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David Squires

Flashback: Twas the Night Before Christmas



This week, we dip once more into the INSTORE archives — back to December, 2003, when we produced our own jewelry-store version of “The Night Before Christmas.”

The poem is painfully dated (J. Lo and Ben Affleck?), and filled with tortured syntax (racket/hack it). Apologies. But it’s still got some good bits in it, I think, and in trying to brainstorm some little piece of content that might help you relax during the most decidedly unrelaxing week of the year, this piece came to mind.

Twas the Night Before Christmas, at Steve Johnson Jewelry

And, to tell you the truth, things weren’t going smoothly. The creditors were lined up in the doorway, teeth bared.
In hopes that their payments soon would be there.

And Steve, in his polo shirt, and his company cap.
Stood sadly, knowing his inventory was crap.


He’d bought at a trade fair, from a girl in a booth,
Who flirted and told him “These will sell through the roof”.
He bought, and he bought, and he never thought twice
That perhaps, what he’d bought was way overpriced.

For months, he had languished, with very few sales.
Despite newspapers, billboards, and direct marketing mails.

He let go some staff, but his debt still increased.
Crushing his cash flow, interrupting his sleep.

And now, all alone, he was caught in a pickle.
With bills stacked sky high, and nary a nickle.

He was ready to close, shut his doors, give up hope.
And just settle down for a long winter’s mope.

When out in the car park, there arose such a racket.
Steve raced to his office, because he just couldn’t hack it.


To the parking lot video monitor, he stumbled at last.
Increased the brightness, and adjusted the contrast.

And what, to his wonder, did the TV evoke.
But a shiny black Beemer, pouring out smoke.

A driver emerged, with her hands on her hips.
Barking into her cellphone, putting gloss on her lips.

Her mood was so angry, and her hair so aglow.
Steve knew in a moment, it must be J. Lo.

And her boyfriend, Ben Affleck, in a tiny goatee.
That looked better on him than it would have on Steve.

Moaning and sighing, they walked towards Steve’s store.
Clearly, just walking, to them was a chore.


Steve opened his door, in a gesture of greeting.
And said, “Can I help you? Need a drink? Feel like eating?”

No answer emerged from the Maid of Manhattan.
She shooed Steve away with a glove made of satin.

“God, this is junk,” said the star with a moan.
As she wandered the store, yacking into her phone.

“Dude, never mind her,” said her Ben, trailing near.
Making apologies for her that she never would hear.

Steve tried to please her, and he brought out his best.
But she wrinkled her nose, crossed her arms on her chest.

“That’s awful. That’s tacky. That’s what poor people buy.
If you think I would wear that, you’ve got to be high.”

“I’m sorry,” said Steve. “Yes, you are,” said Ben’s wife.
“But then, so is your store. And then, so is your life.”

He knew she enjoyed it, this giving him hell.
But he just stood his ground, and kept trying to sell.

Her eyes, how they twinkled! She laughed from her belly.
Her butt shook, when she laughed, like two bowls full of jelly.

“Enough,” said Ben Affleck. “Let’s wait outside the store.”
“The tow truck will be here, in a few minutes more.”

As Steve turned away, hurt and ashamed.
“Oh, this is darling,” the diva suddenly exclaimed.

Pink, emerald-cut, and the size of a plum.
The rock in the ring was outrageous, then some.

J-Lo screeched and she screamed, and squeezed Ben’s arm hard.
Yelling: “I love it! It’s perfect! Get our credit card!”

Caught in the uproar, the true pandemonium.
Steve didn’t tell her it was cubic zirconium.

Ben asked for the price, and he wanted it soon.
So Steve smiled, gulped hard, and then shot for the moon.

She bought it, right there, for a cool $14 million.
A sum far out of reach for the average civilian.

Sweating, Steve wrapped it, maintained his demeanor.
Dropped in brochures, and some free jewelry cleaner.

Steve showed them the door, and then, finding his voice.
Complimented both on their “outstanding choice.”

As they got in the tow truck and drove into the dark,
Steve danced by himself in the empty car park.

He paid off his creditors, giving each one a tip.
Called a travel agent, and chartered a ship.

And off he sailed, before the next day’s first light.
Crying, “Merry Christmas to all! It will all be alright!”

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