THE MUST HAVE TOY

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium


A short story inspired by the Imaginarium January 2018 picture prompt

Submitted: January 25, 2018

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Submitted: January 25, 2018

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THE MUST HAVE TOY

 

 “And what do you want for Christmas, young man?” Santa enquired.

This was the moment Alex had been waiting for. He regarded Santa with a combination of reverence and hero worship shining in his big brown eyes. “I want Freddie the Robot Frog," the boy replied without hesitation. 

Santa smiled, his eyes twinkling. “Well… Freddie is in demand this year, but I’ll see what I can do.”

“Please Santa, I’ll be a good boy, I promise," Alex pleaded.

Santa ruffled his dark curls. “You leave it with me, young man. I’ll have to get my elves to make some more.”

***************

“Alex, I won’t tell you again, it’s time to get ready for bed.” Elle gathered up the strewn toys from the floor and hurled them into the toy box, like missiles.

Steve shot her a warning glare. “Hey buddy, come on, how about a piggy back.”

Elle stood at the bottom of the stairs, listening to the sound of her son’s happy chuckles, and sighed deeply.

“So, who rattled your cage? There was no need to snap at Alex like that.”

“Steve, I’ve searched everywhere... on line and trawled the shops, but they’ve sold out, and now ‘Santa’ has gone and promised him he’ll get one.” Elle stared at her husband through defeated green eyes, running her fingers through her short auburn hair.”

“Elle, slow down… searched for what?

“What planet have you been on these last few weeks? All he talks about is Freddie the Robot Frog. It’s this year’s must have toy, and now the shelves are bare. Sodding Santa, shouldn’t be allowed to promise kids presents that are in short supply. What are we going to do Steve? You weren’t there, he’s set his little heart on it.”

“There’s still a week to go, maybe they’ll re-stock, just calm down. Anyway, he’ll have lots of other new toys to occupy his mind.”

“And what do we say when all the other kids have got a Freddie, and he hasn’t. It’s okay for you, Christmas goes right over your head, it’s all down to me and, because of pressure at work I’ve left it too late.”

“You talk as if it’s the end of the world. Elle, it’s a toy, get it into perspective.”

“And he’s a little boy, our little boy. You don’t realise how much this means to him.”

Steve raised his palms in submission. “Okay, I get it. I’ll keep my eyes peeled, let’s hope Santa comes up trumps.”

****************

“Hi Elle, just to let you know I’m in Smythes Toy Superstore. They’ve had a delivery of Freddies, so I popped in to see if I can get one.”

“Yeah, I'll do my best, but there’s already quite a crowd. I’ll let you know. Bye.”

Steve joined the throng of desperate customers all vying for a last minute chance to fulfil their children’s wishes, when a brawl broke out. Burly security officers intervened, ordering everyone to form an orderly queue.

Half an hour later, as Steve neared the front of the queue, he heard the disgruntled murmurings of disappointed customers.

“Sold out mate,” said a passing traumatised parent.

 Steve’s spirits dropped like a stone… how was he going to break the news to Elle. As he walked slowly towards the exit, he spotted a loaded shopping trolley, its owner with her back to it while searching through boxes of board games. From a small shiny, green box, Freddie’s bulbous, steely eyes stared at him, tempting him… it was there for the taking. Steve heard a voice in his head, urging him to grasp the opportunity. He glanced furtively over his shoulder and, with the skill of a professional pick pocket, seamlessly lifted the box from the trolley, before striding purposefully towards the checkout to pay for his prize.

On returning home, an overjoyed Elle threw her arms around his neck, her eyes wet with tears of relief. "Well done Steve, it seems you managed to get there just in time. But you’ll never guess what, poor Sarah had Freddie stolen from her shopping trolley. Would you believe the depths some people will sink to… little Sophie will be devastated.”

As Steve made his way over to the fridge, a deep sense of shame and guilt engulfed him. “Think I’ll have a beer,” he said, unable to meet his wife’s gaze.

 

 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2018 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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