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Marcus Dino

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CHRISTMAS IN DES MOINES
By Marcus Dino
Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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REPRINTED FROM DEC 2008

YOU PEOPLE YOU PEOPLE.....HERE'S ANOTHER SILLY CHRISTMAS STORY FROM LAST YEAR...I PLAN TO DO A NEW ONE...IT'S STILL IN CONSTRUCTION....MY 4 BRAINS NEED TIME TO DO SILLY STORIES LIKE THIS PEOPLE....

F LAROUCHE

I ARRIVED AT MY HOUSE LATE YESTERDAY AFTERNOON, CHRISTMAS EVE.   THIS WAS AFTER ABOUT THREE OR FOUR CANCELLED FLIGHTS FROM LAX AND 'CIRCLING' OVER THE DARNED CITY OF DES MOINES A COUPLE OF HOURS DUE TO THE WEATHER CONDITIONS.  OMIGOSH I THOUGHT MY PLANE WAS GONNA LAND IN CHICAGO AND I WOULD HAVE TO LIKE TAKE A BUS TO DES MOINES OR HAVE MY PARENTS PICK UP, YOU KNOW JUST LIKE THOSE POOR PEOPLE HAD TO GO THRU ALL THAT NONSENSE IN THE 'OUT OF TOWNERS.'

AAAAAAAAAANYWAYS AFTER ALL THESE TRIBULATIONS I ARRIVE AT THE AIRPORT EXPECTING TO BE GREETED BY MY DISFUNCTIONAL FAMILY.  YOU KNOW FATHER, MOTHER, PIGG, GRANDMA., AND MY FAVORITE 'LIFELONG BACHELOR' UNCLE BOB.   BUT NO, NOBODY CAME, NOBODY WAS THERE.  NOBODY TO GREET POOR FIFI.  THAT'S WHY THESE PEOPLE ARE DISFUNCTIONAL.  I MEAN I EVEN CALLED THESE PEOPLE ON MY CELL IN THE PLANE TELLING THEM THAT I WOULD BE ARRIVING A LITTLE LATE.  BUT NO, NOBODY CAME.  JUST LET POOR LITTLE FIFI CALL UP A CAB AND CARRY ALL THESE SUITCASES BY HERSELF...........THE NERVE OF MY FAMILY.......I WONDER IF ANYTHING HAPPENED.....I CALLED MY HOME AND NOBODY ANSWERED..........

AS I GOT INTO THE CAB AND DROVE FROM THE AIRPORT TO FAMILY'S HOUSE IN WEST DES MOINES I WAS CAPTIVATED BY THE SCENERY.  SNOW ALL OVER THE PLACE, SLEET ALL OVER THE PLACE.....LIKE A WHITE CHRISTMAS SHOULD BE.........EVEN THOUGH IT WAS KIND OF GRAY AND THE LAND AND THE CORNFIELDS WERE BARREN IT JUST FELT MORE LIKE CHRISTMAS AS OPPOSED TO SAY GREEN SUNNY LA, EVEN THOUGH LA RECENTLY HAS BEEN  DOING A PRETTY GOOD JOB OF IMITATING THE MIDWEST.   THAT PLACE FELT LIKE NOAH'S FLOOD JUST BEFORE I LEFT, RAIN COMING DOWN ALMOST EVERY DAY.

WELL I FINALLY ARRIVED HOME AND AFTER I PAID THE CABBIE WHAT I THOUGHT WAS AN OUTRAGEOUS PRICE PAYING THAT DARNED CABBIE JUST TO DRIVE A FEW MILES I WENT UP TO MY DOOR AND KNOCKED ON IT REAL HARD LIKE.

WOOF WOOF  BARKED MAX, OUR FAMILY'S GOLDEN RETRIEVER, QUITE READY TO JUMP ON ME LIKE HE ALWAYS DOES AS SOON AS THE DOOR OPENED.   BUT NOBODY OPENED THE DOOR.  'wHERE THE HECK WAS MY FAMILY? DID I SOMEHOW MISS THEM AT THE AIRPORT?'

WELLLLLLLLL SOMETHING QUITE AMAZING HAPPENED.  THE DOOR JUST OPENED BY ITSELF AND IN THE NEXT  SPLIT SECOND I'M SEEING THE LIGHTS COME ON, I SEE MY ENTIRE FAMILY YELL, WELCOME HOME FIFI, WE ALL WANTED TO SURPRISE YOU AND THEN THIS BIG FURRY GOLDEN BALL JUMPS ONTO ME AS QUICK AS LIGHTING.

"MAX SIT DOWN ," FATHER YELLS  AT MAX AS HE IS ALL OVER ME, LICKING MY FACE.

I PAT MAX ON HIS HEAD AND HE GETS OFF OF ME, "MAX GOOD BOY, GOOD BOY SETTLE DOWN.  MAX LETS OUT A BIG WOOF AND THEN WALKS AWAY.

WELL THERE'S ALL KINDS OF KISSES AND HUGS.  I GREET EVERYBODY. FATHER, MOTHER, UNCLE BOB, GRANDMA, PIGG.......THERE WAS A HUGE CHRISTMAS TREE IN THE LIVING ROOM WITH ALL KINDS OF GIFTS UNDERNEATH IT.  THIS FAMILY DOESN'T SEEM TO UNDERSTAND THERE'S A RECESSION GOING ON........

"SO YOU PEOPLE JUST FELT PLAYING A GAME WITH ME EH?"

BIG UNCLE BOB AFTER HE GIVES ME A BIG LIKE BEAR HUG SITS DOWN IN A NICE RECLINER IN MY FAMILY'S LIVING ROOM, MAX IS LYING DOWN AND PANTING RIGHT NEXT TO HIM,  AND SAYS, "SCARED YOU A LITTLE BIT FIF?  YOU THOUGHT LIKE SOMETHING HAPPENED TO US?"

THE REST OF MY FAMILY SAT DOWN IN THE LIVING ROOM.  "WE WANTED TO SURPRISE YOU," FATHER SAID HE SAT ON THE SOFA.

"I CAN SEE THAT," I REPLIED SARCASTICALLY.

GRANDMA SAT ON THE SOFA AND POINTED TO FATHER AND MY UNCLE.  "WILL YOU TWO BIG GUYS TAKE FIFI'S SUITCASES UPSTAIRS FOR HER?   FIFI IT MUST HAVE BEEN A CHORE FOR YOU TO CARRY THOSE HEAVY SUITCASES FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE HOME BY YOURSELF.  POOR THING.  AND OMILORD YOU LOOK LIKE YOU'VE LOST A LITTLE WEIGHT.  WELL THERE'S PLENTY OF FOOD HERE SO PUT ON A FEW POUNDS BEFORE YOU GO BACK TO LA."

"GRANDMA I DIDN'T LOSE ANY WEIGHT.  BEING AN ACTRESS I NEED TO BE THIN.  I CAN'T AFFORD TO GET FAT AND GET CALLED FOR A LOT OF AUDITIONS."

"THAT'S RIGHT........THOSE AUDITIONS....." FATHER MUTTERS AS HE AND UNCLE BOB TAKE THE SUITCASES UPSTAIRS AND PUT THEM IN MY OLD ROOM FOR ME.

"DON'T WORRY ABOUT HIM FIFI," MOTHER, SITTING ON ANOTHER SOFA IN THE LIVING ROOM, SAYS.  "SO HAVE YOU HAD ANY AUDITIONS RECENTLY FIFI?"

I SIT ON THE SOFA NEXT TO MOTHER AND PIGG.  "NAAAAAAAH THE ONLY THING I'VE BEEN DOING RECENTLY IS SOME EXTRA WORK FOR AN UPCOMING SPACE MOVIE......YOU KNOW IT'S JUST SLOW....IT'S JUST SLOW...."   I LOOK AT PIGG'S FACE AND I NOTICE SHE'S WEARING MASCARA.   "OMIGOSH PIGG ARE YOU GROWING UP!"

"WELL I'M 14 NOW FIFI."

MOTHER PUTS HER ARMS AROUND PIGG.  "SHE JUST MADE JUNIOR VARSITY CHEERLEADER.  NEXT YEAR SHE'LL BE ON VARSITY."

"OHHHHH YOU'LL HAVE TO SHOW ME ONE OF THOSE CHEERS LATER ON PIGG," I GIGGLED AT HER.

FATHER AND UNCLE CAME DOWNSTAIRS AND SAT DOWN.  "THOSE DARN THINGS ARE HEAVY," UNCLE BOB SAID.  "I APPLAUD YOU ON YOUR NATURE GIVEN STRENGTH TO CARRY THOSE SUITCASES FROM LA TO ALL THE WAY OUT HERE BY YOURSELF."

GRANDMA SHOOK HER HEAD....."YOU TWO GUYS LET POOR LITTLE FIFI CARRY THOSE HEAVY BAGS FROM THE AIRPORT TO HERE JUST BECAUSE YOU WANTED TO PLAY A LITTLE GAME ON HER."

"THEY'RE NOT THAT HEAVY GRANDMA," I LAUGHED.

NOW CAME THE TOUGH EXPECTED GRILLING FROM FATHER.  "SO WHAT ROLES HAVE YOU LANDED RECENTLY YOUNG LADY ANYTHING?"  NOTICE HE SAID ROLES NOT AUDITIONS.

"NOTHING QUITE YET FATHER," I ANSWERED QUITE ANXIOUSLY," BUT I KNOW SOMETHING'S GONNA BE COMING UP."

"GIVE HER SOME TIME CHARLES.  IT'S NOT EASY MAKING IT AS A 'JUGGLER' THESE DAYS," MY BRILLIANT UNCLE BOB,  YOU KNOW HE'S ABOUT TO BE A FULL PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY AT GRINNELL, INTERJECTED.  "YOU'LL BE THE BIGGEST MOVIE STAR THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN IN A YEAR OR TWO RIGHT FIF?"

"I DON'T UNDERSTAND UNCLE BOB, WHAT DO YOU MEAN MAKING IT AS A JUGGLER?"

"WHAT I MEANT FIF IS THAT SAY ONLY LIKE A HUNDRED YEARS AGO A  MAJOR FORM OF ENTERTAINMENT WAS A FELLA WHO WOULD DO A JUGGLING ACT IN FRONT OF A BUNCH OF PEOPLE SITTING UNDER A HUGE TREE.  NO BIG TIME AGENTS, NO BIG TIME PRODUCERS, NO ATHLETES GETTING HUGE CONTRACTS, NO MOVIE OR TV STARS GETTING THEIR OWN TRAILER AND ALL KINDS OF HUGE PERKS IN THEIR CONTRACTS.  JUST A GUY DOING A JUGGLING ACT IN FRONT OF A FEW PEOPLE."

FATHER SIGHED AND LOOKED AT ME, "YOU REMEMBER DAN LYONS, HE ASKED YOU TO GO TO THE PROM WITH HIM BUT YOU TUNED HIM DOWN.  WE JUST GOT A CARD FROM HIS FAMILY.   HE WENT TO GRINNEL AND NOW HE'S A THIRD YEAR MEDICAL STUDENT AT MICHIGAN.  HE JUST GOT ENGAGED TO ANOTHER MEDICAL STUDENT......"

"OHHH I REMEMBERED DAN LYONS VERY WELL.  THE REASON I TURNED HIM TO DOWN TO GO TO THE PROM WAS THAT HE WAS SO STUCK UP AND IRRITATING... WELL BOOLAH BOOLAH BOOLAH FOR HIM....WHAT'S HE GONNA BE.......LIKE A CORONER OR SOMETHING?

EVERYBODY LET OUT A ROARING LAUGHTER EXCEPT FATHER.  UNCLE BOB WAS THE LOUDEST.  "AHHHHHHHHH CHARLES YOU DEFINITELY HAVE A FUTURE OSCAR WINNER HERE.  JUST HAVE SOME PATIENCE, FIFI WILL BE A BIG STAR IN A YEAR OR TWO.  SO WHAT'S THIS THING ABOUT A POSSIBLE ACTORS STRIKE COMING UP FIF?"

"I DON'T KNOW UNCLE BOB.....I JUST PAY MY UNION DUES AND DO WHATEVER THEY TELL ME TO DO."

"ACTORS STRIKE!" UNION DUES!" FATHER SHOUTS.   "FIRST YOU GIVE THESE GUYS UNION DUES AND THEY CAN'T EVEN FIND YOU A JOB.  SECOND YOU CALL THESE CLOWNS IN FILMS AND TV ACTORS.  NOW FIFI I KNOW YOU'RE BIASED BECAUSE YOU WORK IN HOLLYWOOD.  BOB YOU TELL ME WHAT GOOD QUALITY MOVIE HOLLYWOOD HAS MADE THE LAST THREE OR FOUR YEARS.  I MEAN THE STUFF THEY CRANK OUT IS PATHETIC.  I DON'T KNOW, CAROLINE WE HAVEN'T SEEN A MOVIE IN WHAT A YEAR OR SO?"

"NOW HOLD IT THERE CHARLES," BOB SAID QUIETLY.  "I AGREE THE MOVIES TODAY ARE PRETTY BAD BUT THERE ARE A COUPLE OF GOOD ONES RECENTLY.  I JUST SAW AN EDUCATION AND I GOTTA ADMIT THAT WAS PRETTY DARN GOOD."

"I AGREE FATHER," I ADDED.  "AN EDUCATION WAS PRETTY GOOD AND SO WAS A SERIOUS MAN."

FATHER JUST SHOOK HIS HEAD.  "MOVIES WITH A LIBERAL BENT...."

"COMEON CHARLES," BOB SAID.  "YES THE MOVIES FIFI MENTIONED MAY BE ON THE 'LIBERAL' SIDE BUT THE STORIES ARE GOOD."

"BOB I KNEW YOU WERE LIBERAL BUT LALA LAND CERTAINLY HAS OUR FORMER DIE HARD REPUBLICAN LITTLE GIRL  LEANING TO THE LEFT........"

"I AM NOT THAT LIBERAL FATHER," I LAUGHED.

WE JUST HAD A GOOD TIME AND THEN LATER THAT EVENING SAT DOWN TO A NICE HAM DINNER.   AFTER THAT WE KIND OF THEN SAT AROUND IN THE FAMILY ROOM, DRANK SOME EGG NOG, AND SANG A FEW CHRISTMAS SONGS AT THE FAMILY PIANO.  OMIGOSH WAS UNCLE BOB A GOOD PIANO PLAYER (ON TOP OF BEING A VERY GOOD SINGER).  WE THEN WENT TO MIDNIGHT MASS BECAUE WE'RE ALL GOOD CATHOLICS EXCEPT FOR UNCLE BOB WHO IS LIKE A 'CLOSET AETHEIST' BUT HE WENT TOO EXCEPT HE DIDN'T GO TO COMMUNION.  MY GOSH THAT CHURCH WAS PACKED.  YOU KNOW ALL THE PEOPLE WHO ONLY GO TO CHURCH TWO TIMES A YEAR, CHRISTMAS AND EASTER, WELL THEY WERE ALL THERE.  FINALLY WE THEN ADJOURNED FOR THE NIGHT.  I JUST LOVED SLEEPING IN MY OLD BED.

THE NEXT MORNING I WAS AWAKENED BY MAX COMING UP TO MY BED, BARKING,  AND LICKING MY FACE.  "OH MAX ," I GROWLED.  "YOU'RE A FOUR LEGGED ALARM CLOCK."

 

AFTER WASHING AND GETTING DRESSED WE ALL OPENED UP OUR PRESENTS UNDER THE TREE.  FATHER BEGINS THE DAY GRUMPLING THAT 'THE LAROUCHE FAMILY IS CERTAINLY DOING THEIR SHARE TO HELP THE ECONOMY.'  BUT THE PRESENTS WERE NICE,  I GOT AFTERSHAVE FOR FATHER, A NICE PAIR OF PEARL EARRINGS FOR MOTHER, A BOTTLE OF FANCY PERFUME FOR PIGG, A LARGE RED SCARF FOR UNCLE BOB AND A LARGE BOX OF CONFECTIONS, FRUICAKE, NUTS, AND CANDY, FOR GRANDMA.  I RECEIVED MOSTLY CLOTHES AND A COUPLE OF GO GO AND DURAN DURAN CDS, BECAUSE YOU KNOW I LIKE LISTENING TO THE OLD GROUPS AS OPPOSED TO ANYBODY OUT THERE TODAY.. 

FATHER ALSO GOT A NICE BLUE RAY DVD PLAYER FROM UNCLE BOB AND IMMEDIATELY TOLD HIM DID HE SEE THE OUTRAGEOUS PRICES OF THESE NEW BLUERAY DISKS.  OF COURSE THAT BLUERAY PICTURE WILL LOOK GOOD WITH THE FANCY HDTV FATHER BOUGHT EARLIER THIS YEAR.   ON TOP OF THAT EVERYBODY RECEIVED A LOT OF CLOTHES, I GUESS YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH CLOTHES.  FATHER BOUGHT MOTHER A REAL FANCY GYM SUIT TO DO HER 'WORKOUTS' IN.   PIGG GOT A REAL NICE BIKE TO RIDE TO SCHOOL IN FROM UNCLE BOB, GRANDMA GOT A TON OF GIFT CERTIFICATES ESPECIALLY TO ALL THE LOCAL DRUG STORES WHILE UNCLE BOB GOT A FANCY WOODEN PIPE FROM FATHER.  OF COURSE BOB DOESN'T SMOKE BUT HE IS A COLLEGE PRODESSOR AND COLLEGE PROFESSORS USED TO ALWAYS SMOKE PIPED TOBACCO.  I GUESS A WOODEN PIPE IS LIKE A SYMBOL OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT AND OF COURSE UNCLE BOB WILL STASH IT SOMEWHERE NEVER TO BE FOUND AGAIN."

"SO FIFI WHAT DID YOU GIVE YOUR FRIENDS AND WHAT DID THEY GIVE YOU?" UNCLE BOB ASKED AFTER WE OPENED ALL THE PRESENTS.

"WELL I GOT THOSE NICE PAJAMIES YOU KNOW LIKE YOU SEE ON TV FROM BIFF......"

"WHAT......?"  FATHER SHOUTED.  EVERYBODY LAUGHED.

"I'M JUST GETTTING A RIDE OUT OF YOU, FATHER.   I KNEW YOU WOULD REACT LIKE THAT.  BIFF BOUGHT ME A COOL JACKET, EVRYBODY ELSE...... WELL..... WE JUST BOUGHT EACH OTHER GIFT CERTIFICATES.......YOU KNOW WITH TIMES BEING TIGHT....."

"AND WHAT IF BIFF BOUGHT FIFI PAJAMAS CHARLES?  I MEAN HE IS HER BOYFRIEND........" BOB SMILED AT FATHER WHO GLARED BACK AT HIM.  BY THE WAY FIFI ARE YOU GONNA TIE THE KNOT BEFORE YOU TURN THIRTY?  YOU'RE GETTING TO BE AN 'OLD MAID'."

"OHHHH LOOK WHO'S TALKING ABOUT GETTING MARRIED BEFORE THIRTY.  YOU'VE HAD ALL THESE GIRLFRIENDS AND CASUAL RELATIONSHIPS BUT NEVER A WIFE AND YOU'RE WHAT 51 OR 52 NOW BOB?"  I SMIRKED.

"YOU'RE RIGHT FIFI," BOB LAUGHED.  "I SHOULDN'T TALK.  THERE IS A YOUNG ASSISTANT PROF IN MY DEPARTMENT THAT LET'S SAY, I'VE KIND OF BEEN FLIRTING WITH.......I'M READY TO SETTLE DOWN PRETTY SOON...."

"I TOLD YOU TO GIVE A CALL TO ALOCKI BOB, SHE'S LIKE THE SMARTEST PERSON I EVER MET AND YOU TWO ARE SUCH LEFT BRAINED PEOPLE......WELL YOU'RE ALSO KIND OF RIGHT BRAINED UNCLE BOB......BUT I KNOW YOU TWO WOULD GET ALONG SO WELL..."

"LEFT BRAINED, RIGHT BRAINED," FATHER MUTTERED.  "NOW FIFI IF YOU WERE STUDYING TO BE A HIGHLY PAID NEUROSURGEON INSTEAD OF A STRUGGLING ACTRESS I CAN SEE YOU WASTING ALL THIS TIME LEARNING ALL ABOUT THE FUNCTIONS OF THE HUMAN BRAIN......."

EVERYBODY LAUGHED EXCEPT ME, I DIDN'T THINK THAT WAS FUNNY.  JUST KIDDING, ANWWAYS WE ALL HAD A MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND YOU KNOW I CAN'T ALWAYS GO VISIT DES MOINES BECAUSE OF MY FINANCES SO IT WAS REAL NICE SEEING MY FAMILY AND SEEING ALL THE SNOW OUTSIDE EVEN THOUGH I HAD TO SHOVEL SOME OF THAT SNOW OFF THE DRIVEWAY.   ANYWAYS I'LL BE HEADING BACK TO LA AND MY EXCITING SHERMAN OAKS WAITRESS JOB IN A COUPLE OF DAYS.   HOPE YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES ALSO HAD A NICE CHRISTMAS OR YULE OR HANNUCKAH OR 'WINTER SOLSTICE' OR KWANZAA OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT...............

 

 

 

 


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Reviewed by m j hollingshead 3/27/2010
holds reader interest




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