Lump of Coal


The train fought hard against wind gusts as it chugged steadily westward. Each car was nearly overflowing with coal- a sure sign of exactly how many children had been naughty that year. Santa, who had been sitting up front, steering the heavy load along the tracks, looked to his left and sighed heavily. The sky was gray, shrouded by tired looking factories. Snow nestled the ground like a blanket, tucked neatly around tree trunks.

Where had things gone wrong this year? Children all over earth were simply being rotten to one another. Moreover, they were being rotten to their parents, which was a surefire way to end up on the “naughty” list for the year. Some children, in a fit of anger after being grounded and told they weren’t getting any presents that Christmas, went so far as to say that they didn’t believe reindeer could fly! Santa let out a guffaw at that last one (which sounded more like a loud “Ho!”) startling the elves that had been sitting in the front car with him.

If children serviced by Christmas couldn’t learn to behave, they’d simply have to deal with the consequences. No more of this “okay Billy, but if you promise to do all your chores over the next two weeks despite the fact that you’ve been giving your daddy the finger every time he’s asked you to put away your laundry since January, you can still have that new bike” crap. Billy was going to find a trail of coal from the foot of his bed to the base of his Christmas tree tomorrow morning- and nothing else. Billy was being a jerk.

This was going to be a Christmas to remember. Santa quietly “ho ho ho’d” to himself, awash in his new attitude. Then, he settled back into his seat, letting Twinkles take over steering the massive train.


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