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Little Christmas Tree Story Little Christmas Tree Story
by Alexander Mikhaylov
2010-12-16 10:00:23
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It was well after eleven p.m., when I entered the huge apartment building and started ascending its stinking stairs, sweating and breathing laboriously. My wife and I rented a small studio on the sixth floor: it was nice enough place but the hike up to it was a killer. I knew for a fact that our landlord was thinking about installing an elevator in our building but he did not want to pay for it and so the building remained elevator-free. 

I reached our floor and pressed the doorbell. My wife opened the door and let me in.

- Hi, honey, - she said and planted a kiss on my parched lips.

-Hi, honey, - I echoed, returning the kiss and trying to steady my breathing a bit.

-Guess what?

-What?

-I’ve got surprise for you!

-Really?

She beckoned me into a room and then, once I entered it, pointed towards the window with a somewhat theatrical gesture.

I squinted at the windowsill and saw … a tiny Christmas tree. It was a beautiful tree. It was decorated with lots of miniature toys and it was wrapped in electric cord, full of colorful little lights. Huge red socks hang on a nail nearby. By the look of it, it contained something. Perhaps there were PRESENTS!

I gasped and shook my head in disbelief.

-Did you do it yourself? – I finally asked.

-Sure I did.

-Wow!

- Do you like it?

-Damn! Of course, I like it! I just… cannot believe it!

-It was supposed to be a surprise.

-So I see.

-You wanna check what’s inside the sock then?

-Sure. But later! Lemme just admire it first, - I did not know what else to say. Suddenly I felt like crying.

- Guess what! - piped my wife, - I’ve got champagne too!

-What?! You’ve got what?!

-Champagne! Real champagne!

-Jesus!

I could not want to believe it.

-But… why? – I blurted.

- But today is Christmas!

-Well, I recon it is… but…

-No one will know! Oh, come on! Let’s celebrate!

- But… it is all so sudden…I mean… well…

A few minutes later, I was sitting in my favorite chair, gazing at the tree and sipping real bubbly champagne.

-Happy Christmas, darling! – said my wife. 

-Happy Christmas, love.

We raised our glasses and were about to take a first sip when our door- bell started to ring hysterically.

-Police! Open up! – barked a male voice outside.

My wife dropped her glass and shuddered.

-Oh God, - she whispered.

-Steady! – I whispered back to her, - Let’s pretend we are not at home.

-Open up! We know you are there! –bellowed the same voice then something heavy, perhaps a fist, collided with the door with a thunderous crush.

-I’ll open the door, - squeaked my wife and jumped on her feet.

-All right, - I croaked somewhat foolishly.

A moment later, our studio was filled with armed police.

-What’s that, folks? – The huge gorilla of a policeman was standing near the windowsill and pointing at our Christmas tree.

-It’s … eh… nothing… Just decoration, sort of… - babbled I.

-Oh yeah? No shit, pal! It’s a CHRISTMAS TREE!

- NO!

-What do you take me for, man?! It’s a bloody Christmas tree and no mistake!

-Well…

-Are you not aware that willful and above all deliberate display of any Christmas decorations, such as Christmas trees, Red socks and other offending culture-insensitive items is the act punishable by law?! Don’t you tell me you did not know that! – roared the policeman.

-I…well… I was not aware that anyone could see… or be offended…

-Really? And that is why you folks placed it on the windowsill so the entire neighborhood would see it?!

-I am sorry… We did not think…

-Come on! Stop giving me that! You wanna spend the night at a police station or what?

-No, please…

-Well, since it is the first registered offence of this kind you have committed, we will give you a chance, all right? Here, fill up and sign this form.

The policeman thrust into my face a single sheet of paper.

-Fill it in and put your signature at the bottom! – said he once more.

I took the paper and started to fill it in. The form was asking for all kinds of personal information. It was rather long and unclear. Meanwhile the other policeman produced garbage bag, grabbed our tiny Christmas tree, the bottle of champagne and the red sock along with whatever it still contained, and tossed it all into the bag.

-We’ll deposit it into the dumpster on our way out, - He reassured me with a crooked smile, - We should’ve charged you folks for the plastic bag but we’ll be  kind to your this time.

-Yeah, the first time offenders, - mumbled the first policeman, looking through the form I had filled for him, folded it a few times and deposited into his breast pocket.

-All right, we are going. Count yourself lucky, you people, that we are letting you off this time. To offend other folks and their customs and religions with your stupid culturally insensitive display… well, I really dunno what to say…Anyway, I gave you a fair warning. We catch you with something like this next time and – kiss your behinds goodbye! Good evening to you!

I turned my head and surveyed the windowsill though a delicate mist of childish and utterly silly tears. Now it looked barren and slightly dirty. Well, maybe THEY are right; perhaps it is high time for us to grow up and redefine our values.




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