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Rated: E · Short Story · Holiday · #2240003
How Santa and his new elf made Christmas come early.
Editors choice, 4/15/21 Romance Newsletter. 696 Word entry for December's 'No Dialogue Contest'

Henritta didn’t know the wind could shrill a wolf whistle like that. What a flake. She shrugged and wiggled herself more tightly into the fragile warmth of her coat. There was nothing pretty or sexy about the way she felt. Christmas wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Old man winter’s storming around giving people icy glances and the frozen shoulder was bad enough. He was really throwing a tantrum. This latest snow job made her shiver so bad she felt like a human earthquake.

Social distancing was no problem. The only other creature she had met while scurrying across the Walmart parking lot was a Salvation Army Santa bell ringer. They’d literally bumped into each other, scattering his hoarded donation of cash into the blowing, swirling whiteness covering up the world. Her own purse joined the lost treasure.

Digging around in the dancing drifts was useless. Even her car behind her had disappeared, magically transformed into a solid lump of the same blank reality transforming the world around her.

When she slipped and fell in an non-lady-like nose dive, feet scrambling uselessly above her in the air, Sir Santa gave up his fishing expedition for coin of the realm, grasped her where no man had before and she’d jerked up to knock his jaw with her head so hard it felled him. It was his turn to lay there making useless angels in the snow.

Her bark of laughter as she rubbed the bruise on her noggin brought a warm masculine echo from Santa. He rose to the occasion along with the handle of her luggage sized purse draped and swinging from one arm.

The jolly old elf’s whiskers had slipped. Underneath he was quite an attractive younger man. Eyes glazed over from their sudden introduction to each other? Or was the vacant stunned smile on his lips due to the shiver going through him when he realized she was worth wolf whistling at? Henritta had seen how she could knock the breath out of a man before.

Beauty had its advantages, though wrapped up better than any holiday present. There was a wink and twinkle in her eye reflected in his own. Their ghost breath mingled in a sudden gust of warmth. She managed to maintain her balance as she helped him steady himself.

Walmart canned music reached their ears before being blown away once more. The flashing lights glowing under the ‘Happy Holidays’ sign urged them on to safety. They clung to each other for support, ice skating, slip-sliding their way to the entrance.

There was Santa’s tripod with its black kettle waiting, lonely, a lost reminder of donations here, now gone. Henritta’s numb fingers found it difficult to pull her gloves off. It was fishing season again. A flutter of green bills flew into the pot from the palm of her hand.

Santa’s smile warmed up quite a bit. His fake beard tickled where it met Henritta’s chin. The kiss thanking her for her donation turned her world upside down again.

They sat together just inside the entrance, hands warming each other, fingers playing idly with the moment frozen in time. The howl of the storm faded into a whisper. Snowmen appeared out of the whiteness. Shook themselves off, stomping and nodding as they turned back into humans.

Every one of them dug into coat pockets to fish for a donation for the bell ringer at her side, paused, hesitated then dug deeper for more. Santa gave a real wolf whistle as Henritta unwrapped herself from her coat.

Henritta’s elfish grin and wink was thanks enough for each cash delivery. The couple settled in waiting the storm out, not a word escaped to destroy the feeling of shared purpose. It was enough to thaw out and begin warming up.

Santa, and then, his elf, began humming the elevator music inside Walmart. They were joined by stranger’s voices entering the store. Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass magically made the elevator music come alive. Warm and cozy intimate smiles were exchanged with nods.

Christmas had arrived early, bought and delivered with a white blanket of sparkling snow.

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