over a three day or four day period, provided I drink my two glasses over a couple of hours.
        If I have to pickle my liver in order to be a female version of Hemmingway then I will pass.I am quite happy to be me and not try and fit myself into another person’s warped version of “me”. I fit no one’s pigeon hole and am proud of the fact.
        I hate loss of control and drunkness or even those who indulge in drugs to excess or self medicate. What are they trying to escape. I am confrontational and some/many do not like my truths and lack of sugar coating.
        I am probably/very likely/most certainly sitting this one out. The thought of writing about two deluded little girls trying to capture this fictional individual who lives amidst the icy cliffs of the northern pole and who once a year does this magnificent, RATHER impossible feat of driving reindeer across the night sky delivering parcels to “good children” ignoring the naughty, sliding down slim chimneys despite being depicted as broad of girth and a jovial old chap to boot, has me giggling in disbelief. Plus that white beard would be streaked in soot in seconds, never mind what it would do to his woolly red suit which is by the way probably terribly uncomfortable for the Aussie summer. Maybe he is cloned or there are brothers who help him.
        I could almost go another moscato but am resisting as I am aware of the after effects of those who guzzle alcohol and live another day in regret.
        I could write about two young huntresses armed with cross bows deciding to hunt Santa down and eat his reindeer, but no, I am restraining my impulses to maul the Santa legend and leave the world in mild fantasy. There are far worse things in the world at present. Happy Happy Hunukah and let the light of truth grow in this world.
        • Ilyana,

          What’s a moscato?
          I thought this was your prompt. Who creates the prompts these days? Anyone? No one? (The A.I. formerly known as Carrie?)
          Clearly, the Santa Claus myth was not well thought out. I’ll bet you (or I) could implement vast improvements on this myth with the scientific and technological advances we humans have made in the last century. (He’s an air-boarding quantum ninja claus with radar, shields, cloaking technology, a time machine the size of a watch, and clothes that change color. An electrostatic suit keeps the creosote and other chimney crud at bay. And lets not forget polymers and superconducting materials whose main requirement is sub-zero temperatures.) Since Santa is a poorly constructed myth, it should be easy to reshape his image to my liking. First thing I would do is give him a cape. A plaid cape.
          The girls? They are, like most children, only interested in the presents. (Or are they?) I could write a story about the final chapter–the girls have already captured St. Nick and all that remains is the methods they use to extract the magic formula that produces the endless supply of presents he pulls from his sack.
          But with all his technical advancements, the two psycho-chickies are in over their cute little innocent heads. He asks if he can call his wife for the magic formula, they agree, he pulls out a cell phone that’s actually a double-barrelled taser. ZZZZZT-ah. Zzzzzt-zzzzzzt for good measure. And one more, for calling him fat. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt. He pulls a satellite phone from a pocket in his cape. Send in the clean-up elves. They don’t talk, but the sound of packing tape is terrifyingly stark.

          4.5. But what should be their punishment? An all expense paid one-way ticket to Tahiti? Easter Island? Moscow or Miami Beach? Spin the bottle of moscato, round she goes, where she stops, that’s where you’ll both go. Oh wait, they’re twins. Send them to Minneapolis-St. Paul.

          I could have some real fun with this prompt, but it seems ‘designed’ to elicit something inherently cute. Which is not at all what I have in mind, nor do I feel gracious or generous, (on the whole.) I have about three ideas for stories, none of which have anything to do with Christmas, Santa, little girls or moscato. Perhaps I’m on the wrong writing site. It’s hard to tell sometimes.

          • ilyaleed
            OMG Ken your lack of wine sophistication far exceeds even my minute knowledge. Moscato is the following and (ssshhh i did a cut and paste)
            “What is a Moscato Rose?
            Moscato Roses are fruity sweet, effervescent rose wines produced with dark muscat grapes like Moscato rosa del Trentino or the black-purple Muscat Hamburg. Like most roses, their color comes from the wine must’s extended contact with the red grape skins.”
            Great wine and even if you got Kim to drink a bottle of it, it would not be enough to make her unconscious to your advances in an amorous mood. Unless it was spiked, of course, and I doubt that you would spike any girl’s drink. You can safely rely on your rugged good looks and charisma plus scintilating conversation to woo plus your sincerity, not the repetoire of losers and power crazied rapists.
            I do not think anyone is doing the prompts at the moment. It may be an executive decision.
            I have some great ideas for prompts and none of them involve Santa, elves, chimneys and flying reindeers. In fact, the idea of an overweight man in heavy red suit lined with merino wool, trying to push himself down a chimney in 45 C heat, while an overloaded sled hovers in the sky above the roof, with twenty or thirty mystical reindeers silently treading air, makes me laugh. I can think of Santa as a horror story. You know, Santa is a rubber man who shrinks into a threadlike being that slips down a chimney encased in a slippery bubble that is absorbed into Santa on his arrival through the fireplace by a tired tree with blinking lights. There he scoffs food for the millionth time, (No wonder the bastard is overweight.) He unloads the presents and does a quick flit around the house to leer at the parent or parents sleeping through the night, and the children before he slips back up the chimney to bounce back into the sleigh and races across the night sky.
            Yeah, anyway Santa is not my cup of tea.
        • Liz Fisher
          Ilya, First Hemingway has one m and Chanukah is Chanukah. And I’m in my 83rd year…. at the age of 25, standing on the meridian of an LA freeway by my broken down vehicle, Otto said to me, “you need to stop taking yourself so seriously”. Best advice I ever received and I pass it on to you.
          A little late in the conversation but was just checking in on what stories got written and got caught up in your story… Liz
    • marien oommen
      Praying God’s healing hand on you, Adi, right away. And for good decisions to be made by the doctors.
      Just read this now.
      What seems impossible for man, is possible with God, I believe.
      So be strong.
      • Adrienne Riggs
        Thanks, Marien! I know God will carry me through. Adi
        • ilyaleed
          Adi may your healing be speedy and complete. Have a successful surgery and a really good holiday season despite the ill health. May your heal improve no end for 2023. Sending hugs and healing.
    • Hey Adi, I meant to revise and correct my remarks and add that what you’re facing is much worse than what Kim is anticipating. She’ll be having her shoulder done for the first time, and we hope that they do it properly the first time. What you’re getting is a repair and replace, much more complicated, and probably even more painful, if that’s possible. I doubt very much that you’re going to want to type much with either hand. The best advice I can give is to stay out of the water, you don’t want to go swimming when you’re half-filled with concrete. Even I know that. The key is to have a good doctor who does these all the time. Someone who specializes in just these kinds of surgeries. But I’m sure you already know far more about it than I do. I will do as you ask. For all the good it may do.
      • Adrienne Riggs
        Thanks Ken. I most definitely will not be swimming. It is freezing up here. We might get snow for Christmas not that I’ll be much aware of it (hoping that the pain meds work). My doctor is THE shoulder expert at the Bone and Joint clinic. I was referred to him specifically since this is a revision, repair and replace. Since this happens tomorrow morning, I’m trying not to cross the line from anxious to terrified. I haven’t had the chance to write a story yet, but I had a LOT of fun with my son and adult grandson and granddaughter in law yesterday at breakfast in describing a story idea with them.

        I NEVER get a joke over on them and they always roll their eyes at me, but I totally got them yesterday in the middle of Cracker Barrel at breakfast. I laughed for almost 30 minutes and had the giggles for the remainder of the meal. It probably won’t translate as well in print as it did in person, but I’ll try. I’ll also add the precursor which I’m sure had nothing to do with it but added to the fun.

        I don’t drink and never have. Ever. My son ordered an Orange Mimosa. (I’m not even sure what a Mimosa is). Anyway, I tried it and had a few sips. Tiny sips. It was ok. He drank the rest. So, I was telling the kids about the writing contests, and my elf story and my son, (who is a gifted writer) and likes to ask a million questions kept interrupting me with additional questions.

        I finally got to tell them about the new prompt. So, as a jest, (but with a totally serious face) I gave them my idea for the prompt (and if anyone steals this – please give me credit – LOL). I told them the prompt was about twin girls who make a plan to capture Santa. So, my wiseacre son wanted to know how “little kids” could capture Santa. I told him that older kids could do this. I made them shut up and listen.

        Two twin teenage girls decide to capture Santa.
        They begin writing a blog (or doing a vlog) about their plan.
        They develop an elaborate plan to do this.
        It involves timing around the aurora borealis.
        It involves the making of a special sack.
        It involves specialized transportation and subterfuge.
        And many more details…
        And the girls name their mission…

        Are you ready?

        Wait for it …

        Here it comes …

        It’s almost here …

        Are you sure you are ready??

        The mission is …


        (Remember the special made sack?)

        They all simultaneously groaned, rolled their eyes and dropped their heads in disbelief, and I roared with laughter! I haven’t laughed that hard in years!!! The funniest part was that they actually believed that I was going to write this story! I actually laughed until I cried. Best breakfast ever!!

        So, I didn’t get a story written but I had fun imagining one to stump my kids with and it was hilarious!!

        Merry Christmas ya’ll, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

    • Hi Adi,

      So sorry to hear what you are going through. I hadn’t thought about a shoulder joint replacement until I read your post. Of course, it’s a very complicated joint and must wear out. My best friend from college has had his knee replaced and he is doing really well. I’m sure your specialist will do a great job and soon you will be flinging that baseball to your grandkids or doing a lay-up shot on the basketball court.

      You seem to have kept your sense of humour going and laughter is great or that’s what they say in the Readers’ Digest.

      Get well soon and think ahead, if you can, to many painfree days.

      Happy Christmas,

      Ken Frape

    • Jagan Parthasarathy
      Our prayers to you Adi for speedy recovery.

      A very happy and merry Christmas to all!


    • Take heart, Adrienne; others have survived the path you’re traveling.
      Early in 2021, my daughter needed her right elbow replaced. After the operation, she followed the medical instructions to the letter. All went well.
      This June, she had her left knee replaced. Precisely following the medical instructions, all went well.
      She had arranged a cottage for our usual late fall (mid-October) vacation spot—two weeks after they replaced her right knee. “I’ve done this before, piece-a-cake.” She rested the first week, sorta. The second week was business as usual; four 75-mile round trips to the vet.—business. Two shopping trips to get stuff for the vacation. Another trip to town to get her cut, fingernails, and toenails done—for a holiday.
      On the third morning, my son-in-law and I exchanged glances and started packing up to leave. After a five-hour, high-speed road trip, we met her surgeon in the emergency room. He’d cut his Florida vacation short as well.
      The following early AM, she was in surgery: a seriously infected knee and blood problems. And something else (senior moment).
      “IF… YOU… FOLLOW… MY… instruction exactly. You will recover.” He paused to let his words sink in. My daughter is not prone to take orders. “If I say to take this medication,” the surgeon held up a brown pill vial, “at 10:27, you take it at 10:27. Not 10:15 or 10:30. 10:27!
      At this point in time, the day before Christmas Eve, the doctor predicts that by St. Valentine’s day, she should be able to function normally again.
      The point of this over long diatribe is to tell you, 1. You, too, function normally again. And 2. follow the surgeon’s orders EXACTLY.
      My prayers and best wishes, Robt.
    • Having undergone a double hip replacement with exactly the same problems, I identify very much with you, but that was twelve years ago and I’m doing fine now. Wishing you even better success.
  • Signing in. Hope I can get a story out this time. I may still finish the Cabin one at some time. This one opens up so much possibility. Thinking outside of the square for this one too. Maybe try something out of my comfort zone once again.
  • Nonce verification fail? Oh well. That sounds about right.
    • Hi Ken,

      I had that same message one time and I am still in recovery.

      Happy Christmas from England,


      Ken Frape

      • Same to you, Ken. Happy holidays, from the U.S.
  • Phil Town

    Little by little the girls approached their destination, the snow crunching under their hands and knees. Sophie – the younger of the two by thirty minutes, and behind her sister by a metre or so – almost fell once or twice; Polly’s passing across the roof had compacted the snow slightly, making it more slippery.

    Polly finally made it to the chimney and hung on as if her life depended on it; if she’d been older and had the commensurate good sense, she would have realised that wasn’t altogether an exaggeration. Sophie joined her moments later, then edged round the stack to be on the other side of it from her sister.

    Hugging the chimney bricks, they wriggled to negotiate themselves into a sitting position on the ridge of the roof, Poppy’s pyjama giraffes and Sophie’s pandas dangling down the slope. They could see each other if they leaned forward a little. Sophie did now and whispered, a little puff of vapour accompanying her words:

    “That was good–”

    “–fun, you’re right,” Polly said, also in a whisper.

    They fell silent and looked out over the street in front of the house. There to the left, in the Thompsons’ front garden, an extravagant light display, featuring Santa, a sleigh, Rudolph, a variety of elves and – as if an afterthought, without lights – an empty manger, Mary and Joseph standing beside. Polly pointed.

    “I wonder where the–”

    “–Baby Jesus is,” Sophie said. “Maybe they took him indoors on account of the cold.”

    Her sister nodded.

    “I wish we had–”

    “–Christmas lights.”

    Polly stretched her arms out.

    “I’d have a sleigh this big!”

    She almost lost her balance momentarily and grabbed hold of the bricks with renewed care.

    Sophie copied her sister.

    “I’d have a Rudolph this big!”

    She either hadn’t seen her sister’s near-disaster, or had and was unconcerned, but she too almost lost her balance and hugged the bricks again.

    “Whoops!” she exclaimed.

    Polly took no notice of either incident and sighed.

    “I like it up here.”

    “Me too. It’s kind of …”

    “Peaceful?” Polly suggested.


    They fell silent once more and gazed up at the clear night sky, a trillion stars twinkling benevolently down.

    “I wonder which–” Sophie began.

    “That one!” Polly said, pointing. “It’s the brightest, so…”

    “I think it was that one!” Sophie said, pointing at an equally bright star on the other side of the sky.

    They both wobbled, grabbed the chimney, and giggled.

    “Do you think he’ll be long?” Sophie asked.

    “No – big and fat!” Polly replied, which set them off on another bout of giggling.

    “So, how will he get down here?” Sophie asked when they were all out of giggles, indicating the chimney pot that poked out of the stack.

    “He has his ways,” Polly said mysteriously, as if she were privy to some inside information. “Remember the plan, though,” she went on. “You grab his trouser leg and I’ll go for his coat.”

    “Gotcha,” Sophie replied.

    “Which is what we can say when we catch him!” Polly said, grinning.

    More giggles.

    “What’re we going to do with him once we’ve caught him, though?” asked Sophie.

    “Grab the presents, obviously!”

    Sophie nodded; her older sister knew all the moves.

    “One thing I don’t really understand,” Sophie mused.

    “What’s that?”

    “How can he get from the North Pole to – say – Australia in one night?”

    She looked over at Polly, who looked back condescendingly.

    “I know,” Sophie said, and imitated Polly. “He has his ways!”

    “’s right,” Polly said, satisfied that her sister had learned something.

    Down below, a car edged along the street, slipping and sliding; the snow-clearers had been past but had left an icy layer on the surface. The car slowed and turned into the Thompsons’ drive, crunching through the snow that hadn’t been cleared. The girls watched on as a large, rotund man got out of the car, went to the boot and took out a pile of presents of all shapes and sizes, already wrapped.

    “Is that him?” Sophie asked.

    “Nah,” Polly said with conviction. “Where’s the red suit? And the sleigh? And the reindeer?”

    His hands full, the man pressed the doorbell with his nose and moments later the door opened, letting out a glow of warm light. There were voices and laughter, then the man entered, the door closed, the silence returned.

    Polly and Sophie shivered simultaneously. They gazed up but the guiding stars they’d chosen, and all the other stars in the unverse, had disappeared. The first of a new wave of snowflakes fluttered down, settling on their faces.

    “You know what?” Polly said. “I think that maybe–”

    “–we should go in?” Sophie gave Polly a hopeful look.

    “Maybe,” Polly said.

    “What about the plan?” Sophie wanted to know.

    “We can do it next year. Maybe it won’t be–”

    “–so cold!”

    Sophie shivered again.

    “Come on, then.”

    And Polly led the way back across the roof, the two girls slipping occasionally, half-stifled giggles and the gentle crunch of snow the only sounds breaking the otherwise silent night.


    • Hey Phil,
      Very sweet story. I love the innocence but also the ‘grown-upness’ of the girls. The plan was so important but can wait. LOL. I did enjoy it, and have read it several times over.
      • Phil Town
        Thanks, John!
    • marien oommen
      Sweet innocence! They figure the man in the car must have something to do with it and would rather not know any more. Blissful ignorance is appealing.
      Good story!
      • Phil Town
        Thank you, Marien!
      • Phil Town
        Cheers, Ken!
    • Phil, This grasshopper has learned another writing lesson in this story. I loved the two girl’s identicalness being highlighted by finishing each other’s sentences. It add a bit of believability to their quest, although I did have to suspend my credulity thoughts and cringe as I watched them on crawl a cold, slippery roof top the night before Christmas in pajamas. Glad they gave it up. Liked the story and have nothing to quibble about, as it often is with your stories. Like Ken, I do read them first for content, then read them again looking for something, anything to snag you with. You make it very difficult. Anyway, hope your Christmas was bright and Merry, and your new year is fabulous.


      • Phil Town
        I know what you mean about the suspension of disbelief, Roy. I suppose that if you think of the girls as cartoon characters, then the jeopardy becomes a little more acceptable.

        Thanks a lot!

  • I have tried a kid’s story. So out of my comfort zone. I will finalise the draft and post soon. Enjoy the break everyone and my 2023 bring all that you need.
    • All that you wish for, may it come true in the new year. Which means, of course, I will get all that I need. Not a bad deal.
  • Wishing everyone a fun-filled festive season, and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2023!
    • And the same to you, Andy.


  • Twin Dilemmas.
    Edith and Enid want it to be different this year. Always the same during the silly festive season. The family swept up in it, this time it had to change. They would be seven, their parents would learn the hard way this year.
    They were always referred to as the twins, a novelty, a pigeon-pair, the book-ends, or the clones. They weren’t the same, they were very different girls.
    Making things worse, they were born Christmas Day. Not only just carbon-copies, but didn’t get their own day, having to share it with Jesus and Santa. So you guessed it, no birthday parties or presents, not even a bigger gift to make up for it. One positive, they did like the reindeer visiting, but were upset that they had to pull the heavy sleigh, it is kind of cruel for them.
    Edith and Enid did think alike, having the psychic twin connection thing. They played to their favour, at other times it was a curse. One of them always knew what the other was thinking way beforehand. They needed to use this ‘curse’, the time had come to unite. Everyone thought they were the one girl, now they would act like they were.
    Their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins loved this time of year. They had their own birthdays throughout the year but the twins did not. This year they were planning a change, a birthday celebration on December 25th. Christmas wouldn’t take over, they needed their own day for once.
    They would hijack the Christmas spirit or at least its representative, Santa Claus. That way everyone will be spoiling them and forget all about Christmas.
    Ideas? The North Pole was a long way from Sydney, Australia, but they would write to Mrs Claus. Appealing to their good nature, and lure him away on a special mission. He had to come. It isn’t in his personality to deny anyone happiness.
    A letter is to be written and sent, so when he arrives on his ‘mission’ they will hijack him. He won’t be missed, everyone will think he is at the toy factory getting everything ready. Only on the 24th, he may be missed, someone always sees him when they shouldn’t be awake. But on the morning of the 25th when everyone wakes to find there has been no Santa, the real fun begins.

    Letter to Mrs Claus:
    Dear Mrs C,
    I am a lonely sick little girl. I may not be alive at Christmas. I was wishing that Santa could visit me early so that I can have a lovely time before I die. Could he visit me on the 21st? This will give him time to get back to the North Pole to finish his work for all the other boys and girls. I can then go to meet Jesus in the sky as a very happy little girl
    Thank you, Sally, aged 7.

    Mummy posted the letter, she thought it was our wish list for Santa. Their plan was underway.

    December 9th, they received this from Mrs Claus:
    My Dear Sally,
    I am so sorry to know that you are so unwell. Santa would be most honoured to come and visit you and celebrate earlier with you. He can be with you on the 21st and will have tea with you and your family. See you at 3pm.
    Big hugs, Mr & Mrs Claus.

    Wow, it worked, they would kidnap him that day, no one will be any the wiser.
    The days could not go any quicker. Excitement in the air, and before you knew, it was the 21st. They went about their day as usual, and didn’t want to alert anyone to their plan. Mum and Dad were busy with the Christmas preparations and wouldn’t even know if anything was out of the ordinary.
    Mum and Dad would be going to get Nanna and Pop this afternoon, they usually stay a week with us. We would be alone for a short while, we were very well-behaved and trusting children. They leave about 2.30 and be back home about four. This was perfect timing for our plan.
    The girls were told, ‘Do not open the door to anyone’. They knew they could open up for Santa, that was okay. Time was ticking slowly, it was almost three, the twins were ready.
    Suddenly, a brisk knock at the door, it was him. Running to answer it, when opened Santa was standing with a bunch of gifts for Sally, Mrs C was behind him.
    “Hello, young ladies, I am here to meet Miss Sally”, he jollied.
    “Come in Santa, and Mrs C, she is resting in the lounge room”, they chortled in unison.
    Following into the house, the Clauses were greeted by an empty sofa and the giggling of the twins.
    “There is no Sally, we tricked you”, the twins echoed.
    “So the visit is for the two of you?”, he smiled, “I know children wish to have time just with me, but I am very busy this time of year”.
    “We wanted to see you, to hide you. We need you to forget Christmas this year”, they spouted.
    “What’s up young ladies, to make you feel like that?”, he retorted.
    “We want a birthday, not Christmas”.
    They then went on to tell him their story and why they felt the way they did. They never had a party or a birthday gift because they were born on the 25th.
    Santa and Mrs C, listened intently and even had a few tears. They knew it must be a horrid time to have your birthday.
    “So, we want you to just forget Christmas forever, or at least this once”, they said.
    “Okay, I see, you want the day to be about you, I understand”, Santa whispered.
    “We are going to keep you kidnapped until Christmas is over, so we can have our day without any Christmas at all”.
    “What can I say about that? I guess I will have a lovely time with you both but every other boy and girl will be miserable and sad”, he said, with disappointment in his voice.
    “We don’t want anyone else to be sad, but we want our day to just be about us. We never had it that way and we are almost seven”, they ejected together.
    Santa thought long and hard about what had just happened. The twins could see the cogs in his brain working very hard to find a solution. Then he did.
    Public Notice:
    Due to a very pressing engagement, Santa has needed to postpone Christmas by two days. All gift deliveries will be left during the night of the 26th. All the good boys and girls will find their gifts on the morning of the 27th.
    Sorry for any inconvenience to you all. Big hugs, Mrs and Santa Claus.
    The 25th, Santa and Mrs Claus came back, the day was spent with Edith and Enid, all day. There was no mention of Christmas. The girls even got a cake. Santa and Mrs C were singing them the ‘happy birthday song’. The twins were never happier now, than in their whole lives.
    **They had not noticed that their parents had been pretending to be Santa and Mrs Claus all along.

    • marien oommen
      A sweet and simple story you got here. The Christmas Santa lie just gets bigger each year.
      Little girls know how to get their way! Good times!
    • I loved your plot. And, I also loved the parents for realizing what they had been doing all along. Birthdays are special and a lot of people don’t really realize that and do not understand how that can affect young minds. I think you could have made the ending different. I don’t think you needed the **. What I think you could have done was simply have Mrs. C turn to Santa as they leave, and say, “Do you ever think they’ll know it was us?” Just a thought.

      Then, this happened:

      Mum and Dad would be going to get Nanna and Pop this afternoon, they usually stay a week with us. We would be alone for a short while, we were very well-behaved and trusting children. They leave about 2.30 and be back home about four. This was perfect timing for our plan.Mum and Dad would be going to get Nanna and Pop this afternoon, they usually stay a week with us. We would be alone for a short while, we were very well-behaved and trusting children. They leave about 2.30 and be back home about four. This was perfect timing for our plan.

      This entire paragraph is in first person and the rest of the story is in third.

      It didn’t hurt the story for me, but I did notice the change and wondered. Being Christmas and all, don’t worry about it. I liked the story. Good job, mate.


  • Had a glitch receiving notices, so am trying again.
  • The Claus Caper
    by Robt. Emmett
    [1200 or so words]

    In the early 1900s, a group of Norwegians attempted to reach the North Pole to capture Santa Claus. The group, led by Sverre Jakobsen, set out from Tromso in Norway on December 24th. They traveled by dogsled and reindeer sleigh to an area near the North Pole, where they had plans to build an iceboat and begin their journey across the Arctic ice cap. On July 30th, they came across an island covered in snow where they had to abandon their sleds and reindeer and instead hike over the mountains to the island. After crossing the island, they began building their iceboat under cover of night and continued their journey northward until they reached the geographic North Pole on Christmas Eve Day.
    Initially, nine men started the journey, but along the way, three died. The remaining six members made it to the North Pole, where they built a crude igloo and then erected a flagpole on which they would hang a Norwegian flag along with a piece of tin with the words “North Pole” written on it. They then prepared a celebratory meal of shrimp and lutefisk using equipment they had brought on their journey. They celebrated the realized their mission was a failure as they could not locate Santa Claus, believed to live at the North Pole. But that didn’t matter because the expedition’s success was to be measured not by how close they came to the North Pole but by who they captured on the mission.
    Today, the flag is still at the Geographic North Pole and is the only one flown at the pole.
    Though they failed, today, December 24th, their great-great-grandchildren, Ragnar, Ivar, Helga, and Hellen, aka the twins, and a boy named Sue, will capture Santa on Christmas Eve or before. They’d hold him and demand the U.N. pay $2,000,005.37 for ransom. The small change is to cover their collective book fines at the Hedburg Library.
    The five-member team was duly qualified. Ragnar, a tall skinny Danish kid from Milwaukee with piercing blue eyes and a buzz cut. He’s the navigator/leader of the crew.
    Ivar, the pilot of the rocket sleigh, was a short, chubby, blonde-haired Lithuanian from Edge Hill, Georgia, the state’s smallest town. It got even smaller in 2021 when a once-in-a-century freaky snowstorm struck the nearly non-extant burg and blew its 24 residents across the Glascock County line. It happened early on the evening of November 25th, the feast of Saint Alban, and coincidentally, Thanksgiving day.
    Helga, the nurse, will care for the captive. She is small and delicate, with long brown hair and an elfin face. Born in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada, of French and Inuit parents, she’d taken leave from her job as a Sunday school teacher at a small kibbutz on the Israeli border for this North Pole mission.
    Her twin, Hellen, owns a Gold’s Health club in St. Paul, Minn. She’s ample, built like a tank, and has a large red beard and hair. The Twins both have striking blue eyes and play online chess. As all the essential jobs had been filled, Hellen suggested Sue develop a codename for the mission. He refused. After a suggestion from Hellen’s left fist and a piece of raw meat from Helga for his right eye, Sue said, “Yeah, shure, you betcha, eh? Vie don’t ve youst called the mission C-Day? Yeah, know, for Catch Day.”
    “Or it could stand for Caper day, the day we do this thing,” suggested Ivar, the pilot.
    “Ya mean, the day ven ve nab Santa, eh?” said the boy named Sue.
    “No, we could call it R-day for ransom day.” Said Ragnar, the skinny Swede from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and navigator/leader of the crew with piercing blue eyes, insisted.
    “Or R-day could stand for Our day,” said elfin, faced Helga, the nurse. That’s when the fight broke out.
    After the dust settled and they all finished the two super-sized pepperoni and anchovy pizzas, they’d decided the mission didn’t need a codename.
    The twins limped off to reevaluate their plan. It was based on the information they learned during their research at the library. A decision, early on, that little or no 20th Century Technology, i.e., batteries, plastic, energy systems, or mechanical parts, would hamper the mission.
    From Sverre Jakobsen’s diary, the Great North Pole Expedition of 1903. It had notes which included stories about an elusive older couple named Clause or Kluse. He had a small herd of reindeer, eight, according to the local Inuit neighbors. He would hook them up to his large sleigh and travel hither and yon at incredibly high speed. “If he went any faster,” the same neighbors said, “he’d be flying.”
    Helga explained the plan she and Hellen had devised. They would shoot a missile from their rocket-propelled sleigh to the sky high enough to reach Santa’s sleigh as he passed over them on his way home on Christmas Eve. This would create a distraction. They would then crash into Santa’s sleigh and capture him before he could recover and get away.
    “Sverre, in my opinion, was having a case of snow blindness,” Sue said.
    Ragnar ruffled through another dozen pages. “According to what he wrote here, he’s beyond snow blindness. Listen to this, “Misses Clause or Kluse has a bunch of large Husky-type dogs called Utonagans. She hooks six or eight to a twelve-and-a-half-foot toboggan and races through the countryside.”
    Hands to her face. Fear in her eyes, “Big dogs?” Hellen cried in horror. “No! I’m not going.”
    Ragnar held up a hand. “I need to….”
    “It’s at the end of the hall, ‘neath the stairs,” Ivar said. “Please wash your hands after….”
    “Oh, no… that’s… that’s not what I wanted.” Ragnar stammered. “Gimme a minute to find it.” He riffled forward in Sverre’s diary. “I remember it from the first time I read through the diary.” He paged back. “You thought the reindeer and dog stories were crazy?” Turning forward a page, “Listen to this.” His finger found the paragraph. ‘A most amazing sight. The reindeer have chased the dog away and are eating their food. It is not the usual hunks of raw meat as one would expect. Rather, small chunks, about the size one would expect to find in grandma’s stew. It seems they construct it of vegetable matter.’”
    Holding the bag of frozen peas to her swollen lips, Hellen said, “Here’s the new plan.”
    Helga explained the plan and asked Sue to get a bag of dog food.

    Stepping outside the rocket-propelled sleigh, “Yumpin’ Yiminy Cricket, dis place est colder than vitch’s britches.” Sue exclaimed. The rest followed him and hid at the patio’s edge in the bushes.
    “Yeah, now all we have to do is wait for the old fart to land, and we nab him.”

    As the cacophony of gunshot echoes faded, a harsh voice cut the air, “Reach for the sky! Or I’ll ventilate ya good and proper! My man’s do-back any time, so y’all need ta get inta that thingamabob a yours and vamoose.” She triggered off a dozen rounds to encourage them. “Ya get the idea?” asked the curvy blond in the red, white fur-trimmed bikini as she shifted the gold-plated AK-47 assault rifle from her right hip to her shoulder and emptied the remainder of the magazine. The rocket sleigh’s brilliant exhaust blended into the star-studded night canopy when the last brass casing clattered onto the patio.
    — Ԙ —

    • I liked the twist and the strangeness of the setting of the scenes. Nice work.
    • marien oommen
      What starts as a documentary, ends with an iron woman calling the shorts. Yiminy Cricket, who is that shooter? I quite like the phrases used and the build up.
      Good story.
    • Robt., Sorry you didn’t vote. I’d liked to have seen where your story ended up. I for one at least, really enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek humor and I really liked your curvy blonde in the red, white-furred trimmed bikini. That’s always been an aspiration of mine – to be a bikini inspector, in let’s say, Aruba or Hawaii. Hey, I”m 80. I can dream, can’t I?

      Liked your story, another departure for you and well done.


  • Ken Miles

    “Wouldn’t that be… somewhat… like…selfish…unfair?” Tams said timidly, awaiting her older sister’s snappy retort.

    Cheryl despised Tams locking horns with her, and she usually made her hostility known. She was older than Tams by twenty-two minutes and give-and-take-some-seconds. But that was enough to make her the chieftain. And she played the part in no uncertain terms.

    Selfish, you say, Tamara? Unfair?” she called Tams by her full name whenever she felt she needed to rein her in, “I’ll explain unfair to you. Last Christmas we somehow ended up on the bad-girls list. Santa got us nothing! And Carla? Now if there was a bad girl, that’s the one! She got a Playstation. Lee-Hu? She got both an iPad and an iPhone. Shall I keep going?” She spoke with authority, except that her voice was as thin as the six-year-old’s she was.

    Tams shook her head. She didn’t want to hear more names. Last Christmas was painful. Everyone got expensive presents, Tik-Toked the unwrapping vids for the world to witness. But Santa left the twins in the cold. Cheryl manufactured a lie: their present was a trip to Disneyland, that’s why they’d nothing to unwrap. At least that mitigated the humiliation side of things.

    But not their anger at Santa.

    Perhaps the new guy who replaced dad is to blame. He did say he detested Christmas. And he beats mom too. Maybe Santa was scared to even step into their home. He’d want to have nothing to do with such an awful family.

    But to capture him? Nick toys from him? Isn’t that taking things too far?


    “Jeez…I look gross in this!”

    Lucas stared at the mirror, and the mirror stared back at him with the farcical image of his face hidden behind a bale of white cotton glued to his cheeks and chin. His body stood behind three large pillows, his chiseled gym-work transmuted into Santa’s gleeful but less than athletic figure.

    “I look absolutely ridiculous!”

    “Never mind ridiculous, Lucky-Lukes,” Jeremy reminded him, “you’re a man on a mission.”

    “Well, easy for you to say! You’re not the one dressed up like a moron…”

    “Just put up with it, will you? I’ll be manhandling the boy and driving the van. You just do the Santa shit, as agreed, okay?”

    “Okay, okay… I’ll do it. Just said I look ridiculous, that’s all…”

    “Putting on this act ain’t even gonna be the hardest bit…”

    “What is?”

    “Negotiating won’t be easy. The Mayoress’s got money to burn, and she won’t want her son to get hurt. But she’s, you know… a hard nut… a…”


    “Yes, that. She’s not gonna wave a white flag and just mail the asking-price. Billionaires don’t part easily with their money.”

    “But that’s Mercer’s problem, ain’t it? We just deliver the cargo. It’s for him then to do the trading. We’ll have done our job. I did get that bit right, didn’t I?”

    “You did. We’re in it for the fun part. But make no mistake: we won’t see half-a-dime coming our way, before Mercer’s got his own bags filled.”

    “And what if the Mayoress won’t budge?”

    “If she won’t pay? For starters, we’ll be as poor tomorrow as we’re today.”

    “I mean the boy.”

    “The boy, hmmm. Knowing Mercer, it won’t be pretty. I dunno. I won’t want to scare you. But I see minced meat…”

    Lucas grabbed the Santa sack and tested it. For a ripped young man like him, three-and-a-half stones were a mere feather. There were no toys in the sack, just bricks wrapped in gift-paper, more or less the same weight as the boy’s, and some polystyrene for bulk. They needed to test that the sack can indeed take the Mayoress’ son’s weight and avoid any nasty surprises when the ‘presents’ were quickly taken out and the kidnapped boy hurled inside. The last thing they needed was for it to rip open as they dashed to the van with their precious merchandise.


    “So, how are we going about it? Lance and mom won’t let us stay up till midnight…”

    “Don’t need to,” Cheryl assured her, “Santa doesn’t visit everyone at midnight. If you just think about it, it’d be impossible – he can’t be everywhere at the same time… and re-stocking by reindeer to and from the North Pole and all…”


    “He goes to the rich kids first. That’s how they get the best stuff. D’you remember, years ago, mom took us with her, to that big house she used to clean at Wellington Heights…?”

    “That boy there called us dirty brown roaches from Landale. I told him we lived in Pendelsen not Landale, and he said it’s the same thing.”

    “Yes, that house. Remember Santa coming over at midday? The rich kids don’t have to wait till an unholy hour like us.”

    “We’re dirty brown roaches.”

    “Shu’up, Tamara. When boys say such things it’s because they like you. To put you on the depensive.”

    “What’s depensive?”

    “I don’t know. To make you talk to them, something like that. But back to our plan: we’ll head to Wellington Heights right after the SNAP Kitchen. Mom and Lance won’t know a thing.”

    “Lance won’t care…”

    “We’ll tie this wire to a kerbside lamp-post, then hide behind the hedge, then pull it hard from the other side of the sidewalk when we spot Santa coming, then trip him over, then dig quickly inside his sack, then take a present each and then run for it. I saw Lennox and Gargle do it on Netflix.”

    “Isn’t that cruel on Santa? Might hurt himself.”

    “Nowhere as cruel as skipping us altogether, and giving that b-beep-itch Carla a Playstation!”


    ‘That was all from Ukraine. Now, some weird Christmas news from right here in Crawford. A mysterious Santa was seen running away in a state of panic, his face bleeding, in Graceland Avenue at Wellington Heights, only a stone’s throw away from Mayor Linda Joel’s private residence. According to eye-witnesses, Smashed-Face Santa, as he’s been dubbed, was picked up by a black van that was later found burned down by police, after he apparently tripped over and hurt himself. Even more enigmatically, the iconic red sack Santa left behind had not toys, but bricks wrapped as presents inside of it. No, not of the Lego kind, but actual building bricks. The police are combing footage…’

    “Heard that, Moll? That’s some odd stuff! Santa Dumpty had a great fall! World’s really gone bonkers!” Lance chuckled.

    Mollie took a cue from that: “Talking of Santa, are we gonna get the girls something at all this Christmas?”

    “What for? We’re on food-stamps, remember? To throw dough at this Santa nonsense’d be insane!”

    In their room, Cheryl and Tams looked at each other in utter dismay as they heaved the weighty presents out of their SNAP foodbags and unwrapped them in a flash.

    “What!? A brick?”

    “Mine too!”

    “I knew it – stealing don’t work…! And now we’ll end up on Santa’s bad-girl list for the rest of our lives!” Tams cried out.

    Unsurprisingly, Cheryl saw it quite differently, “This wasn’t a nice Santa. Must’ve been up to something real bad! He gives kids bricks!? Maybe we did the right thing after all.”

    • Hey Ken,
      Love it, I can imagine that happening. Trying to keep the Santa things alive but knowing it is not true is a tough ask in a story, but I think you nailed it. Well done.
    • Wonderfully dark and twisted, with a sprinkling of lighthearted mirth.
    • Quite a plot there, Ken M., really enjoyed the way you didn’t let the bad guys win on Christmas Eve. Nice story.


  • marien oommen
    Sweet Dreams Are Made of Spice

    Marien Oommen- 1477

    “Can you STOP wearing your sister’s hairband and jeans, for heaven’s sake. I can’t figure out who’s who and I am YOUR MOM! Quit playing silly games, getting me caught in the middle.”

    “Where IS your sister? Tell me. Tell me.”

    Crystal giggled.

    Her sister Ruby was out on her business and she had to cover up for her. Whenever Ruby got in trouble, Crystal had to bail her out.
    Truly, truly her faithful partner in crime.

    Today she fooled her mom too for the nth time.

    They were peas in a pod, so alike it was scary. Even when she broke out in pimples, a conciliatory pimple would appear on Ruby’s face almost at the same place. Their hair was the same, legs, hands, every possible neuron, proton, croton.. Except for one huge difference- one was the wild kind, an extreme risk taker while the other was the safe polar opposite.

    Talking of polars, Ruby hit on this wildest thought ever.

    “Let’s go on the dog sled in Norway, see the lights, feel the snow, dine with Santa…the possibilities are endless. Will you come with me? Let’s fly, Crys!”

    Crystal smiled, beaming at the thought. Her deep dark secret was to be Mrs. Santa- ever since she saw him first at the tender age of 14. She hoped Ruby wasn’t thinking the same. This dream was unshareable.

    Now who wouldn’t want a guy who is always smiling, a happy face, never a grumble passing through his mouth, never a frown on his forehead? Replete with that whitest of white beard to rub your nose against? With a totally giving heart.

    Now Ruby and Crystal were ravishingly beautiful sisters. No one dared approach them with dates, flowers or any mediocre stuff. Both girls were extremely straitlaced, zooming way above morality’s red flag. They didn’t believe in fooling around with any Tom, Dick or contrarily getting fooled by Harry.
    Darling, they were as the young ones, never afraid to live or to love while the flame burnt brightest within them.

    Sir Poinsettia, their old dad, now a pensioner lived a life far from frugal. He and his Mrs. had traveled the wide world, though not once to the North Pole to see those lights that never appeared when you went looking for it.

    Ruby talked about her idea at dinner. Of course there followed a long debate. How will you go?
    How will you bear the cold?
    What do you plan to do there?
    Why on earth should you go? The daddy kinda questions.

    Crystal held on to her dream. She was silent but every nerve danced in her body in anticipation.
    She was thinking: I’ll cook him a dish he can never forget. Duck roast Kerala style. Her plan was to cook it and pack it in a dish, take it over. It will make him want more. Nothing will satisfy him ever after.

    She wrote her card to post it to him. About what she would give him, not take.

    ‘I’ll cook my best for him, Pa ra pum pum pum,
    The ox and lamb were out,
    It’s gonna be duck, Ra Pum Pum.
    Then he would smile at her, Ra pum pum, pum
    At her and her duck….’
    She couldn’t stop humming.

    Ruby saw her excitement. “Hey Crys, what’s up? Looks like you have something up your sleeve.”

    Hoping to catch him alone in his home, Crystal cooked the duck adding extra cinnamon, lots of mace and nutmeg. A little too much maybe. One could get drunk on spices. The way to a man’s heart, as everyone says.

    The home was smelling of spicy roast and she opened the windows so the smell could dissipate and nobody would guess anything or worse still ask for a portion.
    She packed her precious parcel with her woolens and before long, both the sisters boarded the Finnish plane to Lapland.

    They had heard in Santa Land, nobody ever grew old. Ruby was determined to get the moisturizers and night creams, with Reindeer milk for her face.

    “Nobody ever thinks of giving Santa a gift. They’re always demanding the lists they want.” Crystal said matter of factly.

    The first excitement was the dog sledge ride. They went crashing up and down the slopes with their hair flying wild.
    The sun never rose.
    So it was just dark when they went to his home on Elf lane. PO Box 8888.

    Crystal’s card had never reached him because she added an extra 8. He wasn’t ready when the twosome landed on him.

    “Santa, look what I got you. Can we come in? Something to taste and see!”

    He beamed in delight, welcoming the sisters, and served the dinnerware. He heaved and panted doing this little task. His little fellers had gone off to the riverwalk.

    This heavy breathing bodes no good, thought Ruby. Will have to put him on Core Quest Fitness asap.

    There was cranberry sauce, red cabbage and the duck roast looked pretty- all the way from Kerala.

    He ate and ate and ate. What followed was a food coma.

    Ruby took the sleeping giant by his hand.

    Luckily she had told him to change his outfit- he wore her gift- a beachy orange shirt over his red pants, he looked like a fairly decent bear with nothing santa-ish about him. This way she could whisk him right to the airport. THAT WAS HER WILD PLAN!!!!.

    Crystal desired him, but Ruby did the spadework. It was a weird sort of unspoken twinnish telepathy.

    Good heavens, his nose had turned red!
    Ruby quickly smothered some makeup and away they went. It was quite a task to get him into the plane waiting on the tarmac. He was awake, but not fully there.

    The next job was to get him strapped onto the seats. Heaven, help!
    The belt wouldn’t go around his tummy. By now he was fully awake.
    The smile had gone from his face.

    “Hey girl, where are you taking me?”
    Ruby smiled and shook his chin lovingly. “Some place, real warm. Real good.”

    Crystal was texting her mother about where they were exactly.

    …Heading home, mama! Don’t worry one bit. And we have an interesting package with us. Hope you have been good, not naughty. But real nice.

    Santa had to occupy three seats. Luckily the air hostess didn’t mind one bit, being exceptionally kind. The old man reminded her of someone, she couldn’t put her finger on it.

    Meanwhile Santa was reminiscing about his old days.. Did he just leave the comfort of his home? His buddies? His star bucks? He longed for coffee.

    His tummy was making noises. What exactly had he eaten? He hoped it wasn’t reindeer. That would never be right. After all they had carried him across the sky year after year.

    “Nah it was something else. Wait a minute. It was duck.”

    He liked canard de confit very much. But this duck roast was something else altogether.
    The more his stomach rumbled, the more bad tempered the good ol’ man became. The flight was getting tedious now. He wanted to turn back. But Dasher and Prancer were not in sight. He looked out the window.

    Had they been, all their efforts would go waste. Ruby pulled the window shutters down.

    “Hey Mr. Red Guy, you are so happy ALL the time. The embodiment of cheeriness. What happened? Just because you’re out of your comfort zone?
    The reason is you think this Christmas is all about you? Right?
    Does Jesus even figure in your scheme of flying around with gifts?”
    Ruby was being very harsh with him.

    Crystal tried to ease his pain. “Let somebody else take over now. You’ve run your race well, ol’ NicK.”

    Ruby ranted on, “You’ve been the reason for that huge Christmas lie. Over the years, children have been told this lie about you. Parents have had to hold their breath, hide and playact. It’s been the cause of drunken revelry, money demands- all by a man in a red coat. Enuf is enuf.”

    Santa couldn’t believe his ears. “I believe I’m a unique instrument in the grand orchestra of living! Don’t do this to me.”
    A big tear rolled down his chubby face wetting his beard.

    “Now I’m gonna take you to the land that doesn’t believe in this hocus pocus. Where you live like a real ol’ man who may even be diabetic. But don’t you worry, we’ll take care of you.” Ruby winked at her sister.

    Crystal was meanwhile looking at destination wedding brochures. Her dream was at last bearing fruition. NicK seemed a nice guy. Wasn’t he there at the writing of the Nicene Creed? So must be in the bosom of God Himself- who knows!

    Life begins at 65. She chuckled. She had to tell Ruby to cool off.

    • Hey Marien,
      What a nice story. I did enjoy it and such an interesting take on the prompt. Well done.
    • Ever notice how Satan and Santa have the same letters? No? Me either. Fun story, but I’m pretty sure Santa is already married. I don’t know, then again, maybe he’s Mormon? (Old school Mormon, that is.)
      • marien oommen
        Santa transmogrified is scary! And a Mormon Santa is hilarious!
        Thanks for reading, Ken C.
    • Marien, LOVED your story. Pure Marien, and well told. You made me chuckle. I love your style and really enjoyed the trip.


      • marien oommen
        Bless you, Roy, for your kind words. That’s enough for me. I thought it was rather novel to make them old gals. Glad you enjoyed it.
  • marien oommen
    Have a wonderful new year everyone! Hope you’re all on a fresh start with resolutions to be carried right thru’ to end Jan.
    Carrie, can you change my title to Sweet Dreams Are Made of Spice.
  • Adrienne Riggs
    Hi all! Happy New Year! I’m back – partially. One good arm, one useless arm.

    First surgery went well. Sort of. Being me, the damage was worse than they thought to my shoulder. The previous replacement had “come loose”, there was “debris” in the joint, damage to the rotator cuff and the bone at the top of the joint. And the final surprise – my humerus was broken. Yay me!

    All I remember of Christmas was we had snow and it was 1 degree outside! My son came from Indiana to help take care of his Mama. My arm is immobilized, and sleeping is a challenge, but pain is much better, and I can get around on my own for the most part at home.

    Seeing the Dr. tomorrow to find out when I go in for round two. I’m loving the stories. I probably won’t get a chance to vote so good luck to all!!


    • Carrie Zylka

      Oh my goodness. Glad you came out of the surgery okay, and at least you’re snuggling inside with the cold temps!!

    • ilyaleed
      Great that you are on the mend. Glad they have fixed the problem before it is too late. Speedy recovery Adi. Prayers.
    • Christmas? Goddammit, did I miss Christmas again? I gotta lay off the mimosa’s for a while. (Not to mention all that other shit!)
      Ahhh, just kidding. I saw Christmas. It was cold and fleeting.

      Twas a selfless act of love to have your shoulder remodeled just to get your son out of Indiana. He’s not thinking of going back is he? Don’t bullshit me, Adi. I’ve been to Indiana. It’s like an endless loop of rolling hills of corn and — some other vegetative shit. It lulls you into a false sense of variety. Everything is uniquely uniform. It has to be a different farm, but it’s essentially the same house, the same silo, same dirt.

      Okay so they have Notre Dame. ‘The Fighting Irish.’ I guess that almost evens things out. (Lucky for Indiana.)

      So, you’re too busy to vote, eh? Didn’t you say at one time in the past, that you were ambidextrous? I’m sure it was you. I have that kind of memory. (Pointless.) Can you use a right-handed mouse with your left hand then? Don’t tell me you’re left-handed. That can’t be right. I’m sorry, wait a minute, I’ve confused myself. All right? Are you happy now? That I’ve confused myself? I hope so. I hope it was worth it. I felt like it was, but I’m not certain, that’s for sure.

      Well, I hope I said what I logged on to say. Let me re-read it. Yea-up, I did not. Christmas, Don’t forget it. Hope you get good news from the doctor.

      ps I just went and saw Avatar, water something. Way of the Water. In 3-D. It was like, ‘Jaws’ in space, with ‘Tremors.’ And water, a Titanic amount of water. In fact, we haven’t had rain for a month, anywhere, we went into that movie, when we came out, everything was soaked, deep puddles of water everywhere. Distant lightning silhouetted by huge dark thunderhead clouds. And the movie was over, and we were outside. You have to admit, that is some pretty impressive special effects. It’s a fantastical movie, the symbolism is over the top, but it’s a moving story.

    • Adi, post us how you are doing on the new storyline. Anxious to hear how well it’s going.


      • Adrienne Riggs
        I will Roy! Round two is scheduled for the 17th. The Dr. will be doing a Reverse Replacement of my shoulder. I will be glad to get this cement spacer out. My arm will have been immobilized for over a month by the time I start therapy for the new joint. The pictures of a reverse replacement look wicked so I’m trying not to think about it. Doc says he will have to do some fancy tricks to make up for the damage to the bone caused by the last replacement. It is difficult to sleep in this immobilizer and I am exhausted. I am trying to work each day when I can because my team is so short staffed.

        Congrats to Phil, and you and Ken for the wins!! I loved the stories!!

  • Claire’s Plan
    By RM York
    2000 words

    Claire, who was lying on her stomach reading a book, looked over at her seven-year-old, identical twin sister and asked, “Em, what big present did you ask Santa for?”

    Emma, kneeling on the floor by her own bed was busy combing her doll’s hair and answered without looking up. As she stroked her doll’s hair, she said, “The doll house we want and furniture. What did you ask for?”

    “The same thing. You know, both of us have asked for that for the last two years, and never got it. So, this year I’ve got a plan.”

    Emma looked up at her sister, her eyebrows arched questioningly, “A plan? A plan to do what?”

    “The way I see it, the only way we are going to get the things we want is to force Santa to give us what we want.” She put her book down and reached into the drawer by her bed and pulled out a sheet of paper. “Go lock the door, Em,” she commanded.

    “You’re not the boss of me.”

    “I’m your older sister, you’re supposed to listen to me.”

    “By six minutes, and I don’t have to listen to you.”

    “Quit being such a pain and go lock the door, then I’ll show you my plan.”

    Emma reluctantly walked over to the door and locked it. “You know Dad doesn’t like that.”

    “Dad’s at work. Now, come and look at this.” Claire handed Emma the sheet of paper.

    “What’s this?” Emma asked, pointing to a drawing of what looked like their house, and some strange-looking creatures on their roof.

    “Santa’s reindeer. Santa has just landed with his sleigh from the North Pole.” Claire then traced her finger over the dotted route. “Santa comes down the chimney, then into our living room, and puts the presents under the tree.” She then points to two stick-figure girls hiding by the stairs. “That’s us,” then points to the table by Dad’s recliner, “That’s where the milk and cookies are.”

    “What does that have to do with anything?” asks Emma.

    “That’s where we’ve placed the note.”

    “What note?”

    “Do I have to explain everything? This note,” she said, and handed Emma another piece of paper, on which was printed, “There’s a surprise for you on the desk in the office. Go ahead, take a look.”

    “What happens then?”

    “We jump out from our hiding place when Santa goes to the desk and we lock the door. Then, we go check the presents to make sure we get what we asked for. If we don’t, we come back and tell Santa he needs to use his magic and make it right. If he doesn’t, then we tell him we’re keeping him until morning and all the little boys and girls all over the world won’t be getting their presents. Santa won’t let that happen, so he’ll give us what we want and we let him out.”

    “I don’t know, Claire. Santa’s pretty good at figuring things like that out. What if we get what we want?”

    “Then, we let him go and tell him we’re sorry, we thought he was a burglar.”

    “I’m not sure Claire. I mean, kidnapping Santa, and then … think of all those little boys and girls around the world who won’t get any presents.”

    “Santa’s gonna fold like cheap cardboard. Do you want a big dollhouse with furniture or not?”

    “Yeah, but … how will we know when Santa is there? What if we fall asleep?”

    “See this? That’s the tripline that rings a bell and wakes us up if we do fall asleep. I’ve thought of everything. What can possibly go wrong? Are you in or out?”

    ‘All right, I’m in.”

    “Good, now listen, here’s what we do …”

    * * * * *

    Both girls were huddled under a blanket by the stairs, and both were fast asleep. Claire heard a bell that rang loudly several times. She woke up and jostled Emma. “Look,” she whispered. Emma looked up through sleepy eyes and saw black boots just below red velvet pants on the other side of the tree.

    Claire giggled; her plan was working. She whispered to Emma, “Next he’s gonna go to the milk. and cookies, and then into the office. Get ready.”

    The two girls heard a soft husky voice, “Ho, ho, ho. What’s this? A present for me in the office? I wonder what it could be.”

    The two girls waited until they heard the office door open. Quickly, they ran around the tree and slammed the door shut. Then, Claire produced a key and locked the door. The two girls ran to the tree. Claire said, “You open that big one. Let’s see what’s in it.”

    Emma started ripping open the package. It was empty except for a copy of Claire’s plan. “Oh no,” Claire moaned. “Santa’s onto us. Look,” showing Emma the plan. “We are in big trouble.”

    “Look, even the stockings are empty. What do we do now, Claire?”

    “I think we tell Santa what we did and ask for forgiveness. That’s our only chance.”

    The two girls approached the office door and knocked. “Santa?” Claire whispered.

    “Ho, ho, ho,” they heard from the other side of the door.

    “Santa, it’s Claire and Emma. Um … we … um … tried to trick you. We just wanted a big doll house and … um … we thought … oh, I don’t know what we thought.” and she burst into tears.

    “We’re sorry,” wailed Emma.

    “Hmm,” Santa said. “What do you think you should do now?”

    “Um … maybe if we give away some of our toys and clothes to other children who don’t have what we have, we can forget this ever happened?”

    “That sounds like a good idea. Tell you what. You unlock the door and go upstairs to bed. I’ll take care of everything here and finish Christmas. Does that sound like a good plan?”

    “Yes,” the two girls agreed, knowing they had dodged a bullet and ran up the stairs.

    * * * *

    The next morning they reluctantly headed downstairs. Their stockings were gone, along with all the boxes of presents except the one from Mom and Dad. Santa had fixed things. Claire looked at Emma and said, “We need to tell them why there’s only one present and no stockings.”

    “Tell us what?” asked Dad who had just joined them with Mom.

    “Last night we uh … waited up and …” Breathlessly, while tripping over each other’s words, the twins finally explained the Christmas Eve mishap, ending with a solemn promise to never do anything like this again. Santa was too smart for them.

    Dad hugged them and said, “So we’ve learned our lesson?” They both nodded yes, although Claire crossed her fingers and thought, ‘this time, anyway’. “Well, why don’t we see what’s in the box.”

    They opened the box and found a giant dollhouse filled with furniture. The two girls were ecstatic and hugged Mom and Dad. Immediately they set about playing with their new dollhouse. Neither of them noticed Dad leave his office carrying a box filled with a Santa Suit and black boots to the garage.

    Afterward, they asked, “Dad, do you think Santa will come next year?”

    “Maybe,” he answered, “Depends on you.”

    • Absolutely loved it. I did love the innocence and it brought back childhood memories of how real Santa was back then. I never cottoned on about Mum & Dad being Santa and so glad that the twins did not have their childhood ruined. Thank you for the fun. Loved it.
    • Too many words. (This is payback for that email you sent me two months ago, about blondes. I was just biding my time.) Did you get a bunch of extra words for Christmas and decided to foist some of them off on us? Diabolical, that’s what you are, Roy. A diabolical word dispensary. No harm done, I could use some extra words right about now.


      • marien oommen
        How did you become so funny, Cart? When did it start?
        What do you snack on?
        Poking my nose into this conversation.
        • Roy simply prefers blondes Marien, and well he should, being married to one, but I — emphatically — prefer brunettes. It’s as simple as that.
      • Speaking of that email I sent two months ago, where is my reply? I wait by my computer for hours waiting for that little ding, and nothing from you. Now that you have those extra words, get busy. I say that with due respect, sir.


        • Roy,
          I’m still editing it.
          I like to be succinct.
          (Unless I’m talking about myself.)
    • marien oommen
      A beautiful tale, well told as a master craftsman, of suspended disbelief, a lie that children grow up with, mostly in the west. It’s fun all the way.
      And why not? We shouldn’t rob kids of the few pleasures left for them in this new world that they are being exposed to.
      This same thing happened the night before Christmas with my grandkids whose dad went missing for a while…’Neither of them noticed Dad leave his office carrying a box filled with a Santa Suit and black boots to the garage.’ 🙂
  • ilyaleed
    Well, well! A really well written story, even though I do not believe in Santa. I’d give it top marks. Very believable the interaction between two girls.
    • Welp….. having Monday totally screwed me up lol

      I was thinking today was Tuesday all day long!

      Soooooooooooo I’ll be posting the voting page tomorrow morning! Doh!!

    • I have a sticker on my car that says, “Bigfoot doesn’t believe in you, either.”

      He and Santa take a very dim view of your comments, Ms. Leed. Fortunately, they both have big, forgiving hearts. (But no one says that of me.)

      • Ilana Leeds
        LOL sure!! Ken be merry you only live once unless you believe in reincarnation then you live more …
    • Thanks, Carrie, Happy NewYear!!!
  • Phil Town
    We’ve had three weeks to do this, but I couldn’t get my act together and I’ve mistimed my life! I won’t be able to vote, I’m afraid (unless it gets extended yet another day) … so please ignore any votes I got.

    Many apologies to all.

    • Carrie
      I’m ok with extending the voting period, we had another person ask for extra time too!
      • Phil Town
        That would be good, Carrie … but I don’t want to be a party-pooper.
        • Carrie Zylka

          Well, it’s a good thing I’m in charge of this fun party. And I’m making the executive decision to extend it until Monday.
          And anyone who wants to argue with me about it, can go fly a kite….🪁

          • Phil Town
            • Phil Town
              (And soz everyone.)
  • I can wait until Monday. I mean it’s been this long already. And, it’s a good way to start the New Year with an act of kindness.
  • Carrie
    Ok writers! Here are your winners!

    1st Place: Silent Night by Phil Town
    2nd Place: Claire’s Plan by RM York

    3rd Place: Thou Shall Not Steal by Ken Miles

    4th Place: Twin Dilemmas by ozjohn66

    5th Place: Sweet Dreams Are Made of Spice by Marien Oommen

    Didn’t vote: The Claus Caper by Robt Emmett

    Story with the favorite character(s) were “Claire and Emma” from RM York’s – Claire’s Plan

    Story with the favorite dialogue “Thou Shall Not Steal” by Ken Miles

    congratulations to all!

    • Hi All,

      Well done to you all for getting a story in at such a busy time of year. Some really interesting takes on Santa’s existence or lack of.

      Sorry that I did not get involved but time was short and I didn’t want to do only half of the job.

      Onwards into ’23.


      Ken Frape

  • Phil Town
    Well, glad I was allowed to vote late! Thanks … and congrats all.

    Happy New Year, full of love, health, happiness and … Peace!

  • Congrats to Phil and Ken Miles. I’m sorry Robt. couldn’t vote. Thanks for liking Claire and Emma, they might just join a stable of characters of mine. Jekyll and Hyde twins would fit right in. Well, not that bad, but certainly angel and devil, in a ‘nice’ cute way.
  • Congrats to Phil, Roy and Ken M. A nice mix of Christmas story treats.

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