20/12/2009 by etiennefish
Once upon a time two friends went on an evening run one cold Friday after work. The run was pleasant, the weather felt fine, and so the friends managed to keep up a pace faster than was usually their wont. After some time, they completed their predetermined distance and started walking to cool off. Suddenly, friend 1 grabbed friend 2’s arm and motioned out towards the water, friend 2’s eyes widened in surprise at the sight that greeted them. Upon the water were sparks shooting up in the air. As the friends watched, they began to notice the music that wafted lazily over to them, also coming from the direction of the water. Friend 1 nudged friend 2 and started walking. They had no choice but to investigate.
Friend 1 and friend 2 cautiously stepped onto a pathway leading out over the water, and were greeted by what can only be described as a magical site. They were rendered motionless as they watched steam, dyed a bright red rise up from a protected area of the water, sparklers dazzled their eyes, and the smell of food, and the promise of a fire to warm their chilled limbs filled their heads.
Friend 1, followed cautiously by friend 2, ducked through a low slung doorway into what might possibly be described as another world. On the other side of the door, a strange things were afoot; wonderous gypsy music played a riotous tune, and barrels of fire glowed invitingly. The friends immediately ran to them, and felt the warmth of the flames penetrate their fingers, now stiff with cold.
As heat saturated their limbs, they started to take in the scene around them. Everywhere they looked, from among the dancing revellers, to to the hot tubs that the area was known for, to atop the water itself (on narrow walkways), strangely figured/attired elves danced. Now these elves were not the stuff of Disney movies, nor were they the type of elves one might encounter in countless shopping malls across middle America. No, these were the elves of the legends of old. Their grotesque appearance wouldn’t have been out of place in a Grimm brothers’ faery tale, and friend 1 and friend 2 quickly ascertained that they would NOT enjoy coming across one of these in a dark alley.Their clothes were of a tight fitting lycra, and they wore various shades of the typical Christmas reds and greens. As the elves passed close to where the two friends stood, they could clearly identify the different personalities and temperaments of each elf based upon their movements. Each elf, additionally, had at least one part of it’s body grossly exaggerated, clearly showing it’s distinction from that of the nearby humans. For quite a long time, Friend 1 and 2 watched these strange and wondrous beings with fascination and not a little trepidation. It seemed that the longer they danced, the more frenetic the movements of the other people present became. It was clear that they were the only ones immune from this almost Bacchus-like revelry. The gypsy music got louder and louder, and soon people of all ages and background, wearing tall, pointed hats of red and green joined the dance floor, while others gorged themselves on vin chaud and fondue.
As the celebration reached a fever pitch with a song strangely named the Monster Dance (or something of that nature, which of course is not to be confused with the Monster Mash), the friends decided it was time that they make their departure, lest they too get caught up in this strange ritual. As they walked back out into the cold night, friend 1 dared a quick glance back at the festivities, silently vowing to return after putting on some clothes more appropriate for a cold winter’s night. After saying goodbyes, friend 1 and 2 made their separate ways home. After changing, friend 1 attempted to return to the site of the nights previous activities, but when friend 1 arrived, the place was cold and dark, and there was no indication that any kind of party had ever been present. After walking around in circles for a few minutes, friend 1 gave up, and returned home, mystified, to the warmth and security of a cup of tea and a fuzzy blanket.