Book Trailer For Madam President

Friday, November 28, 2014

Real Santa Chapter 30 (26 Days Until XMAS)

“WHAT WAS THAT, Daddy?”

George looked up from the book toward the window.

“What?”

“I just heard a clatter,” Megan said, her blue eyes growing larger.

“I think I just heard a clatter! I think it’s Santa! Where’s my video

camera?”

George felt a ticking down in his groin. He heard footsteps on

the roof and something bumped the house. He had managed to keep

Megan away from the windows through dinner. Now he was in the
final countdown. ’Twas The Night Before Christmas was usually read

to Megan by them both, but Mary had nodded grimly, telling him

to go ahead.

“Sweet dreams, precious,” she said, going back to her wrapping

in the bedroom.

George couldn’t help thinking this was a presentiment of things

to come. Then he had started reading, and the world seemed distant.

He had set the video camera up for Megan and put it by her bed. He

had gone over how to operate the camera and made her press the

buttons to get the camera in RECORD mode. He explained how the

bell would ring by her bedside when Santa came.

“I want to wake up every hour to make sure I catch him,” she

whispered, peeking out of the curly blond hair edging her eyes.

“I am certain you will catch him,” George assured her
at his watch. “But with the bell, you don’t have to worry. When he

comes it will ring.”

And then he had started to read and now there was this “clatter”

on the roof. Megan already had the camera in her hand, pulling back

the covers.

“I’m going to look!”

“No!”

George stood up. “Let … let me look first.”

Megan stood by her bed with the camera in her hand.

“Okay, but let me know if you see Santa.”

George walked to the window and lifted the blinds to a scene of

utter chaos. Lights shined crazily all over the lawn. Reindeer were

standing in the middle of his yard with a man trying to herd them

toward the ramp that looked like a runway to the stars. People were

all over the roof with glowing screens—men with computers and

smoke machines and snow machines. The reindeer were shitting in

the grass. Dean appeared like the Wizard of Oz on a camera boom,

rising above the roof behind a large camera.

“What do you see, Daddy? Is it him?”

He dropped the blinds down quickly and shook his head.

“Nothing. Nothing at all.”

Megan frowned. “Is it snowing?”

“Snowing—not yet, but soon I’ll bet.”

Megan started to get out of the bed.

“I want to look outside.”

“No—”

There was another thump, and Megan’s eyes grew large.

“Is that Santa?”

George’s phone rang, and he saw that it was Dean.

“Hold on … stay in the bed,” he commanded, walking into her

large closet of stuffed animals, dolls, a rocking horse, and clothes.

“Can you guys keep it down?” he whispered.

“Sorry, mate. The little mite asleep?”

George stared out the door and saw Megan starting to get out

of the bed.

“Megan, I told you to wait in the bed!”

She crossed her arms and pouted.

“Still up then?”

“Yeah, and she heard you guys and wants to look out the window.”

“Oh, don’t let her do that, mate. These reindeer are shitting all

over the place and do they stink! The buggers keep breaking loose.

I don’t think that McGruff knows what he’s doing. I’m right outside

the window now on the boom, mate. You in the first window there

with the light?”

“Yes,” George whispered. “But she wants to look out the window

and wants to see if it’s snowing! Can you hide everything?”

“Ah, no way, mate. We are constructing the set you know. But

listen, mate, I have an idea. Give me ten minutes, and I’ll give her

a snowy Christmas, and then the little bugger will go to sleep with

sugar plums in her head.”

“Alright … ten minutes. But you can’t have all those people!”

“Leave it to me, mate! Just leave it to me!”

George pushed his phone dead and walked out. “Now where

were we?”
“We were going to look out the window,” Megan declared in her

red Santa pajamas, arms crossed. “But you won’t let me!”

George sat down on the bed.
“Well, how about this—how about we finish the book and then

look outside and see if it is snowing?”

“We’re going to miss Santa Claus,” she grumbled, slipping down

in her covers. “And I want to see if it is snowing.”
“Megan, I promise you won’t miss Santa Claus, and we will check

and see if there is any snow.”

“Okay,” she grumbled, still pouting.

George opened the book again and began reading. And as he

read he remembered his own father reading to him. It was one of

the few things his father did that showed he recognized Christmas

as a reason to stop working and leave the basement or garage and

participate in a communal holiday. He read the entire book to George,

sitting on the edge of the bed, his heavy bass voice reciting the words

while the snow fell outside his window. Then he tucked him in and

gave him a kiss good night.

“ ‘… and to all a good night.’ ”

George closed the book and stared at the window.
“Can we look outside now? Can we, Daddy?”

George looked at his watch again and stared at the curtains. He

breathed heavy. “Well, I guess we can,” he murmured. “Maybe we

should read another book—”

“No way!”

Megan jumped out of the bed and ran to the window, throwing

back the curtains. George felt his heart leap.

“Daddy! Daddy!”

She jumped up and down. “Look! Look!”

“Okay,” he murmured, sure now they were done.

He got up slowly, walking toward the window. Megan turned to

him, her eyes shining.
“It’s snowing, Daddy!”
George frowned and looked out the window. Thick white snow

was falling down in front of it and piling on the roof. It was an amazing

amount of snow.

“It’s so dark out, I can’t see anything except the snow,” Megan

said, jumping up and down.

“It is dark out,” he murmured, feeling his phone vibrate. He held

the phone to his ear, and Dean laughed

“What do you think, mate—enough white Christmas for you?”

“Yeah. How are you doing it?” he whispered.

“Movie magic, mate. Got the snow machine pumping away, and

there are some people holding a scrim just beyond the snow, but your

little mite just sees a snowy night.”

“Amazing.”

“Well, lots of work to go, mate, and you are due in makeup once

the little one falls asleep.”

George put his phone in his pocket and stood with Megan watching

the manufactured tufts of snow piling up. His daughter turned

and looked at him.

“We are going to have a White Christmas, Daddy, for Santa!”

“Yes we are, so you better get in the bed so you can catch him.”

Megan jumped back in her bed and yawned.

“I have to get to sleep so I can wake up and catch Santa,” she

declared, looking at her clock and the video camera by her bed.

George turned out the light and only a single Christmas candle

lit the room from the far window. This too reminded George of when

he was a boy and sat in the yellow glow of the candle and waited excitedly

for Santa. He remembered the crust of snow on his window

and how the world seemed to pause. George leaned down and felt

his daughter’s arms go around his neck. She hugged him tight.

“I love you, Daddy,” she murmured sleepily.

“Merry Christmas, Megan,” George whispered.

He stood up and walked to the door then turned. Megan was

staring at the movie snow just outside her window.

Real Santa...What would you do for your kids?
"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."
                                                                  Starred Review Booklist

"This heartwarming and humorous Christmas story shows the determination of one man to bring magic to his daughter's childhood."
                                                                                     Foreword Reviews

 Best-selling author Hazelgrove (e.g., Ripples; Tobacco Sticks) captures the human need to believe in something good. His mixed bag of characters can all trace their adult personae to their loss of Santa and how they adapted to the news. This book will satisfy readers looking for a happy Christmas story.--Library Journal
 




Books by William Hazelgrove