Cozy Christmas: Chapter 20

Chapter 20 (out of 21) is the get-Josh-back-to-Bygones-and-setup-for-the-big-reveal chapter.  It’s just as riveting as you might imagine.

Actually, it probably is riveting for the citizens of Bygones, since Josh swoops in with his mom in their private helicopter.  Coraline, “chauffeured” by Robert Randall, picks them up, because they land in the parking lot of the old plant.  Also, I guess Coraline and Josh’s mom are old friends, not that I care.

Randall, “jilted” into closing his own business by his “nasty ex,” immediately asks about Josh’s plans.  Why am I not surprised that this loser is completely reliant on others to solve his problems and save his reputation?

Josh confirms that he will indeed by opening up a branch of his computer business here, and will “pay my current staff to relocate [to Bygones] as well as adding local workers.

Okay, again, SEVENTY PERCENT of the town was employed by Randall.  So how is hiring a few locals and trying to flood the town with a bunch of St. Louis natives (who I’m sure will be just THRILLED to uproot their lives and families on Josh’s say-so) going to fix this failing town?

Also, there won’t be a coffee shop anymore, I guess.  So one-sixth of the savior-ness of the Main Street initiative will be gone.

Randall is super-psyched that Josh is going to name him “local consultant,” but asks for time off immediately, to marry Coraline and take her on a honeymoon.  Again, how has the rest of the town not…run him out of town yet?

“Thanks for making me local consultant, Josh!  I’ll teach you how to screw everything up with the best of ’em!  The secret is to always find a woman to blame all your failings on.”

Oh, and this bizarre arrangement happens: Josh doesn’t have a place for his mom to stay (what, there isn’t a single motel anywhere nearby?), so Randal proposes that Coraline’s grown sons bunk at his place, while Coraline, Coraline’s daughter, and Josh’s mom all bunk at Coraline’s place.

So…Randall and Coraline are engaged.  And both have been married before.  And it’s still not okay for them to share a bed?  Weird.  Also this has a very weird summer-camp vibe to it: boys in one house, girls in another.  And why who in the HELL is going to cook and clean for the menfolk if all the womenfolk are hanging in one house together, hmmmm???

They talk about the It’s A Wonderful Life screening, and Josh hilariously says that the whole town is invited, “as many as can squeeze in, with overflow in the lobby if necessary.

Um, you can’t watch a movie from the theater’s lobby, Josh.  I’m sorry, someone should have told you that sooner.

Oh, and in his coveted new role, Randall suggests Brian Montclair as a manager.  Yanno, he’s the girly-man who works in the bakery with his fiancee, because only a girly-man would be into working at a bakery with his fiancee, because everyone knows how hilarious a man in an apron is.

“Do you think he’d consider leaving the bakery?”

Robert laughed again.  “For a job that doesn’t require him to wear an apron?  That’s a no-brainer.”

Josh frowned.  “Well, I heard that Brian really enjoys his work and the bakery is really successful—”

Robert was now doubled over with laughter.  “But an apron, Josh!  An APRON!!  What kind of Real Man would wear an apron???”

Even Norman had to take a moment to appreciate Luis's awesomeness

Josh nodded.  “I guess.  But I work in the same block as Brian and Melissa, and they always seem really happy together and they’re always going on about how great it is to be running a business together and be with each other all day—”

Randall wiped away a tear of helpless laughter.  “Oh, like a Macho Man would really want to work with his wife.  I mean, she’s like, a girl, dude!

Yeah, but hey, a MAN…in an APRON…amirite?

Anyway, Josh goes to see Whitney and discuss the screening.  He mentions that his mom is in town, and Whitney is like a swoony teenage girl and is thinking, “ooooh, of course he brought his mom to town to meet me,” and Josh is just explaining it like, “yeah, it’s the holidays and also this is her hometown.”

In added hilarity, word has already reached Whitney (so, presumably, many others), that Josh private-helicoptered himself into town.  And Whitney has her editor holding space for her on the front page of the paper, so she can file her story as soon as Josh makes his announcement.  Which…isn’t the whole story supposed to be a scoop?  And doesn’t it kinda destroy the scoop-ness if the whole town finds out the secret and THEN Whitney publishes the story?  Wasn’t the whole point of the story to break the news to everyone herself?

Man, this is going to be the weirdest, lamest screening of It’s A Wonderful Life ever, isn’t it?

Posted on December 26, 2018, in Christmas, Cozy Christmas (In Progress). Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. “The secret is to always find a woman to blame all your failings on.”
    “Way ahead of you. I’ve got this dimwitted broad with a bad case of arrested development all lined up. She’s got enough internalized misogyny that she keeps swooning even when I belittle her for doing what I said she should do or what I did myself. And from what I heard, her mom will even do the blaming for me.”
    “Oh yeah, that’s a keeper.”

    I’m guessing the author took the plot of saving a failing town so literally, she missed that normally those plots implicitly are about saving the people living in that town. Not gentrify the crap out of the town and kick all the destitute inhabitants out, with the exception of those willing to be wives/helpmeets/fuckbuddies of the town’s new upper class.

    And it will be wives only BTW. It’s a computer company, and Josh-bitches-am-I-right is in charge. The only women likely employed there will be the cleaning lady and the secretary. Were any of the six shops Josh set up run by women? Cause otherwise this great economic renewal plan that spreads love everywhere has essentially involved bringing in richer dudes who marry the local elligble bachelorettes, leaving this town with a surplus of men in their twenties who have no jobs or women, and are reminded of the new out of towners who have both every time they walk out the door into their tiny village’s only shopping street. That’s a recipe for disaster if I ever saw one.

    • Josh’s old plan with the six small shops was not going to save the town, but his new plan won’t work either. The 70 percent of the town who lost their jobs used to work at Robert’s aerospace manufacturing plant. That’s a pretty high-tech industry, so I bet Josh could hire most of those locals and it wouldn’t be too hard to train them for work at his computer company. But instead he’s bringing in a bunch of out-of-towners and hiring a few locals. The town is still doomed.

    • Let’s see, Google? What do you have to say?

      First book, flower shop, opened by a woman. Second book, bakery, opened by a woman. Third book, hardware store, opened by a man. Fourth book, bookstore, opened by a woman (who was apparently born in Bygones; it seems “going back after ten years” counts as “out of town” enough). Fifth book, pet store, opened by a man.

      The number of female store owners might make more sense when I mention that each book has a different author. Valerie Hansen wrote the the sixth and final book only.

      • Okay, so it’s been a balanced lot so far. Still don’t see that happening when Josh’s IT company moves in, but since this is the last book, perhaps they won’t be getting all smoochy with the local ladies.

  2. I don’t get this weird thing some of the characters in this book have about men wearing aprons. There are plenty of restaurants and bakeries where both the women and the men working there wear aprons. Has the author of this book never been such places, or hell even to a backyard barbeque wear a man grilling food is wearing an apron? It’s not an unusual or unmanly thing to see.

    Also, if I was working at a tech company in a big city I definitely would not want to move to a new branch of that company in a small town full of jerks like the town in this book.

    • Yeah, unless this story is set around the time of the burst of the dotcom bubble, I’m pretty sure most of his employees will go “Fuck this noise, I can do better.”

  3. “For a job that doesn’t require him to wear an apron? That’s a no-brainer.”

    Now Brian will probably be expected to wear a tie instead, and men love those things.

    • Oh god, tell me about it.

      And the bakery was like the one shop that I could see having a chance in a dying town. Expensive cofee and a dedicated pet shop? Yeah, no. But assuming no Walmarts nearby, bread is something peope will keep buying until their death. So you’re ripping out the heart of the one business with decent prospects in this little dump.

  4. I’m beginning to wonder if the real game plan is to hold six weddings to undo the Curse of the Jilting. Hence why bringing in more people from out of town was plan A: we need weddings and that means we need a thriving dating market. Maybe he’s worried now that six weddings isn’t going to be enough?

  5. St Louis metropolitan area: 3,000,000 people. Tiny dead town: a few hundred? A few thousand at most? Suuuuure they’ll be happy to relocate there, where they have a choice of one school for their kids, one church (one town, one people, one church!), maybe two or if they’re really lucky three different restaurants, nearest theatre a few hours’ drive away…

    If Josh has an office above the shop for playing with computers, which I think was established, presumably his mother could sleep there.

    Ah, but the role of newspapers in the modern age is to be corporate mouthpieces. Congratulations, Whitney, you’ve started a new career!

    Yamikuronue: so each wedding costs say $200,000, and the locals insist on a local-suppliers-only policy, and that’s enough profit to set up a real business?

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