A friend suggested I do this and since I tried something like this once before with some success, I’ll give it a go.
This is an excerpt from my Christmas novel ‘Trapped’. The first chapter in fact. If you like, please let me know, or better yet, follow the link below and order yourself a copy. It’s available in paperback or digital, whichever is your preference. (btw, the formatting is off here. It looks much better in book form.)
Happy reading and merry Christmas
The morning air was crisp and cool as Daniel Tucker awoke on the morning of the first day that was widely considered the beginning of the holiday season. He could feel something in the air and it sent a surge of energy through him. It was Christmas.
He stretched under the warm comfort of his covers and quietly assessed his day. It was Monday and he had a full schedule ahead of him. The reason for his unusually hectic schedule was because he had a mission that had to be completed before Christmas. He had been unable to be with his family for Thanksgiving, but he was determined that he would make it up to them for Christmas.
Thanksgiving was always a throw away as far as he was concerned. He just considered it a fancy dinner, but his mother always sent him a care package of leftovers so he could enjoy the meal she made whether he could be with them or not. He appreciated the gesture, but felt it needless.
Christmas was another matter completely. They were always together for Christmas since he was a boy. No matter how far the twists and turns of fate may have sent them, they always managed to reconnect just in time for the one day at the end of December. His brother Chad nearly missed them three years earlier. He had been accepted into a university in England and despite his heavy load of course work and daunting distance, he finally appeared on their doorstep the morning of Christmas Eve. It seemed no matter where life took them, or what stood in their way; the Tucker family was destined to be together for Christmas and this was a fact that Daniel took great comfort in.
Daniel’s alarm clock suddenly clicked on and the strains of Christmas music filled his bedroom. Normally he would openly express his dislike for Christmas music, but once the holiday season began, for some reason he no longer disliked it. In fact, it could be said he enjoyed it. He settled back into his bed and tried to enjoy his last few moments of rest before he had to get ready for work.
Daniel quickly dressed and was hurrying to get out the door in order to get to work on time. He found it amusing to himself the way he worried about being on time. He was a VP at Halpron Enterprises and on the fast track to becoming the youngest member of the executive board. He was no longer subject to the same scrutiny that he was hired under. He was good at what he did and that gave him the trust and support of his superiors, but in the back of his mind he kept his original work ethic and that meant getting to work on time.
Daniel blustered in through the glass doors of the office and as he strode through, he greeted everyone with a bright smile. He suddenly stopped and took a thoughtful look around the office. It seemed cold and colorless.
“Where are the decorations?” He asked Linda Lipinski, his assistant, as he approached his office.
“Yes. For Christmas?”
“Mr. Halpron issued a memo saying that there was to be no decorating this year. He says that it’s too distracting for everyone and it takes away from the work momentum.”
“That’s what he said.”
“Is he in?”
“No. He also sent a memo stating that he would be leaving for an extended vacation starting today. He won’t be back until after Christmas.”
“So, he’s not going to be here.”
“Get the decorations out of storage.”
“He’s going to have people monitoring us.”
“Just get the decorations and I’ll handle Halpron.” Daniel said as he continued on his way to his office.
It was nearly noon and the entire office had been transformed. Gold and silver garlands were hung along all the cubicles. Shining paper stars were hung from the ceiling and multi-colored lights were strung along all the doorways. Christmas music was drifting through the air and everything just seemed a little warmer. Employees had broken out their holiday personal items. A few were sipping from novelty mugs with reindeer antlers for handles. Susan Messing had arranged a small Christmas village on her desk with some small odds and ends that she kept stored in one of her filing drawers. Daniel looked out upon the holiday cheer and felt the warm glow he felt when he awoke that morning grow even stronger. He retreated to his office. As he sat down behind his desk, his door flew open and Ed Skivac came barreling in.
Ed had a reputation in the office as being the resident brown noser. He was always first in line to congratulate Mr. Halpron on every one of his ‘brilliant’ ideas in hopes of getting the next big promotion, but was usually overlooked by someone far more qualified. He’d been gunning for Daniel’s position for sometime, but lost out and was still a bit irked by it. There had been some animosity between Daniel and Ed for a time, but that tension wore down to a grudging respect but Daniel still didn’t trust Ed any further than he could throw him.
“Mr. Halpron has ordered there be no holiday decor. Do you ever read your memos?” He asked sharply.
“Look, Ed, it’s Christmas. Creating a vacuum environment where we don’t acknowledge it is not going to make everyone more productive. It brings them down. Depresses them. Look at it out there.” Daniel said as he got up and pointed out his window to the office. Ed watched and it was a scene of bustling activity. Phones were ringing and being answered. Papers were being handed from one person to another. It was commerce. It was happening and at quite a dizzying pace. Daniel turned back to Ed.
“When people are happy, they enjoy their work more, and therefore, will work harder. Mr. Halpron doesn’t need to know about this, does he?” Ed seemed a bit confused.
“I promised him I would tell him what was going on in here. If he finds out that…” Ed continued.
“He won’t.” Daniel said soothingly. “He doesn’t have to know about any of this.”
Ed froze and suddenly a stern sneer crossed his face. His eyes became steely and determined.
“Mr. Halpron’s orders stand! Whether he’s here or not, he is still in charge!” Ed said confidently. “I’m going to report back about all of this, and after that, it’s in his hands.” Ed said, pointing upwards with his eyes. He then started towards Daniel’s door. Daniel shot his arm out and caught Ed by his neck.
“According to your files, you’re up for a big raise, Ed.”
“I have to tell you, I know who’s making the final decision on that and it could go either way.”
“Are you threatening me?”
“No. I’m just saying if you were to do a favor for me, I could do a favor for you. You keep quiet about all this holiday stuff, and I may be able to put a little influence on someone and get you that raise.” Daniel said. Ed considered him briefly.
“Don’t worry. You’ll get it.” Ed looked away and Daniel could hear the wheels turning. He looked over at Daniel.
“I’ll think about it.”
“Good enough. You get back to me before the end of the day.”
“I will.” Ed said and then walked away quietly.
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