Happy Holidays, everyone! With Christmas coming up around the corner, I thought I’d give you all my third short story. It’s set during the holiday season and as my friend called it, “a coca-cola commercial.” So while I finish my finals and continue to write my books, here is the next short story. Enjoy!
Friday Night’s Alright
This week has been a complete bore. On Monday, the sun was particularly ambitious; shining into the blue sky and heating up the inside of my car. Tuesday came grey skies and Wednesday too. Thursday was just a bit better. But Friday seemed to be different. My friends Rocky and Isabelle thought it’d be great to go walking around the local outdoor shopping center, just to see the holiday decorations. December was always beautiful this time of year. There was something special about a suburban community in California during the Christmas season.
It all started on a cool Friday afternoon, the three of us sat in our last class of the day. Rocky put his hat over his face and took a nap as the class began. I was behind him, and Isabelle behind me. She would always put her drinks in the hood of my jacket. I leaned back on my chair and paid enough attention to the teacher in case she asked a question… not that I answered them, but hell I paid for the class so I’m gonna get my money’s worth. Rocky took the class because he needed a ride home from me. Isabelle took it because well… she needed a ride too, but also she needed extra units and this class was the only one available. I don’t know what it was about this particular class session, but I felt completely brain dead. I tried to stay awake and not end up like Rocky. He slouched deep into his chair forming a makeshift bed. I could hear his quiet but noticeable snoring. It sounded like the noise of a car starting. Isabelle sat politely in her chair, occasionally leaning forward to take a sip from her drink that stuck out of my hood.
After a grueling hour and a half class time, we made it to the end. I stood up and stretched my neck. Isabelle took her drink from my hood and tossed it in the trash. We walked over to Rocky who still sound asleep.
“Should we wake him?” Isabelle asked, scratching her head.
“I think I have an idea,” I answered, pulling out my phone.
Rocky’s ringtone was, no shocker, the theme song to Rocky. I figured he needed some inspiration to get out of the chair. I called his phone and waited. After a few seconds the loud ringtone burst from his phone and startled him.
“I’m up! I’m up!” he said, snorting and trying to get onto his feet.
“You must have had a good dream. Do you want me to bring a pillow for next time?” Isabelle asked.
“Well Izzy, if you’re offering…”
“I’m joking you idiot.”
“But you are gonna bring a pillow, right?” Rocky asked, rubbing his eyes.
She chuckled and threw her bag at him. He finally stood up and we left the class. The campus looked empty; then again not a lot of people went to class on a Friday. The wind blew gently through the trees as we crossed the parking lot. I unlocked the doors of my car. Thankfully the winter weather started rolling in about Thursday night so the inside of my car was cool. I jumped in and lowered the windows and sunroof. Izzy climbed into the passenger seat and Rocky got in the back. With the key in the engine, the car started up and I turned to Izzy and said, “Sound like someone we know?”
“You guys suck,” Rocky said, buckling his seatbelt.
I plugged in my phone pressed shuffle on my playlist. The first song to come on was “Friday I’m in Love” by The Cure. I drove us out of the parking lot and back to our neighborhood. All three of us lived on the same street. Rocky lived to my left and Izzy to my right. It was easy getting to either of them. I’d just open my window and shout at their window. And they’d maybe shout back. I parked in front of my house. Izzy and Rocky got out and walked to their respective houses.
The inside of my house smelled of gingerbread and cinnamon. My mother noticed me walk in and greeted me.
“Hey Robert,” she said. “Have a good day at school?” She was decorating the gingerbread house that stood in the center of the kitchen counter.
“It’s was good enough. I’ll be in my room if you need me.”
I snagged a gingerbread man and walked upstairs to my room. Usually I’d leave my door closed, but the smell was so intoxicating I left it open. I lay on my bed, and turned on the TV. The first thing to come on was a news broadcast about the upcoming holiday opening down by the shopping center. It was looking to be quite the occasion. I could see why Rocky wants to take a look. For some reason I don’t want to go. I didn’t have to buy anything so why should I? Even though the sun was still high in the sky, I felt a bit tired and took a nap.
I awoke to the sound of rocks being thrown at my window accompanied by loud music outside. I got out of bed and check outside. Rocky and Isabelle were outside in Rocky’s car. The two of them got out and walked closer to the window.
“Hey Rob! Come on out. We’re going to see the tree lighting ceremony down at the mall. My mom let me take the car out,” Rocky said.
“Fine, what time is it?” I asked.
“About six o’clock, they’re gonna light it in thirty minutes. Hurry up or we’ll be late.”
I grabbed my jacket and went downstairs. The lingering smell of cinnamon stayed with me up until the front door. I gripped the doorknob and turned it. But something strange happened. The door wouldn’t budge. I asked my mom what happened to the door, but I didn’t get an answer. I assumed that the door had broken. But I remember that the door was fine a few hours ago. I quickly ran upstairs and back to my room. Rocky and Isabelle still hung around near his car.
“There’s something up with my door. I can’t get out,” I said.
“Oh yeah… your mom said something about the door being like broken or something. I guess the lock on it won’t unlock and it’s stuck like that. Why don’t you go around the back?” Isabelle asked.
The tree lighting ceremony better be worth this hassle. The clock read around ten after six, I had to move fast. I rushed downstairs and to the back door of my house. Luckily the lock was fine and I managed to get out into the cold air. The sun had just set and the street lights began to turn on. I made it to the gate and got out of the backyard. Rocky and Isabelle looked at me and got into his car.
“Wow it took you five minutes to get out,” Rocky said, starting the car. “Let’s just hope that there’s no traffic on the way.”
“I’m sure it’s only if you go on the freeway,” I said, buckling my seatbelt. “Take the local route. We should get there in time.”
We drove out of my driveway and towards the mall. The trip took about ten minutes to get there. And with a few cars in our way, it was a smooth trip. We made it to the outdoor mall just as people gathered around the tree. It was a big turnout actually, I didn’t expect this many people to be around. Rocky led Izzy and I to the tree; it was currently lightless as we walked among the crowds. Everyone seemed excited to see the tree almost as if they’ve never seen a lit Christmas tree before. We waited about another five minutes or so until someone from the mall stood up on the stage. He began to talk about being together as a community before Rocky poked my back, instructing me to follow him and Isabelle. He led us to the back of the crowd.
“What do you think of this ceremony?” he asked.
“It’s fine I guess,” I said, rubbing my eyes. “Do you have a better idea?”
“Now that you mention it Robby, I figured that we go up to the roof and take a better look at the tree. It’ll only be a few minutes before they light it. And my friend said it’s the best view.”
“Wouldn’t we get in trouble with the police?” Isabelle asked.
“Not if we get there fast enough. Come on, guys it’s gonna be great. Don’t you want to see something like this with a great view? If you only see it once a year, wouldn’t you want the best seat in the house?” Rocky asked, jumping around.
Isabelle looked at me with both eyebrows raised and let out a sigh. She knew that she couldn’t let Rocky do stupid things alone. She zipped up her jacket and agreed to go. Rocky then looked at me. Of course I was worried that we would get into bigger trouble than he thinks. But I do want to see if this view was as great as he said it was. Then again he’s been with me whenever I did something stupid, which is rarely. I bet if this was my idea, he’d go with it.
“Alright fine,” I said. “But we better hurry, I’d bet we have about another five minutes before the tree lights up.”
“All I need is three,” he said, pulling his beanie down over his ears. “Follow me.”
Isabelle and I followed him through the crowd and into the local video game shop. Rocky said that his friend wedged the back room of the store so we can get through the confusing halls and to the ladder to the roof. I have to admit, he was keen on keeping his time limit. We made it through the first half of the building in about maybe a minute and a half. It was when we made it to the back room when there was a problem. Rocky’s friend forgot to mention that there would be a security guard walking around the back areas.
We split up and slowly walked around the guard, but Rocky had some trouble getting around. Isabelle was quick on her feet. She came to his rescue while I looked for the ladder.
“Hey are you supposed to be back here?” the security guard said to Rocky.
“Well… are you supposed to be back here? I mean what you’re going to miss the tree lighting ceremony. I’ll tell you what, I will cover your shift and you and go outside,” Rocky said, raising his hands up to his face.
“I am so sorry about this,” Isabelle interrupted. “We were asked to check our stock. We’ll only be here for ten minutes.”
She managed to persuade the security guard to leave us alone. They caught up with me with a minute to spare. I twisted the lock on the ladder and help them up. Isabelle went up first and Rocky second. He held out his hand and helped me up as I neared the top.
The roof was empty besides the three of us. Rocky checked his watch. We were right on-time. As we approached the roof, the Christmas tree towered above us like a giant. The speaker was just about to finish his speech. I could see the black remote that controlled the lights. As the speaker finished his speech, he pressed the button and the lights of the tree came on. It started at the bottom and made their way to the top of the tree, where a glowing gold star shined the brightest. I have to admit it, Rocky was right. This view was breathtaking. Even though I see this almost every year, this tree was different. Something about sharing a moment like this with friends makes all the difference.
Isabelle wrapped her arms around Rocky and I and said, “Merry Christmas, you guys.”
The three of us stood there basking in the white lights of the tree into the long night.
“Rob?” Rocky asked.
“Did you prop the door open with something?”