Caught in a wonderland of snow, James pulls into a diner one night to take shelter from the storm. He’s tongue-tied at first by the pretty girl behind the counter, but soon finds himself trying to convince her that all Christmas songs are nonsense. Who overhears him? None other than Good St. Nick—a department store Santa working an unusually late shift. With a glint in his eye, St. Nick sets James straight: from a reindeer who isn’t allowed to play in any reindeer games to catching mommy kissing a presumed stranger, the silliness of Christmas songs is kind of the whole point!
This yuletide short story will not only have you humming your favorite Christmas tunes, you’ll never think about those songs in the same way again!
You can read the first paragraphs of the story below, then order your own copy from your favorite retailer.
Coffee Shop at the North Pole
by Karl El-Koura
“Don’t you think Christmas music brings out the very worst in people?” he said, looking up from his painted ceramic mug half full of milky brown coffee. Through a speaker behind the counter, a pair of duetters crooned their rendition of Let it Snow.
“What’s that?” the young lady said, the words mixed with a quick laugh.
He’d been thinking of something to say to her—they were the only two people in the roadside coffee shop where he’d pulled over to get a break from the snowstorm raging outside, and to get a shot of much-needed caffeine—but why had he said that?
She was a very pretty young woman around his age, maybe a year or two younger at eighteen or seventeen, with blonde hair put up in a bun and wrapped in a bow of green ribbon. She wore green leggings, which he’d seen when she turned away to pour him a cup of coffee, and a red vest around a tight-fitting green top, giving her the overall impression of a beautiful elf. The coffee shop itself was tastefully but heavily decorated with Christmas almost everywhere his glance fell: small white lights cobwebbed the ceiling, giving the illusion of a night sky full of stars overhead; a large fir tree wrapped in sparkling rainbow-coloured lights stood in one corner, and beside it a majestic throne of velvet-red fabric and golden frame, where he figured a dressed-up Santa would sit children on his lap so that their parents could take pictures; every table had a miniature fir tree set in the middle, with smaller figurines of reindeer and snowmen surrounding it and likely containing salt and pepper and sugar; and a painted wooden sign to his left, on the bar near the cash, welcomed him to the North Pole.
When he’d come into the shop, setting the bells above the glass door jingling, he took in all the seasonal decorations without registering them, then grumpily shook off the snow that had accumulated on him just in the short walk from his car to the door, and slipped into one of the bar stools. It was only when he’d placed his order and heard the soft happy voice say “Coming right up!” that he opened his eyes more than the sleepy half-slits that had made the conclusive argument to pull off the highway.
He hadn’t said another word beyond the “Thanks, I needed this!”, trying to think what else to say to this elfin creature. He’d taken his time pouring the milk and sugar into the mug as she walked back to her chair near the cash and returned to using her highlighter on a large textbook. Wishing another customer would come in, he’d taken sip after sip from his mug to delay having to say anything and risk saying something stupid. Then he’d said that, and she’d looked up from her textbook, one finger holding her spot, and laughed out the quizzical words, and now he was committed to seeing the idea through.
Find out what happens next: buy your copy of “Coffee Shop at the North Pole”!