This weeks prompt on Sunday Scribblings is Dare.
Dan was always one for a dare. His long suffering wife Julie had spent the last fifteen years shrugging her shoulders, sighing and shaking her head as he’d accepted one dare after another from the silly to the plain stupid. It had of course started long before they’d met. As a child of the 60’s he’d grown up following the escapades of the British comic book hero Dan Dare, pilot of the future! ‘Dan we dare you’ his friends would shout. He got into so much trouble at school! They would dare him to play practical jokes on the teachers, and he accepted them with relish often resulting in detention or suspension. They would get him to play tricks on school bullies twice his size and he accepted the odd black eye as a price worth paying for the admiration poured on him by his peers.
It was the night of the school’s Christmas disco and he was dared to ask a girl for a dance. Not any girl, she was the girl all the boys fantasised over. She was always surrounded by her adoring fans and followed by the best looking and fittest boys in the school! The fact that Dan was a couple of years younger and plagued with acne and excess weight made the challenge all the more attractive to him and a source of enormous amusement to his friends. And guess what? Julie accepted! Yes, Julie. The same Julie that married him ten years later.
Christmas Eve. Everything was ready for the day to come. Their son Nathan was tucked up in his bed with a stocking hanging from the mantelpiece. In the grate sat a mince pie and a glass of whiskey – Father Christmas’s favourite tipple! Downstairs Dan and Julie were entertaining a few of their neighbours. Conversation and wine flowed. Dan slipped away. He quietly climbed the stairs and soon after reappeared, resplendent in a Santa outfit complete with a flowing white beard and a sack of presents over his shoulder. His plan was to creep into Nathans bedroom making just enough noise to stir him and glimpse Father Christmas delivering his presents.
And that’s when it happened. ‘Dare you to climb up onto the roof and drop a gift down the chimney’ said James from next door. Everybody laughed. Everybody except Julie that is because she saw the expression on Dan’s face.
Julie tried to reason with him, it was after all just a joke. He’d had quite a bit more than normal to drink and she sensed danger. But nothing was going to stop him, not even his friends pleading with him not to attempt it. They tried to physically stop him but it was no good. He climbed onto the water butt, then clambered onto the flat roof above the kitchen. From there he grabbed hold of a drainpipe and started shinning upwards. A sudden gasp from all below as with a crack the pipe began to break away from the brickwork. Nothing would stop him now. He grabbed the guttering and heaved himself up onto the sloping roof sending two or three tiles crashing the ground below. Julie and the others looked on hands covering their mouths and looks of terror in their eyes.
He almost reached the top of the roof when he suddenly lost his grip and started sliding down. His heal caught in a gutter bringing him to a sudden halt. A collective sigh of relief was heard from those below. Undaunted, he started once more on his ascent this time managing to reach the chimney stack. To the horror of the onlookers he stood on the ridge of the roof, swaying once or twice before regaining his balance and dropping a small package down the chimney.
The noise woke Nathan. He sat up and rubbed his sleepy eyes. The mince pie and whisky were still in the grate and his stocking was empty. He could hear noise outside in the garden and he got out of bed and wandered, half asleep, out of his room and down the stairs. The front door was wide open. Nathan went outside unnoticed and looked up to see what the adults were staring at.
‘Father Christmas’ he shrieked and he burst into laughter. Julie grabbed him in her arms not knowing what to say. She rushed him indoors and told him that he had to go back to bed and close his eyes or Santa would go and leave him nothing. He ran back to his room and Julie heard him slam his door and leap into bed unaware of the real drama unfolding above his head.
The seriousness of the situation started to dawn on Dan and he began to look distressed. His friends implored him to stay still whilst they went to get help. Julie rushed to the phone and tried calling the Fire and Rescue Service for help, but the phone was dead. She went back out and looked up at Dan who was beginning to show signs of panicking. It was then they heard a sound in the distance. A whooshing sound and the jingling of bells. And then with a flash of light and a shower of stardust a golden sleigh led by four reindeer swooped down from the sky and a red-clad arm grabbed Dan and carried him away.
It was Christmas morning. When Dan opened his eyes the daylight hurt his head. He could just make out his Santa outfit and beard scattered all over the bedroom floor. Julie appeared with a tray of breakfast and coffee.
‘What happened?’ asked Dan pressing his aching temples. Julie told him about the dare and explained how relieved she was when he collapsed onto the grass and fell fast asleep before he accepted it! 'So it was all a dream’ he murmered. ‘It must have been’ said Julie with a knowing grin on her face.
Nathan had woken early, the way children do on Christmas morning. His stocking was stuffed with presents. All that remained in the grate was a few crumbs and an empty glass - and a small soot-covered package.
A seasonal Carry On Tuesday awaits you HERE!