Flash Fiction written for OLWG#82
“Of course, I believe in Santa Clause, kids. I know he’s real and now I’m going to tell you how I know.
“When I was a younger man and recently married to your Grandmother I took a job as a travelling salesman. I had a ’55 Hudson Rambler that your Grandma thought was the cat’s meow. In fact that car is the reason we got hitched in the first place. I’d drive her up to the point and we’d climb into the back to look at the city lights and… well, that’s another story, I was telling you about Santa Clause.
“I was selling hardware and had a territory that covered West Texas, New Mexico, and a good bit of Arizona. I used my car to call on my customers and deliver the fasteners that they ordered from the factory. And, well; one year it was getting close to Christmas and I was heading home when my Rambler broke down just East of Lordsburg.
“You kids ever seen Lordsburg? Used to be a big railroad town, but since the trains go straight through now, there’s been some decline. It’s not like it used to be. I kinda miss it; they had lots of pretty girls and some really good watering holes there.
“Anyway, my car was broke down. A farmer, passing by, had a strong rope and offered me a tow into town. Since it was getting late and things were closed down, we left my car at the Sinclair Station (pushed around to the side of the garage), and I took a room at the Madeline Hotel, next door. It was a little pricey but I didn’t have a lot of options. The next day I went to the Sinclair and talked to the mechanic. My station wagon needed a new clutch and there weren’t one anywhere in town. He’d have to order a new one and it would take three or four days to get it in. He told me that it would probably cost around thirty dollars to get the clutch and install it. I was paying ten dollars a night at the Madeline. This was an expensive trip. That’s lots of money, least it was in those days. To top it all off the next day was Christmas Eve and that meant I wouldn’t get to be home for the holiday.
“Reluctantly, I agreed and used the pay phone at the station to call your Gram; let her know what had happened. I got dinner and retired to my room early.
“Next morning, Christmas Eve morning, I confirmed, with the mechanic, that the clutch had been ordered and that it would take three days to arrive and then about half a day to install, after that. I wasted the time by walking around town and taking lunch at the depot. I flirted with some ladies at a local bar they called Javelina’s and then went back to the Hotel where I studied my catalogues and went to sleep early.
“In the morning I woke and just lay in bed. It was Christmas morning and I was stuck in Lordsburg. I was feeling depressed and wallowing in self-pity. Eventually, though I had to get up and go pee so I got out of bed and pulled my trousers on. I tucked my nightshirt into my waistband, so I’d look a little bit presentable if I saw anyone in the hall when I went to the toilet. I opened the door and an envelope with my name on it fell to the floor. It had obviously been stuck in the door jamb while I was sleeping. I picked it up and carried it down the hall with me where I took care of my business before returning to my room and opening the note.
“It was written in an old fashioned hand, I still got it around here somewhere. It read:
Grayson, Hope you don’t mind but I took the liberty of intervening in your automobile repair. I happened to have a clutch for a '55 in my bag, so I dispatched a couple of my assistants, who are experienced in car repair, to the Sinclair Station, next door. They fixed your car. We also took the liberty of changing the oil, airing up the tires, and topping off your radiator. You should still go leave a couple of bucks for the mechanic; he’s been good this year. Merry Christmas Santa Clause
“I looked out the window and saw my car, all washed and clean. It was parked at the curb in front of the Madeline. I packed my kit, dashed downstairs and paid my bill I put some money in an envelope and stuffed it under the door of the Sinclair Station, with a note. I got in my car and drove like the devil so I could make it home in time to spend the afternoon with your Gramma.
And that, kids, is the reason I know Santa Clause is real.”
This week’s prompts were:
- lots of money
- while I was sleeping