El Camino De Los Reyes

Once again, it’s time for Friday Fictioneers. Every week, about 100 writers from around the world compose original, 100-word stories based on a photo prompt. This week’s photo comes from Melanie Greenwood.

Author’s Note: This week’s prompt brought a seasonal story to mind. For those who thought Christmas ended on December 25, I’d like to remind you that Christmas only began that day and actually ends today with what Catholics and Orthodox Christians call Epiphany and children in several parts of the world look forward to as Three Kings Day. The rest, I think, will be self-explanatory, as you read this story about the pains of modern travel. For further reading, Wikipedia seems a good a place to start as any. You can use the bibliography there to learn even more.

2016 01 08 melanie-greenwood

El Camino De Los Reyes

“I don’t think he’s just meditating this time.” Melchior nodded at Balthasar, whose body was sprawled across two chairs in the airport waiting area.

Gaspar rolled his eyes. “I’ve always said he could fall asleep anywhere.”

“Some kind of luck we have. You don’t hear of St. Nicholas getting stuck for hours at Chicago O’Hare.”

“Well, he has those flying reindeer.”

“Don’t forget the one with the magical red nose.”

“True. More useful than camels for traveling in North America.”

“It was so much simpler when all we had to do was fill wooden shoes for a few Dutch kids.”

26 thoughts on “El Camino De Los Reyes

  1. My tree is still up so it’s Christmas here still too 🙂

    • storydivamg says:

      Good for you, Dawn! My chiropractor was lamenting this morning that his family “killed Christmas as soon as they could” this year by taking all the decorations down on the 26th. I don’t understand that mentality. We celebrate into January every year.

      • Well people start too early I think. They get all hyped up and then as soon as the gifts are opened they want to clean it all up and put it away. But I was raised Catholic also and although i am not a practicing Catholic, old habits die hard. A few I am glad of.

        • storydivamg says:

          Once a Catholic, always a Catholic–at least in some ways.

          I get so frustrated with the cultural observance of Christmas in the U.S. People turn on the Xmas music and put up Santa Claus and lights galore before the Halloween decorations are safely tucked away. We barely get to savor Advent because everyone is jumping around as though the time has already come. Then when it does come everyone is sick and tired of it. So we do things different at our house–we work to savor the moment–observe all 12 days of Christmas, starting with the first on Christmas Day. It makes for a more sincere, less commercial observance.

  2. I love this image, Marie Gail. I guess if they Magi can endure O’Hare, I’d better do my best too. Maybe they’d better wish for a set of reindeer for Christmas too. 😛

  3. draliman says:

    Fun! Ah, the trials and tribulations of being a Wise Man in this modern age…

  4. Dear Marie Gail,

    Nothing like a bit of whimsy for Epiphany. 😉 We came very close to being an O’Hare casualty. I think ours might have been the last flight out on the 28th.
    I love the story. I could picture these classics in this unlikely setting. Clever and well imagined.



    • storydivamg says:

      When I saw what prompt was presented on Epiphany, I couldn’t resist–especially since the problems in Chicago caught me with extended-stay guests this year during the holidays. The fun was there for the writing.

      Marie Gail

  5. Sandra says:

    Having just watched the Three Kings pageant being played out on Moraira beach (in wobbly carts this year, not on horseback), this resonated with me. Nicely done MG and happy new year!

    • storydivamg says:

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only one thinking of those intrepid three this week. Their story alongside all the crazy travel issues at airports across the American Midwest between Christmas and New Years put this story to mind instantly for me.

      All my best,

  6. gahlearner says:

    They’d need some flying camels. 🙂 We leave the tree until Jan. 6 in Germany, usually. But we only put it up on the 24th, not one or two weeks earlier. Poor kings, they deserve better. Fun story.

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks for coming along–even though the ride was grounded and we had to enjoy the story from the waiting room. 🙂

      Here’s to savoring the magic of Christmas!

      All my best,

  7. Here we keep the Christmas decorations until the 13th of January.. but yes yesterday was the last holiday of Christmas.
    C – I like how you used the names, it gives the narrative.. and I have been to Spain during Epiphany so I know how that is the day for gift giving. I wonder if the Yule Goat fits in somewhere too. I like how you made the whole narrative clear through dialogue.

    • storydivamg says:

      I can’t recall any stories of the Yule Goat, Bjorn. I do have one friend who is a pagan and celebrates Yule rather than Christmas, and he tries to observe the solstice with a Yule log ceremony. I haven’t ever joined him or taken the time to learn about his customs though.

      As for the C–thanks so much. Your observations flatter me. This was a fun one to tell, and it seemed that dialogue needed to be the catalyst for the tale.

      All my best,

  8. lillian says:

    Enjoyed this. And OHare is just the right place to strand them — busy, hectic, rushed…..everything that Christmas should not be.
    I for one still have the tree up (with our Yule bokken – straw donkeys – underneath) and especially enjoy quiet mornings still with the little white lights and my coffee — candles lit too. Shall be taking everything down next weekend……..sad that will be.

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks for commenting, Lillian. Twinkle lights and candles, along with snugly knit jumpers are the things that get me through the cold months. I’m not much of one for coffee, but I have been enjoying hot cocoa, and I’ll be brewing plenty of hot tea in the next few months too.

      Stay warm!

      All my best,

  9. Margaret says:

    Such a whimsical story – I can just imagine the scene. I like your point about things being simpler once. That’s the lament of our times in more regards than Christmas.

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks, Margaret! Funny, this scene came to me instantly upon seeing the photo this week. I couldn’t resist sharing it, and I’m glad my story kindled your imagination too. It does seem that earlier days must have been simpler–but those simple times came with their share of trials too. Hopefully, we as a human race are at least more tolerant of those different from ourselves than we were a generation or two ago.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  10. I love the way you’ve woven faith, storytelling, whimsy and airport drama here, MG. It smacks of realism, and made me chuckle. Nice job!

  11. Your last line made me laugh out loud.

  12. Nice modern take on a seasonal theme!

  13. Lovely. May all your Christmases come true.

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