Christmas in July

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
Christmas has come early for Joy and her daughter Meredith when Santa comes for a visit.

Submitted: August 04, 2017

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Submitted: August 04, 2017

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The swing set swung back and forth as Meredith pumped and released her tiny legs; the hot July sun’s rays splashing on her from above. Her mother, Joy, sat on a bench beside the swing set, a phone to her ear and a scowl on her face. Ahead of them was a fence which separated them from the dangers of the crosswalk and the road.

“Big, fat, looks like a hobo dressed as an apple, whatever your heart desires! Just put it in the report, Christine. He needs to be found. Now,” Joy demanded.

“Mommy, Mommy, look!” Meredith said as she swung higher and higher into the air. Her mother turned away from her and rolled her eyes.

“Not now, Meredith. Mommy’s busy… What? …  Not you, Christine. I was talking to my daughter… Yup, she’s five now… Yeah, she’s getting old, I know… No, not too old for him, and that’s why you need to report him, now.”

Meredith grunted and stopped pumping her legs. She looked around the park as the swing squeaked and squealed and came to a stop. They were the only ones here. No one was on the jungle gym, no one on the slides, there weren’t even any kids rushing to the porta potties. It was only them. While everyone else was out vacationing or at summer camp, she was here with her mother who didn’t even want to watch her swing.

Meredith looked straight ahead and over the fence. There was a man there now, and the sight of him made her smile.

“Mommy, look!”

Joy turned away from her and covered her phone with the other hand. “Mommy’s busy, Merry. Just, shh.”

Meredith smiled at the man across from them, and he smiled back at her. It was him. Her mother had always told her that he was a big man who wore an even bigger red jacket. He even looked jolly, his cheeks red like Meredith heard they would be. He wasn’t perfect, though. His beard was greyer than she heard it was, and she didn’t see a sleigh in sight. But that didn’t matter to her. He came early this year.

The jolly man waved at her, and she waved back. Her mother didn’t see. Meredith was sure she wouldn’t have cared anyway. She was always on the phone or at work.

“No, Christine. It’s not that hard. I don’t want to have to come down to the office just to do this because you’re too incompetent!”

The jolly man motioned for Meredith to come to him, his arms hung over the fence and his stomach bulged against it.

Meredith pointed at him.

“Mommy! Santa!”

“Honey, it’s July. Santa doesn’t come until December… No, Christine, I’m not talking to you, just… hold on a second.” Joy put her phone to her chest and looked at Meredith. “Mommy will be right back. I just need some silence so that I can talk to Christine.”

Joy rose from her seat and walked away, her phone back to her ear. She stood beside the slide a few feet from the bench, her body away from Meredith and the man.

The man motioned for Meredith to come to him again, a smile on his face. Meredith looked back at her mother. She wanted her mother to see him, to see that he came in July, but she knew her mother wouldn’t care. She doubted that her mother would even budge if Meredith were in real danger.  

She turned back to the jolly man and smiled. At least he would give her presents.

She rose from the swing and walked to him. She could hear her mother yelling at Christine in the background, but the jolly man was all that mattered.

“Come here, little girl, what’s your name?” he asked her in a soft and quiet voice once she reached the fence.

“Merry.” She smiled. “Why are you here now? It’s so early.”

The jolly man’s face twisted with confusion. “What do you mean? I was just walking by and I saw you. I wanted to say hi and offer you some–”

“Presents?” she asked.

The man chuckled, smiled, and nodded. “Yes, how’d you know?”

“Where’s your sleigh?”

“My sleigh?” the man asked.

“Yeah. Your sleigh and your reindeer?”

The man stared at her for a second then looked down at his attire. His eyes opened wide and he understood. “Oh! Yes! They’re right around the corner. Did you want me to show you them?”

Meredith smiled. “I wanna see.”

He reached down to pick her up.

“Then come with me. I’ll show you.”

Meredith turned back to look at her mother, still consumed with phone call and yelling at Christine.

“What about my Mommy?” Meredith asked. She turned back to him.

The jolly man was casting a smile on her. For the first time, she noticed that he was missing several of his teeth. “We’ll be right back. Don’t worry about her.”

“But…”

The man reached even more over the fence to try to grab her, his stomach contorting the fence, yet he missed. His stomach was too big and blocked his path.

Meredith stared the man in his eyes. “I don’t want to leave my Mommy.”

“But I have presents,” he said. “And you can see my reindeer and my sleigh… and my elves.”

Her eyes widened. “Elves?”

“Yes. I’ll show them all to you. Just come with me. I promise, we’ll be right back. Your Mommy won’t even know you’re gone.”

She looked back at her mother, and felt that the jolly man’s words were right. Her mother wouldn’t even care if she was gone. She turned back to the man who looked upon her with grey eyes.

“You want to be a good girl, don’t you?” he said. “Of all people, don’t you want to be nice to dear old me?”

And she did. Oh, she did. After all that her parents taught her, she didn’t want to be on his naughty list.

She reached up to him, and he grabbed her by the waist. He hoisted her over the fence and placed her next to him. Hand in hand, they walked back around the corner back the way he said he came.

Joy hadn’t known that Christmas could come so early. 


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