Christmas Hint

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“What are you planning to get Megan for Christmas this year?” Graham whispered to his son-in-law.

“I have no idea,” replied Craig.

“Especially after last year. Getting her a puppy was a stroke of brilliance,” admitted Graham.

Craig looked over at his father-in-law between plays of the game on TV. “I’m open to suggestions.”

“Have you heard of these new chocolate diamonds? Commercials for the stuff are everywhere,” suggested Graham.

Craig hesitated. “I’m not sure that’s a good idea. It sounds like a real scam. Chocolate diamonds? More like crappy diamonds wrapped in the package of clever marketing.”

Graham chuckled to himself. “You know,” he said, “it doesn’t matter what you think. It’s what Megan thinks that matters.”

“She’s not much into jewelry, anyway,” added Craig.

“That’s not what I remember about her growing up,” said Graham. “She used to love that romantic sort of thing.”

Craig curled his upper lip. “Nah. She’s not like that any more. She’s a lot more practical. I’ll figure something out. Thanks anyway.”

Graham watched Craig move to the kitchen, then turned to the hallway.

Megan stuck her head from around the corner. “How did it go?”

Graham sighed. “He’s not completely hopeless, but it’s close.”

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Thanksgiving Credit

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“Ugh. I ate so much I could burst,” said Matt. “That was an amazing meal, dear.”

Alison smiled. It was her first time making Thanksgiving dinner for the family.

“I agree,” added Alison’s dad. “It was wonderful.”

Her mom, smiled meekly. “The turkey was a tad dry, but not bad for a first attempt.”

The smile dropped from Alison’s face. Matt and Alison’s father exchanged uncomfortable glances.

“Well, I thought it was just great. The gravy was amazing,” added Scarlett, Alison’s sister.

“It certainly made up for the dry turkey,” said her mother.

There was a lingering doom in the air as everyone waited for Alison’s response.

Matt broke the tension. “Need help clearing the table?”

“I’ll help,” added Scarlett.

“Cowards,” whispered her father. He stood up and left the room. “I’ll be in the bathroom.”

Alison sat across the table, glaring at her mother.

“What?” asked her mother.

“Really? Everyone says something nice and all you can do is criticize?”

“There’s no sense coddling you. How will you learn if I don’t tell you the truth?” said her mother.

“Mom,” said Alison, shaking her head, “I swear, it’d kill you to actually give someone a compliment.”

Alison’s mom recoiled. “I can do that.”

“Dead, face first in the mashed potatoes, right now,” said Alison.

“Are you challenging me?”

“You chickening out?”

“Well, your chicken wouldn’t be as dry,” said Alison’s mother.

“Seriously?”

Her mother rolled her eyes. “I suppose, the gravy was acceptable.”

“It’s homemade.”

“I believe you.”

“Not out of a can or some package. It’s the real deal.”

“I said I believe you.”

“Then give me a compliment,” said Alison.

There was a long pause.

“Well?” asked Alison.

“I guess the apple doesn’t fall that far from the tree,” said her mother, reluctantly.

Alison’s jaw dropped. “That’s what you could come up with? A backhanded compliment for yourself?”

Alison’s mother smiled. “Remember when you were a teenager and you blamed me for ruining your life?”

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“If I’m responsible for all the bad in your life, then I’m taking credit for the good.”

Alison’s eyes narrowed. “Well played, mother. Well played.”

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Canine Affection

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Jocelyn and Martin sat on the couch when Riley, their sheltie, sauntered into the room. She slowly sniffed around Martin before licking his hand dangling off the armrest.

“Don’t let him do that,” said Jocelyn.

“Why not?”

“It’s disgusting. You know she licks her butt, right?”

“I read that dog saliva is cleaner than human’s. Besides, she’s just showing affection,” said Martin.

“It’s still weird,” scoffed Jocelyn.

Martin gently poked Jocelyn, who jumped in her seat. “You’re just jealous she likes me more than you.”

“Stop that!” squealed Jocelyn. “All that means is, when the apocalypse happens, you’re the first one she’s gonna eat.”

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Magnetic Fishing

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As soon as Brenda entered her parents house, her mom announced, “You need to speak to your father.”

“Why, is he gardening in the backyard in his underwear again?” replied Brenda.

“He’s taken up a new hobby,” said her mother.

“Is it like the time he tried squirrel rustling?”

“Not quite. He’s taken up magnetic fishing.”

Brenda ponder this a moment. “Can you catch fish with magnets?”

“Of course not. He’s throwing magnets in the river to catch anything metal,” scoffed Brenda’s mother.

“Okay, that’s odd. Why would he do this?”

“He claims it’s no different than using a metal detector on a beach, except it’s under water.”

“What does he find?”

“What do you think? Rusty metal.”

Brenda shrugged and shook her head. “It sounds innocent enough.”

“Oh no. Not you too. He videos himself doing it and puts it on the internet. He’s got followers,” said Brenda’s mother.

“At least he’s not under your feet all the time.”

That gave Brenda’s mother pause. “I guess that’s true.”

“And they say that people who don’t have a hobby when they retire tend to waste away,” reasoned Brenda.

Brenda’s mother sat at the kitchen table with a sinister expression and took a sit of her tea. “It gives us more mother daughter time, too.”

Brenda eyes widened. “Then again, you two really don’t spend enough time together.”

“Better go talk to him,” said Brenda’s mother with a sly grin.

Brenda turned for the door. “I’ll go talk to him.”

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An Apocryphal History of Curling in America

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It’s common knowledge among curling enthusiasts that the primary tool of the trade for many years was the corn broom. Since corn is indigenous to North America, the corn broom can properly described as a uniquely western addition to the Scottish past time.

Another popular user of corn brooms? Witches. In fact, the corn broom proved to be a useful aid in the immunity of their lifestyle. Suspicious villagers who spied on the small bands were surprised to witness random acts of curling practiced in the nearby forests and glades.

One unfortunate group of witches once forgot to bring curling stones to complement their ruse, resulting in an unfortunate incident in Massachusetts. Other witch bands learned from their mistake and began to actually play the game before growing crowds of enthusiastic villagers.

This was how curling made it’s earliest inroads in the American colonies. Or perhaps not. Who’s to say, really? Walk with purpose, write with authority and someone will believe you.

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Four Seasons

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Ainsley was at the door, ready to leave, when Butler called out from the down the hall.

“It’s cold today. Only going up to minus 4,” he said.

The statement made Ainsley sigh. “I know, I heard. I hate this weather. Most people don’t live like this you know.”

“Like how?”

“Most people live in hot weather,” said Ainsley.

“I like having four seasons,” said Butler.

“It’s not normal to freeze yourself like this.” complained Ainsley.

“What’s normal? It’s all about what you’re used to,” said Butler.

“Well then, I want to be used to a warm, sunny beach, twelve months of the year.”

“I bet people who live like that wish they could see snow,” suggested Butler.

“Are you nuts? Who’d want that?”

“People who’ve never experienced it before. For them it’d be new and exciting,” said Butler.

“They can have it. Better yet, if that’s what they want, we can trade places,” said Ainsley.

“You’d miss the snow,” said Butler.

“Not bloody likely.”

“Well, you’d miss me, because I’m not doing that. I like each season as it comes,” said Butler.

“Then you better make sure I stay warm.”

Butler wrapped his arms around Ainsley and held her tight. “Absolutely,” he said. “That’s the best part of winter.”

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A Sound Future

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“We’re in serious trouble,” exclaimed Janet. She tossed her retirement portfolio across the kitchen table.

“What wrong now?” asked Phil. He opened the fridge in search of a snack.

“According to my calculations, we’ll be able to retire when we’re ninety-seven.”

Phil held up a weird looking fruit. “Why’d you buy a passionfruit? How d’you even eat this?” he asked.

Janet glared at her husband. “Thanks for taking this so seriously.”

“Look, it’ll all work out. By the time we reach retirement age, the social system will’ve already collapsed.”

“Then how will it work out?” cried Janet.

Phil sat at the table next to his beleaguered spouse. He took a bite of the passionfruit and hurt his teeth.

“You cut off the top and scoop out the innards with a spoon,” explained Janet.

“No wonder it hasn’t replaced the apple in popularity. Like I was saying, we need to think outside the box.”

“The only box we’ll have at that point will be cardboard,” lamented Janet.

“Hardly. The world’s going deaf. Loud music, earbuds and stuff are taking their toll.”

“That helps us how?” asked Janet.

“Millions will need hearing aids,” declared Phil.

“So?”

“Those same people will still want to use their earbuds to listen to music.”

“Is there a point to this?”

“The point is, how can they use ear buds and hearing aids at the same time? Add bluetooth. We patent the idea as intellectual property, then we sell it for a fortune. Retirement crisis solved,” proclaimed Phil.

Janet sat up in her chair and marvelled at her husband. “I gotta admit, it’s a great idea. Too bad it’s already been done.”

Phil laughed. “What’re you saying?”

Janet grabbed her phone and searched bluetooth hearing aids. Thousands of results came up. “See?”

“Aw man,” said Phil. “I thought I had something.”

She placed her arm around Phil’s shoulder and kissed his cheek. “At least I have something.”

“What?” said a dejected Phil.

“A ridiculously optimistic partner.”

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