Rudolph and Doris

A short story by Kergan Edwards-Stout

This short story eventually led to the feature screenplay How I Saved Christmas (and Other Great Things I’ve Done), available for download.


Jeffrey awoke with a bound and jumped to the window.  Was it?  Could it be?  The night he’d dreamed of all year was here, and not a moment too soon.

He looked around the yard, but there was no movement of any kind.  Even the trees, full with the weight of newly fallen snow, were strangely silent.  Jeffrey ran to his bedside table and grabbed his flashlight.  Bringing it to the window, he sent a flood of light piercing into the yards deepest shadows, hoping to uncover…what?  A fat old man in a red suit?  A reindeer on the loose?  An eight-foot high present, bulging at the sides?  But as Jeffrey looked, he saw nothing.

It was stupid really, Jeffrey told himself.  He was much too old for this kind of nonsense.  Shining the beam onto the sleeping mound that was his brother, who was not too old to believe in Santa, Jeffrey frowned and climbed back in bed.  The arms of the clock glowed in the darkened room.  It was not quite midnight.  And that was too early for Santa anyway, wasn’t it?

With a sigh, Jeffrey rolled onto his side and tried to shut his eyes.  He’d need every ounce of strength to get through the next day if Santa hadn’t come through for him.  It was a tall order that Jeffrey had asked for, but that was the old man’s job, right?  Making dreams come true?


It had been two years since his father had passed away, and in the time following, Jeffrey had seen his mother grow more scattered and remarry (to a loathsome bore named Dirk, a plumber) and his little brother Bryan retreat from life — literally.  Bryan now lived in a large cardboard box, and wouldn’t come out for anything.  They’d tried bribes, pleas, and threats, but Bryan remained hidden in his cocoon.

Bryan was given his meals in the box, took his nap in the box — even brought it to bed with him, though it remained next to the bed, with Bryan safely ensconced beneath the covers.  Occasionally they would catch a glimpse of Bryan’s pale arm as it would creep towards a plate of cookies, but that was about it.  Indeed, Jeffrey was unsure exactly what Bryan looked like anymore, so hungrily did the little fist pound down the cookies.  He could’ve been three hundred pounds and they would never have known.

While Bryan’s change was understandable, to some extent, and could be explained away as a youthful quirk, Jeffrey’s mother’s change was more puzzling, though not as pronounced.  Sure, anyone who hadn’t seen her for a while would have noticed the transformation, but to those around her, the changes appeared slowly and subtly.  First, she dyed her hair blonde and fashioned it into the popular bob.  Fine.  Jeffrey could deal with that.  Next, she started wearing brightly colored party dresses at every occasion, however inappropriate.  Then her mannerisms became almost unbearably cheerful and upbeat.  On and on went the metamorphosis until Jeffrey finally realized what she was doing:  Little Maggie Clements from Omaha was doing everything within her power to turn herself into the glamorous and dazzling Doris Day.  Not only did she see every movie that Doris made, including the stinkers, but she even started paraphrasing lines and bits from these movies.  In fact, just yesterday at breakfast, when Jeffrey said he wanted only one piece of toast, she cajoled, “With Six You Get Eggroll!” (more…)