Welcome to Santa’s Treasure Hunt blog Hop.
All you have to do, is follow Santa’s sleigh as he travels around the world.
Write down the Christmas word, given on each blog. Then click the link to get to the next stop. Please comment on the Christmas stories and poems the writers have featured especially for you.
When you’ve finished the hop, email your list of the Christmas words you have collected to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everyone with the correct list will go into a draw to win all the eBooks in Santa’s sack; not only are there many books, but there’s also a huge range of fiction genres for you to enjoy.
This blog is hosted by karenjmossman.com. If you get lost on your way. Just pop over to my blog where I have all Santa’s stops linked up in order.
A short story, by Paul White
Purely for your enjoyment this Christmastime 2022
YOU CAN’T TRUST ANYBODY
Gary was a very happy man as he waited on the Northern line underground platform for the next tube to take him home to Finchley. He could not help but grin inanely from ear to ear as he considered the rich pickings he secured over the last few hours.
Work today had gone extremely well, it was one of those rare days when everything fell neatly into place when everything went perfectly.
Maybe it was because there were a lot of new tourists in town, this being the start of the Christmas season, or maybe it was the newly laid snow, the decorations, baubles, presents, lights, and lanterns that were encouraging the masses to venture into the city? Either way, the jostling, bustling throngs of unsuspecting transient punters made it the perfect working environment for Gary.
Gary’s first dip was a gift. He was leaning on a corner of a wall, scanning the crowds for an easy mark, when a young woman stopped next to him. She was juggling with a suitcase on wheels, some carrier bags, a handbag, and a Starbucks coffee.
She was oblivious to his presence as she stood her case upright, propped the carrier bags against the case, placed her handbag on top, and rested it against the pull-along handle. Balancing her coffee on a waste bin, the woman prized the lid from the paper cup, added three tubes of sugar, and stirred her skinny latte with the small wooden stick.
By the time she sweetened her coffee and raised the cup to her lips, Gary picked up her purse, and a brown envelope from her handbag, and collected two carrier bags before disappearing into the massed throng of pedestrians.
His second theft of the day was also simple. An old couple were arguing over some irrelevant minor point, while a young boy, Gary assumed a grandchild, was running in circles around them, screaming at the top of his voice.
As he approached the arguing pair, he used the child’s misbehaviour to fain a trip, falling against the old man. After telling the old folks they should keep their child under control in the future, Gary vanished into the crowd with a thick leather wallet, full of cash, lifted from the elderly man’s jacket pocket.
Gary loved the older people, the ones who still favoured carrying large bundles of cash rather than credit cards. He could spot a ‘cash cow’ at a hundred paces.
This was the way his day went. Easy mark after mark, purse after purse, wallet after wallet. It was a bumper day. Gary’s duffel bag was now so heavy with his ill-gotten gains, he decided it was enough work for one day.
Which was why he was grinning widely as he waited on the platform at London Bridge underground station. Two minutes later his train arrived, accompanied by the usual drafts of sooty-scented air, electronic wheezing, and metallic clattering. What was not so usual was the number of passengers, or indeed the lack of them. Possibly, he thought to himself, it was because he was travelling back home far earlier than usual, missing the rush hour madness.
Gary looked around the carriage, there was a blue pin-stripe suited man, reading the Telegraph newspaper, a woman, with a tiny dog, wedged into a plaid handbag, and a girl listening to her iPad.
It was the girl who he focused on.
He wanted an iPad, and this one had a pair of Dr. Dre headphones attached. He considered how he would acquire these items. Quickly deciding he would sit opposite the girl, and then, as the train was ready to leave a station, he would grab them, jumping through the sliding doors right at the last moment. He smiled, envisaging himself standing on the platform, waving to the distraught girl as the train pulled away.
Luck was with him once more as the other passengers, the blue-suited man, and the handbag dog woman, alighted at the next station leaving Gary and the girl alone in the carriage.
As planned, he sat opposite the girl, who momentarily glanced at him, before continuing to stare blankly through the window into the darkness beyond.
The train lurched to a sudden stop.
He was flung forward landing on his knees, his nose cracking painfully against the girl’s right kneecap. Blood erupted from his nostrils. With both hands cupping his nose, he sat back on his seat, moaning with the pain. The girl pulled a wad of tissues from her handbag, as she stood over him, concernedly, telling him to put his head between his legs; she said it was the best way to stem the flow.
“I’ll be ok,” Gary mumbled through the bundle of tissues.
The girl found some wet wipes, cleaning the blood splatter from her leg. She placed a hand on the back of his neck, guided his head down. “Keep your head down for five minutes,” she told him, “It will help stop your nose bleeding” adding, “I know, I’m a nurse”.
Gary did as she instructed, keeping his head between his knees, and the tissues pressed to his nostrils.
The train stopped at a station, he could hear passengers boarding, wondering if this was the station he would have taken the chance of stealing the iPad from the girl. It probably would have been, he was never one to miss an opportunity, unless, like this dammed nosebleed, it was something out of his control.
Soon the train was underway again. He was certain by now his bleeding would have subsided. Gingerly he raised his head, lifting the tissues away, ready to ram them back if his blood was still flowing.
It was not. The bleed had stopped, even if the aching pain remained. Gary looked about, wanting to thank the girl for her help. But she had gone, clearly, she got off the train at the last stop.
It was a pity; he would have liked that iPad, but hey-ho not to worry, excluding his nose it had been a profitable day as the contents of his duffle bag confirmed… his duffle bag… where was his bag?
Gary abruptly stood, staring open-mouthed at where he was sitting. He looked on the floor, under the seat. His bag was gone.
With some disbelief he realised someone had stolen his bag, his day’s takings… the girl… the bitch. She had made him put his head between his legs and then stolen his bag.
It was incredulous.
You just can’t trust anybody these days.
I hope you found the hidden word in this story. Remember, everyone with the correct list will go into a draw to win all the eBooks in Santa’s sack. What fantastic PRESENTS they would make!
Now pop over to Chantal Bellehumeur’s blog and search for the next hidden word. Simply follow this blog hop link, https://author-chantal-bellehumeur.webnode.page/promotions/
Have a very merry Christmas, and may 2023 prove to be a most enjoyable year.
I hope you will find a few moments to browse my website, and even select a book or two, after all, you should treat yourself too at this time of year, you know you deserve it.