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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Chapter 11 Real Santa ( A chapter a day until xmas)

SNOW SWIRLED DOWN on State Street and landed on coats

and scarves and hats as people moved along Macy’s windows. “Look

how real she looks, Mom,” Megan exclaimed, staring at the small girl

asleep in the Victorian room.

“I am so glad they picked this theme,” her mother replied, looking

at George.

The next window had a man sitting at a desk. It was an old-time

newspaper room, and the detail was amazing. George felt his heart

open as Megan jumped up and down in her white muff and hat. The

people, the traffic, the L going overhead, all added up to Christmas in

Chicago. They would finish with the windows then go to the Walnut

Room and have dinner, buy some Frango mints, then head for the

Christmas tree in front of the State of Illinois building. It had worked

out perfectly after the dinner with his father.

George’s phone vibrated in his pocket, and he walked away from

the windows.

“Mate! Mate, it’s Dean!”

“Dean, thanks for calling me back.”

“Oh, no problem, mate! Mary said you had a little project going

that maybe I could help you on. She was pretty mum, so I really don’t

know what you are looking for, but I’ll be glad to help.”

George lowered his voice. “Yes, do you think we could meet? I

have some pretty technical questions.”
“Oh, no problem, mate! How about tomorrow morning? I’m fairly

wide open holidays and all.”

“Sure how about nine”

“Yeah sure, mate. At my studio.”

“I’m going to bring my dad if that’s alright. He’s helping me on

this project.”

“Well, you got my curiosity up, I will have to say, mate. But yeah,

bring your pap along, and I’ll see you at nine AM sharp.’

“Great.”

George saw his wife and daughter were already three windows up.

He had been coming down to see the Christmas windows ever since

he was a kid, when Marshall Field’s still ruled State Street. Macy’s

had taken over, and George felt the windows were just not as good.

Still, it was as much a part of Christmas as seeing Santa.

“Sorry, that was Dean,” he murmured as Mary read another window

for Megan.

George’s phone buzzed again. He stepped away.

“This is George.”

“Yeah, this is Joe Gionelli. You called about some work on your

chimney.”

“Right. Right.” George watched Megan and his wife walk to the

next window. “Yes, I have a very old chimney, over a hundred years

old, and it is actually a double chimney with a small wall separating

the two. And what I’m looking to do is knock out the adjoining wall

between them and make one big chimney.”

The phone was quiet.

“You want to knock out the wall separating the two chimneys?”

“Yes.”

“Ain’t none of my business, but why would you want to do that?”

“Well, I have my reasons.”

“I see.”

“Can you come out tomorrow, say in the afternoon? I have a

morning appointment.”

“Yeah, I can do that.”

George paused. “Is this something you think you can do?”

“Well, I tell you. In these times I don’t say there’s nothing I can’t

do. But I gotta see what I’m dealing with.”
 
“Fine. Say noon?”

“See you then.”

George pocketed his phone and felt it buzz in his hand again.

“Hello.”
“Yes this is Big Bill McGruff of Reindeers.com. You the man who

e-mailed me about nine reindeer?”

“Yes, yes, thanks for calling,” George replied, watching his wife

lean toward the windows again.

“Well, I don’t normally get no requests for nine reindeer!”

“Well, that’s what I’m looking for,” George replied, turning, watching

his family go down to the next window. “Do you have them?”

“Well, I have them. I might have to bring some over from another

farm. When did you want them?”

“I need them for Christmas Eve. Probably all day and night.”

“Well, that might be a little tricky. There are handlers that go

with them, and I don’t know who is willing to work on Christmas

Eve … how late?”

“I will need them probably all night.”

The phone aired silence.

“Hmm … now that might be a little difficult to pull off. I wouldn’t

even know what to charge for special circumstances like this and—”

“I’m willing to pay. I need nine reindeer and whoever comes

with them.”

“Hmm … alright. Well, we should probably meet. I have an opening

tomorrow afternoon. Say about three?”

“Yep. That should work. And, oh.” George turned, picking out his

daughter by the last window. “Do you know where I can get a sled?”

“What kind of sled?”

“A Santa’s sled.”

“I might have an idea.”

“Great.”

George closed the phone and joined his family by the last window.

Megan took his hand while they stared at the Victorian Christmas in

a turn of the century living room. A little girl was opening her gifts

under the tree while a mother and father looked on.

Real Santa....Starred Review Booklist
STARRED REVIEW BOOKLIST

"If somebody doesn't make a movie out of this book, there's something wrong with the world. This could have been played as an out-and-out slapstick comedy, but instead the author approaches the story like a character study: a portrait of a man with the best intentions in the world watching those intentions collide with reality. It's a steamroller of a story, starting small, with George's idea, and getting bigger and bigger as George tries to put the elements together, as his obsession takes him further and further away from reality. Beautifully done."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                 David Pitts Booklist


"The author marries the everyday dramas found in the novels of Tom Perrotta and Nick Hornby to the high camp of Carl Hiaasen or Dave Barry. Adults looking for a funny holiday-themed tale that doesn't lose its sense of wonder in the face of realism will find a treat here. A lovingly crafted comedy about the madness that fatherhood inspires."
                                                                                              Kirkus Reviews



Best-selling author Hazelgrove (e.g., Ripples; Tobacco Sticks) captures the human need to believe in something good.  This book will satisfy readers looking for a happy Christmas story.-- Library Journal


"Hazelgrove's lively improbable narrative will appeal to the readers in the mood for holiday fiction."
                                                                                              Publishers Weekly




 
 
 


Books by William Hazelgrove