An Alternative Nativity
This is a short piece I did for a college writing competition - I started at 10am, and the deadline was at 1pm! It won second place, earning me Waterstones vouchers... congrats if you guess what was for first prize...
Joe and Mary, newly engaged, had just bought a flat on the outskirts of town. Christmas was drawing near, and Joe was busy putting up the decorations while Mary sat on the sofa, stringing popcorn on some twine and watching the TV.
“I hate adverts!” she moaned, as one piece of popcorn slipped off and was eaten by the cat. “TV’s all trash nowadays.”
Suddenly, a bright golden light came from the screen. “Love reading?” said a deep, impressive voice. “TV full of trash? Get the new Sony Reader, while stocks last!”
Mary stared at the TV, and all the popcorn fell to the floor. The cat quickly dragged the string into the kitchen to have a private nibble.
“What are you doing?” Joe exclaimed.
“It’s like the TV chose me,” said Mary. “There was a golden light, and a wonderful voice, Joe! You have to get me a Sony Reader for Christmas!”
“Err…” Joe came off the ladder and carefully slid the present he’d already bought Mary – a chunky lime green snood – further under the tree. “I think they’re all sold out, hun. I went to the shops yesterday, there weren’t any left.”
Mary turned to him, a divine light in her eyes. “We must go,” she said.
Mary folded her arms and gave Joe that look which meant if he didn’t do what she wanted, she could shatter the windows with the power of her own voice. So, Joe agreed.
And on that Christmas Eve, Joe and Mary travelled long and far into the Quedam. It was packed with last-minute Christmas customers, and although they asked at every shop, no Sony Reader could they find. Joe was about to give up when he saw Mary threaten to stamp her foot, and they trekked on. But at each shop, the answer was the same – there was no Reader they had in.
At last Joe, who was tired and sweaty, and Mary, whose heels were killing her, arrived at the last electronics shop in all Yeovil. The jolly, bald man behind the counter smiled at them.
“Good timing, we’ve just got one left,” he said. “Merry Christmas. Enter your PIN here, please.”
And so it was that a few hours later, on Christmas Day, Mary unwrapped her brand new Sony Reader. It was looked upon as a new addition to the family – she wrapped it in a leather case, and set it to rest in the manger while it charged.
“Thank you darling,” she said, and kissed a surprised Joe. “It’s just what I wanted!”
“I know,” said Joe, and hugged her back.
At the same time, in the flat opposite, Joe and Mary’s three friends saw the heavenly glow from afar.
“Wow, Joe got her one of those Readers! We have to check it out!” one said, putting down his orange.
“We shall bring it gifts,” said the other. “I feel bad we only got her that DVD.”
“But none too pricey,” said the other. “Mind you – I have a book token left!”
And so, the three wise bookaholics put on their scarves and gloves and followed the glow of the screen to Mary’s flat.
When they saw the Sony Reader their hearts were full of joy, so much so that one of them even kissed the cat. They knelt down, and gave Mary’s present their gifts: the Golden Compass, Frankenstein, and a subscription to the Mirror, all precious ebooks bought from the online store.
“Merry Christmas!” said Joe, and everyone gave a cheer, and started handing round the mince pies. And instead of turning on the TV that Christmas, Mary read aloud from Dickens’ Christmas Carol – and everyone agreed that the old stories were the best, except for the cat, who was quietly asleep on top of the television.
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