Myth Managements Cherubs


The Story So Far...

Emily Peasbridge has joined the academy training programme at Myth Management, led by the mysterious and charismatic Administrator Champ. Here she is learning how myths and legends are kept alive in the human subconcious via careful management of what Champ calls the 'egosystem'.

Emily Peasbridge

Emily Peasbridge

Dr Guy Champ

Administrator Champ


Excerpt from

Chapter Ten

Checking the schedule a few days later, I was thrilled to see that I’d be shadowing Administrator Champ for the first time, along with my fellow interns Neil and Anna. We would be attending another ambassadorial conference, this time an arbitration between two opposing realms involved in a dispute.

‘Righty-ho,’ said Champ, when we met him outside a first-floor conference room. ‘You’ve all done this before, so you know the drill. Keep your tongues in your head – that includes you, Miss Peasbridge; I’ve heard what happened with the Ancient Egyptians.’

I’m sure he had, I thought – Thornhill’s version of it, anyway. Although I caught a flicker of amusement in his eyes when he spoke, so who knows.

Champ put his hand on the door handle, then paused and turned to us. ‘Hold on a tick. How old are you again? Wait, silly question, ignore that. What religions are you?’

‘Uh… broadly Judaeo-Christian, but sort of agnostic, I guess,’ I said.

‘Atheist,’ stated Anna, flatly.

‘Wiccan, sir,’ said Neil, pointing to the pentagram tattoo on his neck. ‘Why?’

Champ chuckled to himself. ‘Okay, this will be fun,’ he said, and opened the door.

Inside was a long oak table. The delegates from the two factions were already there; three at each side, arms folded, staring across at each other. Anna and I gasped. Neil swore under his breath. We could hardly believe our eyes.

How can I describe the scene? Let’s start with who was sitting on the left-hand side. They were two tall, pale-skinned gentlemen, dressed all in white, with huge feathered wings growing from their backs and halos shimmering above their heads. On the chair between them was a crib. I couldn’t see who was in it, but I could hear a baby gurgling and there was a small gleaming star hovering in the air above it, so I think it was pretty obvious; I mean – Jesus.

Then, on the right-hand side, was Santa Claus. Yep, Father bloody Christmas himself; the red suit, the big white beard, the whole shebang. He was flanked by two officious looking elves, who, like the angels, were carrying lawyer’s briefcases and had come with their game faces on.

‘Welcome all,’ said Champ, taking his seat at the head of the table. We drew up stools just behind him, trying not to look too dumbfounded. ‘So, we return to the matter of the Midwinter Festival…’

‘Christmas,’ interjected one of the angels, his voice taut and melodic, like the strumming of a harp.

‘… and the correct balance of ownership for December 25th,’ Champ continued, ignoring the interruption.

‘I’m sure we can all agree that this Cold War has gone on too long – if you’ll forgive the pun,’ said Champ. ‘But I know we can come to an amicable agreement.’

Myth Management Santa Jesus

There was much disgruntled mumbling.

‘If you will forgive me,’ said an angel in a tone which implied that we bloody better had do. ‘It is quite clear who Christmas day belongs to. Christ. Mas. It’s right there in the name. Our claim dates back over two thousand years, whilst our honourable friends here,’ he gestured across the desk, ‘have merely appropriated a few German customs so they can sell plastic toys.’

‘Oh aye?’ said Santa, gruffly. ‘Let’s invite the Pagan delegation in, shall we? They might have something to say about cultural appropriation.’

A further hubbub broke out, growing louder until a tiny peach-skinned hand rose up from the crib. The room went pin-drop quiet as a baby, swaddled in blankets, rose gracefully upwards, glowing with heavenly light – quite literally. He was, without a doubt, the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. My heart melted and my ovaries ached.

‘Now, now,’ said the baby in a voice so exquisite that tears sprang unbidden to my eyes. ‘Don’t make me pull rank here, Saint Nicholas.’

Santa shifted uncomfortably in his seat and turned his attention to our end of the table. ‘Look, Champ, we’ve been very pleased with the Coca-Cola thing you guys organised. But it’s a month away from the big date and I’m not seeing any new Santa movies hitting Netflix.’

‘Ah, yes. Let’s talk movies, shall we?’ declared the other angel, opening his briefcase and pulling out a series of charts. ‘We’ve crunched the figures and there are twice as many Christmas movies featuring Santa Claus as there are for Our Most Holy Lord and Saviour. And that’s not including Die Hard.’

Now I have a machine gun, ho ho ho,’ chuckled the shorter elf, making little finger guns, then going silent as Santa gave him a withering look.

‘So, what I’m hearing is that you both want an increased share of the zeitgeist?’ asked Champ.

They nodded vigorously. Clearly both sides saw themselves as hard done by. Champ tried being reasonable, but temperatures started to rise, and soon each side was waving printouts and shouting over each other about the decorations in Birmingham City Centre.

While they were arguing, an idea had been forming in my mind, which I’d been idly scribbling in my notebook. To my dismay, Champ noticed what I was doing and put his hand out for the notebook, his face impassive. I handed it over reluctantly, wondering how badly I’d managed to mess up this time. Champ studied it for a moment, then handed it back.

‘Gentlemen, a moment please’ he said, addressing the room. The bickering died down and they turned to him, arms folded. ‘I find that every so often it can be beneficial to get a fresh pair of eyes on a situation. Young Peasbridge here has a suggestion, and in the spirit of there being no bad ideas, perhaps we should all hear it.’

All eyes turned to me, expectantly.

I froze. Was Champ trying to embarrass me, like Thornhill had? Surely not. I cleared my throat, steeling my nerves and trying not to make eye contact with two of the most important figures from my childhood.

‘Well,’ I stammered. ‘Santa, that is, Mr Christmas, I mean Father Christmas, has done very well recently with Elf on The Shelf, I believe? The little doll that watches kids to make sure they behave.’

‘So cool,’ enthused the shorter elf. The angels rolled their eyes.

‘So, how about a religious equivalent?’ I asked. ‘A small doll of Baby Jesus in his crib that people can place on the mantelpiece. We could call it… Your Own Personal Jesus.’

‘Johnny Cash. Nice,’ nodded the nearest angel.

‘Seems a little reductive if you ask me,’ sniffed the other.

‘The name’s just a placeholder,’ I said. ‘We’re looking for clickbait; something meme-ready that can go viral. Easy gags for the talk show hosts.’

‘Interesting,’ mused Baby Jesus.

‘That’s all very well for BJ, but what about us?’ grumbled Santa.

‘Well, that’s the best bit,’ I said. ‘People will be taking sides—“Are you Team Elf or Team Jesus?”—which will add to both teams’ egosystem metrics.’

‘It’s worked before,’ interjected Champ. ‘The War on Christmas did great numbers.’

Santa scratched at his beard while the taller elf whispered something in his ear. Baby Jesus glanced at one of the angels, who nodded back at him almost imperceptibly.

‘Very well, Champ,’ said Baby Jesus, floating back down into his crib. ‘It’s got my blessing.’

‘Yeah, could be a goer, I reckon,’ agreed Santa. ‘And if this works out, you’ll all be on my Good List.’