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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2263192
An unusual Christmas shopping experience, thanks to Dad.
Dance Until They Stop Ye
WC 366

A crowd had gathered; Mark’s dad was at it again.

“I think Dad’s off his meds, Mom.”

“Oh, sweetie, he’s happy to be alive. He loves this time of year.”

“It’s so embarrassing.”

Mark’s dad was wearing a Santa hat, a cheesy Christmas sweater, red and green plaid pants, and black patented-leather tap shoes.

“I know, honey. You gotta love him,” she said and squeezed her son’s hand.

The teen hid the shadows as his father tap-danced in the circle the mall shoppers had cleared. They cheered him on and threw money at his feet.

Then his dad started singing in his loud baritone voice as he tap-tap-tapped across the Terrazzo. Mark backed into the entryway of the restroom area and plastered himself against a wall.

Dance, dance wherever you may be.
I am the Lord of the dance, said he
and I lead you now, wherever you may be,
and I lead you all to the dance, said he.

His fans were still cheering when Mark’s father was escorted out of the building.

Mark hurried over to his mom.

“Are they gonna lock him up, Mom?”

“Oh heavens no! They just escorted him to our car. That’s what they’ve done every other year,” she said. “Don’t you remember?”

“I guess.”

“Dancing and singing are better than drinking and gambling,” Mark’s mom said as she walked toward Macy’s. “At least your father’s vices are harmless.”

“I guess, but they are still embarrassing.”

“Let’s get this done before the stores close,” she said. "We got a late start this year, and the list is long.”

Mark followed his mom into the store.

Meanwhile, back at the car, the entertainer had taken a long nap and was now on the phone with one of his buddies.

“…Works every time. Got me some exercise and ten bucks in tips," he said, then added, " And I got out of Christmas shopping, yet again.”

He noticed his wife and son walking through the parking lot, their arms laden with packages.

“Here they come. Gotta go!" he said as he waved and smiled. "So, I’ll see you Friday for another wild poker night. I’ll bring the spiked eggnog! Later gator!”
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