It’s official, Figs: the weather is getting frightful, the mistletoe has been hung, the lights are twinkling–the holidays are upon us! To celebrate, we’ve asked some of our favorite authors to share holiday memories with us. Tune in all through December to get in the holiday spirit!
Charlie Price is the author of The Interrogation of Gabriel James, about a Montana teen who accidentally discovers a classmate’s shocking home life and becomes an eyewitness to two murders. His most recent book, Desert Angel, which tells the story of an abused girl running for her life, came out this fall. When we asked Charlie what he would have loved to receive for Christmas as a teen, he told us this hilarious story of a home Christmas pageant gone wrong.
By the middle of my teens the idea of a particular Christmas gift had lost much of its appeal. Nothing matched the brightly painted metal service station/garage I’d gotten when I was ten. I mean, you could put toy cars up on the hoist in the work area. You could drive your favorite autos up a ramp and park them side-by-side on the flat roof. For hours. Days, even. Come on! Who could ask for more fun than that? The electric guitar and amp I received when I was fourteen was glitzy and loud, good for a brief rock-star fantasy, but since I couldn’t actually play the thing, it was also a bit of an embarrassment.
My parents, however, wanted a Christmas show—think Eric Clapton meets American Idol. I knew my folks were big Elvis Presley fans, so I used a half can of hair spray to give myself big curls over my forehead, turned up my shirt collar, broke out my sleeziest loafers, and memorized the first verse of Elvis’s big hit “Blue Suede Shoes.” The living room would be the stage, so I moved the coffee table out of the way and positioned the amp on the floor beside the fireplace mantel that held Mom’s favorite vases and knick-knacks.
My dad came in, hands still wet from Christmas dinner dishwashing, and sat in the maroon overstuffed chair that always put him to sleep an hour or so after meals. Mom set her novel next to her on the couch and straightened up, ready for the performance. I psyched myself to begin with a bang, thinking a flamboyant full-speed opening would carry me through the rest of what I feared might be a less-than-memorable extravaganza. I needn’t have worried. I turned the amp to ear-split, cocked my hip Elvis style, strummed a cacophonous smush of strings, belted “One for the money,” spun my guitar neck to the right . . . and hit mom’s porcelain statue of St. Francis, breaking it cleanly in half and knocking pieces into the dining room. The amp continued to reverberate, but the rest of us were dead silent, stone still. So the gift I would have killed to receive that Christmas? A new two-foot tall statue of St. Francis. Or a cloak that would make even Elvis Presley invisible.