Competitive Gift-Giving

Photo by: Mattew Wright

It was bad enough that aliens were invading. It was worse that the battle raged on until Christmas Day. Human and alien blood ran in a nearby stream. Weary Human troops at the edge of the battlefield were low on ammunition, saving their shots for clear targets. That’s why they noticed when the aliens stopped firing.

At first, the Humans simply took the respite as an opportunity to rest and re-arm. Once done, the men began to realize it was Christmas Day. Gifts were hastily cobbled together and trees were decorated with empty shell-casings. Private Schumacher, with his excellent singing voice, began singing Christmas carols to the delight of all.

Even the aliens seemed to appreciate it. They began singing melodies among themselves. Soon both besides peeked out from cover to watch each other.

It was Sergeant Malloy who first walked into the bloody battlefield unarmed. Soon, an alien joined him. Malloy gave the alien chocolate. The alien gave him a dried pseudo-octopus. The alien placed a translator box between them. They introduced themselves and began to chat. Malloy said, “Why did you stop firing?”

Hur’Agulk said, “It is our Day of Giving. A very important holiday. Originally, it was meant to celebrate the birth of our creator. Now it has become a time of mercantilism and competitive gift-giving. We spend far more than we can afford to give the finest gifts.”

“Sounds familiar.”

“If someone gives us a gift, we must give a better one in return. We’re neurotic about it.”

Thinking quick, Malloy offered Hur’Agulk an ammo clip. The alien groaned and handed Malloy his plasma cannon. That same weapon had been slaughtering whole platoons with a single shot. Malloy grinned, and called over the Captain. Soon Colonel Mayall joined. Hur’Agulk’s superiors joined the group when Mayall surrendered a battalion.

Things spiraled from there.

The following day, a red-faced and fuming Prime Minister Givens roared at Colonel Mayall. “Let me get this straight. With no authorization whatsoever, you – a lowly Colonel – negotiated a peace agreement for the entire planet of Earth?”

“That’s right, sir,” said Mayall stoically.

“Further, lacking any diplomatic skill or authorization, you negotiated a trade agreement for Halukkaan high-technology in trade for Earth Christmas ornaments?”

“Yes, sir.”

“What gives you the right…explain yourself, man!”

“Sir. The aliens are better than us at everything, especially weapons tech. They were slaughtering us.”

“I know that!”

“Well, the aliens have a holiday just like Christmas. It’s complete with obsessive mercantilism and overspending on gifts.”

“So?”

“Well, I couldn’t wait for your lordship. Christmas/Day of Giving was the one day of the year this would work. Turns out, the only thing Humans are better at is competitive gift-giving!”
__________________________________
Author’s Notes:

Merry Christmas everyone!

In 1914, during World War I, both sides spontaneously agreed to stop fighting and celebrate a meager Christmas in the trenches. One side began singing Christmas Carols, and the other joined in. Soon, enemies met on the battlefield to give each other gifts. It’s forever known as the Christmas Truce: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_truce

Written for Matthew Wright’s weekly Mega Short-Story writing challenge. Find the original prompt here and join in with your own story if you dare! 😉 https://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/this-weeks-short-story-challenge-5/

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About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
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10 Responses to Competitive Gift-Giving

  1. List of X says:

    Thanks to our modern technology,

    Like

  2. Hee hee! Great story – and a wonderful slating of the way Christmas has gone these days! We’re trying to hide from it, over here in NZ, but it’s not easy to escape. Just an hour ago, as I write this, I had to venture into the local mall for a last-minute gift while my wife circled outside with the car (no parking!). Aaaaaaaargh!

    That Christmas truce of 1914 was an extraordinary moment – spontaneous and to me underscoring the fact that the combatants all shared the same Western culture. It’s a funny thing, but there was similar ‘fraternisation’ a few months later on Gallipoli, when the Anzacs invaded Turkey – quite often each side would hurl food into the other’s lines, and there was one formally brokered truce where they agreed to allow each other to retrieve their dead from the battlefield. That led to a good deal of fraternisation among the men, though the officers didn’t – instead, the commanding generals marched out to reconnoitre the Turkish lines in detail.

    All the best for the Xmas season!

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      I know. The hectic gift buying that goes with the season really sucks the life out of it. It should at least be warm, comfortable days with family. I still think the Christmas Truce is one of the most amazing stories of warfare. I couldn’t help letting it be inspiration. I still wanted a laugh, though. 😉 Thanks so much, and Merry Christmas to you and yours! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Indira says:

    See. No boundaries can divide us. Human are same everywhere. Very shrewd. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lyn says:

    With nine grandchildren, spending money at Christmas is a foregone conclusion. This year I manage to survive the mad rush at the mall and the mind numbing decision of what to buy each of them by asking their parents what they’d like/need. It was the first Christmas I haven’t still been wrapping presents at 1:00am Christmas morning 🙂 Merry Christmas fellow bloggers.

    Liked by 1 person

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