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by Jubbly 

Posted: 27 May 2010
Word Count: 469
Summary: My attempt at week 307 challenge. A re working of an oldie.

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Heather had a secret, one that could only be kept for a finite time, but still fun while it lasted. Heather was prone to casual labour, it suited her personality, she worked in a large shopping arcade as a seasonal gift wrapper; there was really no call for her expertise any other time of the year but Christmas. There she stood day in day out at her little makeshift booth right outside Sock Shop and opposite Doodles Donuts – more than a hole in the middle.
Her feet ached and her calf muscles throbbed, but still she wrapped.
“Any colour preference for the ribbon Madam? Silver with snowflakes or the gold with bells Sir?
Her shift began at nine and finished at six, sometimes she did a double leaving for home at ten, after all £5.75 an hour was not to be sniffed at.
There were several booths dotted around the arcade, all far enough apart to keep each wrapper permanently at the ready with cello tape and scissors.
The wrappers were mostly school leavers or grannies, Heather was the exception. She wasn’t really a people person but even she noticed there were many different types of shoppers.
Happy, gregarious people who loved Christmas and all it stood for, they were few and far between. Stressed parents who wished there really was a Santa Claus so they could dispense with the responsibility and save a fortune in the process. Old ladies spending their pensions on goods their relatives would never need nor want. Secret lovers with a twinkle in their eye and expensive jewellery as their offering. Rude customers who wouldn’t look her in the eye and ignored her helpful requests while chatting away constantly on their mobile phones.

It all began on the day that wretched pigeon crapped on her favourite cashmere cardigan. It had been a gift from her aunt and was rather special. She’d tried to wash it off but the soft wool was now stiff and spiky and the lovely azure blue slightly paler in tone. That’s when it began, what Heather refers to as her ‘Christmas Swapping’. After the customer had left their goods in her care saying they’d be back in an hour or so, Heather would get creative. They needn’t necessarily have offended her; sometimes it was just pure devilment on her part.
Digital cameras in boxes were exchanged for scented bath salts just the right size. Computer games became recipe books and sexy gossamer stockings - gardening gloves.
Oh what a surprise they’d all get come Christmas morning and what a terrible fuss there would be on Boxing Day when they came back to the store fuming and flustered, clutching receipts and demanding an explanation. But Heather would be long gone, after all a Christmas job – is just for Christmas

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Comments by other Members

V`yonne at 20:13 on 27 May 2010  Report this post
I rather like the idea of swapping the gifts around. It's delightfully evil. You should send this somewhere for Christmastime this year

Punctuation missing here: with bells Sir?"

tusker at 07:01 on 28 May 2010  Report this post
I enjoyed this too, Julie.

A clever creative idea on the prompt and a cheeky way to overcome Heather's boredom.

Not that I'd be too happy if it happened to me.

You brought out the way some shoppers treat assistants as if they're not there.

You also brought out Heather's feeling of seperation from others without making her seem a wierdo, if you get what I mean.


Elbowsnitch at 07:12 on 28 May 2010  Report this post
Hi Julie - this is a great idea, a well-told story and strangely convincing! I was a bit confused by the first couple of sentences, though - they read as if Heather's secret is that she's prone to casual labour. I also wonder about the word 'prone' - sounds as though she's slightly addicted to it, is this what you meant?

Love the cardigan details - 'the soft wool was now stiff and spiky and the lovely azure blue slightly paler in tone'. And that it's the pigeon crapping incident that starts Heather off on her life as a minor criminal!


Bunbry at 12:57 on 28 May 2010  Report this post
I really like this Julie, although I might have had the wrapping spoiled by the pidgeon, rather than her cardigan, as the trigger that set her off.

But very clever, well done.


Forbes at 18:05 on 28 May 2010  Report this post
A lovely piece which was slow to get going, but had some lovely lines:

Old ladies spending their pensions on goods their relatives would never need nor want.

Oh so sad!

Naughty lady.



Jumbo at 18:10 on 28 May 2010  Report this post

I like this - it appeals to my warped sense of humour. Oh, how I wish I had the nerve to do something so wicked!!

Loved the last sentence.

Thanks for the read - great fun.


tractor at 16:03 on 29 May 2010  Report this post
Clever and funny. Now I know why some people don't appear as grateful as they should be at Christmas!



Jubbly at 18:57 on 29 May 2010  Report this post
Thanks for all your comments lovely people.x

scotwil at 22:08 on 13 July 2010  Report this post
I love this idea, Jubbly. Funny and evil.

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