The Herdman Christmas Carol
Gladys Herdman sat in her chair, at her desk. It was Christmas Eve. Gladys didn't like Christmas. At all. Her apprentice, Beth Waters, sat at another desk in the corner. Beth longed to be home with the rest of her family. Her husband and kids. Beth was a lot older than Gladys was, but Gladys was grumpier. There was a knock at the door of the office.
Grumpily, Gladys said, "Come in."
Alice Wendleken, the owner of Wendleken Security Services and also one of Beth's old Elementary School friends, walked into the room. Beth didn't exactly like Alice. Ever. Though, they were friends. No one really did like Alice. She was snooty, nosy, selfish, and mean.
"Hello Alice." Beth whispered.
"Good evening, Miss Herdman." Alice greeted, ignoring Beth.
"What do you want, Alice?" Gladys exclaimed.
"Oh, nothing. I was just coming to say hello and Merry Christmas to you and Beth." Alice replied.
"Well, shoo, then! No reason for someone to be here if they're just here to say hello and Merry Christmas!" Gladys declared.
"Goodbye. Merry Christmas, Beth!" Alice said as she hurried out the door.
Beth returned to being bored. In her head, she saw visions of getting older and older, but still sitting in that chair. The clock ticked and moved slowly. 6:30. Beth would be able to leave at 7:30. One whole hour of waiting and working and watching. The three Ws. A breeze coming through the open window made a loose drawer rattle. Gladys glanced at it, then returned to her work. Once the clock struck 7, Beth felt like she was going to die of waiting. The visions in her head had changed to her family's dog, Hamburger laying beside the door, whimpering like he always does when anyone at all in the family isn't home. He would do it when Ellen Waters or Anna Waters was at school; when Austin Waters, Beth's husband was at work; and when Uncle Charlie, Beth's brother who lived with them, went anywhere.
The clock finally struck 7:30. Time to go home.
"I suppose you are allowed to leave now." Gladys said.
"Thank you. Merry Christmas!" Beth said and she gathered her things to leave, then left.
Gladys stayed at the office and continued working. She didn't have to leave until 9:00. Beth went along the streets, searching for the perfect presents for Ellen, Anna, Uncle Charlie, and her husband, Austin. She knew that there was a speific doll that Ellen wanted, though it was a little bit too expensive. Anna wanted a special collection of notebooks and pencils, which Beth bought. She knew that Uncle Charlie would want something for his travels and adventures. Like a suitcase or a language translation book. Austin didn't care what he got, as long as the rest of his family had a good time, so she just bought him a pen. She found a cheaper doll to give Ellen. Then, she headed to the babysitter's house. The babysitter had been Alberta Bottles, the girl that whistled "What Child is This?" at one of the Chrsitmas Pageants and passed out. Sometimes Uncle Charlie would watch Ellen and Anna, but he had just gotten back from a trip to Australia and he was too tired.
"Thanks for watching them, Alberta." Beth thanked.
"It's a pleasure. Anna here beat me three out of three times in a board game that we made together, while Ellen took a nice nap, and I think she's still asleep." Alberta replied.
Alberta walked into her house and came back out with 5-year old Ellen in her arms. Beth took the twins to her car and they drove off to get their food for the Christmas Feast that they would have the following day. One they reached the grocery store, Beth got her list out and got the things.
III Mashed Potatoes
IV Macaroni and Cheese
X Green Beans
XI Black Eyed Peas
XIII Baked Beans
She was planning to have the whole family over: Aunt Milly, Grandma Willa, Granpa Ronald, Grandma Amy, Grandpa Bob, Cousin Allie, Great Grandpa Seth, Uncle Billy, Cousin Sasha, Great Aunt Mollie, Great Uncle Ben, Great Grandma Nell, Cousin Joy, Cousin Jillian, Aunt Emma, Aunt Emily, and Great Great Great Great Grandma Nana (who just turned 101).
Then, she took the kids home and gave them some Macaroni and Cheese that she had bought for the feast. They would have the leftover Macaroni and Cheese, then. Ellen and Anna were nestled in their beds, visions of sugarplumbs dancing in their heads, just like the poem. The 5 stockings were hung above the fireplace, ready for Santa Claus to stuff things in them. .beth finally settled into her bed, and Austin in his, and Uncle Charlie in his.