Holiday Funny Fiction

“Dad? Dad! We can’t see you. Step away from the computer a bit.” I was exasperated. We practiced this for each of the twelve days of Christmas. I would call him on the phone, he would answer and I’d guide him through answering the Zoom call.

It was our first Christmas without being in the same room together. We were all heartbroken even though we almost never got along. Christmas was different every year with new faces, bodies to hug or avoid and wrapping paper to tear off the packages.

I wanted this to go smoothly, to be joyous and merry without swigs of sherry. I wanted my father, of all people, to find it easy to sit in his chair, click the button and see his family from far and wide. It wouldn’t be easy.

“Oh, there’s Jake. Hi Jake. Just trying to get Dad so we can see him.”

“Hi Stella; Dad! Let me tell you about Beth. She was so excited this morning. Her face just lit up when she came down the stairs. She almost fell. And then did fall. Well, jumped actually. Right into the pile of presents. We’ll be cleaning out pine needles from her hair for weeks. Oh! Dad. We can’t see you. You have to tilt your laptop down a little. No, that’s up. Dad! Listen to me.”

“No, Dad. Ignore Jake. Jake, please be quiet. We’ve practiced his and he knows how to do it. Don’t confuse him more.”

“Beth, come here. Show Papa what you got.”

“Jake, please. And I thought she wasn’t going to open anything until we set this up?”

“Just one thing. She couldn’t wait. Oh, there’s Charlie. Who is with him?”

I took a swig of my coffee, regretting I didn’t spike it with sherry first but looking at the clock I realized, in a twisted way, it was for the best. We were only minutes away from the whole family joining us and we still couldn’t see Dad. Oh goodness, it looked like Charlie was going to introduce us to another “friend” and it seemed like he had some little ones at his feet, too. Maybe seeing Dad wouldn’t be the greatest of ideas yet we needed to.

“Dad, focus! Jake, Charlie – hi. Please just stay quiet while Dad figures this out.”

“Stella, he just needs to move the laptop. Can’t you get him to move it back a bit or maximize his screen? I thought you were working on this with him. Dad, just press that box on the top right of the screen” – and he was gone.

“Well, thanks guys. That was so helpful. Now I have to call him – on the phone, and walk him through it all again. I’m going to mute you all while I get him on here.”

I called him the way he was comfortable with and he answered in an instant. “I just can’t do it. Charlie told me to hit the square and I did that you and you all left. This is stupid. Just come over. Your mother is hoping to see you all.”

“You know we can’t, Dad. Charlie is in Singapore, Jake couldn’t get a flight from Colorado and well, the roads are just too bad for me to travel. You know I hate driving in winter. But we can do this, we’ll all see each other and it will be just like we’re all in the same room.” I walked him through the process and got him on a video chat with me and alas I could see him! I just couldn’t hear him.

After some more troubleshooting we finally got visual and audio and he was elated until he saw that I was showered and dressed. “This isn’t the same at all. Where are your jammies? You never showered so early on Christmas morning before unwrapping your gifts. And I hope that’s hot chocolate with marshmallows you’re drinking. Where’s the candy cane?”

“Dad, let me invite the others. They are still on the other chat. Hang on.” I clicked over to the other video and told them what I was doing. No response.

I could see all of them, too much of some as one adjusted his pants while hanging onto his phone. I realized then that they were still muted and was thankful for that. “Did you just use the bathroom while on a video call, Charlie?”

“Everyone said they would turn around.”

“Oh, they did, did they? Only they couldn’t because everyone was muted until a second ago. Anyway, glad I missed that show. Now please disconnect from this call and I’ll invite you to the one with dad.”

It took another few minutes but finally we were altogether. The hustle and bustle of Christmas was made possible with Zoom, and despite all of the lags and differences in time zones and Internet connections we were together.

“Where’s mom?” I was finally able to ask when the crew paused for a breath. “She should open her present first.”

“Lucy? Lucy! Come here, come see the kids and grandkids.” She came out fully dressed and leaned over our father’s shoulder to look straight in the camera. We all gasped at the sight as she forgot to put on a bra and her nightie was low cut. The adults turned away the kids, all except for little Beth who exclaimed “Gramma milk?”

At just past two Beth was still being breast fed occasionally and understood her gramma was gifting her milk. None of us could stop laughing at the innocence, all except Gramma who, thankfully, didn’t hear Beth but did realize her fashion faux pas.

“Let’s open presents! Mom, why don’t you go first? Mom? Charlie, where did they go?”

Their parents video was black again but showed they were still connected. “I don’t know I… oh no! They need to turn the sound off. Ok, I’m out of here. Let’s give them 30 minutes.”

“No, let’s just mute them and hope they come to their senses. Let’s all scream together and hopefully they hear us.” So that’s what we did. Unfortunately the plan didn’t work.

“I’ll call them,” I offered and did. Dad answered, out of breath and confused. “Dad, you left the video call on and we can hear you. We want to be able to see you, both, but fully clothed.”

“Oh my! Yes, we’re back.” We disconnected the phone and he explained into his computer that Gramma went to get dressed and handed him some bread dough to knead. He forgot all about the computer.

“Well, this is certainly a Christmas to remember,” we all said and started opening our gifts.

November 26, 2020 17:45

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