Tag Archives: Christmas

North Pole Blue

A Story by Bob Thurber

This Christmas tale comes with a bite, as all Bob Thurber stories do.  For more, go to bobthurber.net, and look for some of his short sharp stories in Pulp Literature issues 3, 6, & 12.

The first time I saw Santa’s eyes they were the same pale green as the plastic holly my mother hung on the door on a hook she left up all year, and the rawness of the flesh around them was the same blood-shot red as actual holly berries, which are technically ‘drupes’ and contain the plant’s seeds.  The second time I saw his eyes (a year later, same store, after waiting in a line for nearly an hour) they seemed larger, but less round, and their color had cooled to the crystal blue you find in glacier ice — which, at the time, I called North Pole Blue — and this made sense, even though I was only six, still too young to understand the density and compactness of anything so old as a glacier.  That was the year Santa asked my name, and, when I stammered Bobby, he said, “Ah. Bobby. Of course.”  As though we were old friends.

The third time I sat on Santa’s lap and looked up into the old man’s eyes they had changed dramatically, become far less wrinkly and slightly almond-shaped, with pupils the burnt brown of old acorns.  I got a good long view because Santa was focused on the camera the whole time, fidgeting like he had someplace better to be, and he repeatedly scratched the same spot of his beard; in a faint and tired voice he asked what ‘big gift’ I wanted for Christmas, and though I don’t remember what I said, I do recall that he didn’t acknowledge the request, or in any way signal that he had heard, so when I climbed off his lap I felt less sure of everything.  Oddly, my mother always liked that picture the best because of the shy, inquisitive, almost contemplative expression on my face, plus the camera’s flash put a dot of sparkle in my left eye, so there is, I will admit, a dreamy magical quality, but it’s purely an illusion, a trick of light, because my absorption at that moment was really my gut-wrenching disturbance at the weariness I saw on the man’s face, and my utter confusion at his not remembering me.

Years and Christmases and more photos went by.  Santa took to wearing glasses with wire frames made of gold or silver, which I liked.  Though, whether I looked through their lenses or above them, I’d be lying if I said I glimpsed anything other than vagueness.

The last time I had an up-close, personal view of Santa’s face I avoided his eyes entirely, focusing on his nose, which had not only widened and flattened but now contained tiny broken veins like intersecting highways on a roadmap.  He asked how old I was and I said ten.  He asked what I wanted for Christmas and I said, “A pocket knife.”

He shifted me slightly on his lap.  “You a Boy Scout?”

I wasn’t, though I wanted to be.  But I felt he didn’t need to know that.

His breath rolled out the smell of coffee and cigarette smoke.  I turned my head, found my mother behind the elfish-looking girl working the camera.  Mom was waving, trying to get me to smile.  She’d painted her nails a garish Christmas green, and I didn’t like the color.

Right before the flash went off Santa pulled me closer and I felt his beard brush against the top of my ear.  “You know,” he said, “you’re a little too old for this crap.”

And that man, I’m certain, was the real deal.

Nothing but troubleBob Thurber’s short story collection Nothing But Trouble is now available at bookstores everywhere.

Black Book Friday

This year, I’m putting my money where my mouth is.  Or where my pen is.  This year, I’m only giving gifts that are locally sourced and produced, artisan gifts from people whose hands I can see and possibly have shaken, products which support the literary community to which I belong.  Yes, I’m giving about everyone I know a copy of Pulp Literature, or Mel’s wonderful collection of illustrations, Colouring Paradise.Colouring book

Black Friday is the day most North Americans head to the mall (my husband spells that “maul”) to go into debt, forking over money which often leaves the country, for products which will be obsolete in a few years.  We humbly suggest buying small and buying local, buying intelligently and artistically, buying to sustain the professions that require patronage in our own front yards.

When you purchase a copy of Pulp Literature, you support a registered Canadian Non-Profit that returns 100% of proceeds towards the content creators.  You also purchase hours of entertainment that will linger in your mind satisfactorily, appreciate gracefully on your bookshelf, and add no calories whatsoever.

The best part?  Our books can be mailed as gifts on your behalf to friends anywhere in the world by Christmas … no maul required.

Order Colouring Paradise, Pulp Literature and other gifts here!

Pulp Literature Year 1 & 2

Christmas Made Easy!

pulp year 1We’ve all seen the ads telling us not to buy junk.  We know from experience that cheap toys and breakable plastic just wind up in the recycling at best, and the garbage at worst.  So this year, buy a gift with the highest credentials:  locally sourced and produced, supportive of the arts, and built to last for multiple users.  Tastefully produced and beautiful to look at,  our magazine appeals to every reader because we provide a spectrum of genre fiction, and all of it fresh and appealing.

Make your Christmas shopping easy.  For $40, you can have four issues of Pulp Literature delivered to the door of your friends or relatives.   For an additional $10 we’ll include a beautiful gift announcement card by Mel Anastasiou, handwritten and personalized with your message.

Notecards by Mel Anastasiou
Notecards by Mel Anastasiou

No fuss, no muss.  No braving the weather, no cruising the mall.  No gift wrapping.  No delivery charge.  And you can contribute to the intellectual growth and creative stimulation of someone you love.   Mailed four times a year, eagerly anticipated, and guaranteed to bring a smile.  It’s a year-round gift that brings gratitude in every season.

There are just a few days left in our Kickstarter campaign.  Back the campaign now, and we’ll play Santa while you enjoy the holidays!