Working in an office with a lot of girls mainly
Suddenly it was that time of year again... Christmas
And the Office party it was looming
As I went toward the pub where we were having our gathering I was feeling nicely laid back and relaxed
Primarily because I'd just been to another pub beforehand and had a few quick scoops/ drinks
Now I was bolstered, all pumped up, I was like a Boxer ready to step into the Ring.
Our pub it was festooned with decorations, lovely colours and glittery things
They were hanging out of the ceiling and stuck on every wall
Above our table a big jovial Santa Claus
Looked down, beaming at us all
As I sat down one of the girls asked rather suspiciously "Where were you?"
Holding up my alibi, a little shopping bag with some items in it
I told her, lying beautifully of course, that I had to go down the shop to get some things.
As I sat there I noticed the atmosphere was a bit subdued, people weren't talking much
I said to myself, this... this won't do
So I took it on myself to take the lead, I'd be the one to spread some Christmas cheer
So suddenly I blurted out "Wh..Wh..What does Santa say... after drinking a bottle of *** ?
"I don't know" they all said, "what does he say".
I paused a moment for dramatic effect...then I hit them with the punchline...he says "Yo ** **!"
They all looked at me blankly
You don't get it, Yo ** ** and a bottle of *** is the famous pirate song from Treasure Island
Santa's catchphrase is **!**!**!
He drinks the *** and suddenly it's Yo! **!**! (Jeez I thought, I got to explain my own jokes)
Still there not impressed, one shakes her head, another raises her eyes to the heavens, another comments "A silly joke"
But really I don't care, I say to them
I suppose you don't want to hear my Snowman joke then
"O Go on", they say, "get it over with"
It's a bit risque I warned them
What do you call a Snowman... standing outside the window of a Brothel ?
"A hot Frosty", someone said
No! ... The Abominable Snowman.
I say to myself, well at least I tried, I made an effort
I done my bit, now I can sit here quietly for the rest of the evening
Some of the girls have now started to talk amongst themselves
One girl sitting right next to me who I hadn't spoken to in awhile
She suddenly inquires after my wellbeing, she asks"How are you?"
I tell her O! You know me, I'm just... just hanging on in there, yea! just hanging on to the Ledge of Life by my fingertips trying not to look down at all the crocodiles circling below
"Things aren't that bad, are they?" she says a little concerned
I smile and say Well I might be exaggerating there... a little bit
She smiles and offers "You're a real Drama Queen".
Suddenly one of the girls announces that she's done an evening course during the Autumn, she's done Bellydancing of all things
I thought we'll have to get her to give us a demonstration later on (but not before dinner LoL)
This girl then starts asking everyone did they do any courses and what their hobbies were
Finally she comes to me and I say Well I've been making some music on this little keyboard I have, yea! I've been playing...I've been playing around with my *****
(this gets some laughs)
I go on, Actually I've been writing a song
"Writing a Song!" says one of the girls really impressed, "we know you write stories, now you're writing songs, my! you are talented. What's it about, your song ?"
I tell her it's about a girlfriend whose... well she's a bit of a Goldigger,
Then I smile, I have a great title for it, I call it (I pause for a moment then I say proudly), I call it...Octopus of Love.
"Octopus of Love!!" says one of them dismissively, "what kind of name is that for a song. There should be a Society for Prevention of Cruelty to songs"
I ignore her and then suddenly launch into a verse of the song
She said she was a dove
But she's my Octopus of Love
A hundred hands in search of one thing
Yea! My wallet, my Pride and glory.
When she whispers in my ear
Her fingertips they tiptoe across my rear
and into my back pocket
O! She's my Octopus of Love
She"s not at all what I dreamed of.
When I hold her in my arms
She sets off all my alarms
She tells these great big whopping lies
Man! She's got a finger in all my pies.
She said she loves me dearly
Visiting the most expensive shops
Buying the most expensive gear
I say, could you not make it more cheaply instead,
O! She's got me in her grasp
Her tentacles they hold me fast
Then she asks what's all the fuss
And she's so innocent looking
Man! She's a lovely Octopus.
"I wouldn't be giving up the day job just yet" says one of the girls,
"That's funny" says another
Then someone ups and says "Tell us another one of your little stories",
"A good one, this time!" adds another
"Yea! A good one! We need a good laugh" says another,
I feel a bit slighted by this for some reason, the way they say it, their attitude
It's like their making light of my Art, my labours, my great works
Like their just bits of fluff for their titillation
So suddenly my mood it darkens and my voice it takes on this ominous ring and then I say a little threateningly
"So you want to hear a good one, do you!"
With this I smile and then say menacingly"I'll give you a good one"
Then I look at them slowly one by one
And it's almost like I've gone into this trance state, switched into ghostly mode
A distant remote look comes into my eyes
It's like I'm looking through them into the far distance somewhere...
And then suddenly I intone real solemn like and with great gravitas
"The Great American Novel!"
"What's that?", asks one of the girls
Now most of the girls are married Moms with kids
They wouldn't have gone to college, they would have gone straight into work after school
So they probably wouldn't have known about English literature and the Classics and all that high brow kind of stuff
Their only exposure to literature would probably be the so called Chicklit books down their local supermarket,
So I say to them 'You never heard of the Great American Novel'
"No!" says one of the girls, "what is it?"
Well, I start to explain, it's like the Holy Grail for all writers, novel writers anyway
How can I explain...how can I put it... The Great American Novel...
It's like this amazing fantastic legendary mythical beast of such great beauty and magnificence
That roams free and unfettered on the literary plains of a writer's imagination,
Many an author on his death bed admits, "I seen it once, I had it in my sights...had it in my grasp but I let it get away". They then turn their heads away and cry bitter tears of regret...
Or...or it's like... it's like this Great Mountain
that's no one's ever been able to climb
It stands there defiantly, supreme in its isolation, it's peak glistening in the sunlight or shimmering in the moonlight
Unreachable, unattainable... unconquerable
(I'm really on a roll now, I'm waxing lyrical and there's no stopping me)
The Great American Novel...it's like... y'know it's like that old fairytale, what was it called
Was it Snow White. No! Snow White had the dwarves in it
What was the other one?
One of the girls whose always been a bit negative, she suddenly says rather unhelpfully
"It wasn't Pinocchio was it?"
Of course I get her reference, when Pinocchio would tell tall tales his nose would grow longer
Then I point to her and say rather surprisingly "That's it!! Sleeping Beauty!" Remember Sleeping Beauty
The King and Queen have a beautiful baby daughter
At the christening all the good fairies come and bestow Blessings on the child
She'll be the most beautiful
She'll be warm and kind and generous
She'll have a lovely heart
She'll be so wise and so artistic...
Then suddenly who should arrive but the Wicked Fairy
She wasn't even invited to the ceremony and she's really angry
She storms into the Palace right up to the child
Then she says "When this Beauty, this Child grows up she will have an accident"
It's like The Great American Novel is the Beauty, the Child
And it's like she's saying "This Beauty no one shall have, no one shall ever write The Great American Novel"
And of course, when the child grows up she's so wonderful and so amazing
But then she has this accident and falls into this strange deep deep sleep
And everyone in the castle too, they also fall asleep,
And suddenly this big thicket of dense thorns springs up around the castle so no one can enter it
Many a brave young man having heard of the Great Beauty behind the Wall of Thorns
They valiantly try to get to her but are invariably driven back by the thorns
Alas! They fail and gradually the story of the Great Beauty passes into legend.....
That is till one day, a Knight appears, a Knight so noble and pure of heart
The moment the blade of his sword touches the Wall of Thorns
A path opens up right through the thorns leading to the castle
He finds everybody there fast asleep
He climbs the Tower and finds in her chamber this incredible Beauty sleeping
He is so taken with her that he must kiss her on her lips
In that moment her eyes they open and she smiles a radiant smile. And the whole world awakens again, comes alive.
I look around at all the girls, their all a bit spellbound by my story (at least I like to think)
I go on 'It's like I was walking in my mind one evening, seeking some inspiration
And then I just turn a corner and there he is, in all his glorious splendour
Remember your Greek myths, the fabulous white winged horse... Pegasus... this beautiful mythical beast
Just there drinking at a pool right in front of me,
So quietly I sneak up on him and then suddenly I jump up onto his back
He rears up and then spreads his mighty wings
And starts to rise way above the earth
My eyes they are suddenly opened, and I see what I had not seen before....
I look at the girls but then just as before, a strange dark look comes over my face and I say
" I'm really afraid but I think, I think I've done it
I think I've nailed it
Yea! ... I think I've written The Great American Novel.
I go on 'Yknow whenever a new book comes out the Critics, they all wonder
Will this be the One, will this at last be The Great American Novel
Of course, their always disappointed, the candidates they all fall short
It was a good try but...but not quite
A valiant effort, maybe next time
In the Critics Room one of them will be given my book to read
Slowly as he reads, his eyes will grow wider
And his jaw will start to drop in awe
When he finishes he'll sit there in his chair stunned, almost like he's been shellshocked
Then he'll rise unsteadily with his finger pointing at the book
He'll be stuttering and stammering
"What's wrong!", people will inquire of him
He'll look at them in a mad crazy way
"My eyes... my eyes they've seen it" he'll say
"Seen what?" they'll ask
"It...it... it's The Great American Novel.
They'll all stand up and gather around the Book
Suddenly someone will grab a pair of binoculars and look up at The Great, the Holy Mountain
And there on the top, on the summit
There'll be a lone figure standing with his little Irish flag
"Truly he is the One", they'll say, "and a feckin' Irishman, wouldn't you know".
"So what's it about then", asks one of the girls interrupting my flow
What!', I say
"The Novel! What's it about"
I look at her and then I smile and say rather mysteriously 'Well, that's another story isn't it'.
"Wait a minute", says the girl whose usually very negative, "so the valiant Knight with the noble heart, that's supposed to be you is it ?
I raise my hands innocently as if to say what can I do
"O! I think I'm going to be sick", she says. Then she continues "Where did you get the time to write a Novel anyway. All the time we thought you were working you were probably just there daydreaming over in the corner".
"It's not very long", I say to her "my story".
"How long is it ?", she asks curiously
"Actually it's only about ten or eleven pages".
"What! Ten or eleven pages!!!", she says jumping on this with exaggerated disgust, "that's not a Novel, it might be a short story but it's certainly not a Novel. For it to be a Novel it has to be several hundred pages long ".
I tell her But 'I didn't need a few hundred pages just ten or eleven was enough, it's all there, the whole thing'.
"But it's not a Novel", she maintains
I answer, it's the spirit of the thing that matters, the Spirit!
She then gathers herself and I can feel an offensive coming
"I don't want to rain on your Parade", she begins, "but One you're not American, Two it's not even a Novel, and Third if it's anything like your song I for one won't be holding my breath".
I look at her a bit crestfallen and then I say
"You really like to burst my balloon don't you" , then I say, "I'm reminded of the classic lines of W.B.Yeats the great Irish poet
And then I declaim theatrically
"And Great Art... beaten down".
Anyway now the spotlight moves away from me, the girls start talking among themselves
"Let's leave him to his delusions", one says and now our meals are starting to arrive, I'm forgotten about for awhile.
For some reason the word "Parade' has stuck in my mind
And the pub has suddenly grown more boisterous, some people are singing and blowing whistles (those paper things that roll out and then roll back in again) their throwing streamers and confetti about
Suddenly I'm reminded of those old ticker tape parades they used to have over in New York when they'd be celebrating something or someone
All the faces looking out the windows of the skyscrapers and all the streamers cascading down, and the cheering crowds
And up on a big Podium there standing, the President himself.
I look up at the wall at Santa Claus smiling back at me
And I say to myself "Hello Mister President"
I can see him welcoming me up onto the podium, then with his hands he quietens the crowds... and then...then he speaks
"Fellow Americans, we've waited a long time for this day
Many thought I'm sure that it would never come but some...some still dared to believe Yea! That one day a man would appear and that a Book would be born"
(holding up the Book) I give you the Book
It may be a slim volume
But don't let that fool you
Sometimes good things come in small packages...
Yes! I give you the Book,
The Great American Novel!!!
And I give you... the Man (motioning to me)
"He told it like no one else could, he said it like no one else could say it
Let the bells ring out across the land, in every city and town...in celebration"
So sitting there I raised my glass to Santa Claus smiling on the wall
And said quietly and secretly to myself
"Here's to you Mr. President, Merry Christmas!
On another website I once wrote a funny story and then I wrote a small play or playlet about the story which was actually funnier than the story, and people wanted me to write another one. And this was to be the sequel. I thought I'd stick it up here, it's quite Christmas-zy, has jokes and verse and metaphors, a bit of everything, a bit of fun.