Falling into a mundane pattern of married life, Hilda knew her plan needed to escalate. She started the wheels in motion.

“Albert,” she said one evening as they were watching the news.

“Hmm?” Albert yawned.

“I never told you this, but I have a cabin up at Mallard Mountain.”

“No, you never mentioned it.” Albert said with disinterest.

Hilda pushed the button on the remote to turn the TV off.


“Please listen to me, Albert.”

“Okay, sorry.” Albert turned to face Hilda.

“Anyway, I have this cabin. Well, my father built it and we spent many years up there. Anyway, it’s very remote and actually you have to get to it by helicopter.”

“Wow, that is remote. Where is Mallard Mountain?”

“In the Rockies…anyway…” Hilda waved her hands dismissively. “I’d like us to go up there for a while.”

“Is there electricity, water…how much is the helicopter to take us there?” Albert was getting agitated.

“Yes, yes, no worries about all that. The helicopter is expensive, but we could stay there for the winter. It would be fun and very private.” Hilda ran her hand up Albert’s leg toward his groin.

Albert was breathing a bit more rapidly, “what about my blood pressure?”

“Oh, Albert,” Hilda cooed, “I’ll check it every day and all that outdoor air and exercise will bring it down.”

Nothing more was said that night as Albert was treated to a Hilda special!

Hilda was busy the next two weeks preparing for their winter break; getting provisions and packing their warm clothes. She bought some DVDs to take with them as there was no cable. There was no cell service but a satellite phone for emergencies and to book the helicopter.

Albert’s apprehension about going seemed to evaporate as he saw how animated and happy Hilda was about their excursion.

“We’re going to have so much fun, Albert. You’ll see.” She enthused, “I have skis and snowshoes. There’s an open fireplace; it will be so romantic.”

They set off on a rainy, bleak Monday morning. They had to wait for the visibility to improve before they could fly. Albert had never been in a helicopter before, but he enjoyed the spectacular views of the Rockies. The cabin was indeed very remote. It looked very picturesque among the snow-covered trees and majestic mountains above them. It took a while before all the provisions; luggage etc. were unloaded. All the extra work of loading and unloading by the pilot was covered in their cost of the helicopter trip. It was well over $2,000.

The electricity was generated by solar energy as well as fireplaces in the living room and bedroom. There was an old-fashioned outhouse adjacent to the cabin which had an electric fan for heat while using it. Hilda had two commodes for toilet use during the night.

It was freezing in the cabin as it hadn’t been used for a long time, so they kept their coats, boots and gloves on until it warmed up. Albert made up a fire in the living room with the wood and kindling they brought up. “This takes me back to my camping days. We used to take some of the foster kids camping. It was a good life lesson for them.”

Hilda boiled water for tea and they sat in front of the fire with hot tea and digestive cookies.

‘You know, Hilda, this is a good idea. I’m so glad you persuaded me.”

Hilda smiled and sipped her tea.

It took about a week to get everything set up and for the cabin to finally warm up. It got quite toasty, especially with the morning sunshine coming through the windows. Hilda was busy cleaning and Albert got more wood and kindling for the fires. He expertly hung it up in netting to dry it out. They explored a bit of the area in their snowshoes and Hilda even cross-country skied. Albert had never skied before, but he marveled at how agile and flexible Hilda was at the outdoor sports. They watched some DVDs or read in the evening, but by 8pm, they were ready for bed. Albert didn’t even ask Hilda for sex as he was too tired from all the excursions and jobs related to the cabin.

One morning after breakfast, Hilda asked Albert to get his snowshoes on and she was going to show him something special. They were snowshoeing for about an hour and Albert was getting tired. “I’m not sure I can do much more, Hilda. We have to go back as well. My legs feel like lead.”

“Not far now, dear, and I brought hot chocolate and sandwiches in the backpack for us. It’s just up ahead.”

And indeed, there was another cabin, albeit, smaller about 100 yards. The door was stiff and it took some pushing and banging to get it open. There were no lights and of course it was freezing. Hilda pulled back the heavy curtains from the windows to allow the sunlight to come in. There were what looked like work benches set up with old-fashioned wooden toolboxes on each one. Icicles hung from the ceiling and windows and the toolboxes were stuck to the benches. There was a fireplace at one end.

“We’ll need to bring some wood up here for the fireplace; I have a sled in the cabin to haul it, and of course it needs thawing out and cleaning.” Hilda buzzed with excitement.

“What is this place?” Albert asked.

“It’s my dad’s old toy workshop. He made toys here for years,” Hilda said.

Hilda dragged a smaller bench near one of the windows and brought out a blanket from the backpack she was carrying. She lay it on top and took out the flask and sandwiches she brought. She patted the bench for Albert to sit down.

Albert wearily sat down and gratefully accepted the hot chocolate in the plastic mug.

“I didn’t know your father made toys.”

“Oh yes, he was quite the craftsman. He was a carpenter by trade, but when he retired, he made wooden and other toys. He would bring me up to the cabin and I would help him with his work.”

“That’s lovely. Are you going to do some work here?” Albert asked with a mouthful of sandwich.

“No, you are.”

Albert swallowed the wrong way and started coughing. It was a few minutes before he could speak.

“But Hilda,” he coughed, “I can’t make toys. I’m not a carpenter.”

“Oh, don’t sell yourself short, Albert. We’ll work together; don’t you worry.”

Albert didn’t say anything, but felt an uneasiness come into his bones. Maybe he was just tired and cold. He suddenly wanted to leave this cabin. He stood up.

“I think we need to get back now; it’s too cold in here.”

“Oh of course, yes, well we can come back tomorrow and bring the wood.”

Again, Albert refrained from commenting, but there was no way he was coming back to this cabin.

Albert was saved from telling Hilda he didn’t want to go to the cabin as they were hit with a snowstorm. It was impossible to go anywhere. The snow piled up outside and the wind howled. Albert helped Hilda with some washing which they hung up in front of the fire. There was a rack attached to the ceiling, which pulled down to hang the clothes.

“My father made this as well,” Hilda said. “He was quite ingenious.”

Albert said nothing, but the mention of Hilda’s father and his achievements were getting on his nerves.

After two days, the storm passed. Luckily, there was a snow blower which Albert used to clear the outside with. It was still too treacherous to venture out.

Hilda was massaging his sore muscles after using the snow blower and it was arousing him. He pulled Hilda down on his lap and kissed her. She immediately pulled away.

“What are you doing, Albert?”

“It’s been ages, Hilda,” he said, putting his hands on her breasts.

“Albert, Santa doesn’t have sex,” she fumed.

Albert suddenly lost his desire. “What in the hell are you talking about?”

“Albert, you’ve never spoken to me like that. Stop it.” Hilda backed away from him.

Albert ignored this comment. “What’s this bit about Santa and sex?”

“Just what I said: Santa doesn’t have sex.”

“I am not Santa!” Albert growled. “I’m your husband.”

“Yes, and I am Mrs. Claus.”

“You’re making no sense. Hilda. I’m going to lie down.”

Albert stomped upstairs and crawled under the covers. He was exhausted from the snow blowing and their argument. He immediately went to sleep.

The delicious smell coming from the kitchen woke Albert. He had been asleep for a couple of hours. He stretched and put his feet into his worn slippers. He was still sore and found it difficult to straighten his back up, so he walked hunched over until he was able to fully straighten up.

Albert followed the smell downstairs and into the kitchen. He cleared his throat so as not to startle Hilda.

Hilda turned suddenly and saw Albert. She smiled widely. She had a Christmas apron on full of snowmen and was flushed from the cooking vapors, her hair unusually untidy.

“My goodness, Albert, you slept a long time. Sit down at the table. I have a wonderful steak pie and roasted veggies and gravy for you. You’ve been doing ever such a lot of work; you need something substantial.”

Albert obediently sat at the table. He frowned thinking of their argument, “I’m sorry, Hilda, I, I lost my temper…”

“Shush Albert, it’s all forgotten.” Hilda placed the plate of food in front of him.

“Aren’t you having any?”

“Oh, I already ate,” Hilda lied.

Albert ate in silence. He watched Hilda clean up and his heart filled with love for her. He couldn’t stay mad. After he finished, he took Hilda into his arms and kissed her gently on the forehead. Hilda cupped her hands around Albert’s face, her eyes teary. “I do love you Albert,” she said.

“And I love you too. Let’s go to the workshop tomorrow, bright and early so we can have a good day there.”

Hilda nodded, tears running down her face. “I’m so grateful,” she whispered.

The evening passed pleasantly with no further comments about their argument. They went to bed early in anticipation of their outing.

The sun was out, but it was bitterly cold, the next day. They put extra layers on and Hilda packed food and hot tea for them. Albert put dry wood on a sled and a shovel. They took turns pulling it to the workshop. By the time they got there, they were tired and warm from their excursions. It took some time to clear the path to the door from the previous snowstorm. Once inside, Albert made a roaring fire and they sat down to have their lunch. It soon began to feel warmer. Water dripped from the ceiling where icicles had formed, as well as the windows from the condensation. “We will have to think of some way to heat this place if we are going to work in here,” Albert said.

Hilda placed all the tools on the work benches while Albert wiped them off applying some oil to lubricate them. Hilda brushed the floor and shelves with a brush that was already there.

She lifted off a rug and shook it outside. Albert noticed a hatch underneath the rug. It had a handle on it to lift it up. “What’s this?” he asked.

Hilda shrugged and Albert pulled it open. It was stiff and Albert fell back with the effort.

“Are you okay?” Hilda asked concerned.

“Yes, I’m fine.” Albert gingerly got up and peered down the enclosure. There was a large trunk in it. There was no way Albert could lift it out of there as it was too heavy, but he did manage to open it. Inside there were what looked like old ledgers, covered in plastic. He lifted one out and pulled off the plastic covering. The pages were frozen together, so he couldn’t separate them to look at them more closely. He placed the ledger near the fire to defrost. After a few minutes, he was able to separate the pages. They were very flimsy and the print smudged. Hilda had a look and a huge smile came over her face.

“I know what these are,” she said excitedly. “These are my father’s lists of toys he made and who he gave them to.” Albert had a closer look and he could see names on one side and a toy description next to it. There were two columns with the initials G and B over them and ticks underneath. “I wonder what that means?” he said aloud.

“Oh, I know. That means whether the child was good or bad,” Hilda explained.

Albert looked at her quizzically. “What, he didn’t give them anything if they were bad?”

“Why, yes,” Hilda said, matter of fact.

“But why put their name down at all? That doesn’t make sense.”

“My father made the toys regardless, but if he found out the child was naughty, he wouldn’t give it to them. He kept a record to check on them every year.”

Albert shook his head. He looked down at the trunk and noticed a lot more ledgers in the trunk. “There must be over 20 or more ledgers in there. How long did he do this?”

“Oh, my gosh, many years. There are probably many more than this, maybe at the house.”

“We can’t carry these back with us. We will have to leave them here,” Albert said, placing the ledger back in the plastic wrapping and putting it back in the trunk.”

He closed the hatch and Hilda placed the rug over it. Again, Albert had an uneasy feeling.

“I think we need to head back. I’ll douse the fire.”

Hilda looked disappointed but didn’t argue. Albert wrapped the leftover firewood in a tarp to keep it dry. They began the journey back.


For all installments of “The Perfect Santa,” click here.

Previous installments:

  1. Part 1