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Three Hours in Possum Point - A Christmas Story

Updated on December 13, 2015

The year was 1993. I had spent the summer months locked in my tool shed working on something top-secret. I told most people it was computer related and made sure to keep the wife and kids out whenever possible. Autumn came and the work continued and unfortunately the family began to get suspicious when the power shut off one night. I began running the machines I needed on a separate gas powered generator. It wasn't easy and it wasn't cheap, in fact I had spent nearly every penny I had in my savings account and even cashed in all the stocks I had.

The crystals were the most expensive part since the dealer I had procured them from ran out in mid-August and had to start getting them from private collectors. It turned out that NASA only had found a few pounds worth of them and most of that had been given to the astronauts. I guess the government scientists at the time had no idea what they had on their hands. By December the machine was ready for its first test.

I remember distinctly the night I tested it, December 13th 1993. Not only was this the day that time travel was invented by yours truly but it was the day I learned the truth about Santa Claus. It was raining that night, a dismal, cold and cloudy day in Southwest PA. I had finished reading the kids the Night Before Christmas and tucking them in. While they had visions of sugar-plums in their sleepy little heads Daddy had visions of flux-capacitors and getting to kill Hitler, if the test was successful of course.

I remember distinctly the night I tested it, December 13th 1993. Not only was this the day that time travel was invented by yours truly but it was the day I learned the truth about Santa Claus. It was raining that night, a dismal, cold and cloudy day in Southwest PA. I had finished reading the kids the Night Before Christmas and tucking them in. While they had visions of sugar-plums in their sleepy little heads Daddy had visions of flux-capacitors and getting to kill Hitler, if the test was successful of course.

I stepped into the tool shed soaking wet and with a devious grin I began warming up the machines. The Dual Fermion Wave Inducer was humming loudly as I inserted the crystals into the Core-Flux Quantum Propulsion device I had built using secret government plans from the 50s I’d found that had been carelessly declassified. Both the machines hummed in their appropriate harmonic vibration frequencies allowing the gravity-waves to propagate through the crystalline medium and produce a barely visible quantum tunnel. It didn’t look like much at first, I remember being painfully disappointed at how the light merely seemed to bend around the tunnel’s event horizon. Luckily the Ionized Magnetic Field Generator maintained the portal at a manageable size and prevented the wormhole or “quantum tunnel” from completely destroying the Earth.

As I calibrated the energy fields correctly I began to wonder where I would emerge and when. I had some control over the when but very little over the where because of the Earth’s continuously changing position in space. I set the machine up to take me back into the 1970s, I was sort of hoping to see myself in grade school and perhaps set myself up to invent time travel even earlier. I walked toward the portal noting that there was a faint sound like wind that grew deafening as I drew closer. In fact as I took the final step and felt myself lifted from the fabric of time and space the sound was unbearable. I had a feeling like I was falling, cascading every downward and then – nothing, ceasing to be.

As I came to I soon realized I wasn’t in Pennsylvania anymore. A road sign nearby claimed that Charleston West Virginia was just a few dozen miles away. I stood up and dusted myself off narrowly avoiding a car I recognized as a 73 Mustang convertible. The time period was right but the location was a bit off. I glanced down at the hand-held Extraction Beacon I had brought with me and noted the countdown. I had only three hours before I’d be pulled back to my correct time, there was not enough time to get to my hometown and visit my younger self.

Still I was in heaven. I, Wallace Theodore Price, had invented a working quantum tunnel time machine. I scratched my chin wondering if the government already had such technology and seriously worrying that they might have some sort of time police. Even if they didn’t have time cops it seemed unlikely that they would let me patent and take credit for the technology. Cursing my luck I stumbled toward a nearby rest-stop where I noticed several tractor trailers were parked.

I noted the abundance of drunk truck drivers with very bad mustaches and, following a trail of barf, badly dressed men and booze I managed to find where they were coming from. The building was as unimpressive as could be, little more than a run down shanty, but there were dozens gathered around outside. Aside from the truckers there were quite a few bikers. I sat awestruck, in particular, at an entire row of FX 1200 Harley Davidson bikes.

“Can you tell me where I am?” I asked one fellow who was entering and looked fairly sober.

“Sure thing,“ he responded spitting, “You’re in Possum Point.”

“This bar is called Possum Point?” I asked, he squinted at me and offered a smile which was missing several teeth.

“This town is called Possum Point,” he corrected, “This here is Mack’s Tavern. Best damn booze this side of the mountains.”

I stood outside trying to figure out what to do while dodging vomiting drunks and any bar fights that managed to make it into the parking lot. For a moment I questioned whether I was actually back in time as this sort of behavior was not the sort of thing I expected, even in 20th century West Virginia. However the vintage cars, trucks and bikes were far too pristine in their condition. I put my generalizations and fears about hillbillies aside and headed into the bar hoping a beer would help me relax and clear my head.

I halted my trip to the bar however as a fat man with a long white beard and strangely red cheeks barreled past me. At first I thought nothing of it, just some rudeness that was to be expected from people around these parts but then I looked again. He was dressed in red suspenders and wore a flannel shirt that was red and green.

Compared to the other patrons of the bar he stood out as the most brightly colored and one of the fattest. He sat down at the bar and told a joke to the bartender and then began laughing at his own joke causing his rather large stomach to jiggle. It wasn't ordinary jiggling mind you, it seemed out of place, overly jolly, as if his stomach was a bowl full of jelly. His boots were black and he’d left footprints with soot in his wake. That’s when it hit me who I was looking at.

I collapsed into a nearby chair and ordered some food and a beer from the waitress. I studied the strange fat man still unable to believe for a second that this really was Saint Nick. I began to wonder if he was an impersonator but the temperature was sweltering and a Calendar on the wall of the bar identified the date as June 17th 1976.

At this point I noticed that many people in the bar were looking at me. Rather than focusing their attention on the flamboyantly dressed Santa look alike they all stared my way. I looked down at my clothes breathing a sigh of relief. I was dressed in more or less period correct clothing, aside from my shoes. I was, however, wearing a heavy coat and my hair was wet, it had been freezing and pouring rain before I left. I took the coat off and tried to act natural.

My food arrived and so did the panic. The money I had brought with me might not be good here. That idea fled my mind when an even more unbelievable thing happened. I pinched myself as hard as I could as a seven foot tall hair-covered but otherwise totally naked bi-pedal ape walked into the bar. All at once the bar grew quiet as everyone took notice that bigfoot had indeed arrived. I assumed that everyone would start moving toward the exit or perhaps someone would call the authorities but soon enough everyone had gone back to their drinks and bigfoot had taken a seat at the bar and ordered a drink.

I watched as Bigfoot struck up a conversation with the man that I was now positive was Santa Claus. The Jolly Old Elf was soon laughing with his distinctive “Ho Ho Ho!”. I once again tried to wake myself up retreating to the bathroom to splash water on my face. Nothing worked. I looked back at my Extraction Beacon seeing that I still had two hours and twelve minutes to spend in 1976.

I returned to the table and began pecking at my food hoping to draw the meal out as long as possible. I observed Bigfoot and Santa. I couldn’t figure out what the hairy ape was saying but Santa seemed to understand him and soon enough the two stepped away from the bar. Several patrons cleared out from a table allowing the two mythical characters to sit down. They placed their arms up with elbows on the table and I suddenly saw what was happening. An arm wrestling battle was about to ensue and the crowd of truckers and bikers were worked into a frenzy. The Bikers backed Santa for the most part with the truckers cheering for bigfoot as the battle began.

I sat dumbfounded as the fat and the furriest began their epic battle to end all battles. At first it seemed like bigfoot would snap the old man’s arm off in one quick motion but Santa fought back and soon they were centered again. Neither armed budged for what seemed like forever. Sweat poured from my brow as I was drawn into the incredible suspense of it all. The roaring din of the bar slowly grew quiet as the tension mounted. How long had this been going on here in Possum Point? I took another bite of my steak and turned my concentration back to the fight.

With astonished eyes I watched as Santa began to turn the tide and bigfoot’s arm slowly descended toward the table. My food rolled out of my mouth when the fat man had beaten the massive beast. The bar roared to life once more half of it cheering and the other half booing and crying foul. Bigfoot stood up and once again I had to pick my jaw up off the floor.

“You fat son of a-” Bigfoot began speaking clear English, “You CHEATED!”

“I beat you fair and square,” Santa said.

“Listen you jolly little loser!” Bigfoot shouted lifting Santa off the ground, “You used magic to beat me, I know you did, I saw you wiggle your nose! There’s no way your pudgy little arms beat me. I spend my time beating grizzly bears into a coma, I’m stronger than Arnold Schwarzenegger and every other Mr. Universe contestant combined.”

“Better watch it pal,” Santa said trying to wrestle free, “Or you’ll end up on the naughty list this year.”

“Naughty list?” Bigfoot growled, “You can shove the naughty list right up your jingle jolly butt!”

“Hey Santa,” A voice said calling everyone’s attention to the door, “You want me to handle this guy?”

Once again I was forced to rethink everything I knew about reality for standing, on two legs mind you, at the door of the bar was a reindeer wearing sunglasses and a leather jacket. I immediately recognized him by the shining gemstone he appeared to have for a nose.

“Who are you?” Bigfoot asked.

"The name’s Rudolph,” the reindeer said taking the cigar out of his mouth, “Now put the big man down or else.”

“Or else what?” Bigfoot asked cracking his knuckles and pulling a baseball bat from the tangles of fur that covered his body.

“You'll go down in history,” Rudolph replied reaching behind him and pulling out a sawed off pump action shotgun, “Now I suggest you get moving before you get some buckshot to the face instead of just some coal in your stocking.”

Bigfoot left then swearing he’d be back with his friends to settle the score. I sat with a cold steak on my plate unable to move. I tossed about twenty dollars down on the plate hoping it would be enough and left before anyone could ask any questions about the money. I needed air and I needed it now. I began to wonder if I’d hit my head or perhaps been electrocuted and was now hallucinating some twisted dream. I had, after all, read my children the Night Before Christmas before heading out to the shed. That was it I decided, this had to be a dream, a really vivid dream.

I slapped myself in the face hard several times desperate to wake up but it didn’t work. I began to pace back and forth repeating to myself that none of it was real and trying to slur my words and stumble so people would think I was just another drunkard. I nearly passed out when another Reindeer walked past me and asked me if I was alright. He offered to drive me somewhere but I declined the offer.

I cursed myself. Why couldn’t I have been satisfied with a normal life with normal hobbies? I had a great loving wife and two wonderful children. Why did I have to get myself involved in this whole time travel thing? I sat down and tried to calm myself. It wasn’t all bad after all, I had invented time travel and I had learned that Santa Claus and Bigfoot existed. No one would believe me of course and that’s when I remembered the camera. I pulled it from my pocket and began snapping photos of things hoping the film would survive the Quantum Tunnel. I checked the Extraction Beacon, still fifty seven minutes.

I headed back inside and photographed Santa. Feeling a sudden burst of courage I even approached the man.

“Greetings,” I said and he gave me a perplexed look, “Are you who I think you are?”

“Yessir,” he said belching, “Santa Bartholomew Claus at your service. You’re Wallace Price aren’t you? You sure look a lot older than nine.”

“You really do know everyone don’t you?” I said, “The people back home are never gonna believe me when I tell them about this.”

“Whoa whoa whoa there son,” Santa said, “You can’t be telling anyone I was here. I don’t want you to tell a single soul.”

“Why not?”

“If everyone knew I came here Possum Point would be filled with tourists come to interview me and see Santa. Every trucker who passes through here and every biker who lives around these parts or comes through cross country has sworn an oath of secrecy. Now if you tell anyone I was here you’ll regret it.”

“What are you gonna do add me to the naughty list?” I asked as a joke but Santa took it seriously, he pulled a switch blade from his suspenders.

“I’ll cut you son,” he threatened putting out his hand to take my camera, “I have worked very hard to maintain my privacy on every night but one.”

“I was kidding,” I explained handing the device to him with a nervous chuckle, “I won’t tell anyone. No one would believe me anyway.”

“Damn right,” Santa said laughing.

Things grew quiet and I drank a few beers with the fat man beside me. He told me stories of how difficult it was to find any children who’d been good at all and how some of them tried to set traps for him. The minutes ticked on and the bar began to clear out slowly but surely. Eventually I’d exhausted my funds which luckily the bartender was accepting. Suddenly I panicked and looked down at my Beacon. I had only three minutes until I would return to 1993.

I walked out of the bar passing by three more reindeer, an elf and a strange man wielding a pickaxe and rambling on about Silver and Gold. I wandered out into the parking lot and looked up at the stars. Suddenly everyone around me began to scatter as the sound of revving engines on approach echoed across the lot. I watched as bigfoot, now armed to the teeth with a bandoleer of ammunition and a rocket propelled grenade strapped to his back, rode into the lot with a posse of friends. The Grinch, in all his green glory, was beside him on another bike and beside him in a side-car sat the Abominable Snowman each of them armed and dangerous. They were coming on quick and I had to dive out of the way as the machine gun fire started.

Rudolph emerged from the bar and began throwing Molotov cocktails and firing off with his shotgun. The Grinch responded by tossing a lit stick of dynamite through the air. I ran for my life and dived as the explosion hit landing in some bushes by the side of the road. Chris Kringle himself stepped out swinging the doors like an Old West saloon. With a wink of his twinkling eye and a wiggle of his nose a bolt of magic up from the ground arose. The bolt danced through the air merry and gay until every last one of his enemies lay slain.

At that moment I felt it happening, lying there frightened. I was sucked back through the quantum tunnel. Back to safety. Far from Possum Point.

I opened my eyes. I was on the ground in my tool shed. The floor beneath me was wet and slippery. I had a hard time standing up. I began to wonder if it had all been a dream. Perhaps I had slipped and hit my head causing a hallucination. My head did hurt pretty badly, in fact it was pounding. I stumbled into the house feeling more than a little strange. I tried to shake the strange violent scene of Christmas characters engaged in mortal combat from my muddled mind and cuddled up to my wife who seemed upset that I had taken so long coming to bed.

“I love you dear,” I said with a yawn.

“Wallace,” she said waving her hand in front of her nose, “Have you been drinking?”

Author's Note

I found this on my computer a few days ago and realized despite the fact I wrote it some time ago I'd never posted it anywhere. So I figured with Christmas and the Holiday Season here I might as well post it here.

The humor, if there is any, comes from the juxtaposition of these innocent holiday characters with a low-down dive bar in the hills of West Virginia. I've always liked the idea of Santa having a bit of edge to him, maybe smoking a cigar rather than a pipe with some tattoos and driving a chopper.

Next weekend I hope to have a review of the new Star Wars movie up!

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas everyone!


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    • Titen-Sxull profile image

      Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

      I love Jingle All the Way, it's not at all a Christmas classic but it's how cheesy and bad it is that makes it great, of course that can be said of a lot of Arnie's work!

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 2 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Loved it! Have you seen Arnold Schwartzenegger in "Jingle All The Way"? In one scene, he dukes it out with a bunch of Santa Clauses. "I'm gonna deck your halls..."


    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very interesting and funny Christmas story. Enjoyed a lot.

    • galleryofgrace profile image

      galleryofgrace 2 years ago from Virginia

      Really enjoyed reading this. I can see it as a roaring comedy movie. Maybe starring Beavis and Butthead?