From Chapter one. ***** means material purposely not put in this blog.
It was a holiday lunch at any common workplace. The employees mostly in shirts with their names on them were enjoying food their supervisor brought. At one end was a radio playing a CD of songs of the holiday season as most everyone was talking and laughing. At the other end there was a person quickly and silently eating his food watching everything with a cynical look on his face.
In an attempt to get him involved, someone walked up to him and asked "Why weren't you at the company's holiday party, Kenny?"
The person stopped concentrating on his food and looked at his dark blue shirt grabbing it just below a patch with a name scripted on it and then peered disgustingly back. "Er, Ken."
The reply which seemed to automatically come from his lips as it had been said many times over the past few weeks when asked if he was going was, "Since I have to get my daughter after I leave, I can't drink alcohol. Since they serve Pepsi there, I won't drink that. I would also need to leave before they serve any decent food. For me there is no reason to go."
She rebutted, "Why not go just to hang out?"
With an annoyed look coming over his eyes he replied, "It took me years to learn how to forget about this place and the people here once I am no longer within these walls and I really can't do that at the party. Anyway, if I want to be ignored around the people I work with ..."
"Huh? Tell me. You want to say it."
"Never mind." Trying to change the conversation, "I am really not a good social person outside the comfort zone of my house or while working. In most social situations, I usually end up silent in a corner until someone comes up to me. Yes, even in the group I hang out with, the same thing can happen."
At this time the supervisor starts talking about the past year and his hopes for the new one and then opens up the presents his employees contributed to get him. While cleaning up shortly afterward someone else asked, "So what are you buying your daughter for Christmas, Ken?"
"As usual, nothing"
"O.K. For that football player who was born on December 25?"
"His name is Larry Csonka. Anyway, with how things are, I really can't buy her anything. I don't have the money."
writer's note: It is revealed later in the story that since store credit and gift cards were used to obtain presents for his daughter so it was accurate to state that nothing was purchased.
"Won't your daughter be disappointed that Santa won't get her anything?"
"My wife ruined it for my daughter a couple of years ago while my kid was praising Santa for getting her something by telling my daughter that it was me who got it for her."
A few hours later when it was time to go home, since the building was closed the next couple of days for Christmas, the supervisor greeted everyone on their way out with a handshake and a hearty "Merry Christmas!"
Ken reluctantly mumbled, "Merry Christmas."
Someone else shouted, "Merry Christmas, Ken!"
"See you Monday," was the reply as he walked out the door.