All I Want For Christmas Is…

short story, Christmas, dating, flash fiction, humor, Modern PhilosopherJack did not like going to the mall, but he especially didn’t like bring there after hours when the parking lot was empty and pitch black.

He walked as quickly as he could to get to the delivery entrance of the huge department store that anchored the now quiet shopping emporium.

He knocked lightly on the door and then paced nervously in the dark.  Jack wasn’t a rule  breaker, but sometimes, extreme action was necessary.

The door opened, and he was greeted by the familiar smile of his best friend.  Ralph looked sharp in his security uniform as he quickly motioned for Jack to enter.

“Thank you so much for doing this for me,” Jack said sincerely as he patted his buddy on the back.  “I know you could get into serious trouble…”

Ralph waved him off.  “I’d do anything for you, Jack, but let’s make this quick.  I’ve got the cameras down for fifteen minutes, but anything longer than that will raise suspicion.”

They talked in whispers even though there was no one else around.

Jack pulled an envelope from his pocket.  “I’ve got the money.  You sure you don’t want any for your trouble?”

Ralph shook his head.  “You’re my best friend.  Consider this my Christmas present.  Give the money to the person I bring you to, and just be quick.”

Jack nodded that he understood, and followed his friend through the dark loading dock and into the store.  The place looked eerie after hours.  Only the emergency lights were on, and the utter silence seemed so out of place.

short story, Christmas, dating, flash fiction, humor, Modern Philosopher“That’s her,” Ralph pointed to the silhouette emerging out of the Women’s Clothing Department ahead of them.

“Can we trust her?” Jack asked with obvious concern in his voice.

“We’re gonna find out,” Ralph replied.

She was dressed as one of Santa’s elves, and wore sunglasses despite the darkness.  She was slightly shorter than Jack, but appeared to be around his age.

She shined a flashlight in his face, and Jack quickly raised his arms to cover his eyes.

“You sure he’s not a cop?” she asked Ralph dubiously.

“I can vouch for him,” Ralph answered without hesitation.  “Fifteen minutes starting now.”

The elf nodded and Ralph headed back towards the loading dock.

“You got the money?” she demanded.

“Yeah,” Jack mumbled.  “Can you take that light out of my eyes first?”

She did ask he requested, and Jack handed her the envelope, which she quickly tucked away in her elfin cloak.

“What’s with the shades?” he asked in an attempt to lighten the mood.

“I don’t want you to be able to identify me should this go south,” she replied.  “You done with all the questions?  We’re tight on time.”

“What’s your name?” Jack blurted out because he was so damn nervous.

“Just call me Jingle,” she snapped.  “Follow me, Twenty Questions.”

short story, Christmas, dating, flash fiction, humor, Modern PhilosopherThey walked in silence, Jack following a few steps behind her.  The mannequins looked creepier than usual in the dark, and Jack could sense they were judging him.

“Do a lot of people do this?” he asked because the silence was driving him mad.

Jingle didn’t answer at first, but she finally had a change of heart when they reached Sporting Goods.

“Not a lot, but enough,” she told him.  “There are definitely adults out there who would do anything for some one on one time with Santa.  I’m happy to make that happen because elves don’t get paid very well, and the extra cash helps at the holidays.”

“I figured you did it to pay for that big ring on your finger,” Jack quipped.

Jingle reflexively looked down at her engagement ring.  “Luckily, my fiancee belongs to Santa’s inner circle, and has a cozy, well paying job.  Now shut up before I ditch you here with the other dummies.”

Even though he felt anxious and guilty about what he was doing, Jack zipped his mouth for the remainder of the journey.

After what seemed like an eternity of walking in the dark, Jack saw a welcoming glow on the horizon.

short story, Christmas, dating, flash fiction, humor, Modern Philosopher“Welcome to Santa’s Workshop After Dark,” Jingle informed him with a chuckle.

It was just as how Jack had remembered it when the store was open, but it now looked even more magical as it was lit only by white Christmas lights and a few candles.

“Address him only as Santa or Santa Claus,” she ordered.  “Be respectful and make it fast.”

Jingle nudged Jack towards Santa’s throne, where the big man himself awaited him.

“Ho, ho, ho! You must be Jack!” Santa bellowed in greeting.

Jack nodded and slowly trudged towards Santa Claus.  There was a chair set up across from the throne, and Santa pointed to it.

“Hope you don’t mind not getting to sit in my lap, Jack, but you’re a lot bigger than what I’m accustomed to.  Ho, ho, ho!”

Jack flashed a nervous smile and took a seat across from Jolly Ole St. Nick.

“Thank you for agreeing to meet with me,” Jack whispered.

short story, Christmas, dating, flash fiction, humor, Modern Philosopher“Ralph tells me you’ve been a very good boy this year,” Santa explained with a smile brilliant enough to light up the entire mall.  “He also said that you had a special Christmas request that you wanted to talk to me about in person.”

Jack nodded.  Santa smiled and patiently waited for Jack to share that Christmas wish.

“Tick tock!” Jingle hissed from somewhere behind him.

“I want a girlfriend for Christmas, Santa,” Jack blurted out.  “I know that’s an unusual ask, but I’ve tried everything, and I can’t seem to meet anyone.  I’m incredibly lonely, and it hurts my heart not to have someone to love and spoil this Holiday Season.  I just want to hold someone’s hand, have someone to kiss under the mistletoe, and have a date for all the Christmas parties I avoid because I feel like a loser going to them alone.”

“Well, you’re not going to meet anyone if you avoid social gatherings,” Santa pointed out.

short story, Christmas, dating, flash fiction, humor, Modern PhilosopherJack shrugged.  “I know, Santa, but I tried.  I can be shy and introverted, but I still put myself out there because that’s how much I miss having someone special in my life.  I’ve gone on awkward dates, I’ve tried the dating sites, I’ve begged my friends to set me up with distant relatives, neighbors they barely know, and coworkers they don’t really like.  But nothing has worked.”

“I refuse to believe that love has forgotten me, and that I’m meant to spend my life alone.  I’ll forever be a hopeless romantic, Santa, but at this point, the emphasis really seems to be on the hopeless part.”

Santa could not suppress a chuckle.  “Love is strange.  Love is confusing.  I’m sure there’s someone out there for you, Jack.  I will do my best, but this might be one wish I can’t make come true.  Let me see what I can do.”

“I understand.  I’m asking the impossible,” Jack admitted as he rose to his feet.  “I just figured Christmas is such a magical time of year, and if anyone could pull off a Christmas miracle, it would be you.”

“Merry Christmas, Jack,” Santa said with a smile.  “Just don’t give up hope.  It’s not Christmas yet, and I still have a few tricks up my sleeve.”

Jack forced a smile onto a face that really didn’t want to stop pouting, and gave Santa a wave before seeking out Jingle in the shadows.

He did not exchange a single word with the elf on his way back to the loading dock.

short story, Christmas, dating, flash fiction, humor, Modern PhilosopherShortly thereafter, Jack found himself drowning his sorrows in a glass of eggnog at the bar across the street from the mall.

It was nice to be around other people, but Jack had stationed himself at the end of the bar, far away from anyone else.  He wanted some quiet time to think about his conversation with Santa Claus.

“Is this seat taken?” asked the attractive redhead who had materialized while Jack was replaying his chat with Santa in his head.

“Ummm…no,” Jack mumbled.  He quickly noticed how pretty she was, but he immediately did that thing he always did where he convinced himself that she was out his league, taken, and not at all interested.  The Triple Crown of Rejection.

“I’ll have what he’s having,” she told the bartender.  “And bring him another.”

Jack looked at her in confusion.  “Did you just buy me a drink?”

“I figured you could use one after the night you’ve had,” she replied with a smirk.  “Plus, I’m suddenly flush with cash.”

She pulled a familiar envelope out of her purse, extracted a twenty dollar bill, and placed it on the bar in front of her.

“Do I know you?” Jack asked while also refusing to get his hopes up that this was anything more than a case of mistaken identity.

“Do you ever stop asking questions?” she answered with an adorable giggle.  “Maybe this will help.”

She removed a pair of sunglasses and an elf’s hat from her purse.  Once she had put them on, she smiled brightly at Jack.

short story, Christmas, dating, flash fiction, humor, Modern Philosopher“Jingle!” he shouted loud enough to cause several heads to turn in their direction.

She slid her stool a little closer to his.

“It’s Kate, actually.  What you said to Santa really moved me.  I’m as frustrated as you are about trying to meet someone, and the holidays suck when you’re single.”

Jack quickly glanced at her finger, but the engagement ring was not there.

“What about the fiancee who works in Santa’s inner circle?” he demanded and then took a long sip of his eggnog.

Kate blushed.  “I wear that to scare off the creeps with elf fetishes.  You have no idea how often I get hit on at work by men in front of their kids.”

“Well, that elf costume is pretty sexy,” Jack chuckled.

Kate giggled.  “I asked Ralph about you, and he told me that if I didn’t ask you out, that I was doing myself a great disservice.  So, will you go out with me?”

“Look who’s asking the questions now,” Jack quipped.

But then he wisely accepted her invitation, and thus began the best Christmas either of them had enjoyed in a very long time…

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In Search Of The Christmas Spirit

Christmas, Christmas lights, humor, Modern PhilosopherI caught the interns trying to sneak my artificial Christmas tree out of the basement today, Modern Philosophers.

When I asked them what they intended to do with it, the one with the neck tattoo said she hoped putting up the tree would fill me with the Christmas Spirit.

Bah Humbug!

A Christmas tree in the middle of my living room is only going to remind me that I’m all alone and there will be no presents waiting on Christmas morning.

Of course, the interns persisted.  The one with the Mohawk told me it upset him to see me as blue as his hair for the holidays.

I promised them that if they returned the tree to its basement lair, I would do something tonight that always puts me in a Christmassy mood.

They seemed skeptical, but they eventually relented because they wanted the easy A they get by interning for me.

But a promise is a promise, and I’m not going to tell a lie and end up on the Naughty List in case Santa Claus finally decides to visit The House on the Hill this year.

So as I’ve done every Christmas season since my childhood, I went out to look at the Christmas lights in my neighborhood.

I brought my camera with me and thought I’d share some of my favorites…

Christmas, Christmas lights, humor, Modern PhilosopherChristmas, Christmas lights, humor, Modern PhilosopherChristmas, Christmas lights, humor, Modern PhilosopherChristmas, Christmas lights, humor, Modern PhilosopherChristmas, Christmas lights, humor, Modern PhilosopherI really enjoyed my walk around the neighborhood, and seeing all those colorful lights definitely had me humming Christmas carols as I headed back to The House on the Hill.

There’s something about Christmas lights that just fills me with the spirit of the season.

Are you a fan of Christmas lights? Do you put them up at your home? Which photo is your favorite?

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Trump Taps Burgermeister Meisterburger As His New Chief Of Staff

Burgermeister Meisterburger, President Trump, John Kelly, humor, Modern PhilosopherDespite the rumors that no one wanted the job, President Trump wasted very little time finding a replacement for outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly, Modern Philosophers.

According to a typo-riddled tweet sent in the wee hours of the morning, Trump’s new Chief of Staff will be Washington newcomer Burgermeister Meisterburger.

Best known for arresting Kris Kringle and banning toys from an Eastern European town during the Cold War, Meisterburger has no experience with American politics.

He also has not been seen in public for over forty years.

So why did Trump appoint this outsider to a key position in his inner circle, and basically make him the boss of the White House?

It couldn’t possibly be because his name reminds the President of one of his favorite foods, right?  I mean that would be crazy even for Donald Trump.

“Burgermeister has a proven track record as an old school, tough as nails disciplinarian, and that’s what this White House needs,” Trump explained.

Burgermeister Meisterburger, President Trump, John Kelly, humor, Modern Philosopher“I’m going to be honest.  Everyone said John Kelly was a hard ass, that he’d bring his military mindset to the West Wing, and whip everyone into shape. But he didn’t do that.  People said John Kelly was hard.  I disagree.  He was soft.  Almost flaccid.”

“I was told that I was hiring a decorated general,” Trump continued, “but John Kelly refused to wear his uniform to work.  Not once would be put it on and give me a one man military parade.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.  But what do I know?  I’m just a very successful businessman, who knows a thing or two about making an impression.”

“You know what Burgermeister promised?” Trump asked no one in particular.  “He said he’d wear his old uniform and all the shiny medals from back in the days when he was so hard ass that he made children cry on Christmas and put Santa Claus in jail.  You put Santa Claus in jail, then you’re the man to run this White House.”

When asked if Meisterburger would have to drop the title of “Burgermeister” since it is not one recognized by the American military, the President appeared confused.

“You mean that’s not his first name?” he asked reporters.

Of course, the White House Press Corps had so many questions, but the President just seemed intent on discussing only the facts that interested him.

Burgermeister Meisterburger, President Trump, John Kelly, humor, Modern Philosopher“I mean, who else would have the courage to lock up Santa Claus?  Maybe I’ll have him do that again if Santa refuses to relocate his toy factory to the United States.  His elves are stealing jobs from American workers. That’s got to change.  No more cheap labor from illegals willing to do whatever it takes to create their crooked and perverted version of the American Dream!”

It sounds like a strange hire to me, but maybe Trump wants a ball breaker like Burgermeister Meisterburger around to prepare key members of his staff for some hard times ahead once the Mueller Report is released…

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Did The Russians Hack Santa’s Naughty List?

Christmas, naughty list, Russian hackers, humor, Modern PhilosopherThe big news out of the North Pole tonight, Modern Philosophers, is that Russian hackers are suspected of attempting to hack Santa Claus’ Naughty List.

Thousands, perhaps even millions of people not originally on the list might have been added had the hack been successful say sources close to the investigation.

According to Lazlo, Head Elf at Santa’s IT Department, there was no breach of the North Pole’s computer system.

“The IT Department sees you when you’re sleeping, and knows when you’re awake,” Lazlo explained via Skype.  “If anyone had tried to break into Santa’s server, we would know.  They can try all they want, but it’s just never going to happen.  Not on my watch!”

For the record, the punishment for hacking is much more substantial than a few lumps of coal in your stocking.  It puts you on the Naughty List for life, and could include banishment to the Island of Misfit Toys, or years of hard labor in the toy factory.

So why would the Russians try to hack Santa Claus’ Naughty List?  Did they get bored because there were no American elections with which to interfere?

For the answer to that question, I want straight to the top.

Christmas, naughty list, Russian hackers, humor, Modern Philosopher“Vladimir Putin would want to hack my Naughty List for two reasons,” Santa Claus told me with a grim look on his usually jolly face.  “First, to remove his name.  I don’t see the point, though, because the mere act of doing so would put his name right back on it.  Plus, he can’t seem to go an entire day without doing something naughty.”

Not so jolly old St. Nick shook his head in disappointment like a proud father who has finally given up on a mischievous son.

“Secondly, he’d order the hack for revenge,” Santa continued.  “Vlad’s upset because I’ve already told him he can’t have what he wants for Christmas, and as a result, he doesn’t want anyone else to get their Christmas wishes granted this year.”

And what’s the gift that Putin covets so badly that he’s willing to hack into the North Pole’s database and piss off Santa Claus?

“He wants Ukraine, and that’s simply not possible,” the big guy replied.

Christmas, naughty list, Russian hackers, humor, Modern PhilosopherIf you’re worried that you will end up on the Naughty List due to Russian interference, Santa Claus has some words of reassurance for you.

“The Naughty and Nice Lists are protected by Christmas Magic,” he told me as the twinkle returned to his eyes.  “Not even the best hackers in the world could break through those firewalls.”

Maybe if we’re good, Santa will let us borrow some Christmas Magic every Election Day to make sure things turn out the way the voters intended…

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Do They Know They’re Christmas Ties At All?

Christmas, fashion, humor, Modern PhilosopherI might not put up a Christmas tree, exchange gifts, decorate The House on the Hill, go to any holiday parties, or bring anyone some figgy pudding, but there is one Christmas tradition I hold sacred, Modern Philosophers…

The Festival of Christmas Ties.

Those of you who have followed the blog long enough are well aware of my hideous Christmas tie collection.

No, I did not buy any of those fashion disasters.  They were given to me as Christmas presents.

Mostly by my former father-in-law.

Every year, he’d hunt in the thrift stores for Tabasco ties, and then give them to me as gifts on Christmas.  And really enjoy doing it.  Even though he knew I didn’t wear ties.  And he was well aware they were just damn eyesores.

That should tell you a little about the man.

I was with his daughter for sixteen years, so I’ve amassed quite the tie collection.

Not all the ties are Christmas ties, but almost all of them are Tabasco ties.  I’ve got Tabasco bottles singing Christmas carols, Tabasco bottles posing as snowmen, Tabasco ties hanging out in the sleigh with Santa Claus as he delivers presents.

As I’ve already mentioned, I very rarely wear ties, but during the Christmas Season, I do my best to remember to dazzle the world with my special fashion collection.

Today was the first day of the Festival of Christmas Ties.

Christmas, fashion, humor, Modern PhilosopherAs you can see from the first photo in this post, I didn’t start off the season with something from the Tabasco collection.

This one was a snowman tie, which means it was probably a gift from my former mother-in-law.  She liked to buy me snowman related gifts, and her taste in fashion was much better than her ex-husband’s.

Because of that, today’s today is one I actually like.

Of course, as always happens when I wear a tie, I was besieged with the usual questions:

Christmas, fashion, humor, Modern PhilosopherWhy are you so dressed up today?

Do you have a job interview?

What’s the special occasion?

Who died?

These questions always perplex me.  How does wearing a novelty tie constitute getting dressed up?  Do people really think I’d wear such a tie on an interview?  Why would I disrespect the dead with such a ridiculous fashion decision?

I often wonder if the reaction to my ties says more about me or the people reacting.

Of maybe it’s just a commentary on life in Maine.  After all, a tie of any sort could be the equivalent of a three piece suit in these parts if you really think about it.

Once I explain that I’m just wearing a silly tie to spread a little Christmas cheer, folks usually laugh and tell me how much they like the ugly thing around my neck.

That’s the cool thing about Christmas…everyone is in such good spirits and trying to stay off the Naughty List that they will lie without hesitation about how nice my weird ties are.

Merry Christmas from your favorite holiday fashion trend setter!

Do you wear anything a little off the wall as part of your Christmas tradition?

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What Do You Want For Christmas?

Christmas, presents, wish list, humor, Modern PhilosopherI’m going to continue my holiday tradition of not putting up a Christmas tree, Modern Philosophers.

I mean, what’s the point?  No one is giving me any presents to put under the tree, and I don’t have anyone special in my life for whom I will be holiday shopping.

So a Christmas tree would just be a shiny, sparkly immobile target for the kitties to attack for a month.  Yes, Cleo, I’m talking about you!

But that doesn’t mean I don’t want anything for Christmas.  The little boy in me still secretly hopes that Santa Claus will visit The House on the Hill and leave me some beautifully wrapped presents.

After all, I was a very good boy this year.  Which Santa knows to be true because he sees us when we’re sleeping, knows when we’re awake, and has better assets than the NSA to keep an eye on us.

This got me to thinking.  Just because I don’t have a Christmas shopping list, doesn’t mean I don’t want to know what people want for Christmas.

So will you tell me?

If you could ask Santa Claus for anything this Christmas, what would it be?

Don’t worry, this isn’t some sort of test.  I’m not expecting you all to answer “World Peace”.  This is just a fun exercise to help spread a little Christmas Spirit.

Christmas, presents, wish list, humor, Modern PhilosopherAnd who knows?  Santa Claus does read this blog, so maybe he will see your answer and bring you an extra special gift this year.

I’ll get things started.

If I could have one thing for Christmas this year, it would be a new laptop.  The one on which I’m typing this post has bee on its last legs for months.

The space bar rarely works.  The J key has a mind of its own.  The battery dies after about thirty minutes of use.  This is no way for a writer to live.

So, Santa Claus, I could really use a new laptop this year!

What do you want for Christmas?  Please take the time to answer as your replies will be like mini Christmas presents for me…

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How Would Santa Claus Wrap An Impeachment?

Christmas, Trump, Santa Claus, humor, Modern PhilosopherAccording to a recent report released by The North Pole Post Office, the number of letters to Santa Claus written by adults has skyrocketed this year, Modern Philosophers.

While some deal with requests for fancy cars, expensive jewelry, and the return of the writer’s youth and/or hairline, an overwhelming majority of the letters ask Santa for the same thing…

The impeachment of President Trump.

“I’m not sure if I’m more impressed by the number of letters, or by the passion of the writing when asking for the impeachment,” Postmaster General Elf Julius told this Modern Philosopher via Skype.  “They are some very well written letters here, and I know that Santa has been moved by the messages.”

So the big question now is: Will Santa Claus grant these Christmas wishes?

Will the blue wave of the midterm elections be replaced with a red and green one courtesy of our favorite voter from the North Pole?

Christmas, Trump, Santa Claus, humor, Modern Philosopher“Ho, ho, ho!  That’s quite the way to put it,” Santa informed me with a beaming smile.  “I try not to get mixed up in politics, but I do realize that by putting coal in the stockings of bad little boys and girls, I am helping to support Trump’s push to make coal a thing again.”

Santa laughed again, but I suspect he was half serious about the coal issue.

Seriously, though, how could Santa Claus overlook the requests of so many people this Holiday Season?  If he ignored the wishes of the majority, wouldn’t he be nothing more than the Electoral College of the North Pole?

“Comments like that, while witty and insightful, could land you on the Naughty List,” Jolly Old St. Nick warned me with a chuckle.  “As much as I’d love to bring Americans that much Christmas Joy, I think it would be a serious abuse of the Constitution.  I’m simply not sure that I have the power to impeach a President.”

While America is already assured of a blue Christmas because of the Democrats’ success on Election Day, I’d hate to see the country sink into a Blue Christmas because Santa Claus disappointed them after they’d been so good all year.

“Don’t worry, Austin,” Santa Claus assured me with a wink.  “I think Robert Mueller might be bringing Americans the Christmas present they so desperately desire.  Christmas is the Season of Giving, and I’m fairly certain that Mr. Mueller is going to give you all a reason to be merry and filled with hope.”

Christmas, Trump, Santa Claus, humor, Modern PhilosopherWhile I was disappointed by the fact that the Man in the Red Suit could not promise me he would exile the Man in the Red MAGA Hat, it did make sense once I gave it a little Deep Thought.

After all, how in the world would Santa Claus wrap an impeachment?

Other than in an ironclad legal case put together by a Special Prosecutor!

May all your Christmas wishes come true!

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