Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Writing - The Christmas story from a different view

Christmas Story from a different viewpoint.
Wise words from an unusual source

“I want….”
“Stop!” yelled Dad. “I want never gets.”
I wished that I’d had as many £1 coins as I’d heard that mantra trotted out in my 10 years of life. It was also said in the tone of voice that brooks no argument. The big day was due in a fortnight and already I may have cooked my goose.
“Bed,” instructed Mum only a tad less impatiently. I think that was to discourage any discussion - for my own safety. I bade my loving parents’ goodnight, somewhat sheepishly, and made my way up to the chilly bedroom which was almost exclusively mine. As an only child I was lucky in having my own room but the fact was that in a house lacking central heating winter was a bit of a trial. Perhaps tomorrow morning there wouldn’t be frost on the inside of the windows!
It was one of those nights when staring at the plain, white ceiling was going to be a long study. Perhaps the excitement of Christmas, the adrenaline generated from the discussion downstairs or thoughts about whether or not there was a Santa Claus. In short I couldn’t sleep.
Of course I was ten, I didn’t believe in Santa Claus, I understood - I got it. At the same time I knew that there’d be presents and where they’d come from. I also knew that my dad didn’t earn a lot down the pit and Mum’s job in the shop wasn’t that well paid either, but they’d try, they always did. However, games consoles and other modern gadgets were expensive.
I heard my pet rat, Rudi II, scrabbling around in his bedding. They only live around 18 months to 2 years as a rule but this one was already nearly 3! It was my intention to keep the name, just changing the numerical suffix, for subsequent rodent pets.
“Shush Rudi,” I hissed. “I’m trying to get to sleep.”
“Shush yourself! I have to put up with your snoring.”
“What!” I couldn’t believe my ears. I sat up in the almost dark room, the only light there was coming from an orange street lamp, and looked at the bedroom door. I slept with it open but there was no sign of Mum or Dad, I turned and looked at the rat’s cage. Rudi II was sat up on his hindquarters staring at me.
“I must be sick,” I thought.
“No it’s me,” said Rudi II twitching his whiskers.
“It can’t be,” I stammered.
“Don’t be daft Ben. It’s me Rudi II, why you’ve added the ‘II’ I don’t know, perhaps I don’t want to know,” the rat grumbled.
“But you’re talking,” I said.
“C’mon kid catch up!” said the rat snappily.
“But how?” I began.
“Never mind that Ben,” Rudi II said. “You should be wondering why.”
I was struggling to cope with this situation. I must have eaten something to upset my stomach and was hallucinating. I put my hand on my stomach.
“You are perfectly well Ben,” the rat said.
He’s reading my mind I thought.
“At last,” sighed Rudi II. “And I’m speaking in your mind.”
“Why?” I asked after assimilating this disturbing situation.
“That comes back to your conversation downstairs,” said Rudi II
“With my parents?” I queried.
“Who else?” snapped the rat.
“Rudi II give me a chance, it’s not every day your pet rat speaks to you,” I whined.
“We can all do it,” said Rudi II.
“What?” I exclaimed.
“We just don’t usually choose to,” he explained.
“Why then?” I repeated.
“Christmas presents,” he said which as an explanation was a bit limited. “Your Dad was right to shut you up.”
“That’s all I need,” I thought. “My pet rat telling me off.”
“Christmas in Bethlehem was a wonderful time,” he stated baldly.
“What do you know about that?” I was incredulous.
“You don’t think that there were rats two thousand years ago!”
“Okay!” I gave up looking for an explanation. “What do I have to do?”
“Three wishes Ben BUT nothing for yourself!”
I lay back against my pillows, being careful not to take my eyes off the rat, and started to think. If I could wish for things, but not for me, what could they be? After a few minutes I came up with,
Make my dad’s knee better. It was arthritic whatever that was.
Stop Mum from worrying because she does it all the time.
A better Christmas for the kids next door who’s Dad had lost his job.
“That it?” queried Rudi II.
“I think so,” I answered.
“How do you feel?” asked Rudi II
“Good,” I said. That was true. I yawned. Yes I felt less stressed, easier in my mind. “Will they come true?”
“What do you think?” said Rudi II and with that he burrowed back into his bedding.
I fell asleep thinking about a Christmas Rat; my three wishes; and wondering about a rat in a stable in Bethlehem all that time ago.

Peace and Goodwill

Peace and goodwill to all people
great and small,
on this the fairest night of all.

Peace and goodwill to all people
good and kind,
keeping those less fortunate in mind.

Peace and goodwill to all people
gentle and strong,
carrying the weak carefully along.

Peace and goodwill to all people
fair and just,
supporting the strays as they must.

Peace and goodwill to all people
of every colour and creed,
treating accordingly to every need.
© David L Atkinson December 2014

God Bless