Authors: Shana Norris
Tags: #romance, #love, #friendship, #holiday, #humor, #christmas, #short story, #teen
A Boyfriend Thief Christmas
Copyright 2012 by Shana
Cover photograph: Copyright 2012 by
Oleksandr Dorokhov | Dreamstime.com
This story is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places, and events are either products of the author's
imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely
All Rights Reserved.
No part of this publication can be
reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic
or mechanical, without written permission from the
“Welcome to Diggity Dog House’s
Holiday Wonderland!” I called out, forcing my lips into my best
cheesy smile. It was ridiculous to even bother smiling, since my
face was hidden behind a mesh screen, but I had hoped that smiling
might put me into the Christmas mood.
It didn’t work.
The old woman
looked me up and down, her eyebrows knitted together. “What are
supposed to be?”
“Hot Dog Santa.” I attempted
the best bow that I could manage inside the giant foam costume,
waving my hands with a flourish.
The woman’s eyes lingered on
the ratty white beard attached to the front of my hot dog costume,
then the bright red Santa hat perched on top, and finally, as if
the rest of the outfit wasn’t humiliating enough, the red shoes
with bells on the toes.
“There’s no such thing as a Hot
Dog Santa,” the woman told me. Then she humphed and walked past me,
down the sidewalk.
“I have coupons!” I called out
to her back. “Get fifty cents off any meal with every item you
donate to our canned food drive!”
The woman kept walking, not
even looking back at me.
“Come on!” I shouted, jumping
up and down as I tried to get warm. Despite being wrapped in a
giant cocoon of foam hot dog, the cold late December wind still
found a way in. “It’s for a good cause! Don't be such a
But the woman disappeared
around a corner as the other pedestrians passing by shot me wary
looks before crossing the street to the safety of the other side.
Yes, everyone stay away from the crazed Hot Dog Santa with her
canned food and coupons and fingers that had turned into icicles
long ago. My toes had probably already fallen off inside my
oversized jingling shoes.
The interior of Diggity Dog
House looked so warm and comforting through the big glass windows
along the front wall. My best friend Molly was inside, leaning
across the counter while she talked to her boyfriend Elliott, who
was working the register that day. The only customers sat at a
table in the corner, a woman and a little girl. Business was
S-L-O-W. It had been slow since Halloween. It had been my idea to
organize a canned food drive to bring in business and do some good
for our community. When that didn’t work, my boss Mr. Throckmorton
printed up coupons in exchange for the donations. We’d gotten a few
cans, which were stacked in a pathetic little pile under the wimpy
Christmas tree near the counter, but not enough to change the fact
that business was still slow.
But really, who wanted to eat
hot dogs at Christmas time? No one ate hot dogs for Christmas.
People were filling up on Christmas cookies and pies and turkey and
cranberry sauce and hot cocoa.
Oh, hot cocoa. I’d eat my own
hot dog costume for a warm cup of hot cocoa.
I didn’t much care for cold
weather. Unless it was accompanied by snow, but it rarely ever
snowed in Willowbrook. A couple of flurries every five or six years
that never actually stuck. Honestly, what was the point in having
cold weather at all if there was no snow to make it at least look
“You look like you’re turning
into a Hot Dog Santa icicle,” said a voice behind me.
I turned around, pulling off
the mesh screen so I could scowl at Zac Greeley. “I think I’m in
danger of turning into a Hot Dog Abominable Snowman,” I told
“Well,” Zac said, rubbing his
chin as he considered me with a sly grin, “I could warm you up, but
I wouldn’t want my girlfriend to get jealous if she saw me kissing
Hot Dog Santa.”
“Just come here.” I wrapped my
arms around him, cuddling close to his chest and sighing at the
warmth radiating off his body. Zac wrapped his arms around me,
crushing the foam hot dog costume as he rubbed his hands up and
down my back.
“Avery?” he asked after a
“People are looking at us
funny,” he whispered.
I caught some kids giggling as
they walked by and a man giving us an amused smile.
“I hate winter,” I grumbled.
“It doesn’t even snow here. It should just be warm all year
“You want snow for Christmas?”
Zac pushed his coat sleeves up and then held his gloved hands to
the sky. “Allow me.” He cleared his throat. “Sky, I command you to
More pedestrians glanced at us
before quickly hurrying past. My boyfriend, the town clown.
Zac frowned and dropped his
hands. “Sorry. I must have left my weather control gloves at
I rolled my eyes. “Let’s go
inside. Mr. Throckmorton can come stand out in the cold if he wants
to, but I’m done for the day.”
Zac held the door open while I
waddled into the restaurant. The woman and little girl waved to me
on their way out the door.
“Couldn’t take it any longer,
huh?” Elliott asked as I made my way over to the counter.
I struggled to pull the velcro
flaps in the back of the costume open, then freed my upper body
from the foam, letting out a sigh of relief.
“You try standing in thirty
degree whether for two hours,” I told him.
“I did it yesterday,” Elliott
said. “And I actually stayed out there the whole time.”
I gritted my teeth. I would not
let Elliott Reiser get at me. He knew standing out in the cold made
me cranky. And he also knew that I could be a bit competitive
sometimes. He liked to see how far he could push me just to drive
“Don’t be obnoxious,” Molly
“I thought you liked it when I
was obnoxious,” Elliott teased her, leaning across the counter for
“Did we get any more cans?” I
asked, turning away from the PDA.
But I knew the answer when I
looked at the Christmas tree. The collection still looked the same
as it had earlier that day. And yesterday. And the day before, and
the day before that.
I sighed. “Where is everyone’s
holiday spirit this year?”
The canned food drive was my
latest project. I had been volunteering at the local soup kitchen
every Saturday morning and I noticed how many families came in for
food. It had taken all of my powers of persuasion to convince Mr.
Throckmorton to hold a canned food drive inside Diggity Dog House.
It would be the perfect way to help all the needy families in
Willowbrook for Christmas.
Or at least, that was what I
had hoped. It wasn’t turning out as successfully as I had
Molly snorted. “You’re one to
talk. I thought Santa was supposed to be jolly. You practically bit
my head off earlier when I asked you to do the Diggity Dog
“I was freezing my bun off, if
you hadn’t noticed,” I snapped.
“I was trying to warm you up by
getting you moving,” Molly replied.
Zac slipped an arm around my
shoulders. “It’s the economy. People don’t have much to spare right
now.” His dad’s locksmithing business wasn’t doing so well either.
Zac worked there part time, though he was now working for free
because his dad couldn’t afford to pay him. Everyone’s business was
slow, not just at Diggity Dog House.
My single-parent household was
low on money too, as usual. That was the reason I was still working
at Diggity Dog House, even though I’d wanted to quit a hundred
times. I needed the money to buy gifts and to keep padding my
savings account for future expenses.
“But they can spare a can or
two,” I insisted. “If all of our usual customers donated a can, we
could help out a lot of needy families.” We had only three days
left before Christmas and the team from Willowbrook Helping Hands
would come by on Christmas Eve to pick up the cans we’d collected.
It didn’t look like we’d be helping many people at this rate.
“Maybe,” Elliott said. “But we
have to find a way to get them interested in helping out.”
Molly patted me on the top of
my head. “We all know you want to save the world, Avery, but a lot
of other people are just apathetic. You have to give them something
in return for doing a good deed.”
Elliott flicked the stack of
coupons I’d tossed on the counter. “No offense to Mr. Throckmorton,
but fifty cents off a hot dog just isn’t cutting it.”
I leaned against the counter
and crossed my arms. “What else do we have to offer them?”
Silence fell as the four of us
tried to think of something. What would make people want to come
into Diggity Dog House during the holiday season? Hot coffee and
hot chocolate? Everyone else was doing that though, so why should
they come here instead? Candy canes were cheap, but again, everyone
would be doing that.
We needed something unique to
Diggity Dog House. Something they couldn’t get anywhere else.
“A dancing hot dog!” Zac
exclaimed, his brown eyes wide.
We all looked at him like he’d
lost his mind. Zac’s brain went about a million times faster than
anyone else’s I knew and it was usually hard to keep up. He’d flit
from one idea to another with no warning.
“Yes, I’m a giant hot dog,” I
said, gesturing to the costume crushed around my waist. “Three days
a week, right here. What’s new about that?”
Zac shook his head. “No, I
mean, everyone loves Bob, right? And everyone wants to see Bob do
the Diggity Dog Shuffle. So what if every time someone donates a
can, you do the shuffle?”
He began pacing back and forth
across the diner floor, his arms waving wildly as he talked.
“It could be like a
dance-a-thon. Hot Dog Holiday Wonderland Hop! We could advertise
that we’re on a mission to keep Bob dancing all day long. As long
as the cans keep coming in, Bob will keep doing the shuffle. It’s
fun and silly and people will have to take notice. It’s a giant
dancing hot dog dressed as Santa, they’ll have no choice but to
watch. Kids love Bob. They’ll probably beg their parents to donate
cans just to see you dance.”
He turned to us, his eyes
shining as he grinned. “What do you think?”
Before I could say anything, a
voice behind me said, “It’s brilliant!”
Mr. Throckmorton walked out
from behind the counter. His hair stuck up on one side of his head
and he had visible crescents of sweat around the underarms of his
shirt, despite the fact that the heater was set to low inside the
restaurant to save money. Mr. Throckmorton was the definition of
He clapped Zac on the shoulder,
his face shining. “You, sir, are a genius.” Mr. Throckmorton
pointed at Zac and looked to the rest of us for agreement. “Isn’t
he a genius? His idea is going to save our canned food drive and
bring in some business. Genius!”