Though largely oblivious to the world around him, Drooms became increasingly annoyed as the signs of the Christmas season rudely imposed themselves upon him.
First, a shopkeeper and his wife blocked his way with a string of colored bulbs as they hung it from their store awning, forcing Drooms into an unwilling dance as he attempted to get around them.
Then, as he rounded a corner, he nearly tripped over a Christmas tree as a vendor arranged fresh-cut pines and firs along the sidewalk outside his store.
A final Christmas affront came outside the office building when a Salvation Army bell ringer, dressed as Santa, rang the bell in Drooms’s ear just as he walked by.
When Drooms finally entered his office, the holiday merriment in his staff was too much for him. What were they thinking, lollygagging with Santa hats and garlands in their hands?
“Less talk, more work!” he snapped.
He ignored the ripple of low laughter and looked around for his senior accountant and right-hand man.
Mrs. Murphy recognized her boss’s Christmas frame of mind and continued hanging the silver bells outside his office, causing them to jingle as she gave them a final tap.
“And a good morning to you, sir. I’m sure Mr. Mason will be in soon.”
“Well, send him into my office when he arrives.” Drooms looked fixedly at the clock, in justification of his bad temper, and then stepped into his office and closed the door.
The new clerk stood frozen, holding the other end of the gold garland while the typist finished scalloping it above their desks. Mrs. Murphy patted him on the shoulder and went back to the old box to dig out some red ribbon.
“Oh, carry on, carry on. He’s all bark. I’ve been putting up these decorations for nigh on twenty years.”
Through the glass door of his office, Drooms watched his staff put the final touches around their desks. He knew he had overreacted, but it was his habit to be offended by holidays, especially this one. He looked in disgust at the wreath, the garlands, and ornaments.
“Christmastime,” he muttered as he sat at his desk. “Again!”
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