Deer, deer #writephoto #prompt

It’s been a while since I did one of Sue’s #writephoto prompts but here we go again….

The Misocrimbalist*

In a world of superheroes Vernon Ongar wasn’t your typical vigilante. He wore corduroy to begin with and parted his hair to the left which would usually disqualify anyone from a role as any sort of caped crusader. His parents, Dryden and Villy Ongar knew from his birth that he would disappoint – he entered the world arse first, curled into a tight ball with his hands protecting his head rather than in the approved manner: streamlined body, right arm straight ahead topped with a neatly clenched fist.

‘He’ll be in admin too.’ Dryden, who worked in the civil service and had hoped his son might join the ranks of the applauded, couldn’t hide his disappointment.

Villy nodded, imagining what her father would say. He wouldn’t cut the little boy any slack.

At super-school, all children were given the chance to shine and, while Vernon did his best, his tendency to ‘do a foetus’ whenever threatened led to his being labelled ‘sub-super’ from an early stage.

But Vernon wasn’t lacking in ambition. He understood there was a lack of suitable candidates for all the posts and that super-couples were often too busy confronting villains or unblocking sewers to create the next generation of the super-strong. All he had to do was find a suitable need, a gap in the already saturated market of super-slayers and super-sayers and he would surprise his family and, maybe, gain a sliver of respect from his Grandpa.

Grandpa Thump Mightie was a super-human of dynastic proportions: odes were written about his thighs, artists competed to capture the exact hue that his in-flight buttocks exuded and musicians struggled to replicate the harmonics when he crashed through the sound barrier, fist pumping and beard flaying. He was a busy soul, though years of smashing through locked doors and solid walls had left him with a distinct list to the left and an arthritic elbow. All he wanted was a little bit of peace and quiet but all he got was sycophants and fawning and none more so than when he returned to his family. The one member of the Mightie clan who didn’t follow the herd was his daughter’s weedy boy, Vernon, whom Thump secretly admired for having the balls to ignore his baiting.

It was the worst time of year for Thump: Christmas, when he had five straight days with his family gathered around, when he had to pretend to be cheerful and full of good spirit. As he stood, ho-ho-hoing and regaling the sea of besotted upturned faces with tales of derring-do, Vernon sat by the fire, in a world of his own, paying the grandmaster no attention.

‘Hey, boy. Vivian. Why the long face?’

‘It’s Vernon and I hate Christmas.’

‘Really? All the presents and treats?’

‘I only ever get given stationary and post-its while the rest get swords and capes and superfast shoes.’

Thump eased his way across the room and bent to the young man’s ear. ‘Well, if you hate it so much – and you’re not the only one – do something about it.’

Vernon met his grandfather’s steady gaze and something undefinable passed between them. Could he? Should he? It was as if his grandfather understood what he was thinking. He nodded once and lolloped back to the waiting group, describing an arc as he fought his increasing tilt.

Given Christmas comes but once a year, Vernon had a lot of time to prepare his strategy. He knew he wouldn’t be universally popular and, indeed, some might consider him a super-villain. He also knew that his inclination to curl into a ball might inhibit his attempts to bring Christmas back under control. Attacking Santa directly, therefore could prove to be a step too far, at least until he obtained a sense of how much support he had. He would focus, not so much on the product as on the mode of delivery and, specifically the bloody reindeer. On the plus side they weren’t human so couldn’t undermine him with withering sarcasm. Against that, they had horns.

He would have to take careful and considered steps. Indeed, he realised, utilizing his skills as an administrator could be a help rather than an embarrassment. It proved surprisingly easy: no one paid attention when he called upon a little-known statute to demand an inspection of the reindeer stables; barely anyone noticed when it turned out that the (doctored) report showed the presence of significant traces of deer-foot; and it was too late for the outcry when the edict was issued to cull Santa’s whole flight three days before the Great Dispatch, giving the old boy no time to train up a replacement service.

The headlines were tendentious and full of vitriol. Who could be such a Grinch? Who was this Scrooge? Answers were demanded.

Thump Mightie has his suspicions. He began to spread stories about a hero who was trying to return Christmas to its true roots, to eradicate the consumerism and commercialism that had eradicated the joyous but simple original message. Some commentators began to echo Thump’s sentiments and the calls to find the perpetrator began to include an element of adoration.

It was Christmas morning. Everyone gathered around the tree. Presents were to be exchanged. Vernon held back and at the very end approached his grandfather with a neatly wrapped box. Once again, the Old Hero and Young Pretender exchanged a look as the paper was carefully removed.

‘What the heck?’ ‘Is that sick, or what?’

The chorus from the cousins and nephews and nieces was aimed at Vernon; the old man, however held the shield aloft, the three be-horned skulls proudly affixed to the front. In his best calming voice, he spoke over the others. ‘Are these Santa’s deer?’

Vernon nodded.

‘You are the Misocrimbalist?’

Vernon nodded again.

The family goggled. ‘He can’t be. He’s useless.’ ‘That is hateful.’ ‘He doesn’t have it in him.’

No one would believe Vernon could rise to such a place. His grandfather tilted his head, as much because he had to as to ask the obvious question. ‘How do we know these are those deer?’

Slowly and with due ceremony Vernon pulled his hand from his pocket held in the superhero’s signature, the clenched fist. He raised his arm and opened his hand. Nestling in the centre was a small nose, glowing red. Yes, Vernon had truly arrived.

*I made it up…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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33 Responses to Deer, deer #writephoto #prompt

  1. Ritu says:

    Brilliant His Geoffleship!!! I featured Rudolph in mine too!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And he’s BAAACK!! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sue Vincent says:

    I did wonder just what you would come up with, Geoff… I might have guessed…. but my guessing would have had to be pretzel shaped to get this 😀

    Like

  4. A devious holiday plot. And…you made me scroll to the bottom first to see the * word !

    Liked by 1 person

  5. willowdot21 says:

    Love this , hope you’re back to stay 💜🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      oh maybe; just been fiddling around with books and it became quite addictive… the sequel to Dead Flies is looking good, I’ve planned out the sequel to the sequel which i will start as part of nano and I’ve finished an anthology of short fiction for which I just need to settle the cover. Oh and I’ve made a lot of progress pulling together a memoir of mum!!

      Like

      • willowdot21 says:

        This all sounds amazing Geoff how do you find the time. I am so pleased that you are putting it all together.
        I just find it so hard to get the time to myself. I really want to get a book together, I thought I would start with verse. I am just clueless as to were to start. I do admire you and that Whirlwind known as Ritu.
        I do love the idea of a trilogy on Dead Flies.For me the the best news is Mum’s Memoires I feel you have a best seller there. Good luck Geoff.💜💜💜

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        You are so kind Willow. How can i fail with cheerleaders like you!!

        Like

      • willowdot21 says:

        You cannot sir!!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. trifflepudling says:

    Most enjoyable!!
    Whenever I think of any kind of deer now, I think of “Fentooooonnn!! Oh, Ch….. …. Fentoooooon! “

    Like

  7. Brilliant ending – one for Red Nose Day, perhaps

    Liked by 1 person

  8. noelleg44 says:

    Brilliant,Sir Geoff! But I won’t be reading it to any young ‘uns!

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      No i think that might do for Christmas. Btw there was a programme on the radio here about thr chap who trained the hawk moths in the Silence of the lambs. You were involved weren’t you?

      Like

  9. Allie P. says:

    I love the fact that the decision to part one’s hair on the wrong side precludes them from a career in capes and spandex

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a great story. Good old Vernon won through despite his hair parting! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Deer, deer #writephoto #prompt Geoff Le Pard | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  12. quiall says:

    hahaha Loved it! Great message.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Photo prompt round-up – Signs – #writephoto | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

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