Tag Archives: short story

Ghost of Christmas Present

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I seem to have lost my writing mojo and am trying to get it back while recovering from yet another surgery, and a raging case of shingles.  While I am off work recuperating, I have taken to walking my dog during daylight hours…we normally walk in the dark of the very early morning before work, when there isn’t much that can be seen.  Because I have a 4 inch incision in my abdomen we aren’t going to win any land speed records.  With this leisurely pace I often find little treasures or unusual items that spark my imagination.  I’ve decided to write a short story for each discovery.

Several days ago I passed a small, unopened package perfectly wrapped in Christmas paper.  It was lying in the grass a good distance from sidewalk the first time I saw it and was propped up against a tree the next time I saw it.  On the third day it was gone.

**************************************

“I think my Mom liked you.”

“If you say so.” She sure had a strange way of showing it, I thought.  After the cursory introduction during which his mother gave me a long, thorough inspection – taking in my hair, face, body and clothing – she finally offered her hand and asked to be called Shirley.  A cigarette hung from her lips and she squinted through the smoke and offered me a beer.  After I declined she popped open the can, turned away and made her way to the kitchen, mumbling under her breath something that sounded like “another uptight, holier than thou teetotaler”  Or something like that.  I was too busy taking in the disarray that was the living room.

“No, really, she has never liked any girl I’ve brought over.  She liked you.”

“And your Dad?”

“Dad doesn’t like anyone…present company included.”

“Your own father doesn’t like you?”

“Never has, never will,” he stated flatly.

“Why?”  I could not fathom the family dynamics I had witnessed that day.  Chain smoking, chain drinking mother.  Cold distant father whose only conversations bordered on abusive tirades about the shortcomings of every family member present.  Boisterous children, and grown siblings who called each other names she wouldn’t have called her worst enemy.  I was the only child of older parents whom I had moved to Florida to care for as their health declined.  Our gatherings were quiet, usually elegant, and peaceful.  And frequently mind-numbingly boring.

“Something about being born some time after he caught my mom cheating on him.”  He shot me a sidelong glance. “With his own brother.”

“Hmmm.”  I opened my car window for some fresh air, but being Florida at Christmas time, the air was heavy and damp. I wanted the cold, crisp air of Christmases past.  I wanted the quiet of my boring little world.

I thought about the present in my purse.  I was nervous and more than a little scared.

“Want to come over for a drink?”

“No.  I can’t.” I said a little too quickly.  “I mean, I’m tired, it’s been a long day.”

We’d been dating for nearly a year. I hadn’t met his family before and although that seemed strange, after today I thought that might have been a good thing.  I thought he would have a present for me, but he hadn’t offered one so far and Christmas was nearly over.  “I think I’ll just go home.”

“Oh, okay.”    He gave me the sidelong glance again. “I wanted to talk.”

“I wanted to talk to you, too.”

He pulled into the park near my parent’s house and parked the car.  “Let’s walk off some of that dinner.”  He grabbed a small bag from the back seat,  opened the car door and came around to open mine.  I slung my purse over my shoulder and joined him on the sidewalk.  We walked in silence in the damp air.

“You first,” I said.

He cleared his throat.  He looked nervous.  He looked everywhere but at me.  He cleared his throat again.  He’s going to ask me to move in with him, I thought.  Or marry him.  I inhaled deeply.

“I know you just met my family today, for Christmas and all.  My mom insisted I invite you.” He stopped walking and faced me, but didn’t look at me.  “But, the thing is…”  he cleared his throat once more, and studied his shoes.  “My ex and I have been seeing each other again.  She’s going to move back in and we are going to give it another try.  New year, new beginning and all.”

I felt as though I had been gut punched.  I exhaled slowly – my stomach threatening to relieve me of the wretched meal I had endured with his dysfunctional clan.  The meal I had endured through cigarette smoke that made me gag, noise that made my head hurt, and interactions that had left me speechless.

I finally took a breath and steadied my voice.  “Why not take her to Christmas dinner, then?” I asked.  “Instead of me?”

“My family doesn’t like her,” he shrugged.  He handed me the small bag.  Inside was my toothbrush, my hairbrush and a few other toiletries I’d kept at his apartment.  And the condoms I’d bought but that sometimes were forgotten in the heat of the moment.

“I see.”  I didn’t really see, but I didn’t know what else to say.  I tried not to look hurt, but I’m pretty sure I was unsuccessful.

“I’m sorry to do this on Christmas Day and all but she’s moving back in tomorrow.”  He started walking again but I stood where we had stopped.  He turned back toward me.  “What did you want to talk about?” he asked.

“You wanted me to come to your place tonight and she’s moving back in tomorrow?” I could not breathe.  I was incredulous.  I wanted to scream.

He finally looked me in the eye.  “I am sorry.”  He looked sheepish, but not at all sorry.

“That’s the truest thing you’ve ever said.  You are sorry, all right.”  I paused and took a deep breath. “We’ve dated a long time with very little forward progress.  I mean it took you nearly a year to introduce me to your parents.  What I wanted to say was that I think we need to see other people. Guess you beat me to the punch.”  I took the condoms from the bag and handed them to him.

“You’ll need these before I will.”  I turned and started walking toward my parent’s home, fighting the urge to vomit.  And the urge to cry.  He stood silent in the damp air.  “Have a good life” I shouted over my shoulder.  I walked past his car and toward the street.

As I neared my parent’s home, I fumbled in my purse for the present.  The one I had wrapped so carefully after peeing on the stick and seeing the results.  I had carefully capped the pregnancy test and sat on the bathroom floor for so long my mother knocked on the door and asked if I was all right.

I looked at the perfectly wrapped gift and threw it as far as I could.

 

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BlogFestivus 2012 – Comet

BlogFestivus 2012 – 243 words – 9 days – 9 Reindeer (wait, are there 9?)

Comet slid across the barn floor – skidded to a stop and struck his best Tom Cruise/Risky Business pose. His right hoof held an imaginary mike – his rear left leg keeping time to the beat…”Just take those old records off the shelf…” he crooned. There was a loud banging on the barn door.

“What are you doing in there, Comet. Come on, open up.”

“Don’t get your harness in a twist,” Comet shouted. He slid the latch back and rolled the door open.

“Hey, nice get up.” Dasher quipped. Comet was suddenly very self-conscious in his whitey-tighties, button down shirt and socks as Dasher, Dancer and Prancer entered.
“Just practicing my karaoke act…” Comet struggled into a pair of sweatpants.

“Yeah, well, we’ve got bigger things to worry about,” Dasher said. He held out a note:

RANSOM

“Whoa! What in the name of Frosty’s feces is that all about?” Comet asked.

“It was left on the porch at the bunkhouse. What are we going to do?” Dasher asked. “The Sheriff has been asking lot of questions. Santa’s going to be released from rehab tomorrow, and we haven’t even had a trial run this season. No one has seen Rudolph since the last meeting, and…”

“Hold up, Dasher. No one’s seen Rudolph since Thanksgiving?” Comet racked his brain, trying to remember the last time he’d seen the ruby-schnozzed reindeer himself.

“No. We photoshopped that picture for the club brochure, but no one’s seen him. No one.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

These fine folks are also participating in the BlogFestivus 2012 writing contest.  Check it out!

Blogdramedy – The Hostess with the mostest

Steve Betz – the holiday mixer.

Rewind Revise – newly married and on her very own joy train.

Lenore Diane — thoughts from the Elf Queen herself.

Shouts from the Abyss – Tom’s on a mission to blighten your holiday season.

Fix it or Deal — Amy Severson bringing it robot-style.

Lynn Schneider Books — Lynn, the BlogFestivus newbie.

1 Point Perspective — the Bruce Willis of WordPress.

So I Went Undercover — she’s undercover and that’s all I’ll say about that.

Joe Owen’s Blog — he’s got forty-something eyes. Not Betty Davis eyes.

MC’s Whispers – Maria-Christina works in PR. What kind of “spin” will she put on this writing challenge?

LittleWonder2  – a musical surfing vampire lover. I know.

Blog It or Lose It! – One word. Minecraft.

Voice in Me — Reena’s from India…where reindeer go on vacation.

Apprentice, never master – Gwendolyn, the fearless.

A Year of Daily Posts — Sarah, the paperback writer (three manuscripts but they count.)

Diary of a Sensitive Soul — Immie, blogging from the U.K. (Why am I feeling Bruce Springsteen?)

Dot Knows! — Liz, the life changer.

A Spoonful of Suga – Making reality sexy.

Random Says – in the moment. At the moment.

13 Comments

Filed under humor, Uncategorized

BlogFestivus 2012 – Vixen

BlogFestivus 2012 – 243 words – 9 days – 9 Reindeer (wait, are there 9?)

Vixen left the gym and headed to the spa.  She had to work out twice as hard as her male counterparts to keep in shape, especially since her propensity for drinking the fellas under the table perpetuated her tendency toward saddlebags .  Between the training regimen for her annual gig on the sleigh team, maintaining her blog and cranking out stories for the local rag – the Arctic Circle, there weren’t enough hours in the day.  Unfortunately, none of those enterprises were lucrative – her creditors were getting a little testy.

With her hooves soaking and a hot oil treatment on her luxurious coat, Vixen sipped a lichen tea.  She wondered how she was going to come up with the rent money – the paper had cut her hours and Santa had threatened to cut staff since that red-nosed rabble-rouser had tried unionizing the elves.  She hoped her debit card could cover today’s spa visit – the credit cards were all maxed out.  Between the Pole dancing lessons, increasing costs for her high-maintenance look, and her love of harness bling Vixen was in deep deer doo-doo in the credit arena.

She held her breath as the receptionist swiped her card…and it wasn’t rejected.  She had ten days till Christmas and the next paycheck.  Time to reap the benefits of the plan she’d worked out so carefully.  She replaced the card in her wallet and smiled to herself.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

These fine folks are also participating in the BlogFestivus 2012 writing contest.  Check it out!

Blogdramedy – The Hostess with the mostest

Steve Betz – the holiday mixer.

Rewind Revise – newly married and on her very own joy train.

Lenore Diane — thoughts from the Elf Queen herself.

Shouts from the Abyss – Tom’s on a mission to blighten your holiday season.

Fix it or Deal — Amy Severson bringing it robot-style.

Lynn Schneider Books — Lynn, the BlogFestivus newbie.

1 Point Perspective — the Bruce Willis of WordPress.

So I Went Undercover — she’s undercover and that’s all I’ll say about that.

Joe Owen’s Blog — he’s got forty-something eyes. Not Betty Davis eyes.

MC’s Whispers – Maria-Christina works in PR. What kind of “spin” will she put on this writing challenge?

LittleWonder2  – a musical surfing vampire lover. I know.

Blog It or Lose It! – One word. Minecraft.

Voice in Me — Reena’s from India…where reindeer go on vacation.

Apprentice, never master – Gwendolyn, the fearless.

A Year of Daily Posts — Sarah, the paperback writer (three manuscripts but they count.)

Diary of a Sensitive Soul — Immie, blogging from the U.K. (Why am I feeling Bruce Springsteen?)

Dot Knows! — Liz, the life changer.

A Spoonful of Suga – Making reality sexy.

Random Says – in the moment. At the moment.

17 Comments

Filed under humor, Uncategorized

BlogFestivus 2012 – Prancer

blogfestivus-2012

Dancer tippy-tapped his way out of the Sheriff’s Office, his well manicured hooves beating a simple rhythm.  “Dance with me, I want to be your partner.  Can’t you see, the music is just starting…” he sang out.

Sheriff Kringle pressed the intercom.  “Elf-ira, get Prancer on the phone.”

Prancer checked his reflection in the window, polishing a well-groomed antler before entering the darkened bar.  He adjusted his “deggings” and sashayed over to an empty bar stool. Cocking up one hip, he perched provocatively on the edge of the stool.  He lit a cigarette, and laid his vibrating cell phone on the bar.  He signaled the bartender for his usual – a Bi Polar-tini.  His messages flashed.  Dasher.  Dancer.  Sheriff’s office.  Comet.

Tundra turds, he thought.  This can’t be good.

Things were closing in on him.  He’d blown off the summons to the Sheriff’s office.  Heard the Sheriff was investigating the disappearance of one of the founding fathers of that right-wing reindeer club.  Like those jerks had ever really included him in their fanatic little group.  He’d been an outsider for so long.  Always the whispers.  Called on to fill out the roster of eight until…well, until the whole Rudolph thing.  Well, Prancer was no stranger to secrets.  This one would keep a little longer.

Prancer eyed the lone young buck at the far end of the bar.  Big brown eyes, button antlers, delicate ankles and tight little haunches.  He signalled the bartender for another.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

These fine folks are also participating in the BlogFestivus 2012 writing contest.  Check it out!

Blogdramedy – The Hostess with the mostest

Steve Betz – the holiday mixer.

Rewind Revise – newly married and on her very own joy train.

Lenore Diane — thoughts from the Elf Queen herself.

Shouts from the Abyss – Tom’s on a mission to blighten your holiday season.

Fix it or Deal — Amy Severson bringing it robot-style.

Lynn Schneider Books — Lynn, the BlogFestivus newbie.

1 Point Perspective — the Bruce Willis of WordPress.

So I Went Undercover — she’s undercover and that’s all I’ll say about that.

Joe Owen’s Blog — he’s got forty-something eyes. Not Betty Davis eyes.

MC’s Whispers – Maria-Christina works in PR. What kind of “spin” will she put on this writing challenge?

LittleWonder2  – a musical surfing vampire lover. I know.

Blog It or Lose It! – One word. Minecraft.

Voice in Me — Reena’s from India…where reindeer go on vacation.

Apprentice, never master – Gwendolyn, the fearless.

A Year of Daily Posts — Sarah, the paperback writer (three manuscripts but they count.)

Diary of a Sensitive Soul — Immie, blogging from the U.K. (Why am I feeling Bruce Springsteen?)

Dot Knows! — Liz, the life changer.

A Spoonful of Suga – Making reality sexy.

Random Says – in the moment. At the moment.

20 Comments

Filed under humor, Uncategorized