Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol
"Really, for a man who had been out of practice for so many years, it was a splendid laugh, a most illustrious laugh."
It was the 24th day of December. An elderly gent was sitting at the edge of the swimming pool, feet dangling into the water, eyes gazing out to the ocean. He wore shorts and a Hawaiian shirt of dancing hula girls. A content little smile played on his lips.
S. Claus was pleased with himself. Selling the business and moving to Florida had been the best decision of his life. Thanks to a more active life style and healthier eating habits he had lost twenty-five pounds in the past year. His bouts of seasonal depression were eliminated by the constant sunlight. Finally he got to trim his scraggly beard. To be honest, he had never enjoyed resembling the aging Jerry Garcia, but he had been expected to maintain his trademark image. He much preferred the pointy mustache and short beard. He liked to think that he looked a little like Colonel Sanders.
364 days previously
He dragged himself into his office by noon. The elves of course got the day off - it was in their contract - but he didn't have that luxury. Mrs. Claus, filling in for the secretary, was already there, waiting for him. She trailed him into the office weighed down with a stack of papers. He slumped into his chair with a groan. One would think that on the day after the 'Big Push' he could have some peace, but no.
"The elves are demanding a pay raise." She began. "The union representative would like to see you early in January."
"Fine. What else?"
"There are the complaints. A Bobby Jones from Melbourne states that you brought him the purple Subsonic Mutant Ninja Warrior instead of the black one. Suzie Walker from Springfield says she wanted a real pony..."
He raised his hand to stop her.
"Tell them all to stuff themselves. Anything else?"
She rolled her eyes, but continued.
"According to Ernie, the mechanic, the sled is about to throw an axle, and the differential is on the fritz."
"What the bloody hell does that even mean?"
"That it'll be expensive."
He slumped deeper into his chair, feeling the seed of a raging migraine growing behind his eyes, while she kept rifling through the papers.
"Oh yeah. A Mr. Bezos called. He'd like to discuss a business proposition."
"I've never heard of him."
"He is the CEO of a company called Amazon. They sell stuff."
"Well, pretty much everything. I think he wants to buy us out."
His eyes glinted with interest at last.
"Call that Bozo..."
"...call him, and set up a meeting."
Mrs. Claus was right, Mr. Bezos' interest was in acquisition. Mr. Claus concentrated on keeping a straight face while the lawyers battled out the details. Once they were all gone he could let go, and laugh like he hadn’t laughed in a long time. Really, for a man who had been out of practice for so many years, it was a splendid laugh, a most illustrious laugh.
4 weeks ago