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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Real Santa Chatper 28 (28 Days Until XMAS)

GEORGE STARED UP at the grey sky floating wisps of snow like

the ashes he had seen coming out of the school incinerator on the

day before Christmas when he was twelve and had climbed to the top

of a train trestle and contemplated falling off. George saw that same

world below him now—chimneys belching smoke, families huddled

in for the holiday, the dabbing of a white Christmas sprinkled onto

the pines—and for a moment, he felt that same excitement as that

boy on the trestle. Then his phone rang.

He carefully pulled up his phone, making sure he had one hand

on the chimney.

“Ya this is Yergen the climber. You want me at your house what

time?”

“Ah, why don’t you come around ten.”

“This will cost you extra you know.”

George nodded his head tiredly. “I know. Just bring everything

we will need.”

“And you want to go down what—a chimney?”

“Yes.”
Yergen the German climber of mountainexpeditions.com was

silent. Then he said, “That sounds crazy you know. Are you Santa?

Ha Ha.”

“Yeah, I’m Santa. I’ll see you tonight.”
Ya vol.
George put the phone in his pocket and looked at Joe.

“I think you have enough room now to go down her.”

George leaned over, breathing creosote and the dry scent of busted

bricks and cement. The enlarged opening did look large enough,

and far down the dark hole he could see the light of his living room. It

made him want to crap. The thought he could fall to his death down

the chimney never occurred to him. But now, looking down into the

black chasm, he saw himself clearly falling to his death.

“You really going to do this thing?”

George looked up Joe’s rodent eyes.

“Is it hard going down a chimney?”

Joe spat off to the side, relieving his swollen lip.

“No, you just have to make damn sure you don’t lose your grip

or look down.”

George looked back down the hole. Mary was right—he had lost

his mind.

“Yeah, well, I put some footholds in there for you. I put a halfbrick

about every ten feet. Figured you could use that to balance

yourself going down.”

“Thanks .”

Joe leaned over and spat down the chimney. The glob of tobacco

sounded like a rifle crack when it hit the hearth. They both stared

down the long black tunnel he would descend into in less than twenty-

four hours.

“Long way down,” Joe muttered.

Real Santa

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