# The Hellgate Lance (Missoula, Montana) 1964-current, December 23, 1980, Image 6

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• j - ~ - Christmas Prose Editor's Note: The following stories were chosen by the Lance staff as winners of the short story and art contest. Senior Adam Ganz won first place for the short story section with his story \Feast and Famine.\ Ganz .received a $25 dollar award for this story. Seniors Dorlene Cross and David Patterson tied as runner-ups. Junior Amy Scherer won first place with her art and also received a$Z5 award, and sophomore Jennifer Rudio was selected as the runner-up. The winners were picked from 52 entries. Feast and Famine By Adam Ganz thin boy with long dark brown hair almost to his eyes pounded up the stairs. He was skippiilg steps and humming \Jingle Bells\ to himseH. He stopping in his usual spot on the , third floor to peel paint from the decaying wall and throw it out the window, watching the long strips float gently down. On the stairs he could hear an argument in Spanish from a nearby apart- ment, and from someplace else the faint sound of a radio playing Christmas tunes. Tired of peeling paint he ran the rest of the way up to his apart- ment on the fifth floor . \Hi mom! I'm home!\ he shouted as he came into the shabby apartment. Nobody answered. \Anybody home?\ he shouted again. \Mom went to work early tonight, Nate,\ yel- led his little sister Nicole from the bathroom. \Why didn't you answer me before?\ Nate said angrily through the door of the bathroom. \I didn ' t hear you,\ Nicole said . \ Sure.\ Nate said sarcastically . \You'd better not be cutting your hair again . Mom will kill you .\ Nicole had tried last week to give herseH a hair cut and now had bangs which were in her eyes in one place and high on her forehead in an- other. Nate wasn't really mad at his little sister even though they fought constantly. His real anger was toward his mother. It was Christmas Eve and she was working! \Mom said to make chop meat for dinner and she said to try not to burn it.\ \Yeah yeah,\ Nate grumbled and wondered why his mother couldn't be like every other kid's. Ever since the divorce he had been lonely for both parents . Nicole wanted attention also but she would use mischief like cutting her hair to get it. Nate often thought about his mom and dad talking about the divorce. He had thought his mother was pregnant and the \it\ they were dis- cussing with each other was a baby. When they broke the news to him what \it\ was he had taken it calmly. Now at Christmas he was realiz- ing the truth about \it the divorce and he didn't like the truth. His parents said \it:' was be- cause they couldn't get along with each other any- more. But what about him? Didn ' t they care what he thought? Nate kicked the stove as hard as he could. \Whatsamatter Nate?\ asked Nicole corning out of the bathroom. She was a pretty little girl with big brown eyes and beautiful dark hair. Even with the crooked bangs. \Did Fabian beat you up again today?\ she asked pensively . \Naw Nate grumbled kicking the stove again . Fabian was the big Chicano kid who beat up all the new kids at school. Wham Wham. Nate moved his fury to the refrigerator. \Stop that!\ screamed Nicole afraid of her big brother's temper. ''I'll tell mom!\ \I hate cooking dinner!\ Nate yelled angrily at his sister . \I hate you Nicole and I hate taking care of you.\ This was to much for Nicole and she rushed into her room crying . \I'm telling,\ she moaned. It was too much for Nate also and he stopped kicking the refrigerator . \I didn ' t mean it.\ Nate said standing in the doorway of her room . \I don't hate you. I'm just angry. I miss mom now that she ' s working all the time and I miss dad not living with us .\ I'm scared Nicole, he thought. I'm still a kid but I have to be grown up and take care of myseH and you too . I don 't know how to be grown up. He realized there was nothing he could do. In try- ing to make her feel better he only made himseH feel worse . So Nate went into the living room and plugged in the Christmas tree lights. It was the smallest tree they had ever had and what was worse, it was plastic. He sat on the hard floor and watched the colored lights blink on and off. The colors seemed to give him hope and brighten the darkness he felt in his life. After all, it's Christ- mas, he thought. They'll get back together . I just know they will. The next morning, Christmas morning Nate and Nicole awoke early and got their mother out of bed. \Santa came, mom!\ Nicole said. \How was work?\ Nate asked. \Your father's corning over this morning,\ Rose said. \Really!\ shouted Nate. \All right!\ \Yipee!\ Nicole screamed . \That means you two will have to wait until he gets here to open your presents .\ \Sure mom,\ Nate said . \Aw moaned Nicole. Just then the doorbell rang and both children ran to open it. \Hi kids.\ It was their father. He pulled them to him, kissed them. \You've both grown so much,\ he said when be was inside. \Nicole you're almost as tall as your mother.\ He handed Nate a large heavy paper bag. \You take the tur- key.\ He gave Nicole a smaller, brightly wrapped packages. \You put these under the tree.\ Nate's father was in his early forties, tall, lean, and somewhat handsome. The best thing about him though was ~ sense of humor. All Nate needed was to h~ his father's laughter and be felt good. \What's the turkey for, dad?\ Nate asked. \Aren't we going to Sutherlands for dinner?\ \No kid . I cancelled the invitation,\ his father replied. \I thought the four of us would celebrate together like old times.\ Nate was shocked by his father's words. He saw Nicole eyeing her mother and father with a look of doubt. Was this to be like every other Christ- mas? Neither of them could believe it. For a mo- me~t Nate saw his parents back together again, getting along as they once did. He felt a tremen- dous joy well up from within him and could barely keep a smile from his face. This joy seemed to paralyze Nate and he could feel the cold m~isture from the thawing turkey dripping down his legs. \And who's going to cook that thing, Max?\ Nate's mother asked. \Well Rose,\ said his father. \I bought it.\ \And I worked till two o'clock last night,\ she said. \I really don't feel like slaving over a bot stove today.\ \Now look here. H you're too lazy to cook for your own children, well you .. . \ be said. \Too lazy!\ she said angrily. \Too lazy! H 1 had more child support I could be lazy enough to raise my children instead of working all the time!\ Here it goes again, Nate thought. The argument upon argument which he had tried to erase from his memory . Erasing the bad and keeping the good was wrong. Now for the first time be really saw why his parents were getting divorced . When two people can't get along on Christmas Day be thought, it's time to quit. ' This Christmas was like every other Christmas. Last Christmas there had been an argument also. It was about the turkey too . Then it had over- cooked . Who's fault was that? Nate's parents never came to a conclusion but the argument had taken all day. \Rose I'm paying more child support than the average father so .. . \ \Well it's not enough , Max ,\ she interrupted. \I'll cook it!\ Nate shouted interrupting both of them, \ and I won't overcook it!\ They turned to him , surprised perhaps that be was still there or maybe they bad just forgotten the turkey . ' . . - - - - Rivals By Dorlene Cross s the sbuffie of books began in anticipation Sheffler raised her voice above the muted this next weekend marks the start of our drive of visiting the children ' s wards at the bosJ)i.tal. stories in mind and a lot of • Christmas cheer .\ As yelled a hasty, \ see you tomorrow!\ Tessa had known it was inevitable. Katie wa w her locker . As she approached, Tessa wondered fo time why Nicholas had asked her rather than Katie envied Katie her petite body and blonde hair, to sa green eyes. She was unaware of the beauty in her structure and black hair. She felt tall and gangly as locker and strove for naturalness. The girls chatt Tessa got out her books and put on her down-filled seemed unaware of Tessa's strain. The girls were baH a block from the school and T ing bow to tell Katie when a car pulled to the curb bonked its born. Tessa looked up to find, to her h none other than Nicholas Shaw at the wheel. \Hey Tessa? Want a ride home? Hop in . Olr, hi goin'? Got a date for the party yet? \ Moving forward with anticipation Katie smiled co anyway.\ She allowed her naturally sooty eyeb!she lessly let them flutter. \Ob too bad. Hurry and drum one up or Tessa you there.\ His grey eyes flashed to Tessa. Tessa winced as Katie's mouth dropped in sh tion. She turned accusingly first to Tessa and then mean you and Tessa are going together?\ At both nods her eyes sparkled with tears and anger. \We see ya around!\ Hurt dripped off each syllable. away with bunched shoulders and walked on do \Katie - Katie don't you want to ride home called after her . For a moment Katie didn't reply and then s \

The Hellgate Lance (Missoula, Montana), 23 Dec. 1980, located at <http://montananewspapers.org/lccn/TheHellgateLance/1980-12-23/ed-1/seq-6/>, image provided by MONTANA NEWSPAPERS, Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana.