By Chris Giblin
Christmas morning was ruined at the Rollins residence just outside Charlotte when it was revealed that each member of the family had received a lump of coal in his or her stocking from the father, Frank Rollins, a major lobbyist for the pro-coal energy company North Carolina Energy.
Rollins expressed shock at his loved ones for being so “ignorant” and “ungrateful” in their cold response to what he deemed a “neat and thoughtful” gift.
“That’s British anthracite!” he said to the initial response. “You won’t find a better-burning coal than that. I just thought I’d splurge a little for my family on the holidays, excuse me.”
Despite Frank’s attempts to convince his 8-year-old son John that the coal was a gift from him, John bawled uncontrollably and wondered what he had done wrong to make Santa punish him so harshly with coal.
“I tried to be good,” John said sobbing, rocking back and forth in a ball on the floor. “I really did. I ate my vegetables. I went to church. What’d I do wrong Santa?”
John’s 14-year-old sister Andrea, an outspoken environmentalist in full support of developing cleaner energy, expressed far more direct anger toward her father. The two often clash over all political issues, according to mother Christine.
“Just ‘cause you get your money by advocating for the laziest, dirtiest energy source out there doesn’t mean you need to rub our faces in it on Christmas,” Andrea said.
“Young lady,” Frank said. “I’m only trying to provide Americans with the most affordable energy they can find.”
“Oh, bullshit, every study around shows that windmills and solar panels will be cheaper in the long run,” Andrea said.
“One, they can’t prove that,” Frank said. “Two, the American people are strapped for cash. They’re not gonna support a multibillion dollar infrastructure project any time soon. And I keep telling you, the way they burn coal now is clean.”
“Yeah, about as clean as your ass when you take a shit,” Andrea said, instigating an escalated shouting match.
All the while, Christine sat silently, glaring up at Frank with cold eyes. As the yelling continued, she retired to the kitchen for some red wine despite the early hour.
“Just once I wanted to keep politics separate from the holidays,” she said. “Why can’t we be a normal family and just chitchat about the weather and leave each other alone most of the time? Also, Frank completely ruined the stockings by putting coal in them. I’ll never get the soot out of them.”
Even after the fiasco, Frank stood by his decision to get coal for the family, saying there were other better gifts he’d purchased for them all as well. He also said getting coal in his stocking had been something he looked forward to every Christmas morning as he grew up, and that he “had not realized just how much things have changed over the years.”