The Couch

Xmas Shopping

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Joined: Nov 11, 2007
Location: UK *up north somewhere*

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Avatar Nexus
Posted 12/23/08 - 7:03 PM:
Subject: Xmas Shopping
Christmas Shopping.

He had been Christmas shopping since the morning. It was a more pleasant sensation than work, or at least, had become so since his work/leisure balance had become a more granite, more real and solid factor in all he said and thought. It wasn't so much the giving as the escape and novelty involved in buying things you would never use or usually have any interest in. Here, a wooden box in which compost and seeds would eventually see the growth of a herb garden that he was fairly sure Janet, the woman that sat opposite him at work processing applications, would appreciate. A tiny garden within her city enclosed apartment. Silly stuff really all this fuss but it still inspired waves of emotion in him that he never seemed to quite manage at other times in the year. That they - the emotions - were sustained somehow by this immense shared fantasy with its bells and snow and over weight middle-aged men with supernatural abilities and monstrous laughs. An odd couple hanging around in animal stables in the Middle East, strange cosmological events, sheep and shepherds, three kings then one king intent on killing babies (usually forgotten, too extreme, too real), angels. Snow. Not in the Middle East at least, yet who cares for facts! Christmas songs, carols, universal peace and compassion.

How would his bank account cope this year? Well the present list was short, ma and pa and the rest of them had been put away like unwanted presents in some guilty hiding place in the mind ever since the trouble all those years ago....... he knew it wasn't his fault. He also knew, pretty much, there was no God or super subtle-unsubtle system hidden from his eye that accounted and blamed. Free of all that. At least that is what he said to himself, what he often said to his heavy heart. Money. He cared less and cared more. After all, you might be able to buy a little happiness if not that complete package as all those hungry souls knew in the pre credit melt down days when Santa had still delivered - via the loose purses of the mad greedy banks - the presents they thought they would have to work years for.

When would Santa land and give him his share?

The shopping centre lights flickered. Still light through the glass ceiling minimised the effect but it was a noticable event. Again, this time the lights on the large tree nearby seemed to fuse as if there had been a sudden throb that suddenly faltered to zero. Now just the daylight blue too real on all the faces around. He noticed them more closely - the faces - than he would have done normally. He noticed how heavy the packages had become dangling from his wrists and set the bags down and stood waiting for what would happen next. Somebody close by, a man fussing over his wife and kids half joked about terrorists.

Then everybody who had stopped, as if powered by the current of electricity itself, began to move again. He had seen no change, still the only the light seemed the from the sky and the dark recesses of shops stared out blankly but all bodies around - like some zombie movie with emphasis of pychosis strangely off and the chaos reserved - shopped and chatted and fussed and scampered as they would have if....

A tap on the shoulder. A monstrous vision barely a man, dragging a chain, surely of some other world. He saw also all the effects around - a general desintegration of the elements constituting reality that only the best Hollywood CGI could have bestowed.

"I am the ghost of Christmas past." So said the monstrous vision.

"Oh, fuck off." he replied.

Oddly, so complete was his negation of the unbelievable alteration in the course of his pre Christmas preparations the unreal events seemed to subside and he left the shopping centre for the city streets with even less trouble on his conscience than he had been feeling before the so-called ghost had appeared. Indeed, even the bags seemed lighter and the possible destination of the gifts inside more real. Somehow it started to snow and he wondered about the larger ghosts and their hold over him all those years past and how he'd ever managed to fly - like the boy and the snowman - over all the territory and still stayed sane.
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