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Mrs. C: A Holiday Fantasy; S. P. Perone

Excerpt: Mrs. C: A Holiday Fantasy. (2017)

I couldn’t remember ever seeing so much white or feeling so very cold.

Everything had happened quickly. At one moment, we had been seated in a booth at The Vista on Monterey Bay; the next moment, we were suspended mid-air above a sprawling, quaint village below a midnight-blue sky. Ancient street lamps and pinpoints of yellow light escaping through tiny frosted window panes flickered over waves of whiteness stretching to a starlit horizon. I gasped and shivered simultaneously; and the next instant I was garbed in a fur-trimmed scarlet coat.

As the shadowy, snow-covered landscape came up to meet us, I looked at my companion … and gasped again. Now, Nick was garbed in a similar scarlet jacket with matching pants and shiny black boots. On his head was a fur-trimmed scarlet stocking cap. “Oh my God!” I cried. “You are Santa!”

He laughed—a boisterous, long guffaw—just as we landed in a snow bank outside a huge red barn. “So I’ve been trying to tell you, my dear.”

Trying out the tall leather boots that appeared on my feet, I took a couple steps in the deep snow, turning to face a suddenly-new character. “Are we really—”

“At the North Pole? Not exactly, but close enough. This is home for me and my helpers … and, I hope, for you some day.”

I caught his eye. “Nick … I mean … what in the world do I call you?”

Another hearty laugh. “Everybody up here calls me ‘Santa.’ But don’t let that influence you.”

“Alright, Santa … or Nick … or whatever … I’m beginning to get a little scared. This just can’t be real. You don’t really want me to marry you and live here … do you?”

He nodded and grinned.

“Alright,” I protested, “this has gone far enough. I have no intention of moving to this frigid iceberg to become the latest consort for some goddam immortal who’s going to watch me grow old and wither and die.”

His white, thick eyebrows arched as if they might push through his cap. “Whoa! Language, Margo! I am a saint, you know.” He winked, but his eyes had turned dark, silently scolding me.

“I’m sorry,” I said, instantly regretting the harshness of my words. “I don’t mean any disrespect, Nick. But, seriously, you need to take me back to California.”

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