Man, I was a profligate writer today.
Wait... That's not right!
Frequent Flash! Friday contributor Tamara Shoemaker often posts two stories. Well, last week, she took third runner up honors (though I got second) AND the top prize.
And I saw a challenge.
Here is the photo prompt for this week.
I had thought about it in advance, and figured there would be a Christmas theme. I wanted to write something in the gothic horror vein... something that just dripped with dread all the way through. Then I would follow up with a comedic piece. But when I came up with the opening line for "Regifting," I wanted to work with that, even though it wasn't horror. (Though, neither is it anywhere near merry.)
So here is "Regifting."
No kid expects a dead parent for Christmas. But that’s exactly what I got one year.
My Mom was a cop. The good kind. The kind who actually helped folks. One Christmas Eve she tried to stop some loser from stealing another family’s joy. He put one in her chest.
I stayed with my Grandma. But she had her hands full with her boozing husband. So they put me in foster care.
The Christmas season always makes me a little crazy. The state psychiatrist would say I needed to find a way to release my anger.
It’s a good thing the malls don’t conduct background checks.
As a little freckled cherub settled into my lap, her mother beaming and flashing away, I smiled, thinking about the .45 in my boot. I wanted to say, “This is reality, kid. There ain’t no Santa Claus. Just creeps, like the one who offed my Mom. And me.”
But actions scream louder than words.
Then I wrote "Elfnip."
“Sssh! Someone will hear us!”
“I can’t help it. This stuff makes me giggle.”
It’s true. Elfnip is a powerful agent. Especially when mixed with eggnog and huffed, as these two diminutive delinquents were doing.
“I can’t wait for this night to be over. I need a break.”
“You? You never work. You keep snowing the foreman with that ‘I want to be a dentist’ crap.”
“And if that doesn’t work, you throw the insanity card. The Abominable Snowmensch. What a load of—”
“You’re just ticked because your name sounds like an STD.”
“Would you stuff it! Someone’s coming!”
“Damn! We’ve got to get rid of the stuff.”
“Just stash it somewhere.”
“In the sleigh.”
“But what if it’s him? We can’t let him enter U.S. airspace with it in his possession.”
“Relax. It’s only a controlled substance in about half the states.”
And that is why the North Pole is now automated.
But about halfway through -- literally as I'm writing down Elfnip ideas -- I came up with "The Watchman."
Tick tock tick tock.
Just try to ignore it. The Watchman’s clock.
Red midnight looms, it’s almost time.
You’d best be silent by the 12th chime.
I see you sleeping. And I see you awake.
He gives and gives. I take take TAKE!
Visions of sugarplums, and flying reindeer.
Take care, my pretties. Be still. I’m right here!
Draw up your sheets, pull tight your cap,
Prepare for an eternal winter’s nap.
A barren tree. A rancid goose.
No silent night with me on the loose.
Complain not about a lump of coal.
It’s nothing next to losing your soul.
I crave your sugar. I crave your spice,
so naughty, naughty, naughty, nice.
Am I Santa? God? No, someone else.
Beware The Watchman on the shelf.
Wake up, my pretties, you’ve won reprieve.
I’ll see you all next Christmas Eve.
Whew! I need a break. Maybe I'll wrap some presents. How about you guys?