The entire Love Wapping Team was just beginning the task of peeling a large quantity of sprouts this morning when there was a knock on my door.
Now due to previous events the whole Team are now slightly nervous about unexpected visitors, but on Christmas Day what could go wrong?
The other Team members told me to see who it was as they wanted to get on with the sprouts.
Festive deja vu
I opened the door and opened it to find Three Kings standing there.
My initial reaction was that I was in trouble again. The last time three people knocked on my door it caused a real fuss.
“Hello, we are from Father Christmas and we are wondering if Santa has brought you all the gifts you want?,” one of the Kings said and brandished a glossy A4 leaflet. On one side was the headline ‘Father Christmas News’, on the other ‘Father Christmas’s Budget for Christmas 2013’.
“Well I got a cracking book about graph databases from the Wapping geese this morning,” I said. The Three Kings seemed puzzled.
“Well sort of, it’s quite complicated but it keeps me amused. Oh and I got an Amazon voucher from my sister and a M&S voucher from my mother too!” At the mention of a M&S voucher the Three Kings seemed comforted.
“Well that’s great! A M&S voucher is always handy. But we were wondering if there were any other presents you might want in future? Something that Father Christmas could help you out with?,” said the King who was doing all the talking. The other two seemed a little disinterested.
I started to think about what I would really like apart from a book about graph databases, an Amazon voucher and a M&S voucher when I realised there was something strange about Three Kings turning up on my doorstep.
“Hang on a minute. You said you are from Father Christmas but you are Kings. All of three of you. Now last time I checked the whole Three Kings thing is a biblical tradition but Father Christmas is a figure of folkloric origins,” I said. “And I have lived on this estate for three years and I have never seen you or any other Three Kings around here before.”
The talkative Three King was a little taken aback and completely denied that this was the first time the Three Kings had worked the Green Bank Estate and that they had been making house calls all year.
“Well maybe you have but I haven’t seen you. I don’t mind the Magi turning up announced but I am just confused by you trying to sell Father Christmas to me. Shouldn’t you be bringing comfort and joy or something, not offering to buy me something?” This seemed to through them a little.
“Oh we are not really Three Kings. In fact we don’t even know a single King, let alone three,” said talkative King. I nodded my head at the large parcels that each of them was carrying.
Myrrh with two Rs
“So what’s in the boxes then?” I asked.
At this one of the Three Kings tried to hide the large parcel in his hands behind his back. In doing so he managed to drop it and a good two kilos of really smelly stuff burst from the box.
The clumsy King shuffled his feet in embarrassment. I smiled in triumph.
“Er… don’t suppose that is frankincense you have just dropped is it?”
“Nah, it’s, er, bath salts. Bought them from Lush at Liverpool Street this morning” was the reply. I wasn’t having any more of this nonsense. I had sprouts to peel.
“Look that IS frankincense and I have a feeling that maybe, just maybe, that the contents of those other two parcels you are carrying is gold and myrrh.” The Three Kings looked mortified. Their cheeks flushed.
“Yes, myrrh. With two Rs.”
There was silence. They seemed annoyed now, probably because I knew myrrh was spelt with two Rs. The lead King gave me a leaflet from Father Christmas.
How to make Three Kings happy
“Well you don’t seem very grateful to be honest. Here’s the number for Father Christmas, if you do decide you would like a present then ring the office and we will sort it out. That’s what Father Christmas does!” I could see tears were not far away. In the spirit of Christmas I decided to back off a little. I can’t bear to see one King cry, let alone three.
“OK, look I’m sorry but I was just looking forward to a quiet day today and to have Three Kings turn up on my doorstep asking if Father Christmas could help me out with anything I might want it’s almost too good to be true.”
There was a silence between us for a moment. Then the lead Three King spoke.
“So there IS something you would like from Father Christmas?,” he asked. His eyes gleamed with hope. I decided to put him out of his misery. After all at Christmas although it is better to give rather than receive I was beyond caring.
“Yes there is one thing I really want,” I said. All Three Kings suddenly whipped out pens and clipboards from underneath their robes.
“Oh great! So how can Father Christmas help you?” said lead Three King.
“Simple. Get the broken pavement in Wapping Lane fixed will you?”
And with that I slammed the door shut and joined the rest of the Love Wapping team in the kitchen. The sprout peeling was coming on fine.
HT to @eastendwestend for concept…