“Oh dear,” the elf on Christmas letter rotation sighed. “What this year?” Writers always wanted the impossible.
“Dear Santa,” the letter, written in tidy cursive on creamy 40 bond paper began. “I have been very good this year. I did not scream at my editor, nor have I said unkind things about other writers, unless they deserved it.”
The Elf adjusted his reading glasses and shook his head. “Not an auspicious start.”
“I only want four things this year,” the letter continued. “First, a new computer, one that will do what I want and not what I inadvertently tell it to do.”
The elf shook his head again. “Even we don’t rate one of those. Sorry.” He continued reading.
“Two, I would like a software package that corrects my grammar and spelling except for those places where I intend to bend or break the rules, such as in dialogue or with character names.
“Three, I would like something to temporarily repel plot bunnies. I have only gotten three books done this year because of too many plot bunnies distracting me.
“Four, I would like to have an unlimited amount of writing music available that does not come from a service that tracks me and tries to recommend products or playlists. And that doesn’t cost me too much money. No more than a dollar US per month.
Thank you in advance, and I left real cookies this time, not the lo-fat, no sugar ones like last year. I apologize, and I’m very, very sorry. I won’t make that mistake again.”
The elf snorted. “At least this one learns.” He took his glasses off and set the letter aside, in the “Impossible Requests” bin.
Later that week, Santa himself went through the bin. He sighed over the requests for world peace, frowned at one or two others, and passed along the pleas for healing and other workable miracles. When he got to the author’s letter he stopped, re-read it, and tapped one finger on the top of his desk.
“You know, that name . . . I think I remember that one. Yes. That was such a shame.” Santa turned to his computer and called up the archives. He went back forty years and more, to the year of the fire, and found the now-author’s Christmas letter from the previous year.
“Hmm. I thought so.” Santa smiled. “That one we can grant.”
* * * * *
On December 25, the author raced down the steps and skidded around the corner into the living room, at least in spirit. There, under the tree, was a model of a Paso Fino stallion, and a toy show-ring to go with it. The writer stared, mouth agape. He knelt beside the toy horse. His grandfather had given him that exact horse, two days before the Fire.
“Thank you, Santa,” the author whispered.