Pink Santa is a Christmas novelette of twelve chapters, posted serially by me, your yuletide host, Cheeseburger Brown.
In contrast to my other stories, this story features neither profanity nor adult situations. Also, I'll admit you now that everything goes well by the finish -- that's right: a happy ending. In short, this story is suitable for consumption by juvenile readers. If you know any juveniles you might want to consider printing this out for them.
The story is also suitable for those who inner child has not yet been strangled by bitterness or a messy divorce or fiscal insolvency, existential angst or the quagmire in Iraq.
And now, we begin our tale:
Mike got up in the night, because he had to pee.
He had neither a father nor a mother to care for him, so Mike lived in an orphange. The orphanage was very old and it smelled like a sticky shower curtain. At night the orphanage was very dark, but Mike knew his way to the washroom by touch.
In the washroom he was surprised to surprise Chloe. They surprised each other. Both Mike and Chloe gasped. Mike said, "What are doing in the boy's bathroom?"
Chloe said, "Shhh!"
She was teetering on top of a stack of books. Mike recognized The Wind in the Willows, Watership Down, A Wrinkle in Time and Winnie-the-Pooh. Chloe had built a tower out of the books next to the wall, and she was stretching to reach the windowsill up high.
"What are you doing?" he whispered.
Chloe frowned at him, then lost her balance and accidentally kicked at the stack with her dangling feet. Books flew everywhere, skidding into the corners. Chloe was left hanging from the windowsill by the tips of her fingers. She yelped.
"Oh my gosh!" said Mike.
They heard thumps and bumps from the floor above them, and then muttering adult voices. The nuns were awake!
"The nuns are awake!" cried Chloe.
Mike was scared. He didn't want to get in trouble. "What should I do?" he asked.
Chloe said, "Help me!"
So Mike got below Chloe, and she put her feet on his little shoulders, then hauled herself up to sit in the sill. She turned the lock and grunted as she pushed open the window, letting in a puff of cold, winter air. It started to snow inside the washroom.
They could hear the nuns in the corridor outside poking into each room and calling for Chloe. They sounded very angry.
Mike started to cry.
"Shhh!" hissed Chloe again.
"But I don't want to be in trouble," whined Mike, sniffling through his sobs.
"Be quiet!" said Chloe.
The nuns were getting closer. The lights in the corridor came on.
"I don't know where to hide!" squeaked Mike.
Suddenly Chloe dangled her arms down from the sill, grabbed the top of Mike's pajamas, and used all her strength to pull him up. Mike scrambled onto the sill and squeezed in beside her. "What are we going to do?" he wanted to know, his breath making little puffs of steam in the cold air by the window.
"We're going to escape!" said Chloe.
"Where's escape?" asked Mike.
"Escape isn't a place, it's a thing to do. I'm running away. Are you coming?"
Mike crinkled his brow. "Where?"
"Out. Away. Far away. Come on -- quickly!"
Mike didn't know what to do. He started to cry again. Chloe squirmed through the open window and dropped down to the metal fire-escape below. She looked up at him. "Are you coming or aren't you?" she asked.
The door of the washroom began to open. Long, adult-sized shadows were cast upon the floor. Sister Bethany was carrying her special paddle which she used for spanking the backsides of children who broke the rules.
Mike panicked when he saw the paddle and dove through the open window. He landed on top of Chloe who said, "Oof."
They tried to stay perfectly still and perfectly quiet. They heard Sister Bethany say, "The window's open in here. Did somebody leave this window open?"
Chloe and Mike stayed crunched up in a little ball on the fire escape, hoping Sister Bethany wouldn't see them when she looked outside. She called, "Chloe! Chloe!"
"What's going on?" said Sister Joanna from inside the washroom.
"I think Chloe Blair has escaped again," said Sister Bethany. "Send Alfred around to check the alley."
Chloe tugged on Mike's pajamas. "Let's go! Hurry!" she whispered.
They padded down the rickety steps of the fire-escape and hopped into the soft snow in the alley beside the orphanage. Mike was happy that his pajamas had little socks built into them.
Chloe took Mike's hand and pulled him through the alley, his short legs working hard to keep up with the older girl's quick pace. They came out into the dark street and rushed past the front doors of the orphanage just seconds before Alfred the janitor came out, tying closed his robe. "Who's out here?" he called into the empty street.
Chloe and Mike rushed away.
It was very cold outside. Mike used his free hand to clutch at his bits. "I still have to go pee," he whined.
"We'll be there soon," said Chloe, tugging him along.
"But where are we going?" he asked.
"Don't worry," said Chloe. "I have a plan."