Christmas Chicken

In this enthralling tale, Kristen recounts one memorable trip to the mall to purchase a Christmas gift. This story is published just in time for the Holliday season (READ: Shopping season).

Photo has been altered
Photo has been altered

By Kristen Cuccoli


The sun cast its white rays of light into the living room as I zipped up my winter coat. It was weird that any kind of sunlight was present since it was December 23rd. I didn’t mind though, I hated winter. Therefore, I stood in the light while putting on my boots to daydream about the summer. I couldn’t daydream for long though since a voice interrupted my dreaming.

“Are you ready yet?” I blinked and looked up to see my sister, Allie, looking down at me.

“Yeah, sorry. Let’s get going,” I replied. As soon as I opened up the front door, I immediately wished I hadn’t. The cold hit me like a wall and my nose instantly froze. After Allie and I caught our breath from the initial shock, we bolted for the Subaru. As I climbed into the passenger seat, Allie slammed the driver’s door closed.

“Again, why didn’t we go Christmas shopping earlier?” Allie asked, turning the key in the ignition. The car came to life with a growl, and Allie turned on the heat.

“Well, maybe it’ll get warmer?” I asked, trying to sound hopeful.

“Yeah, right. I bet Legacy Place Mall is going to be crazy too. They better have that kitchen knife that Dad wants or else,” Allie said threateningly, turning around in order to back out of the driveway. I thought back to the day our dad found the paring knife in a William-Sonoma magazine. The handle was midnight black, and the blade was so shiny that it looked like it was made of silver instead of steel. It might as well have been made out of silver since it was sixty dollars. Still, Allie and I saw Dad go googly-eyed over it and heard him ask himself what kinds of meals he could make with it. Therefore, we decided to go to the mall to get it and make it his Christmas gift.

Silently, the wintry world passed by after we turned onto the main drag. Since it was two days before Christmas, I caught glimpses of colorful Christmas trees and people drinking out of coffee mugs in the windows that passed. I wished I were one of those people, sitting in my cozy house, drinking my tea, and gazing in wonder at the Christmas tree. Instead, I was freezing my butt off in the Subaru, all because we needed to get a knife. I shook my head to get rid of my frustration and tried thinking about how it will be relaxing tomorrow.

As we began to turn onto the mall’s street, Allie’s eyes grew to the size of soccer balls. The line of traffic was so long, curving around in the street like a giant snake. As I looked back at Allie, her eyes darkened in anger.

“Great, this is just great. This is what we get for shopping at the last minute. Why didn’t we just order the knife online?” Allie exclaimed angrily, pretending to hit her head on the wheel.

“Yeah, too bad we didn’t think of that earlier. But it’ll be ok. We’ll get it eventually. See, the line is moving,” I pointed at the black car in front of us that moved up slightly.

“Oh yeah, it’s moving, one inch at a time,” Allie exclaimed with mock enthusiasm as the bright red brake lights on the black car flashed on. I rolled my eyes and sighed in annoyance at my sister’s sarcasm.

Still, we did only move an inch at a time. Every few moments, I checked the digital clock to see the time. The minutes, casting an eerie green glow on the dashboard, seemed to tick at a snail’s pace. Our car also moved like a snail: after fifteen minutes, we only moved one inch. Once we finally reached the familiar curve in the road, I got a better view of the traffic. The line was endless. Brake lights kept flashing on and off, like beasts blinking their red eyes. Based on how my sister gripped the wheel – her knuckles were turning white – I thought she wanted to tear each light out one by one, blinding all the beasts. I started to think that getting the knife wasn’t worth it if meant sitting in traffic with my temperamental sister. An image of Dad smiling at the picture of the knife stopped that thought in its tracks. After all the things Dad did for Allie and I to raise us, getting the knife was the least we could do. I decided to try to ignore the clock and my sister’s groans. It was harder than I thought.

After a few more moments, we finally crossed the intersection that united the highway with the mall’s street. However, we stopped again as the line of traffic from cars exiting off the highway merged with our line of cars that crossed the highway. Allie groaned more loudly in frustration. Giving up on trying to calm Allie down, I gazed out my window in an attempt to entertain myself. Across from me, my eyes caught a white car slowly approaching the line of cars that was exiting off the highway. I peered past the car’s tinted windshield and saw a girl holding a phone with one hand and holding the steering wheel with her free hand. She looked almost exactly like Regina from Mean Girls. She flicked her blonde hair off her shoulder like a model and laughed at whatever the person said on the phone. I don’t know why but for some reason she pissed me off. Here I was, watching Allie’s anger increase with each passing minute, and that girl seemed to be having the time of her life. Suddenly, an idea popped into my head. If she was having fun, why couldn’t we?

“Hey Allie, see if you can get in front of that girl in that white car,” I said, pointing at the car. Allie looked over and grinned.

“You mean that snobby girl in that white car? Let’s do it!” Playing any kind of game with Allie was always fun, so I knew we were going to have fun with the girl in the white car. Immediately, we both slouched forward as if were in a racecar and Allie tightened her grip on the wheel. As soon as our line moved, Allie pounded on the gas, the pedal grating in protest. We moved about a few inches before a car in the line exiting off the highway cut in front of the black car ahead of us. Allie slammed on the brake, causing our brown curls to be flung into our faces. I giggled as my curls tickled my chin. I then glanced over to the white car. I guess the blonde girl realized what Allie and I were trying to do. She hung up the phone and gripped her steering wheel with both hands. I knew then that we were in for a game of chicken.

Again, our line moved, making Allie stomp on the gas. The black car ahead of us braked sharply because it was also playing chicken with a grey car that was in front of the white car. Again, Allie slammed her foot down, the brakes squeaking loudly. Adrenaline pulsed through me, and I glanced over at the white car again. The girl was throwing daggers with her eyes at us, and I imagined myself throwing the pairing knife at her. Finally the merging line moved enough for both the grey car and black car to glide into it. Now it was we versus the blonde girl.

Agonizing minutes passed as we waited for the merging line to move forward. Allie now joined in with our glaring war and I swore I saw bright white lighting flicker between our car and the white car. I also saw that the nose of the white car was a little closer to the merging line than ours, so our only advantage was Allie’s lead foot. Suddenly the merging line moved again. This was our chance.

“FOR THE KNIFE!” Allie and I shouted in unison as Allie threw her whole weight on the gas pedal. Either the blonde girl was taken aback as she watched our faces contort or realized too late that the line moved because somehow we got in front of her. Sure, we almost got into a car crash, but at the last moment the tip of the white car safely glided behind us. Allie and I cheered and hi-fived each other to celebrate our victory. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the blonde girl mouth something that shouldn’t be put into writing.

“Oh yeah, we showed her!” Allie cheered loudly.

“Oh yeah we did!” I cheered back.

“Now, let’s get that knife!” Allie yelled as she flipped on the radio. We then began to dance as much as we could in our seats to the random pop song that was on, giggling all the way. Who knew chicken could make getting a knife fun? 

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