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Christmas Cracker: Short Story - Page 2 PDF Print E-mail
Culture
Written by Nick Alexander   
Tuesday, 25 December 2007 00:00
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Christmas Cracker: Short Story
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Doug took the opportunity to stand and try to massage some feeling back into his thighs. From a standing position, he could just see through the dirt of a high side window out into the sleet that passed for atmospheric Christmas cheer at this end of town. A distant glow enveloped the larger emporia enjoying the Christmas rush further up the street. He slunk back to his chair, unable to raise sufficient interest even to be depressed about the situation. He gazed at a black scuff mark in the lino about a yard in front of his feet. It was shaped just like a porpoise with an elephant’s head. Well, it was out of proportion, but he was prepared to argue the point with any passing gainsayers.

A rather elegant Jimmy Choo arrived in his field of vision. It was filled with an equally well-turned foot, and rapidly followed by its twin. His disbelieving eyes underwent a transformation, a sort of thaw, as the drudge surroundings receded from conciousness.  Soon, those same eyes, jaded only moments before, ached with pleasure as they followed the natural line upward, ever upward. He proceeded as slowly as eagerness would allow.

He was not disappointed when he eventually reached the face of the woman who stood before him.

“Father Christmas, I presume?” she purred, like a fine-tuned Silver Shadow running on purest octane Tanqueray.

Doug looked around. There was nobody else to whom the question could have been addressed. “Yes, that’s me.”

“I have the tiniest little problem and would be soo grateful if you could help a desperate girl in her hour of need.”

“Well, I’ll do what I can,” offered Doug as positively as he could, although he felt unusually inhibited just at that moment.

She shifted her position, and spoke slowly, articulating each velvet-clad syllable. “I’ve just had my handbag snatched and I have no money. Could you spare me some change so that I can make a phone call? I would be very grateful indeed.”

Doug rummaged, possibly somewhat over-vigorously, and a small split appeared at pocket level. Terrible visions flashed through his mind of a repeat of last year’s humiliations, which had an immediate calming effect. He retrieved a couple of pound coins and a fifty pence piece from his pocket. He hesitated as he remembered that this money represented his chance for a pint on the way home. ‘Oh! For God’s sake, it is Christmas, isn’t it? John’ll stand me a couple anyway,’ he thought to himself.

He looked at the woman, ready to say a few words of friendly advice concerning the scourge of scrounging, work-shy bimbos roaming the streets on the make, and it was no excuse to come into the shop, it didn’t show enterprise, it displayed a higher level of venality and was equally despicable. But he thought better of it. Now that he looked at her, he realised how extraordinary she was. He felt sure that he had seen her before, but in a newspaper or magazine or some similarly removed realm of existence. She was utterly out of place in these surroundings. He gave her the money.

Surely, here was a visitation, come in angelic form. There! In the distance, was that not a heavenly choir? With a jolt that did not quite derail the beauty of the vision, he realised that it was actually old Norm at the bus-stop with a few too many on board. But, of course, it was only he, Doug, vouchsafed this revelation and the world outside did not, could not, intrude. Just think! This grotto, his grotto, would become a place of pilgrimage in years to come.

He leaned back in his chair, suddenly conscious that he hadn’t had the courtesy even to stand for her. He was about to stammer an apology for his rough manner (and manor) when she promptly sat astride his lap. Her perfume enshrouded him in helplessness.

She bent towards him. “Thank you so much,” she said and her lips parted as she leant to kiss him. The slow meeting of lips lasted for what felt like an eternity. He dared not breathe for fear of disturbing the purity of the moment. Finally, his grip on reason was released as he surrendered to the pulse of tangled dreams.

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“Come on, Doug! Wakey wakey!”

Dulcet tones began to coalesce toward the iron-filings end of the auditory spectrum as the yellowing face of joyless Rita swelled ever nearer in appalling corporeality. With a start, Doug jerked his head up. A toothless, wrinkled, unsmiling, smoke-breathed visage was thrust into his face.

“Arghh!” he shouted.

“It’s Christmas,” she said, “It’s time I got home and started bastin’.”



Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 October 2008 12:22