Monday, November 24, 2014

A Christmas Carol

"¡Bah, humbug!" was what I said when this wrecked the back tire of my bicycle last week:

It is a marvel... that something so slight could topple a legend...

"¡Bah, humbug!" was what I said when, two days later, this wrecked my same tire:

All men fall... it is but time and method that differ...

This week it was my bicycle's pedal the one that succumbed before Dame Destiny. Believe me, oh brothers, that I just didn't say "bah, humbug". The curses I raised towards the sky, as well as the wounds in my feet, which skidded for ten metres over the pavement, will forever be present in my mind.

Due the the graphic nature of my feet, I have decided not to publish their photo. Instead, here is the cover of my first novella, already available at Amazon

It's never nice to be hurt or sick, confined to a bed, with your mobility lessened by the venturesome and ruthless pass of life. However, it can give you something, sometimes. It can give you, perhaps, time to think, or it can give the Ghosts of Christmas time to visit you.

Have you ever seen The Town Santa Forgot?

It's a quaint Christmas story, in which a boy understands the real meaning of toys and presents

As I began thinking about how much I liked to receive Christmas presents when I was younger, the first one arrived. It was an apparition that emanated warmth and tenderness. It also smelled of grape juice. She was a brown-skinned lady, with golden hair. Her purple robe covered her body completely and reached several metres behind her. She approached and sat over the bed, smiling. We remained silent for a long while.

"It's been a long time since Christmas doesn't excite you," she said finally, "or not as much as before, anyway."

I simply shrugged and nodded gently. A mild affirmation.

"What did you like the most?" she asked, "what's the thing you remember most fondly?"

I remember... the letters, and the thrill I got from writing them, strongly wishing for a toy, making drawing for some Santa Claus. I remember decorating the Christmas tree with my parents, every November the 20th, while we watched a movie about Pancho Villa. I remember, of course, the pollo en achiote, and the codito pasta, and I even remember the sandwiches that we prepared as snacks before the lavish dinner. I remember the hugs, and the constant "Merry Christmas" in every corner. I remember that time when I dressed with formal pants, a white formal shirt and a cool black bow tie, while I still was a child. I remember the advent crown, and every dominical chat with my parents. I remember the vacations. I remember Christmas morning, with games and chocolates under the magnificent and gorgeous tree. I remember Christmas day, with the apple and carrot salads, and the pudding. I remember... the reheated meal. I remember my friends, and their messages and phone calls, full of good vibrations and happy wishes, full of affection and cheerful happiness. I remember being with the people I love, just sitting, watching Christmas specials, like The Town Santa Forgot, smiling.

When I turned, the Ghost of Christmas Past had gone. However, her smell of grape juice stuck with my for a long time.

I got up from bed slowly, trying not to bend my toes. I got out of the room and drank a glass of guava juice. When I returned, a husky man was sitting on my bed. He had a thick black beard, a black and yellow cap and a megaphone. His robe, red, was so big that it looked like the bed's duvet.

"What's your plan for today?" asked the man. His voice was accentuated by the megaphone, but not amplified.

I looked down, towards my feet. Then, I turned back towards the apparition, the Ghost of Christmas Present. I shrugged.

"I see your feet have got you a little down, kid," said the man, "but I know exactly what you need to get out of the dumps." The man smiled and walked towards me. "Hold this," he said while he held a yellow towel in front of him.

When I took it between my hands, the landscape changed. We were no longer in my room, but in a big store... in the toys department.

"Window shopping," he said, through his megaphone. He smiled and walked towards a shelf. I followed slowly, since my feet were still hurt. There, ready and stacked over each other, were a thousand board games, in every colour and flavour, and for every age...

The Tower of Drinking... 8 out of 10 livers recommend it

Have you ever noticed that board games are not what they used to be? I remember that there was a game called Uno, but now there are a million versions of the same game. There used to be a unique version of Monopoly, but now you have the superhero version and the brands version and the extreme restaurants version. All that overfall of new directions, joined by products like:

Blow the Bubble Gum... AKA Share Buccal Microbes EASY

I see deady people? Deady!? Well, I guess that, at least, they wrote that word like that on purpose, right?... right!?

Resucitate? Resucitate!? It is the Oxford Dictionary the one that is undone and moaning from its grave

And, of course, the classics are also here, even if they are a little bit modified, like that game in which you have to act what your friend has in her head:

A demented zombie mime, a cannibal and, possibly, superficial rock band...

... a diabolical plump-cheeked trumpet...

After a while of wandering, I realised that the second apparition was gone. He had left me stranded in the toys department of some store. I crossed my arms, annoyed, but as I did I felt someone touching my shoulder. It was the Ghost of Christmas Present. He offered me the yellow towel again, and in touching it we returned to my room.

The Ghost gave me a small box. "Play for a while," he said, "and I'll call you when the window is ready."

The Ghost's cryptic message surprised me, but I thought it to be part of the magic. I opened the box and found a copy of Chrono Trigger inside. I smiled and started to play. Truth be told, one of the habits I still have is that of playing it when the year is ending. After a while, the apparition called me, asking me to join him in the upper floor. I frowned, but climbed the stairs carefully. The Ghost of Christmas Present was gone, but had left me a present.

He had fashioned a kind of window, where all the drawings I had made throughout my life now hanged. There were moving images, the animations that I had created. In its own stand, the novella -in spanish and english -that I wrote. There was also a little Christmas tree, with a note that read "Window shopping always helps... now, dedicate yourself to whatever you like to do the most, living with the joy of Christmas within your heart. Only in making the art you long for, lay the answer to your anxieties".

I still had a smile in my face when I stepped out of the shower. I was even singing. As I carefully dried my feet, a dense vapour flooded the bathroom. It was a kind of fog, dark but with an ethereal supernatural shining. I put on some pants and a shirt, and walked outside to the living room. There, the third apparition awaited, the Ghost of Christmas Future. A long, hooded, gray mantle covered it, so I couldn't see its face. I was scared.

"Are you de herald of what will happen in forthcoming Christmas holidays?" I asked, my voice faltering.

The silhouette nodded slightly. Then, it slid towards me.

"You frighten me, apparition" I said, "even more so than your predecessors."

The silhouette moved towards my bedroom. As it was beneath the lintel, it turned towards me. It raised its arm, and told me to join it. I did, slowly, dragging my feet both because of the pain of my wounds and the dread that had taken hold of my reason. The apparition pointed towards my old Super Nintendo. I frowned. The apparition pointed again towards the videogames console.

I moved closer to the console and ducked. I could hear a distant murmur, like a little laughter. I turned to see the apparition and found that it had slid right next to me. My heart rumbled within my chest and I had to inhale deeply. However, I heard that little laughter again. I jumped and removed its hood. Its face was that of a little redheaded girl, smiling. I fell backwards because of the surprise. The girl turned to see me, still smiling. She removed the mantle completely. She was standing over the shoulders of another kid, a boy with brown hair. He was laughing as well. The girl jumped down and both walked towards me. They helped me up. Then, both pointed to the Super Nintendo.

I plugged the console and gave a control to each kid. The game was Super Mario Kart. I just stayed there, watching how they played and challenged themselves, deciding who would get to drive Yoshi for the next race. After a while, I grabbed the computer and started to write this story. When I looked up, after finishing the first paragraph, the kids were gone. I continued writing. Now I'm thinking, meditating what would the perfect ending to this little tale be, and I suppose that each and every one of us must decide how to treat his past, present and future... both in the Christmas as in the summertime...

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