There’s Always One
By Holly Geely
“My chestnuts are talking,” said Phillip.
“I don’t need to hear your personal business,” said Mary-Anne. Phillip was her boss, and there are things about one’s boss that one never wants to hear.
“No, really, my chestnuts are talking,” said Phillip. He held up his paper plate, recently filled at the buffet. Several of the roasted brown nuts had been cracked open, ready for consumption.
“We have gained sentience!” one of the chestnuts announced.
“I see,” said Mary-Anne. “Do you think someone spiked the punch?”
“Why would they? This party is open bar,” said Phillip. He was a good boss. A kind boss. The kind of boss who springs for open bar.
“Well, I never do drugs, so I’m not sure why I’m sharing your hallucination,” said Mary-Anne.
“It’s not a hallucination. Look.”
At the buffet, the massive bowl in which there had once been an abundance of chestnuts was overturned. There were chestnuts in the dessert section making snowmen out of marshmallows. There were chestnuts swimming in the soup. There were chestnuts amongst the tropical fruit playing tiny banjos and doing the hula.
“You’ve been roasted. Shouldn’t you be…um…” Mary-Anne didn’t want to be tactless. She couldn’t just tell the newly sentient beings that they should, on all accounts, be dead.
“The roasting is what brought us to life! It is a Christmas miracle!” said a chestnut on Phillip’s plate.
“Phillip! Did you just eat one?” Mary-Anne demanded in horror.
“They’re good,” said Phillip.
“We are delicious!” cried all of the chestnuts in unison.
A woman in an apron – probably the lead caterer – dashed into the dining hall. She located Phillip and crossed the room with three great leaps.
“The…chestnuts…are…alive,” she panted.
“Hooray!” cried the chestnuts.
“What on earth did you roast them with?” asked Mary-Anne.
“Nothing special. This has never happened before!” said the caterer.
Mary-Anne’s attention was caught by a suspicious figure giggling in the corner. As she approached, the smell of alcohol grew stronger. The giggler was exceptionally drunk.
“Marty, did you animate the chestnuts?” asked Mary-Anne.
Marty stood, knocking over his chair and the table as he did so.
“And what of it?” he said, his voice a roaring yell. “Don’t the chestnuts deserve to enjoy the party?”
“Calm down,” Mary-Anne warned him.
“I’ve got more of that spell and I’m not afraid to use it! The wizard gave me a discount!”
Mary-Anne was not a fan of wizards, particularly at Christmas time. They tended to be trouble-makers. However, it wasn’t the wizard’s fault that Marty, who as an employee of Warlocks for Hire should have known better, had purchased one of the Christmas prank specials.
“I’ve got a love spell too!” Marty, perhaps intending to whisper, shouted this directly into Mary-Anne’s ear.
As security escorted the overly intoxicated man out of the building, a cluster of his co-workers said “tsk tsk” and shook their heads.
“There’s always one,” said Mary-Anne, after she returned to Phillip. Last year it had been Stan from accounting, but no one had been surprised. She hadn’t expected that Marty would be the one this year; he was usually so mild.
“At least he didn’t have a chance to spoil the party,” said Phillip. The chestnuts had gathered together and were serenading the guests with their own rendition of the Christmas Song. They said it was their favourite carol.
“Here’s to another profitable year,” said Mary-Anne, raising her glass.
“Cheers,” said Phillip.
“Cheers!” said Phillip’s drink.
Mary-Anne took some counter-spells out of storage, but in the spirit of the season she let the chestnuts finish their carol before she turned them back into food.
Holly Geely is like Scrooge after his transformation, except she didn’t build up a fortune first so she gives mostly socks and love. She blogs at https://hollygeely.com
Holly contributed to the Calendar earlier this season with Why You Should Learn to Communicate Better With Your Spouse, she has as participated in the Advent Calendar in the past, find her contributions here: Franz and Helga and Their Just Rewards, Midwinter, He Quit Before Christmas