by Robert Williams

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know!" sang Des as they sat in the cafe on Christmas Eve, waiting for the inevitable - their lunch.

"What is everyone doing for Christmas this year?" said Mick.

"Same as usual," said Clive. "Go round Des's house, eat dinner cooked by Mrs Greasy, watch the Queen's speech, play a stupid game, then go to hospital with food poisoning. Miserable as always. Can't wait for January."

"Oh god, Christmas dinner," said Mick. "I always forget about that."

"Yes, there's got be a way out of having to suffer that," said Clive.

"What about you, Des?" said Mick.

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know!" repeated Des, to groans all round.

"Yummy yummy!" said Wayne, with chocolate smeared all round his mouth.

"What's Wayne doing?!" said Clive. "Where did he get all that chocolate from?"

"He hasn't quite grasped the concept of advent calendars," said Mick. "He doesn't understand that you're just supposed to open a new door each day; he opens a new advent calendar each day!"

"I don't care, means more choccy for me!!" exclaimed Wayne.

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know!" sang Des once again.

"Des, please please please stop singing!!" said Mick.

"It's all right, I don't know the rest of the words," said Des. "Seriously though, folks, I wish we could have a white Christmas this year."

"Des, all you need to create a white Christmas is to brush your hair!" laughed Clive.

"Never mind white Christmas!" said Mrs Greasy, coming out of the kitchen with their lunch. "I don't want a white Christmas, it's cold enough in here already!"

"Yes, why is it so cold in here?" said Des.

"Because my central heating's broken down!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy. "My radiator's leaked all over my mince pies!"

"That'll probably improve the taste," said Clive.

"Still, I expect I'll be able to dry them out and save them for next year," said Mrs G.

"Why don't you get a heating engineer in?" asked Mick.

"I will, but there's none available until after Christmas!" said Mrs Greasy.

"I reckon what we all need is a nice cosy jumper to slip on," said Des. "And would you believe it! I've got a whole stack of them at home, I'll just go and get them..."

"Don't even think about it!" said Clive.

"Is this going to stop you cooking our Christmas dinner then?" said Mick, hopefully .

"Get real!!" exclaimed Mrs G. "Christmas dinner will be served round Des's house, one o' clock pronto! And in the meantime, the cafe is open for business as usual."

"Mrs Greasy, don't you reckon you should close the cafe while your heating's broken?" said Des. "After all, if this was a school then that's what they'd do!"

"Well this isn't a school, is it?!" said Mrs Greasy.

"I don't know, you do kind of remind me of a strict headmistress, Mrs Greasy," said Des. "And if Mrs G's headmistress, that must make Clive head boy, Mick the school swot and Wayne the class dunce!"

"What are you then?" said Mick.

"Errrr...milk monitor?" said Des.

"Don't be ridiculous," said Mrs Greasy. She served them their lunch and went back inside the kitchen.

"Hey listen everyone," said Des. "I've got an idea that will not only get us out of having to eat Mrs Greasy's Christmas dinner , but also give us a white Christmas!! It's two ideas in one!"

"Uh-oh, I really don't like the sound of this," said Mick.

"No, listen, it's great," said Des. "Mike the Manic Antique Dealer has told me he can get hold of an artificial snow machine!"

"Oh god," said Clive.

"So I'm going to create a white Christmas in our street, and make a snowdrift outside my front door so that when Mrs G comes round with our dinner tomorrow, she won't be able to get in!! Now isn't that a great idea?!! Anyway I'd better be going, Mike's bringing the machine round any minute!" He got up and rushed off.

"Hey, where's Des off to?!" said Mrs Greasy, coming out of the kitchen again. "He hasn't eaten his lunch! Never mind, you can eat it instead, Mick."

Mick grimaced.

Des hurried back to his house, where Mike was waiting with a lorry with an artificial snow machine on the back.

"Fantastic, Mike!" said Des.

"It's very simple to operate, you press this red button to switch it on, and all the snow will come flowing out of this tube!!" explained Mike. "You can vary the rate of flow with this lever here, and you switch it off with this blue button!"

"Fantastic, Mike!" said Des.

"Anyway, I'd better be off in case someone wants to buy an antique," said Mike. "By the way, I don't need this thing back till Boxing Day! See ya later!"

"Yes, see ya later!" said Des.

Mike went back to his antiques shop. Des made sure that no one was around, and switched the machine on. Immediately artificial snow started to pour out of the gigantic tube.

"Woah!!" exclaimed Des. He grabbed the tube, with some difficulty and started waving it about in all directions. It wasn't long before the whole vicinity was covered in artificial snow.

"Des!! Des!!" shouted someone.

"Huh? Who's that?" said Des. He turned round, still with the tube in his arms with snow pouring out, to see Mick standing there. "Oh hello Mick." Immediately Mick started getting covered in artificial snow.

"DES!! STOP IT!!" yelled Mick.

Des directed the tube away from him, but not before he had been completely covered in artificial snow.

"Hey! An instant snowman!" exclaimed Des.

"I'm going to take a shower," muttered Mick.

So while Mick took a shower, Des turned his attention to his front door. He moved the lever up to maximum flow, and held the tube in front of his door until it had created a large snowdrift.

"He-he!!" chuckled Des to himself. He finally switched the machine off and admired his work.

Mick came out of his house, having cleaned himself up.

"Hey, looks good doesn't it!" said Des. "Very festive indeed!"

"You're dangerous with that thing!" said Mick.

"And look at my front door!" said Des. "Mrs Greasy will never be able to get in now!"

"And neither will you," said Mick.

"Oh..." Des's grinning face fell as the realisation dawned on him.

"And anyway, Mrs G will probably just move Christmas lunch round to my house instead," said Mick.

"Right!" said Des. He switched the machine back on and directed it towards Mick's front door.

"Don't you dare!!!" exclaimed Mick. "Des! No! No!!"

But it was too late. A large artificial snowdrift was quickly created outside Mick's front door as well.

"Great," said Mick, once Des had switched the machine off. "Now I can't get in my house either."

Des and Mick went down to Mrs Greasy's cafe to inform her that Christmas dinner round either of their houses was no longer possible. However when they got there she was busy clearing up and closing down.

"Sorry you two, I've decided to close the cafe early after all," said Mrs Greasy. "It's just too cold in here!"

"What are you going to do then?" said Des. "Obviously, Mick would offer you a room for the night, but the thing is..."

"No, it's all right, I've already made arrangements," said Mrs G. "Come and look!"

Mrs Greasy took them round the back of the cafe and into the back yard. To their amazement, Des and Mick saw before them - a yellow igloo.

"It's a yellow igloo!" exclaimed Des.

"Well spotted," said Mrs Greasy. "It's built out of frozen blocks of custard, that certain people haven't been eating!! Go inside, you'll find it's surprisingly warm and cosy in there, but deceptively spacious at the same time!"

The three of them crawled through the entrance and inside the igloo.

"Gosh," said Des. "It's surprisingly warm and cosy in here, but deceptively spacious at the same time!"

"That's what I said," said Mrs Greasy.

However Mick had reservations.

"Did you build this yourself?" he asked.

"No, I got Bill the Builder to build it," said Mrs G.

"Bill the Builder?!" said Mick. "He's a cowboy!"

"No, he's a builder," said Mrs Greasy.

"He started building a garden wall for me eight years ago and it's still not finished!!" said Mick.

"That's a coincidence, he started building a garden wall for me as well eight years ago and that's still not finished either!" said Des.

"That's because it's the same wall!" pointed out Mick.

"Oh yes..." said Des.

"Anyway, we must be going..." said Mick.

"Hang on a minute," said Des. "It's surprisingly warm and cosy in here...and deceptively spacious at the same time..."

"You've already said that," said Mrs Greasy.

"The thing is," said Des, "me and Mick are snowed out. We've got nowhere to sleep tonight. So I was thinking..."

"Too late," said Mrs Greasy, "Wayne's already asked if he could spend the night in here."

"Wayne?!" said Des.

"Yes, he said, 'please Mrs Greasy, please can I spend the night in yer igloo, please, please, please, please, please'."

"Please, Mrs Greasy, please can we spend the night in your igloo, please, please, please, please, please," said Des. "Come on, there'll still be plenty of room, even for four of us!"

"I suppose it'll be all right," said Mrs G. "I've got some spare sleeping bags, I'll go and get them."

"Thanks a lot Des," said Mick. "I don't want to spend the night in here, it was built by Bill the Builder! I don't trust him!"

"Oh stop complaining," said Des. "You're just worried that Santa won't know to stop off here tonight!"

"Err..." said Mick.

That night Mrs Greasy, Wayne, Des and Mick got ready to spend the night in their sleeping bags in Mrs G's surprisingly warm and cosy, yet deceptively spacious, yellow igloo.

"I'm still not convinced," said Mick. "Are you sure this thing's going to last the night?!"

"Can I open my presents yet?" said Wayne.

"No you can't, it's not Christmas Day yet!" said Des. "Father Christmas hasn't been yet, has he?!"

"Mrs Greasy, there was something I was going to ask you," said Mick. "Are you still going to be cooking us Christmas dinner tomorrow?"

"Of course!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy.

"But...but...there's snowdrifts outside me and Mick's front doors!" said Des.

"We'll have it round Clive's house then," said Mrs G.

"Blast," said Des. "Anyway, good night everyone."

Everyone nodded off to sleep. However Des soon woke up again.

"Mick," whispered Des. "Mick. Are you awake?" There was no answer. "Mick!!" He elbowed Mick.

"Huh?" mumbled Mick.

"I've had an idea!" whispered Des.

"Oh my god, I'm having a nightmare!" exclaimed Mick.

"Shhhh!!" whispered Des. "Look, I'll be back in a minute."

Des crawled out of his sleeping bag and out of the igloo. He walked up the road to his house where the lorry with the artificial snow machine on the back was still parked. He got in, and drove it down to Mrs G's cafe.

"I hope this doesn't wake everyone up!" said Des.

When he reached the outside of the cafe, he got out of the lorry and switched on the artificial snow machine. He winced when he realised how much noise it made, so he turned the lever to the lowest setting, and started to create another snowdrift outside the front door of the cafe. When he had finished he drove the lorry back to his house and returned to the igloo. Thankfully, the others were still in a deep sleep. Des was soon in a deep sleep himself.

At precisely seven o'clock in the morning - Christmas morning - Mrs Greasy's alarm clock went off.

"Oh no..." mumbled Des.

Wayne sat bolt upright, wide awake.

"Can I open my presents yet?! Can I open my presents yet?!"

"Later Wayne, later," mumbled Mick.

"Come on, everybody up!" said Mrs Greasy.

"Oh Mrs G, it's too early," mumbled Des.

"I've got to start preparing Christmas dinner!" said Mrs G.

"Mrs Greasy, you can't!" said Des. "You won't be able to get in the cafe, there's a snowdrift outside the front door!"

"Is there...how on earth can you know that?!" exclaimed Mrs G. "You've only just woken up!!"

"Oh...umm..." Des had no answer to this.

Mrs Greasy crawled out to investigate, while Des revealed to Mick and Wayne what he had been up to that night.

"All right then, there is a snowdrift outside the front door," said Mrs Greasy when she came back.

"So you won't be able get inside to cook Christmas dinner," said Des.

"Yes I will, I'll use the back door, stupid!" said Mrs Greasy.

"Ah yes," said Des.

Mick slapped his hand across his head.

"Can I open my presents yet?!" said Wayne.

Mrs Greasy ordered everyone out, so Des and Wayne crawled out into the back yard, but Mick sat studying the roof of the igloo.

"Mick, hurry up!" said Mrs G.

"Look at that!" said Mick. "This igloo's falling apart! I knew it!"

"Huh?" said Mrs Greasy, looking up. She prodded one of the blocks.

"Mrs Greasy, watch out!!" exclaimed Mick.

The block of frozen custard fell out and knocked Mrs Greasy hard on the head. She fell to the ground.

"Mrs Greasy, are you all right?!?!" exclaimed Mick.

He pulled Mrs G up. She was all dazed, rubbing her head.

"We'd better get out of this thing, and quick!" said Mick. He dragged Mrs G out of the igloo, just in time. The whole igloo collapsed into a heap.

"Can I open my presents yet?!" said Wayne.

"I knew it!" exclaimed Mick. "Bill the Builder, you should never have trusted him!"

"Bill the Builder?" said Mrs G. "Who's he? Who are you? Who am I?"

"She's lost her memory!" exclaimed Mick. "It was that blow on the head!"

"Fantastic!!!!" exclaimed Des. "Now listen to me, your name is Mrs Greasy and you do not run a cafe."

"My name is Mrs Greasy and I do not run a cafe," repeated Mrs G.

"Yes yer do!" said Wayne.

"Yes I do," repeated Mrs Greasy.

"No you don't!" said Des.

"He said I did!" said Mrs Greasy.

"Yeah that's right!" said Wayne. "Can I open my presents yet?!"

"Mrs Greasy, listen to me, you don't run a cafe, you run a, er, carpet shop!"

"Do I?" said Mrs Greasy. She wandered, dazed and confused, through the back door of the cafe. Des, Mick and Wayne followed her as she wandered through the kitchen and into the main area of the cafe, where it was still freezing cold.

"Is this it?" said Mrs G. "Looks like a cafe to me."

"Umm..." said Des, thinking quickly. "They're making a film round here, and they're using your carpet shop as a cafe set!"

"Oh," said Mrs G. "What day is it today?"

"Boxing Day!" said Des.

"Can't be," said Mrs Greasy. "Him there keeps asking if he can open his presents."

"Can I open my presents yet?!" said Wayne.

"It's his birthday!" said Des.

"Naah it's not, it's Christmas Day!" said Wayne. "Can I open my presents yet?!"

"WAYNE!!!!" exclaimed Des.

"Christmas Day..." said Mrs Greasy, thoughtfully. "You know, I'm sure there was something I was supposed to do today..."

Mick decided to hang around a little while to make sure Mrs Greasy was all right. Wayne hurried off to open his presents, and Des went to inform Clive that he could now cook them Christmas dinner instead. Thankfully the artificial snowdrift outside his front door had receded, and Des was now able to get inside his house to prepare their Christmas party.

By noon, preparations were well underway. Everyone (except Mrs G) had now gone round Des's house. Clive was cooking the turkey, Mick was putting chocolates on the Christmas tree, Wayne was playing with his new remote controlled car and Des was slumped in an armchair in a party hat, staring at the Two Ronnies on television.

Just then the doorbell rang. Des reluctantly heaved himself out of his armchair to answer the door.

"Mrs Greasy!" he exclaimed in surprise.

"So if I'm not cooking Christmas dinner today," said Mrs Greasy on the doorstep, "why have I got these in my freezer?" In one hand she held a rock hard Christmas pudding, and in the other a rather sorry looking turkey.

Des stared open mouthed at the aforementioned items.

"Ahhhh..." he said, desperately trying to think of something.

"Well anyway, I've brought you all your presents," said Mrs G. "Hold these a minute." She handed Des the turkey and the pudding, and then picked up a pile of presents that were larger than herself, and brought them inside.

"Hi everyone, merry Christmas!" said Mrs Greasy as she went into the living room. She handed out the presents to a bemused Des, Mick, Clive and Wayne.

"Err, thanks Mrs Greasy," said Mick, as he unwrapped his present. "It's a...carpet."

All four of them had received carpets as presents.

"Where on earth did you get these from?!" said Mick.

"I do run a carpet shop, stupid!!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy.

"But...but..." said a confused Des.

Wayne did not seem too impressed with his carpet.

"This is a much better present!" he exclaimed, picking up Mrs G's rock hard Christmas pudding. "I've always wanted a football for Christmas!!"

"Wayne, watch out, don't kick that in here!!" exclaimed Des.

But it was too late. Wayne kicked the pudding, and it hit Mrs Greasy right on the head.

"Ouch!!!!" she exclaimed.

"Oh not again," sighed Mick. "Mrs Greasy, are you all right?!"

"That hurt!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy, rubbing her head. She stared at the others. "Why are you all sitting there holding carpets?"

"Oh no..." said Des. "You know what I think..."

"And what's that cooking I can smell?" said Mrs Greasy, rushing into Des's kitchen.

"Oh no!" exclaimed Des. "Her memory's come back!"

"Who's been cooking this?!" shouted Mrs Greasy. "You all know perfectly well I'm cooking Christmas dinner!!!"

"OH NO!!!!" exclaimed Des.

"Look at this turkey, it's barely been cooked," said Mrs Greasy, starting to busy herself in the kitchen. "I'll put that back in for another couple of hours..."

"Anyone wanna play football?" said Wayne.

Copyright © Robert Williams

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