It's a Wonderful Tangled Christmas Carol (Tangled, #4.5)

It's a Wonderful Tangled Christmas Carol (Tangled, #4.5)

Emma Chase

For those who cherish memories with family and still believe in the magic of the holidays.

chapter 1

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,

Fa la la la la, la la la la.

’Tis the season to be jolly,

Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Urban legends. We’ve all heard of them—eating pop rocks and soda will make your stomach explode; the tourist who gets his kidney stolen in a faraway land; alligators living in the sewers. By the time you reach adulthood, you realize they’re all crocks of shit. Stories that get passed on from generation to generation to scare the hell out of us and keep us on the straight and narrow.

Well . . . except for the alligator one—I’ve lived in New York City my whole life and that’s completely possible.

But the others, yeah, all lies.

In the latter part of the last century, new urban legends sprung up that society’s all too willing to fall for: action stars who die on movie sets doing stunts; rain-forest plants that cure obesity; and Justin Bieber actually having a set of balls.

Sometime in the late 1970s, after the city’s crime rate began to drop and New York became more tourist friendly, another urban legend was started—one that annually throws a f*cking wrench into the otherwise smoothly operating machine that is my life.

That would be the myth that New York City is a prime place to go Christmas shopping.

I don’t know what moron started the rumor, but I will gladly stick my foot up his ass if I ever find out. Because now, scores of people from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, and upstate clog our bridges, tunnels, and streets from Black Friday to Christmas Eve, scurrying to make their holiday purchases like rats going after a gourmet piece of cheese. To get little Timmy a train set from FAO Schwarz and grandma a brooch from Tiffany.

Sure, they’ve heard of the Internet. Of course they know it’d be easier—and less expensive—to order online and have packages delivered right to their front door.

But for them, it’s not about what’s easier. Christmas shopping in the city is now—say it with me—tradition.

They want to see the big tree, the lights. They want to stand in an endless line to skate in Rockefeller Center and take a picture with Santa at Macy’s in Herald Square. They want to watch the f*cking Rockettes and eat a family dinner at a restaurant whose menu has been price-gouged to the gills.

You can forget about getting a cab—they’re all taken. And even walking down the sidewalk is an exercise in frustration, because every few feet a stroller-pushing, shopping-bag-carrying tourist will come to a complete frigging stop right in front of you to take a picture of the red-and-green-lit Empire State Building.

You think I sound pissed off? How very perceptive of you. The Christmas spirit and me? We’re not friends. Ebenezer Scrooge had the right idea: bah f*cking humbug.

The reason for my current antiholiday rant is because I’m in line—the same line I’ve been in for forty-five minutes—trying to buy a last-minute gift for my perfect wife.

Please, take my money and just let me f*cking leave.

When it comes to gifts, I’m usually way ahead; eleventh-hour purchases aren’t my style. But walking past Saks Fifth Avenue, I saw a pair of Valentino crystal and silk heels that would look amazing on Kate. She’ll enjoy wearing them, and I will definitely enjoy watching her wear them—especially naked—so it’s a win-win.

Except for the line.

I’m not used to waiting in lines. I’m used to personal shoppers and commission-seeking salespeople vying for my attention with phrases like, “Can I hold that for you, Mr. Evans?” “We have that in four other colors, Mr. Evans.” “Would you like that wrapped, Mr. Evans?”

But this is Christmas Eve. Which means stores don’t give a crap about the quality of the shopping experience. It’s all about quantity—getting as many shoppers through their doors as possible before closing time. Which brings me to my next point:

Most people in the world today are f*cking idiots.

Don’t laugh—you may be one of the walking stupid and just not know it. But it’s true. Say what you want about income inequality or the inferior public school system—the harsh truth is, the majority of the population is simply not intelligent. And even more suck at their job. They don’t give a rat’s ass about doing it well or longevity; they’re only interested in performing the minimum required to get a check.

And there’s no better example of that than the temporary holiday employee.

Companies don’t hire them because of their skill or what they may contribute to the work force. They’re hired because they have a pulse. Spare bodies, decked out in holiday ensembles, whose main purpose is to corral consumers the same way a fence encages cattle. And they’re equally as helpful.

The twentysomething blonde behind the register is one such employee. You can tell by the slow, cautious way she pecks at the keys and her confused expression if someone—God forbid—asks her where an item can be found. She’s the reason for the sick amount of time I’ve wasted waiting to buy these shoes.

The good news is, I’m about to cross the finish line. I step up, with only one more customer left in front of me—a tall, regal-looking older lady in a pricey red coat and genuine pearl earrings. I take out my wallet so I can pay as quickly as possible and get the hell out of here.

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