Nanthology – A Truth Universally Acknowledged

Nanowrimo is a compelling challenge to write 50,000 words during November: that’s an average of 1667 words per day. My plan is to write a set of 30 short stories each 1667 words long instead.  Each story come from a prompt, a lot from fellow bloggers.

MY NANTHOLOGY

Day Fifteen

Nanthology Ro's prompt

A Truth Universally Acknowledged

This picture prompt comes from Rowena Newton at Beyond The Flow

 

‘So what did he say?’

‘It’s a long story.’

‘Aren’t they all? Go on, try me. It’s Christmas and I’m feeling generous.’

‘He did say we wouldn’t believe him.’

‘So what is it? A badly timed stag prank that has left him superglued to our truck? Some jilted girl tricked him?’

‘He says he’s a real Santa and…’

‘Yeah come on, Chris. If we had a quid for every loon and lush who gets trolleyed on his stag night and ends up chained to something and then tries on the ‘I really am Santa Claus’ we wouldn’t be playing the lottery, would we?’

‘Did you buy the ticket, by the way?’

‘Don’t tell me you forgot again? It’s your turn. Please don’t…?’

‘Nah just kidding you, chief. Any way of course he’s making that bit up but you play along, don’t you? Ok Santa, I says, where’s the reindeer and the Sleigh and all that good stuff?  And he says the Sleigh is a mythical construct created to fit a supernatural narrative that accords with the psychological development of the receiving population at the time of the Claus Conundrum.’

‘You’re making that up, too, aren’t you?’

‘Nope. He said no one would believe me so I might as well write it down.’

‘I still don’t believe it.’

‘He said that too. Here…’

‘Ok so he’s some kind of arrogant know-all science pillock who wants to baffle you with gobbledygook. That doesn’t explain what he’s doing here.’

‘Seems something went wrong and he’s now stuck.’

‘Patently. It’s minus five and he’s been freezing his arse off for five hours but that doesn’t explain why he refuses to get out of his stupid suit and come indoors. Just tell him not to be a prick.’

‘Electro-magnetic molecular something or others. That’s why he’s stuck.’

‘Look I’m a fireman not a physicist but even I know you need metal for a magnet to work and that suit is 100% a man-made fire hazard and not metal. Tell him..’

‘I don’t know chief, do I? All I know is he says he can’t leave the truck. You speak to him if you don’t believe me. Oh and he has a bit of a voice thing.’

‘Such as?’

‘It’s sort of squeaky, like he’s ingested helium. He got well angry when I laughed.’

‘Ok. Grab us a coffee and I’ll talk to him. What’s he answer to? Claus? Nicholas? Kris?’

‘Claus. He said he’s not the only…’

‘Just get the coffees.’

 

‘Right, Mr. Claus? I’d like you to come indoors. You’ll freeze out here.  And we could really do with our truck back.’

‘I realise I will have to keep explaining until this is resolved so I apologise if I do it the quick way. There.’

‘But you didn’t say.. Oh.’

‘Precisely. You know don’t you?’

‘How did you do that?’

‘Thought implantation. Unless you block it, it is easy, like hacking an open wifi link.’

‘You’ve been in my mind? Just like that?’

‘It’s much quicker if you think your questions. Go on try.’

‘No look, that’s not right. Stop it.’

‘Hey good. That was a decent attempt at a block. Trouble is you’re not telefit so you’ll be exhausted in about twenty minutes if you keep trying.’

‘Right now you are violating a piece of local government property, interfering with an emergency service and I could have you arrested.’

‘In theory yes. In practice neither you nor I can get me off this blasted truck. As I’ve explained.’

‘No, hold on. Is this ethical?’

‘What?’

‘I don’t know what you are. Some sort of mind-reader, I suppose but don’t you have a code? You know only with consent?’

‘Yes but..’

‘So don’t go inside my head.’

‘It really only applies to Clausians but, given that I shouldn’t be here at all, I will do as you ask. Speaking really is the most old-fashioned way of communicating. Like you using smoke signals. To reiterate, I and my rather pathetic suit are stuck to your truck and there is nothing you or anyone you could call upon who can release me.’

‘If you’re really Santa Claus, then surely you have a way?’

‘Yes and no.’

‘You could be a politician, not answering. Please come inside. We have donuts.’

‘What I meant is, yes, I am what has been called Santa Claus over the centuries since we were first spotted. But no, I’m not some omnipresent pogonophile with a penchant for chimneys and red suits that you think of when the words ‘Santa Claus’ are mentioned.’

‘Coffee chief. How’s it going?’

‘Slowly. I think you should called Sergeant Martin. I’ve a feeling we are going to need to police.’

‘Can you not do that please? I understand how your bureaucratic minds work – you have a problem and rather than try and solve it, you pass it on to some other authority who keep passing it on. It’ll only make it a longer process of rehygening.’

‘Are you going to explain?’

‘I did. Go and think in your recently learnt files and…’

‘Just say it. My officer hasn’t heard it yet.’

‘You won’t be believed when you try and explain what you’ve heard and seen so we will cleanse your memories to avoid problems.’

‘I thought you said it was unethical…’

‘…to interfere with Clausians yes, not lesser species.’

‘Hey, come on.’

‘Oh grow up. What’s the next most intelligent species to humans? Gorillas? Whatever it is, you’re happy to keep them in cages and take them away from where they’re comfortable and poke sticks at them. At least we treat you with respect. We clean your memories for your own safety.’

‘How’s that making us safe?’

‘Do I have to speak? Can’t I..?’

‘Just do it.’

‘Can I have a sip of your coffee?’

‘You like coffee?’

‘Ha so you’re beginning accept I’m not human.’

‘No. You just look like a tea drinker.’

‘Oh give me a break…’

‘Will you explain why we’d be unsafe knowing our minds might be cleansed.’

‘So here we have proof of a higher lifeform who’s been involved in your planet for a couple of your centuries and you think everyone’s going to go, oh goody, now when’s the sport on?’

‘I suppose. Look it’s still hard to believe. Do you meet humans often?’

‘Nope. This is a first for me and there will be a stink.’

‘But it does happen?’

‘That’s why we have this whole Santa Claus thing. Back when we first found Earth we weren’t expecting any sort of intelligence life and it was primitive. But next time, the dinosaurs had gone and we felt guilty we didn’t try and help them. By then humans were developing rapidly. So we stayed, did a few surveys and realised you needed help. Unfortunately our camouflaging wasn’t very advanced and we spent stupid amounts of time trying to clear up. In the end it was easier to spread a story, to explain our presence.’

‘Sleighs? Red suits and beards? What’s that all about?’

‘Back when we started it was just a stranger who gave a present – we gave them things they’d never seen. But as you became more sophisticated and sceptical we added the nonsense. If it sounds childish people ignore it, don’t they? We installed a few implausible stories and allowed the balance of cynics and believers to fight it out.’

‘I need to sit down. You are an alien, aren’t you?’

‘That’s rather pejorative. We are visitors who happen to be a different species.’

‘And you’re here all the time?’

‘Hardly. The last survey was twenty-five years ago.’

‘Why then?’

‘Remember 1989?’

‘Erm? The Bangles, Eternal Flame?’

‘The Berlin Wall came down. The Cold War was getting out of hand so we gave things a nudge. We understand Armageddon and try and prevent it. Same with pandemics.’

‘Weren’t so hot in 1918, were you?’

‘No we were distracted with elections. The foreign aid budget always takes a hit at these times.’

‘If you’re so all powerful, why are you stuck on that?’

‘We’re not really omnipresent you know, just highly manoeuvrable. And this is a practical joke gone wrong.’

‘How so?’

‘I’m getting married. My friends saturated my brain with pleasure particles and when I was away with the space dust they conjured up this outfit, brought me here and embedded me in your engine.’

‘Yeah, that happened to me, chief, remember. They handcuffed me to a lamppost. ‘

‘Same the universe over, hey, only they changed the molecular structure of my trousers and bottom so I’m actually part of your fire engine. Until I get hold of the genetic coding I’m only going where this vehicle goes.’

‘But why aren’t you hiding from us.’

‘When you were handcuffed to the lamppost, Chris, did they leave a key? A phone?’

‘No way. Stripped me naked, painted my balls blue and left me to rot, really.’

‘Same with me. No way back. So what did you do?’

‘I kicked up such a stink, the police released me to stop me corrupting public morals or something.’

‘And that’s what I’m doing.’

‘Right. I see. Only I don’t actually. You seem to be making no sound and… Oh I get it; you’re screaming inside their heads. That’s…’

‘No I said. We know how to shield ourselves. It’s a first lesson, up there with toilet training and self-replication.’

‘Self..? No don’t tell me. Look if you can’t scream inside their heads and, frankly you’ll do well to be  heard in the canteen let alone another galaxy with that voice, how will you get them to rescue you?’

‘Oh they’re on their way. I took down my shield so they know I’ve been seen. They’re monitoring everything you’ve said and will be here any time.’

‘They care about you then.’

‘Not so much. What they really want to avoid is the real disaster.’

‘Huh?’

‘Everyone finding out that Santa Claus is real.’

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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22 Responses to Nanthology – A Truth Universally Acknowledged

  1. Ali Isaac says:

    Haha! Very good, Geoff!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ritu says:

    Another fantastic piece Geoff!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. willowdot21 says:

    You are doing an amazing job sir!! xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Charli Mills says:

    Such a fun story! Santa is real, an alien yet higher intelligence is still susceptible lowbrow jokes? Too funny, yet so believable. You can make anything believable through your ability to dialog!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There we go – I just knew Santa Claus was real!! 🙂 And human history explained in a few well chosen words – excellent work!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. roweeee says:

    I think this rates as a conspiracy theory, doesn’t it? I really enjoyed it but had to laugh at the temperature being in the minus zeros because this is an Australian scene and it’s usually incredibly hot and Santa can end up making very quick appearances in those suits. It could well have been that he’d been welded to the hot truck somehow.
    The photograph was taken at the Pearl Beach Playgroup Christmas party somewhere close to 2008, It has since been sold and moved out of the area. Around here and in other bushfire prone areas, it’s quite common for Santa to arrive on a fire engine at events. When my kids were small and they heard the fire engine over Summer they’d says: “That’s Santa.” I miss that xx Ro

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Santa Claus in a Sci-Fi story. Only from you Geoff 🙂

    At least I now know he’s real. I always have done, ever since I saw him drink that glass of sherry rather than the can of beer. It’s the ‘pink pound’ that enables him to spend so much on presents every year.

    Liked by 1 person

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