60 Seconds of WIP, 24 August 2023

Today’s reading is from an as-yet-untitled Christmas story. Yes, I write Christmas stories. And I sell them to anthologies.

We go through a lot of coal. The Workshop has geothermal heat, sure, and there’s the big solar farms for the nightless summers, but certain people don’t have real friends—friends who will tell them the truth. You might be one of the richest people on Earth, surrounded by sycophants and lickspittles who cheer your every whim as unquestionable moral excellence, but it doesn’t matter how many yes-men you have or how good your security is. That inexplicable lump of coal on Christmas morning declares that you haven’t fooled Mister Jolly and he is here to call you on your bullshit.

Not many people need that reminder. But one percent of eight billion is eighty million, and each lump is about a hundred grams. That’s eight thousand metric tons of coal to pull out of the walls and load, eighty hoppers behind a modern industrial locomotive, and us with pixaxes and push carts and a damn choo-choo.

One day I’ll publish a collection of bitter Christmas tales, but for 2023 you’ll see at least one new holiday story from me.