A Christmas Gift for you: Downtime, a Short Story

This has become a bit of a tradition for me and I hope you enjoy it.

Back when I was writing fiction, I came up with the idea of a continuing series of stories about an IT consultant that found himself dealing with mythical beings, because I loved trying to play standard genre tropes against each other and see what happened. So here’s this guy trying to make a living who finds himself hired by God to hack Satan’s databases (only it’s not that simple), and of course, mythical beings talk to each other, and once they found someone who didn’t freak at the idea of working these kinds of gigs, he found himself referred into all sorts of fun and bizarre situations.

I ended up writing and selling three of them, starting with Good Intentions, the story I just described. The second was Birds of a Feather, where a witch needs help with a computer she’s programmed to do her spells for her, and which co-stars a cockatoo who can speak cantrips and does to its own amusment. Both of these are stories I’ve been meaning to get online for a while, and I’ll try to actually do that in 2017.

The third was Downtime, and probably my favorite. What does Santa do when his database of naught and nice crashes and burns on Christmas Eve? And what does Kevin do when he’s called away from his family on the holiday (again) by a new client with yet another emergency?

Looking back at this story after all these years, I still really like it. I think it really tries to remind all of us what Christmas really means, or at least what it should mean to us.

If I have a regret about retiring from writing, it’s that I didn’t get to carry this series forward. I had ideas for stories involving the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy (caught embezzling and needing help), Peter Pan, a Leprechaun, and (yes, seriously) Elvis (who was alive and running a network of entertainers impersonating him to keep his name and brand alive). I think there’s another half dozen stories I could tell out of folklore and myth pretty easily without running this series a bit long in the tooth. Maybe sometime.

But for now, Merry Christmas to all of you, and here is my story Downtime. I hope you enjoy it.