Charli Mills is at odds with her prompts just now. Not sure who put the grit in her grits but it’s all about jarring contrasts.
December 3, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that pairs something seasonal with something odd. You can select your own two or pick from the suggested pairings above. Keep one associated with the December holiday season.
I don’t recall controversial Christmases. Boring, wacky, hilarious, eye opening but never aggressive or angry. Well apart for the year my Gran, my mum’s mum, got a bit squiffy on the port and lemons, fell asleep during the Queen (for those who gave up the British Empire as a bad job 200 plus years ago and others on whom the benefits of British dominion was never endowed, this means listening to Queen Liz’s Christmas message to her subjects at 3 pm every Christmas Day – part of the ritual in our house, like Mum up with the lark ‘to put the bird in’, satsumas in my Christmas stocking and Dad saying grace at Christmas dinner – by which, for once, we meant lunch – a sign of the British class divide here, or maybe the north-south divide – meals in the middle of the day were lunch to the middle classes and dinner to the working classes, save at Christmas) … where was I? Oh yes, Gran. She ate a hearty dinner, fell asleep and woke at 5 demanding food. She would only believe she’d had her turkey when she saw the destroyed carcass but swore we’d not given her Christmas pud because there was none left and the plate had been washed so there was no evidence to show her. She was angry at what she saw as her daughter’s duplicity that year.
Oh, and there was the time Mum and I were teamed for charades – I was rather full of gas after the turkey feast and had bravely held it in check in front of my gorgeous cousins but as soon as we left the room to plot our team mime my muscles gave way to the seismic forces within. Mum was half a sentence into her plan when the guttering, choking bit of Wilfred Owen’s WW1 poem about Gas! Gas! got to her. She stopped, went pale and staggered back into the sitting room collapsing on the floor into a dead faint. When she had been dragged upright she pointed at me and said, ‘How can any human body convert good food to silage so quickly?’ I suppose the only thing that saved my shame was that, at that time, my cousins didn’t know what silage was.
Anyway, Christmases were and are and, I hope, will remain happy, pleasant if not often especially memorable family occasions. However Charli insists we take a different stance and this foreign air I’m imbibing has once again triggered two ideas.
First there is Mary. Here’s the link to her back story
Hanging the decorations
‘Let’s do the decorations today, mum.’ Penny rubbed her hands. She loved the tradition of dressing the tree.
While Mary fetched the box and Paul put the tree in the stand, Penny disappeared to her room. ‘Look,’ she said, ‘Uncle Rupert gave it to me. He got it from Grandpa.’
Mary googled at the hand carved Santa hanging from red string. Didn’t her half-brother realise how this much would hurt?
‘Let me,’ she said.
While Paul fixed the star and Penny the tinsel, Mary coiled the string into a noose, hiding the loop in a groove. ‘All done.’
And here’s an alternative
‘Reindeer? But we always have turkey.’
‘It’ll be a change.’ Patrick grinned. ‘Special offer.’
Marcie swallowed her anger. Always doing things on the cheap. ‘Patrick, it’s Christmas. Can’t we forget the cost…’
Patrick’s smug grin was almost too much to bear. ‘I know you hate waste so we’ll just have to go with it.’
Patrick was pleased when, later, Marcie began hunting for a recipe. ‘The stuffing,’ she said. ‘It has to be perfect.’
Patrick carved. Inside there was a roasting bag. ‘For you Patrick.’
He held the divorce papers in sticky fingers.
‘It won’t be cheap,’ she said.