Sunday, December 21, 2008

Silly things you do for love in Christmas (I)

Have you ever had to buy a gift for someone who is filthy rich, has a little bit of everything, leads a spartan life and prevents himself from indulging in every single whim that crosses his mind? I’ve been through this and believe me, it's hard work.

Except for the impressive mansion he inherited from his ancestors, his black old Bentley and a brand new iPhone, Ed could live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and be happy as a clam.

I racked my brains all day trying to think of a Christmas present for him. But the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that nothing would be good enough. And there I was: lost in Christmas shopping.

In Sandwich the offer is not always as good as it looks. You can only visit three shops and department stores where the Sandwichian natives buy almost everything: Southern Pole Cooperative –the favourite place of the working class-, Villa Fashion –a must for all Sandwichian wannabes-, and Breuninger –where the crème de la crème buy the most exclusive consumer goods in the island-.

For the sake of Christmas spirit, I decided I could very well skip over the two first visits. So I headed to Breuninger, that exclusive shop where I intended to find something unique; something a distinguished guy like him would be fascinated with. I was ready to blow my budget at his Christmas gift even if I had to have tomato soup every day for lunch during the next months.

I crossed the beautiful gates of the Breuninger House, bound and determined to find the most wonderful Christmas gift in the whole wide world. The center of the shop was covered by a beautiful multicolour crystal dome. A large Christmas tree decorated with red ribbons and lights brightened the place.

As I walked in, an attentive shop assistant greeted me.

- Can I help you, madam? -he said, overdoing his smile-.
- Yes, please. I'm looking for a Christmas present, but I haven't decided yet what to buy. -I answered-.
- May I ask if the gift adressee is a man or a woman?
- Yes, you may. It's a man.
- How old is he? ... if you allow me the question.

The question was actually hard to answer. Ed was 295 years old, but his appearance was that of a 45 year old guy.

-He's forty-five.
-Oh what a nice age. Right in the prime of life. May I ask what his profession is?
-he asked smiling-

Grr... Mr. Shop Person was asking too much. Was Ed a writer? An editor? A physician? Or the three things at the same time? Whatever he was, I chosed the first option, probably influenced by my inclination to write.

-He’s a writer –I answered finally-.
-Oh, what an interesting profession. So we have a 45-year old intellectual man who writes for a living.
- Hm... yeah, more or less.
–I said, reluctant to disclose more information about Ed-.
- Then I think you may like to have a look at our select showroom.

He leaded the way towards a maroon velvet curtain. He pulled it back and turned the lights on.

- Take your time and have a look. I'll be around just in case you needed something -he said-

The small room was filled with delicate treasures that shone and sparkled under the magic light of a Dutch lamp: emerald and blue sapphire tiepins; titanium cuff links; gold pocket sextants; carbon fiber Zeppetzauer letter openers; bottles of Château Lafitte-Rotschild 1978; Cuban Cohiba Behike cigars; soft leather Valextra briefcases… and a long list of expensive items that I simply could not pay.

In all honesty, I couldn't even afford to eat a cookie in that shop. I had never been in this situation before in my whole life and it was very frustrating. I desperately needed a good excuse to get rid of the shop assistant and continue my search for Ed's Christmas present somewhere else... or steal it from the shop.

- Is there anything that you'd like to see?
- Well... all this is very nice, but... I need to give it some thought.

He stared at me and I stared back at him. I bet he thought I was a potential shopping addict who just needed a little push to spend her annual income buying some of the objects in that exclusive showcase. He got closer to me, grabbed hold of my wrist, looked at both sides, as if there would be somebody looking and whispered:

- Would you like to see something really special? Something exceptional that he will never forget?

Man, of course I wanted! How could I possibly resist such a tempting offer? I nodded.

- Please, follow me to the back shop. I'm going to show you something reserved exclusively to a selected few.

I was intriggued and couldn't help accepting. He guided me through a corridor that led to a small room. There was a glass display in the middle, lit up by a strong light. Inside it, there was a small black cushion. An incredibly beautiful fountain pen made of dark green jade was resting on it.

- I know what you're asking yourself. -he said-
- Oh, really?

He lifted the glass, carefully took the pen between his thumb and index finger and started drawing random figures in the air. A rainbow emerged from the nib and a coloured steam started floating in the air, as if by magic.

- This is very nice, but for what's so special about it? -I asked-.

He took a magnifying glass with his left hand and signaled me to come closer.

- You're watching a genuine and unique Occhiobello fountain pen. It was hand made by Master Occhiobello the Old, and beautifully assembled in his atelier of Florence in 1789. The parts are perfect.

He was right. I touched it with my fingers and it was so soft. The shape was ulievably harmonic.

- In 1809, this fountain pen was bought by Aleksandr Korsakoff, the famous writer and he wrote his best novels with it. Inspiration is fully guaranteed -he winked- The peculiarity of this pen is that the owner can paint his dreams and fantasies with it. The best he draws them, the closer to reality. If the picture is failthful to the real appearance... then these dreams and fantasies come true.
- That's excellent. And how much does it cost?
- Oh a very reasonable price, considering it's a very valuable tool for a writer: Only one million G.

I nearly fell on the floor when I heard that. It was extremely expensive. And yet I wanted that fountain pen so badly. It was perfect for Ed. I scratched my chin and shook my brain expecting an idea or answer would be formed. But that could not be possible. I simply could not afford to buy the fountain pen.

Suddenly, the world stopped and a big ball of fire appeared on the showcase. Hellgirl waved hello from the inside. Mr. Shop Person looked surprised at her.

- Merry Christmas, you fucking bastard! This is to show you what happens when you swindle the decent people of Sandwich! -she shouted at him-

She snapped her fingers in his face and whispered:

- Look into my eyes, look into my eyes, look into my eyes, the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes, don't look around the eyes, look into my eyes. One, two three, you're under! (1)

Then she turned her angry eyes to me and shouted:

- Take the magic fountain pen now that he is hypnotized and come closer, Leni. I want to have a few words with you.

"Valentine heart" (Tanita Tikaram)

(1) Kenny Craig's popular line, in the BBC TV comedy "Little Britain"


ysfb said...

That was good. Just get him a Playboy mag, it's simple and cheap (kind of like the girls, nah they're still hot) but it'll satisfy for hours or maybe just a few minutes at a time.

Roberto said...

Eventually (I am not sure if it is the correct word) I love your blog, your music (bravo, Tanina, Tory Amos, Björk) and I love you (sorry Ed, you know it is only a simple way of writting. ;-)). I have been extremely busy and I live tomorrow Madrid, but I will return.

Merry Christmas and a happy 2010( ;-) ) everybody

Leni Qinan said...


I’m not sure about the Playboy mag. Yes, it’s cheaper, but what if he gets too satisfied for hours and he forgets how fun it was without the mag? No way! LOL.

Have a nice Xmas holiday, or should I say just holiday? ;)
Anyway, all the best in 2009!

Take care.

BTW, I've just noticed that Hellgirl has used your name with the shop assistant. Wow.

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Roberto,

'Eventually' is perfectly correct, but it’s a ‘false friend’ (it means ‘finalmente’, not ‘eventualmente’, as most people think –including me when I was a student of English-).
Thanks a lot, I’m glad to know you like the music –especially the lady singers, I also like them- and ME! (*blushes red like a beetroot*). ((Take care, Ed might smack your face if you say that too often, lol, but I like it and feel flattered)).

I hope you have happy Christmas too, and I wish you all the best in 2010 (try to beat 2009 first, hahaha).

Take it easy and come back soon. Madrid looks so beautiful at night with the new Xmas lights and ornaments.

Grass said...

uh oh, Hellgirl is back to bring "menace" again.. LOL gosh, if that pen looks something similar to that picture (wow, jade) then I'd probably choose to live on tomato soup for the rest of my life just so I can buy it..hehehe

kidding aside, thinking of doing or giving something special for our beloved ones is one of the few pleasures (and yeah, hardships) people go through..don't we all like to see the smile on their faces once they open their gifts? ;-)

I see that this has Part II.. gotta move on to that.. and yes, sis, I'm back as well.. happy new year! :-)