Noel Hardholme sat back in his fireside chair and thought about contemplating the world. He had never been good at contemplation so decided to think about that a while. He tried to think about the factors in his life that may have helped to contribute towards his lack of contemplation skills. He got up out of his chair and then went to make a pot of tea.
He sat back down next to the fireplace that ought to have held a roaring fire; it didn’t.
Noel could not afford roaring at this time of the year. Noel could not afford roaring at any time of the year. He had not been able to afford roaring since he lost his job as a high pastures goat herder. Thankfully, Noel’s abilities at contemplation were only matched by his abilities at self-pity; he had none.
The tea sat by his side and close to what ought to have been a roaring fire, so he drank it (the tea). His TV sat blankly in front of him. He often forgot to switch it on yet sat there watching its infinite blankness whilst the rest of the world was watching the funeral of Santa, the fat boy, and the fat boy’s mother. On the back of this was a news item about the disappearance of a particularly large passenger plane somewhere over the Pacific.
In the darkness of space, the cigar-shaped meteor began to lose its velocity.
If anybody had been watching its arrival, apart from a few geeky scientists and the mad 25Th Day Arrivalists, they would have been, at the very least, mildly interested. As it was, every eye in the western world seemed to be turned towards the very sad goodbye to the three thousand Santas who had been wiped out in what many believed to be a real attack on the basic Christmasian beliefs of an entire planet (that part that wasn’t pagan or other such nonsense). Three thousand, all in one night!
At some point in the evening, Noel did not know when as he had never truly learnt how to tell the time, he wandered outside.
The night was still and cloudless. The stars twinkled in their majesty (he started to wonder where that had come from and then forgot to wonder any more) and the world was still. He was looking up towards the stars in what could pass as contemplation, if he had been somebody else rather than himself, when he saw what appeared to be a long cigar shaped thing (he had not descriptive powers) move slowly across the darkness and come to rest above his head.
Noel knew a thing or two about some stuff – not all of his knowledge was goat-centred. Once, when he had managed to switch his television set on, he had seen something that looked like a cigar that could float. It was a balloon and was called a Z.. Gone! Whatever was on the tip of his memory was now gone into the folds of time. He never could remember things for long.
From far above him, the cigar soft-shuddered to a halt. Its underside, if things had undersides in space, was lit with an ethereal blue that whispered along the seemingly stony frame. The meteor was not what it first appeared. In the first place, it wasn’t a meteor. In the second place, it was more like a Zeppelin than a meteor. In the third place, just to complete its trinity of misunderstandings, it was indeed the thing that the loonies, the geeks and the 25th Day Arrivalists had been hoping for. It was a present from some interstellar Santa who had arrived just in time to save them all.
Or so they hoped.
As the eyes and hearts of all the planet (those non-pagan) lent themselves to the painful memory of one fat eight year old boy, with a sweet tooth fixation, his indulgent mother (who would have been ever so proud of her recently martyred and instantly minced-up offspring), and the big FC (without the K), the big cigar was beginning to emanate its blue under-aura for all the world to see. Unfortunately all eyes and hearts were elsewhere leaving on Noel Hardholme to stare vacantly into the night sky where a something that could have begun with Z projected a blue light over the eve’s scene.
Somewhere much closer to the Pacific ocean than he ever wanted to be, the pilots (pilot and co-pilot – the latter is a lesser being) were battling the unbeatable odds that would dictate that the gravitational anomaly caused by the appearance of something that looked like a Zeppelin would result in them both, along with their screaming passengers, all meeting their makers as one, status in life not being a guarantee to the Captain’s table on high.
Noel shed a tear, not knowing why, and then he turned into the beautiful blue shaft of light that had somehow materialised next to him. It was tempting. He didn’t appreciate any potential danger or even contemplate his luck at having such a thing all to himself. All Noel did was step inside its circular space and disappear instantly.
The cigar had its first convert in over two thousand years.