Friday, December 02, 2011

New Beginning 907

"What do you mean, no presents for children this year?” Santa Claus was puffing on his exercise bike when the new Head Elf marched into his office.

“We’ve looked at the records of every child, Santa. Each one is bad and deserves no present. You and the reindeers can have a quiet night at home this Christmas Eve instead.”

“No good children anywhere?” Santa Claus tumbled off the bike in panic. “But... the world will be full of disappointed kids on Christmas morning.”

“Well,” the Head Elf said with a shrug. “That’ll teach those horrible brats to behave.”

"What have they done that's so terrible?"

"It's not what they've done, it's what they HAVEN'T done!" the Head Elf said, his muttonchops quivering. "Not a single one of the runts has submitted a query, an opening or even a fake plot to m... er, Evil Editor's great blog."

"Since when do kids have to... say, is that my Santa suit you're wearing?"

"Had to. The elf outfits were way too small. Now to my Christmas list. Let's see: 12 tweeters following, 11 minions commenting; 10 readers book-chatting; 9 queries awaiting...."

Opening: JAS.....Continuation: John


AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Not bad. I assume EE is going to point out that the plural of reindeer is reindeer.

Two things:

The first line doesn't sound like something people actually say. It's an as-you-know-Bob.

And, always a problem with these Santa Claus stories: audience. If this is the opening of a short story, it could work. But if it's the opening to a middle grade novel, then you're targeting an age group that for the most part doesn't believe in Santa Claus.

(/Pause while I vainly attempt to forestall ripostes by pointing out I said "for the most part".)

And it's only got once-a-year salability.

Chicory said...

That continuation was perfect. :) I rather like this opening- especially the idea that Santa's trying to get into shape this Christmas.

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

Santa smelled a revolutionary rat and pinned the new Head Elf to the wall by his pointed ears. After the Reindeer Spring, Santa had enough of deconstructing Christmas and knew the declaration that all children were bad was head Elfin propaganda that had to crushed. He took his nutcracker out and he would go to work on the new Head Elf until his filthy lies were taken back.

Rudolph looked through the window and shuddered.

--Wilkins MacQueen

Jenny sat bolt upright in her bed, shaking.

Santa knew.

Everyone else believed her little sister's death was an accident. Children drown easily. Nobody's fault.

But Santa knew.

What did this mean? That Momma didn't need to cry at night? That Daddy could quit drinking that awful tasting brown stuff?


It meant--and this was the worst part--it meant--oh no--it meant that she could kiss any hope of getting that new X Box she wanted goodbye.

Maybe she could fix Santa, too. Some of that stuf Daddy drank, right in the milk. That'd teach him.


Evil Editor said...

This is all fine. Except "reindeers." Although maybe the Head Elf calls them reindeers. Why don't we add "s" to reindeer, deer, elk, moose? Can't be the hooves, because we add "s" to horse and cow. Henceforth, I suggest all plurals be created with the addition of "s." Would it kill us to make our language easier for Chinese people to learn?

Is there something weird about the first two sentences? Does Santa ask his question, and THEN the elf walks in? Where was the elf when he informed Santa there'd be no presents? In the next room? Maybe instead of "marched into his office" it should be "read aloud from the annual report." In which case, change "when" to "as."

Also, I think even if there are no presents to deliver, Santa is required to deliver lumps of coal to everyone, so there'll be no quiet night at home.

Dave Fragments said...

My engineering career was turning dirty black coal into dirty black oil and then clean white gasoline. I resent (highly) the implication that a lump of coal is a worthless gift. As I remember, we put the clean white gasoline we got from it and treated it like diamonds. I keep it on my mantle.

That being said and seasonally adjusted...

I Think its a good opening. The elf who doesn't want to give gifts. What is this elf? The wicked stepmother? The cruel stepfather who ships the kids to a boarding home or abandons the kiddies when he remarries?

And Santa is like the psychologist Santa analyzing the feelings of disappointed kids and making that weak argument against the strict elf. Touchy, feely, new age vaporous doo doo...

But please do fix the action in that first paragraph.

Jo-Ann said...

Author here. Thanks for the continuations and comments. Yes, I picked up reindeers, too.

This was the opening to a 500 word children's story for an e-zine.

The deadline for submission has already passed and I found out yesterday it was accepted (air punches with glee) and will appear later this month.

@Alaska, the first line is a please-explain, a cousin of the as-you-know-Bob. I also think its an attention grabber.

I guess people will assume that off-scene, Santa received an email (or whatever) declaring the elf's position, and was hauling him in to find out what was going on.

@Dave, yeah, my Dad toiled for many years either mining the stuff, or processing it in a factory. Coal put food on our table and a roof on our heads, as he pointed out to me when I protested large scale coal burning to produce electricity during my activist stage.
I'll wrap some up and give it to him this christmas. (Thanks for the idea, EE)

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Congratulations, Jo-Ann :-)

Wilkins MacQueen said...

Nice going Jo-Ann. You're Christmas came early. Good for you.