Sharing is caring… the gift given is better than the gift received, aye Fable adventurer? And what a gift the Marksman gave: the gift of kindness, friendship, and a profitable bounty. A bounty that should help with that ridiculous overhead that Santa talked about. Now we travel to an ordinary Christmas party. Now you may ask yourself, “Writer, why do we want to travel to a random, ordinary Christmas party?” Because the spirit of Christmas moves in mysterious and extraordinary ways. Christmas is here. In Ostricester, university students drop their textbooks and pick up their festive sweaters and holiday wassailing. Christmas magic flows through the air and swirls down a flue into the oven of a house being prepared for its own Christmas blowout…
The dainty, powdery snowflakes fall lightly to the ground, swirling in the crisp night air of Ostricester. The accumulating snow piles up on the stoop of an apartment complex. Inside a couple fresh out of university are dashing about the house. The wife, dressed in a slinky Santa’s outfit complete with the red fur stocking cap and long leather boots flits around the house, leaving a trail of Christmas decorations and cheer in her wake. Her husband wore a stocking cap to match hers, but that would be the only thing that matches in his ensemble. He wears a painfully festive sweater, with several bright colors and tacky popping of assorted colors. Several dozen miniature glossy ornaments hang from his wavy beard.
This Ugly Sweater Guy has obviously had a preemptive sampling of the holiday eggnog, as he stumbles around the house after his wife trying to do his duty as a helpful husband, albeit a slightly buzzed one. The wife, slightly aggravated by the husband’s clumsy attempts of assistance, turns to face her husband.
“If you’re looking to help, the gingerbread men are just about ready to come out of the oven,” exclaims the wife.
The Ugly Sweater Guy stares intently at her. His social awareness blunted by his pre-party revelry, he tries to decipher if she is frustrated at him, the preparations in general, something someone else has done, or if she’s even agitated at all.
“Okay,” says the Ugly Sweater Guy with a shrug, resigning himself to the mysteries of women. He shuffles over to the kitchen. Surprisingly, he manages to remember to put on an oven mitt as he opens the toasty oven. He removes the long baking sheet covered with dozens of uniform gingerbread men staring up at the ceiling blankly.
The Ugly Sweater Guy goes to set down the cookie sheet on the dessert table but realizes that he does not have a potholder to set the hot sheet on. The thought runs through his head that he has a potholder, it’s just on his hand. The Ugly Sweater Guy grabs the sheet with his free hand to work the potholder off his other hand. A split-second later the reality of what the Ugly Sweater Guy has done screams in his brain. The Ugly Sweater Guy swears, leaping into the air. He grabs the hot pan with his potholder-covered hand and sits the sheet down on a stone casserole dish, running to the kitchen to run cold water over his hand, swearing all the way to the sink.
A Gingerbread Man sits up to survey the scene. He could see that the wall was decorated festively, with Christmas lights, tinsel, and knick-knacks covering nearly every square inch of wall space in the apartment. The experience of a thousand generations of gingerbread men flows through the consciousness of the little Gingerbread Man. He has to go. He rises, and jumps up on the edge of the Eggnog bowl. Using the laddle like a track and field star, the Gingerbread Man vaults across the expansive bowl. The laddle strikes the edge of bowl, sending the Gingerbread Man tumbling through the air. He bounces off a lime jello dessert, and then crashes onto a chocolate cake, sliding across the icing.
The Gingerbread Man stands up, wipes the icing off of him, and slides down the decorative table cloth. The Ugly Sweater Guy walks in, nursing his hand with an ice pack. He looks up and sees the streaks through the chocolate cake and little chocolate tracks leading across the carpet. He catches a glimpse of the little Gingerbread Man disappearing behind the Christmas tree.
The Ugly Sweater Guy stands in shock, he’s never seen a living Gingerbread Man before. However, he quickly shakes out of his stupor to pursue the escaping baked good. He gets to the magnificently decorated Christmas tree, but doesn’t see the Gingerbread Man. He begins to look up and down the tree, but there are are so many ornaments a Gingerbread Man could hide in plain sight. Suddenly, branch shakes and the Ugly Sweater Guy spies the Gingerbread Man hanging from a branch. The Ugly Sweater Guy grabs at the Gingerbread Man, grasps him, and takes a bite out of the pastry’s head. Unfortunately for the Ugly Sweater Guy, the Gingerbread Man he grasped was a hard ceramic Christmas ornament.
“Yeowwwww,” yelps the Ugly Sweter Guy as the Gingerbread Man slides down the backside of the tree, dropping into a present bag, his fall cushioned by the fluffy tissue paper. The Ugly Sweater Guy drops to the floor, looking high and low over every present, searching for the run-away baked item.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING? THE GUESTS ARE ALMOST HERE! AND WHAT DID YOU DO TO THIS CAKE?” screams the Ugly Sweater Guy’s wife.
The Ugly Sweater Guy turns, his words hung in his throat. How would his wife ever believe that a wayward Gingerbread Man ran away and caused this mess?
“Uhhh well, I mean, I didn’t, well uhhh…” stammers the Ugly Sweater Guy.
“I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT! HELP ME GET THE REST OF THIS FOOD OUT,” exclaims the Ugly Sweater Guy’s wife.
The Ugly Sweater Guy stands up and follows his wife back into the kitchen. A high-pitched giggle breaks the silence as the Gingerbread Man crawls out of a gift bag and slips out the window into the night.
Narrated by Brandon Warner