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Checking It Once

by on December 23, 2013

This story was written for Trifecta’s weekly prompt, which was to use the word “father”. as in, a respectful form of address. ‘Tis the season. Enjoy!

The old man had a splitting headache. He reached for his glasses again, then paused. He hadn’t even got through the first reading yet, and the second reading was still to come.  The list grew longer every year, it seemed.

There was a light tap at his door, and a golden-haired elf bustled in. “I’ve brought another cocoa for you, Father,” she said, “and crumpets as well, and I expect to see them all gone before the afternoon. You know how you are with the readings, you lose track of time and you won’t eat. Very bad, sir, very bad!”

“You know, Juliet,” the old man said thoughtfully, “I don’t think there’ll be a second reading this year.”

Juliet stared. “I beg your pardon, Father?”

“Yes, I think we’ll skip the usual ceremonies. I’ve been hard on the children these past few years, and they deserve a real holiday for once, don’t you agree? Send the word down: every request this year is granted, no matter what, even if it’s a Shetland pony. There’ll be no coal in anyone’s stocking this Christmas!”

“But…but, Father, we can’t grant every request. What about Melville Withersby?”

The old man had moved on, however, sweeping away the list from his desk in a glorious bout of untidiness. “Every request, Juliet. Whatever the children want, they get! Even if-”

“It’s a Shetland pony, yes, Father, I know.” Juliet sighed. She didn’t have the heart to tell him that Melville, a candidate for the naughty list if ever there was one, wasn’t the type to ask for Shetland ponies. He had recently discovered action movies, and in consequence had far greater ambitions.


Many children had a better than usual Christmas that year, to their very great delight, and the consternation of their parents. Melville’s father was particularly stressed. He had to spend the Christmas holiday trying to explain to the friendly officials of the United States government how a nuclear missile had materialized in his front yard.


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  1. Momo permalink

    Melville Withersby is such a perfect name for the character who would ask for a nuclear missile. Great job!

  2. Now Santa, there’s such a thing as too lenient!

  3. Glynis permalink

    That’s when you know Santa needs a break ! Great story, made me laugh! 🙂

  4. Lance permalink

    I love the simple, but effective dialogue and the them was brilliant.

    • Thanks! I liked the dialogue myself. Can’t go wrong by using the word “crumpets.”

  5. Lance permalink


  6. I’ve got one thing to say to Melville Withersby’s pa, sometimes you got to let your kid clean up their own mess. lol, merry christmas. I enjoyed it.

    • I don’t have kids myself, but I do plan to someday, so I’ll be sure to remember that. 🙂

  7. ym1611 permalink

    That is one scary little kid. Poor dad, the anxiety in having to explain the existence of Santa 😛
    Great story, really loved it.

  8. It’s one of the rare moments that I had to laugh and be scared at the same time.

  9. Melville–a name for villainy! I loved the fun of this piece–it made me smile. I even read it aloud to my son. Now he wants a nuclear missile!

  10. This is adorable. Loved the phrase “glorious bout of untidiness,” especially since that was nothing compared to the mess Santa REALLY created. 🙂

  11. Ah, this is great! Love that ending.

  12. Thanks for the laugh and for linking up!

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