Children

image 1808 from bradism.com

Parenting is not something which comes naturally to me, but this weekend I was entrusted to keep alive two small humans for over 24 hours.

To get through this I needed to draw on the advice and examples of other child-raisers in my life. Most recently, I saw a mother swan with four developing cygnets crossing a lake in the hope of a feed. When I offered nothing, the mother coloured the water with fecal discharge, which the trailing offspring sucked up for nourishment.
I put this in the maybe pile.

image 1809 from bradism.com

I was proud of myself for lasting the first day of babysitting without resorting to TV, candy, or violence. I gently led the children to believe that playing Lego was their idea, and killed several hours building “spaceships” which were in fact a carrot, and an octopus’ car. I didn't even need a drink that night.

image 1810 from bradism.com

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My greatest challenge early on Sunday morning when both children were crying about how their sibling “hated them” or had said something mean. I solved this by explaining that, as brother and sister, they would always be in competition for emotional superiority, and the earlier they developed a thicker skin to their family member's trolling and jabbering, the more successful they'd be.

Ultimately - despite never feeling completely comfortable that I could sit on the toilet for thirty minutes without interruption - I think I did a capable job of fostering children. Made possible completely by the knowledge throughout that it would soon be over.


If you like Bradism, you'll probably enjoy my stories. It's my dream to be a famous author, and you can help support me by previewing one of my books from Amazon below, and purchasing it if you like it.

If you met yourself from the future, what would you ask your future self?
What if they wont tell you anything?


Barangaroo

I landed just before lunchtime and caught the train to Barangaroo. The contrast between Adelaide's CBD and Sydney's latest redevelopment is astounding. I feel like there are more jobs in these new buildings than there are in the entire state of South Australia. All the fast food outlets have classy, monotone logos.

image 1642 from bradism.com

As I explored, a business-woman in a stylish running outfit and a full face of makeup jogged past me, sealing a consultancy deal via Bluetooth headset as she reached five kilometres. I remembered why I left.

Missing Memories

Almost everything is back to normal since my return from extra summer to Adelaide winter. All the old routines are running, except for my nightly backups.

See, before I left the house for a month I hid important things in obscure places for extra security. Not the best thing to do in the post-procrastination frenzy that took place in the hours before the airport. I found my car keys inside a Lego truck the day after we got back, and my supermarket rewards cards were with my socks. They were easy. But it was only today, five weeks after returning, that I found where I hid my external hard drive - it was in my office in the city. I guess I'd really been worried about a fire wiping out my MP3s and those sitcom episodes I wrote in high school.


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1501 Entries!

How nice it was to receive some feedback from readers after my 1500th entry yesterday. I enjoyed the theories about why the frequency of entries has trended down over time.

"Did you ever think that, when you first started Bradism. you had a backlog of things to say? Maybe that's why the first 500 entries appeared so much faster."

Unlikely. Particularly given that the first 100 entries were actually ported from my old journals and many of the rest were about contemporary issues like the weather, petrol prices and cricket results.

"Did you ever think that maybe your entries decreased because you stopped being funny?"

:(

"Your 500th entry was in 2006, shortly after you bought a new camera. The 1000th entry came in 2009 right before you bought a DSLR. There's an expression 'a picture says a thousand words', have you extrapolated your image posts out and compared the total created content between the three periods after taking that into account?"

It is true that it took me until late 2006 to start posting entries with pictures in them, and until 2010 when I started posting multiple photo entries with any regularity. But that probably has more to do with me being too lazy to write image uploading code and an image album feature than anything else.

"Post more Lego photo stories about boring office stories, please."

Okay, now I know these are fake.

The Greatest Rapper in the world Christmas Special

Nigel could climb from the bottom to the top of his lighthouse in less than forty seconds.  There are 108 steps. Nigel checked the lamp every evening, which means this year he spent over eight hours climbing up and down almost 80,000 steps. These were the kind of things he thought about during the long nights as a lighthouse keeper.<br />
If there were problems during the night he might have to climb stairs even more, but this year he didn't have a single problem with the light. He was very good at warning ships about the shore.

Nigel could climb from the bottom to the top of his lighthouse in less than forty seconds. There are 108 steps. Nigel checked the lamp every evening, which means this year he spent over eight hours climbing up and down almost 80,000 steps. These were the kind of things he thought about during the long nights as a lighthouse keeper.
If there were problems during the night he might have to climb stairs even more, but this year he didn't have a single problem with the light. He was very good at warning ships about the shore.


As the end of the year approached and the daylight lingered longer, Nigel had more time to himself. He thought about his career choices, and his future, and he realised that this couldn't be his whole life. He called up his supervisor and told him, "I won't be working for the rest of December."<br />
His supervisor said, "Nigel, what do you think you're doing?"

As the end of the year approached and the daylight lingered longer, Nigel had more time to himself. He thought about his career choices, and his future, and he realised that this couldn't be his whole life. He called up his supervisor and told him, "I won't be working for the rest of December."
His supervisor said, "Nigel, what do you think you're doing?"


Nigel said, "I am going to write the greatest Christmas rap album in the world."

Nigel said, "I am going to write the greatest Christmas rap album in the world."


Nigel climbed down the 108 steps and found Kelly in the kitchen. He told her that he wanted to try rapping again, and this time it would be a Christmas album.<br />
Kelly loved the idea, because Kelly loved Christmas.

Nigel climbed down the 108 steps and found Kelly in the kitchen. He told her that he wanted to try rapping again, and this time it would be a Christmas album.
Kelly loved the idea, because Kelly loved Christmas.


Before Nigel started writing raps, he and Kelly sat down to work out what was currently the greatest Christmas rap album in the world, to define the metrics that he would need to beat. They made a summary of all the past hip-hop and RnB Christmas albums and ranked them in categories.

Before Nigel started writing raps, he and Kelly sat down to work out what was currently the greatest Christmas rap album in the world, to define the metrics that he would need to beat. They made a summary of all the past hip-hop and RnB Christmas albums and ranked them in categories.


Run DMC's <i>Christmas in Hollis</i> is the most well known Christmas rap, appearing in 21 different holiday movies and Christmas specials since 1987.

Run DMC's <i>Christmas in Hollis</i> is the most well known Christmas rap, appearing in 21 different holiday movies and Christmas specials since 1987.


<i>Eight Days of Christmas</i>, by Destiny's Child, has the highest Billboard Chart ranking, peaking at 34 in 2001.

<i>Eight Days of Christmas</i>, by Destiny's Child, has the highest Billboard Chart ranking, peaking at 34 in 2001.


Cee Lo Green's Christmas album <i>Magic Moment</i> holds the records for most iTunes downloads of a Christmas rap album.

Cee Lo Green's Christmas album <i>Magic Moment</i> holds the records for most iTunes downloads of a Christmas rap album.


Snoop Dogg's <i>Christmas in Tha Dogg House</i> contained the most original material released on a single Christmas rap album. Along with the most mentions of Santa Claus.

Snoop Dogg's <i>Christmas in Tha Dogg House</i> contained the most original material released on a single Christmas rap album. Along with the most mentions of Santa Claus.


If Nigel could surpass these factors: writing the most original, highest charting, most downloaded, most revered Christmas album of all time then he could surely lay claim to creating the world's greatest Christmas rap album.<br />
Nigel got straight to work writing Christmas rhymes and posting them as downloads on his MySpace page.

If Nigel could surpass these factors: writing the most original, highest charting, most downloaded, most revered Christmas album of all time then he could surely lay claim to creating the world's greatest Christmas rap album.
Nigel got straight to work writing Christmas rhymes and posting them as downloads on his MySpace page.


He wrote a rap called "The Greatest Wrapper in the World." It was about perfectly gift-wrapping a series of more and more complex objects. He and Kelly even made a video for it.

He wrote a rap called "The Greatest Wrapper in the World." It was about perfectly gift-wrapping a series of more and more complex objects. He and Kelly even made a video for it.


The song received zero downloads. It took them days to create the video and no-one who watched it even commented.

The song received zero downloads. It took them days to create the video and no-one who watched it even commented.


In one rap Nigel mentioned Santa over a hundred times. The very next day indie-rapper Busdriver, one of the fastest rappers in the world, released his song "One Billion Santas."<br />
His track wasn't even really Christmas related, it was actually a metaphor for American middle-class behaviour in the years following a recession. Regardless, it received 10,000 comments in less than a week. That was 10,000 more than MC Nigel's song.

In one rap Nigel mentioned Santa over a hundred times. The very next day indie-rapper Busdriver, one of the fastest rappers in the world, released his song "One Billion Santas."
His track wasn't even really Christmas related, it was actually a metaphor for American middle-class behaviour in the years following a recession. Regardless, it received 10,000 comments in less than a week. That was 10,000 more than MC Nigel's song.


Kelly and Nigel organised "Hip-Hop by Candlelight" to try out some of Nigel's new material. They distributed thousands of flyers.

Kelly and Nigel organised "Hip-Hop by Candlelight" to try out some of Nigel's new material. They distributed thousands of flyers.


On the night of the show the only person who showed up was True Drew, and he mocked Nigel  until the bar opened. The rest of the seats stared back at him, empty. Nigel felt like it was Christmas morning and he'd opened up a stocking full of coal.

On the night of the show the only person who showed up was True Drew, and he mocked Nigel until the bar opened. The rest of the seats stared back at him, empty. Nigel felt like it was Christmas morning and he'd opened up a stocking full of coal.


When Kelly and Nigel arrived back at the lighthouse he told her he was giving up on writing the greatest Christmas rap album. She protested, but he knew there was no point, he would never be able to write the greatest Christmas rap album in the world.

When Kelly and Nigel arrived back at the lighthouse he told her he was giving up on writing the greatest Christmas rap album. She protested, but he knew there was no point, he would never be able to write the greatest Christmas rap album in the world.


They went to bed, but Kelly couldn't sleep. She went to the window and stared out of it for no real reason. As Nigel snored lightly she made a wish. She wished that he would write the world's greatest Christmas album ever.

They went to bed, but Kelly couldn't sleep. She went to the window and stared out of it for no real reason. As Nigel snored lightly she made a wish. She wished that he would write the world's greatest Christmas album ever.


At that same exact moment the first snowflake of summer appeared in the sky.

At that same exact moment the first snowflake of summer appeared in the sky.


And as Nigel slept, he dreamed. Santa appeared to him. Santa told Nigel not to give up.<br />
"MC Nigel, you have been a good boy all year," he said. "For Christmas I will give to you what you desire. All you must to do is remember the real meaning of Christmas, then you will have the world's greatest Christmas rap album."

And as Nigel slept, he dreamed. Santa appeared to him. Santa told Nigel not to give up.
"MC Nigel, you have been a good boy all year," he said. "For Christmas I will give to you what you desire. All you must to do is remember the real meaning of Christmas, then you will have the world's greatest Christmas rap album."


"The real meaning," Nigel asked. "Jesus?"<br />
"No No," said Santa, "although... he might be able to produce an epic beat for you."<br />
"What then?"<br />
"You must work it out!"

"The real meaning," Nigel asked. "Jesus?"
"No No," said Santa, "although... he might be able to produce an epic beat for you."
"What then?"
"You must work it out!"


Then Nigel woke. Kelly was still staring out the window. He told her, "I know how to make the greatest Christmas album."<br />
"How?" she asked.<br />
He didn't answer, he rushed downstairs to write.

Then Nigel woke. Kelly was still staring out the window. He told her, "I know how to make the greatest Christmas album."
"How?" she asked.
He didn't answer, he rushed downstairs to write.


There was less than two weeks until Christmas. For twelve nights Nigel worked on his album. By Christmas Eve there was only one rap left to write, but he was stuck. He realised he couldn't do it alone. The rap was called "White Christmas" and many other Australian rappers had come together to help him create it. There was no killer verse though, no stand-out stanza. Nigel thought back to what Santa had said, and he knew the solution.

There was less than two weeks until Christmas. For twelve nights Nigel worked on his album. By Christmas Eve there was only one rap left to write, but he was stuck. He realised he couldn't do it alone. The rap was called "White Christmas" and many other Australian rappers had come together to help him create it. There was no killer verse though, no stand-out stanza. Nigel thought back to what Santa had said, and he knew the solution.


Nigel went to the park and found True Drew sleeping on a bench.<br />
"Are you awake?" he said.<br />
Drew grumbled a slosh of syllables and whisky breath.<br />
"True Drew," Nigel asked, "with your nose so bright. Won't you lead my rap tonight?"

Nigel went to the park and found True Drew sleeping on a bench.
"Are you awake?" he said.
Drew grumbled a slosh of syllables and whisky breath.
"True Drew," Nigel asked, "with your nose so bright. Won't you lead my rap tonight?"


True Drew dropped a verse on the spot, then along with Kelly, Santa and Nigel they ate turkey and celebrated Christmas. Santa told Nigel that, when every boy and girl woke up Christmas morning they would find a copy of his Christmas album in their stocking. And it would be the greatest Christmas rap album in the world.<br />
"And you know why?" Santa said.<br />
Nigel nodded.

True Drew dropped a verse on the spot, then along with Kelly, Santa and Nigel they ate turkey and celebrated Christmas. Santa told Nigel that, when every boy and girl woke up Christmas morning they would find a copy of his Christmas album in their stocking. And it would be the greatest Christmas rap album in the world.
"And you know why?" Santa said.
Nigel nodded.


Nigel said, "Because it is the Christmas rap album with the most Christmas Spirit."</p>
<p>THE END

Nigel said, "Because it is the Christmas rap album with the most Christmas Spirit."

THE END

99 Days - New Record!

For those who don't know, I celebrated an important milestone this week. That is, I finished the last flake in the final box of the full series of Uncle Tobys Plus that I started eating on June 1st. It has been a winter of pluses. The final box to fall was, predictably, Essentials for Women. It's not that I feel girly eating it, I just don't really dig the dried berries clusters. Also it makes me cry during sad parts of Cougar Town.

To make up for eating a big bowl of Essentials for Women this morning I commenced my new habit of blow drying my hair before work. Wait, that's also girly. I didn't blow dry my hair because of the cereal. I used the hair drier because I've started using Vanessa's shampoo and the heat activates the chemicals in the conditioner. Ah, shit. This is spiralling badly. I did go to the office today with close to 48 hour beard growth, which in terms of boundaries is the equivalent of the West Bank of acceptable stubble. I last shaved on Sunday night... so that I would have stubble for eating Essentials for Women on Tuesday.

Man, cereal, stubble... this entry is a Lego Phocumentary reference away from being a killer entry for anyone playing the Bradism.com drinking game.

Christmas Dale

It had been a while since Dale was last in the office. He was making a return from a week of holidays and was set to immediate unease upon exiting the lift. There were colourful lights strung up betwixt the cubicles, flashing off and on in chains of random colours. Red, green and blue splashed the walls. The shiny, metal water cooler in the corner of the walls reflected sparkling to the periphery no matter which way Dale looked.

It had been a while since Dale was last in the office. He was making a return from a week of holidays and was set to immediate unease upon exiting the lift. There were colourful lights strung up betwixt the cubicles, flashing off and on in chains of random colours. Red, green and blue splashed the walls. The shiny, metal water cooler in the corner of the walls reflected sparkling to the periphery no matter which way Dale looked.



"Merry Christmas!" cried Tina Cratchit, the new receptionist, as Dale passed by her desk on the way into the glittering fray.

"Merry Christmas!" cried Tina Cratchit, the new receptionist, as Dale passed by her desk on the way into the glittering fray.



Dale backtracked and turned to her, "What day is it?"<br />
"November the seventh. It's a Mondale," she said.<br />
"Oh. Good," he said. "I was afraid I might have used up a month's worth of leave and not remembered any of it."

Dale backtracked and turned to her, "What day is it?"
"November the seventh. It's a Mondale," she said.
"Oh. Good," he said. "I was afraid I might have used up a month's worth of leave and not remembered any of it."



Dale walked into his pod and found his cubicle neighbours ornamenting a miniature Christmas tree on his desk.<br />
"Oh, you're back," said Miguel, "do you mind having this here?"<br />
The tree was two feet tall and obscured most of his monitor.<br />
"I would be against this in the last week of December, let alone in November," said Dale.

Dale walked into his pod and found his cubicle neighbours ornamenting a miniature Christmas tree on his desk.
"Oh, you're back," said Miguel, "do you mind having this here?"
The tree was two feet tall and obscured most of his monitor.
"I would be against this in the last week of December, let alone in November," said Dale.



"But Dale," said Harold, looking at him with pleading eyes, "Christmas?"

"But Dale," said Harold, looking at him with pleading eyes, "Christmas?"



"Humbug," said Dale. He raised a palm to slap the tree down, but hesitated, and then lifted it gently and carried it to the desk next to his.

"Humbug," said Dale. He raised a palm to slap the tree down, but hesitated, and then lifted it gently and carried it to the desk next to his.



Dale sat to work while behind him his colleagues continued to drape colourful decorations across every available surface. He had intended to kill time by slowly reading all the emails from the last week in chronological order, but the natter of the others distracted him. Eventually they ran out of things to decorate and moved on. Only Joe stayed behind.

Dale sat to work while behind him his colleagues continued to drape colourful decorations across every available surface. He had intended to kill time by slowly reading all the emails from the last week in chronological order, but the natter of the others distracted him. Eventually they ran out of things to decorate and moved on. Only Joe stayed behind.



"Dale, one thing?" he said.<br />
"Yes?"<br />
"What you said before, about the last week before Christmas. I just wanted to check you know. There's a Christmas Shutdown here."<br />
"A Christmas Shutdown? What does that mean?"<br />
"The company requires that we all take annual leave over Christmas and New Years, from December 12 to January 6."

"Dale, one thing?" he said.
"Yes?"
"What you said before, about the last week before Christmas. I just wanted to check you know. There's a Christmas Shutdown here."
"A Christmas Shutdown? What does that mean?"
"The company requires that we all take annual leave over Christmas and New Years, from December 12 to January 6."



"They force us?" said Dale. "I didn't know this, and I just used up all my annual leave!"<br />
"They will make you use more, in advance." Joe said. "Unless you can get an exception to work through."<br />
"Do many people ask for exceptions?"<br />
"Some ask," said Joe, "few succeed."<br />
"Who do I need to ask?"

"They force us?" said Dale. "I didn't know this, and I just used up all my annual leave!"
"They will make you use more, in advance." Joe said. "Unless you can get an exception to work through."
"Do many people ask for exceptions?"
"Some ask," said Joe, "few succeed."
"Who do I need to ask?"



"Karl."

"Karl."



Dale knocked on Karl's office door with two fat, dull thuds.<br />
"Come in," said Karl.

Dale knocked on Karl's office door with two fat, dull thuds.
"Come in," said Karl.



Dale swung the door open and found Karl and Tina on opposite sides of an enormous desk.<br />
Karl's office was dark, the lack of light made it seem cavernous and foreboding. Contrarily, there was no Christmas decorations, which made Dale feel more comfortable.

Dale swung the door open and found Karl and Tina on opposite sides of an enormous desk.
Karl's office was dark, the lack of light made it seem cavernous and foreboding. Contrarily, there was no Christmas decorations, which made Dale feel more comfortable.



Tina left as Dale walked in.<br />
"Let me guess," said Karl. "You think the office is too cold as well."

Tina left as Dale walked in.
"Let me guess," said Karl. "You think the office is too cold as well."



"No," said Dale. "I wanted to talk to you about the Christmas shutdown. Can I please be exempted from taking leave? I..."

"No," said Dale. "I wanted to talk to you about the Christmas shutdown. Can I please be exempted from taking leave? I..."



"Stop," said Karl. There are no exceptions to the Christmas closure. The company feels it is very important for all employees to spend time with friends and family, relax and recharge for a successful and profitable 2012 financial year."

"Stop," said Karl. There are no exceptions to the Christmas closure. The company feels it is very important for all employees to spend time with friends and family, relax and recharge for a successful and profitable 2012 financial year."



"But," said Dale, "I don't have any family. Or any leave, because I just used all my hours up last week, which means I don't need resting or recharging. I can start delivering results and sustaining... sustaining..."<br />
Dale was starting to panic. The Christmas weeks were usually slow, lazy days and the nearer Christmas was, the fewer co-workers he had to deal with. It was like a holiday from work at the end of each year, and the thought that he would have to use his leave and miss it was terrifying.<br />
"Growth," said Karl.<br />
"Growth!" said Dale, finally. "Growth three weeks ahead of schedule."

"But," said Dale, "I don't have any family. Or any leave, because I just used all my hours up last week, which means I don't need resting or recharging. I can start delivering results and sustaining... sustaining..."
Dale was starting to panic. The Christmas weeks were usually slow, lazy days and the nearer Christmas was, the fewer co-workers he had to deal with. It was like a holiday from work at the end of each year, and the thought that he would have to use his leave and miss it was terrifying.
"Growth," said Karl.
"Growth!" said Dale, finally. "Growth three weeks ahead of schedule."



Karl carefully placed his papers on his desk and looked at Dale with a serious expression. "You speak of growth, and profits, but what about meeting the quarterly targets in your life? What about Christmas spirit? You can't work over Christmas, Dale. That's like a child not going to sleep on Christmas Eve."<br />
"Christmas spirit?" Dale repeated. The phrase from a man who dedicated an entire drawer of his desk to socks caught him off-guard. In his mind he could feel the weeks of lighter train patronage, more acceptable thresholds of stubble and polo shirts, and shorter queues for the microwave slipping away. "Christmas... spirit..."

Karl carefully placed his papers on his desk and looked at Dale with a serious expression. "You speak of growth, and profits, but what about meeting the quarterly targets in your life? What about Christmas spirit? You can't work over Christmas, Dale. That's like a child not going to sleep on Christmas Eve."
"Christmas spirit?" Dale repeated. The phrase from a man who dedicated an entire drawer of his desk to socks caught him off-guard. In his mind he could feel the weeks of lighter train patronage, more acceptable thresholds of stubble and polo shirts, and shorter queues for the microwave slipping away. "Christmas... spirit..."



"OK, look," Karl's posture relaxed a little. "I can tell you're not buying this bullshit. You're sharp, Dale, so I'm willing to level with you. When we have everyone on leave at the same time the company saves money. A lot of money. We can cancel the cleaners and the milk deliveries, we can stop running the air-conditioners. Payroll can do their December reports when they do November's, and the CFO is given a report that shows our leave liability is down a thousand hours. Your astuteness impresses me Dale, this just reinforces the potential I see in you. Unfortunately you will still need to take those weeks off."<br />
Dale sighed, thanked Karl and slunk back to his desk.

"OK, look," Karl's posture relaxed a little. "I can tell you're not buying this bullshit. You're sharp, Dale, so I'm willing to level with you. When we have everyone on leave at the same time the company saves money. A lot of money. We can cancel the cleaners and the milk deliveries, we can stop running the air-conditioners. Payroll can do their December reports when they do November's, and the CFO is given a report that shows our leave liability is down a thousand hours. Your astuteness impresses me Dale, this just reinforces the potential I see in you. Unfortunately you will still need to take those weeks off."
Dale sighed, thanked Karl and slunk back to his desk.



"Did it work?" asked Joe.<br />
"No."<br />
"I'm sorry to hear that, buddy," he said.

"Did it work?" asked Joe.
"No."
"I'm sorry to hear that, buddy," he said.



The day passed, then the week, and then the month.<br />
The last day before closure came quickly. The start and finish times of each day crept closer together and the phrase "we'll work on that after the break" was heard more frequently. Those who had not learned the stress-relief strategies of multiple daily coffees and toilet naps started to crack and requested even earlier starts to their leave.

The day passed, then the week, and then the month.
The last day before closure came quickly. The start and finish times of each day crept closer together and the phrase "we'll work on that after the break" was heard more frequently. Those who had not learned the stress-relief strategies of multiple daily coffees and toilet naps started to crack and requested even earlier starts to their leave.



At 3pm the night before Christmas closure Dale left the office along with the few remaining workers still billing their time.<br />
"Merry Christmas, Dale," said Tina. "Sorry you're forced to use up your leave.

At 3pm the night before Christmas closure Dale left the office along with the few remaining workers still billing their time.
"Merry Christmas, Dale," said Tina. "Sorry you're forced to use up your leave.



By 3:30pm the office was empty. Only the fluorescent light behind Karl's office door stayed lit.

By 3:30pm the office was empty. Only the fluorescent light behind Karl's office door stayed lit.



On the first day of involuntary leave Dale awoke, frowning. The light through his bedroom window was glowing brighter than it ever should have. He walked to the window to find the reason for the extra brightness and he heard the carols before he even pushed open the shutters.<br />
The streets below were covered with snow. Under a clear sky it reflected the sunlight everywhere.

On the first day of involuntary leave Dale awoke, frowning. The light through his bedroom window was glowing brighter than it ever should have. He walked to the window to find the reason for the extra brightness and he heard the carols before he even pushed open the shutters.
The streets below were covered with snow. Under a clear sky it reflected the sunlight everywhere.



Dale's colleagues had gathered on the snow below. Harold, Marcus and Tina were singing carols as they stood in front of a giant Christmas tree. Dale's eyebrow rose in curiosity.

Dale's colleagues had gathered on the snow below. Harold, Marcus and Tina were singing carols as they stood in front of a giant Christmas tree. Dale's eyebrow rose in curiosity.



I was working with Joe and Bry on a snowman. Miguel was behind a small hill, digging in the snow. I waved up at Dale and called him to join us.<br />
Dale hurried downstairs and found himself looking up at the towering tree, confused yet intrigued.

I was working with Joe and Bry on a snowman. Miguel was behind a small hill, digging in the snow. I waved up at Dale and called him to join us.
Dale hurried downstairs and found himself looking up at the towering tree, confused yet intrigued.



Miguel saw Dale arrive and ducked behind a shrub to retrieve his pile of snowballs...

Miguel saw Dale arrive and ducked behind a shrub to retrieve his pile of snowballs...



...However, before he could launch one at Dale a pre-emptive strike flew from Joe and thunked into his flannel shirt.

...However, before he could launch one at Dale a pre-emptive strike flew from Joe and thunked into his flannel shirt.



Everyone laughed, and for the first time that Christmas Closure, Dale smiled.

Everyone laughed, and for the first time that Christmas Closure, Dale smiled.



After the snowballs were spent, Santa Claus arrived and called everyone around.

After the snowballs were spent, Santa Claus arrived and called everyone around.



"Ho ho ho," he laughed. "Merry Christmas Bonus!" He passed out envelopes from his backpack to each member of the team.<br />
"Thanks, Santa," said Joe.<br />
"Thanks," said Tina.<br />
They all smiled at each other.<br />
"This is the best Christmas closure ever," said Harold. Everyone agreed.

"Ho ho ho," he laughed. "Merry Christmas Bonus!" He passed out envelopes from his backpack to each member of the team.
"Thanks, Santa," said Joe.
"Thanks," said Tina.
They all smiled at each other.
"This is the best Christmas closure ever," said Harold. Everyone agreed.



"Hey, everyone's here except Karl," said Bry. "Is he late?"

"Hey, everyone's here except Karl," said Bry. "Is he late?"



"Maybe he's on the naughty list?" laughed Joe, and he looked at Santa for confirmation.

"Maybe he's on the naughty list?" laughed Joe, and he looked at Santa for confirmation.



Dale, however, knew exactly where Karl would be: in his office, preparing tenders and writing cost-benefit analyses. All the office lights would be in power saving mode, the bins would be unemptied and in a few more days a thick carpet of stubble would cover his cheeks and be creeping down his neck.

Dale, however, knew exactly where Karl would be: in his office, preparing tenders and writing cost-benefit analyses. All the office lights would be in power saving mode, the bins would be unemptied and in a few more days a thick carpet of stubble would cover his cheeks and be creeping down his neck.



Santa tapped Dale on the shoulder, breaking the daydream.<br />
"For you, Dale," he said and handed him an envelope.<br />
Dale looked inside and found his Christmas bonus. He smiled, along with the rest of his colleagues. Perhaps an enforced Christmas closure wasn't so bad after all.

Santa tapped Dale on the shoulder, breaking the daydream.
"For you, Dale," he said and handed him an envelope.
Dale looked inside and found his Christmas bonus. He smiled, along with the rest of his colleagues. Perhaps an enforced Christmas closure wasn't so bad after all.



"Screw Karl," cried Tina. "Merry Christmas to the rest of us!"<br />
"Merry Christmas!" the office workers said to each other. "Merry Christmas."<br />
Santa walked away while they returned to frolic in the snow.

"Screw Karl," cried Tina. "Merry Christmas to the rest of us!"
"Merry Christmas!" the office workers said to each other. "Merry Christmas."
Santa walked away while they returned to frolic in the snow.



Around the corner, the red hat and fake beard removed, Karl smiled to himself.

Around the corner, the red hat and fake beard removed, Karl smiled to himself.

Note: My jQuery photo viewer thing is home-cooked and a tad buggy. If images fail to load then going back and forward again should fix the issue.

A non jQuery copy of this story can be found here.

This story is dedicated to Vanessa who put up with me spending all Christmas Eve playing with Lego.

Merry Christmas from the bradism.com team!

Idea

Volunteer to work with terminally ill children.
Win their trust with my sense of humour and fairy tale height.
Be their friend in their time of need.
Make them smile and laugh.
After they die, inherit their Lego.

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