Christmas Carol by Morgana MacLeod
After a night of rotisserie sleep, turning over and over your firepit bed, you wake weary, ashes in your hair, heart pumping sludge. Even tinsel wilts in the heat, humidity suffocating sparkle. You don’t have the energy to be sensible, so when the kids want candy and cookie dough for breakfast you let them eat it straight out of the plastic wrap. Go ahead, cream your coffee with eggnog. If Santa had the balls to show up, you’d drink it straight out of his hat.
Backstage, your big kid is a wise man. You can’t seem to get her beard and turban straight at the same time. She forgot the myrrh and there’s no time to go home so you rummage up a pot of pawpaw ointment from your shoulder bag. The red pot is Christmassy, you tell her, and they are both unguents. Littlie riots against his halo, insisting angels don’t have zippers. Donkeys don’t wear polyester either, you tell him, but here we are.
Flurries of audience sift into seats. You can’t sit in the first three rows and risk being snared by the parental paparazzi. Heading for a safe seat in the middle, and bam! Bludgeon Betty, draped like a string of twinkle lights over your ex. The children’s father, you direct yourself, as happiness drains to a puddle at your feet. He always accused you of emotional incontinence. He hides inside his phone, but Bludgeon Betty smiles at you with her cruel pearly teeth and her doughnut-glazed lips.
“I’m glad you’re here,” you tell them, “They’ll be playing your song.”
“Oh that’s nice,” simpers BB. Your ex, still recharging his phone with discomfort, swipes his eyes left. “Which one is that?”
“O Come All Ye Faithful,” you say. You are pretty sure no-one else notices the little drummer boy, parumpapapaing just under your ribs.
Morgana Macleod was born peculiar, in a time when no-one paid attention. Literary influences range from Angela Carter, Tobsha Learner and Umberto Eco to 70s Penthouse letters via the Fortean Times. She now lives on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia where her hobbies include raising two boys, carnivorous plants, and Afro-Caribbean syncretic religions. Publications include “Undercurrents” anthology and two Stringbark Press collections of prize-winners, “Between Heaven and Hell” (flash) and “Between the Sheets” (erotica). Her flash fiction appears in Thumbnail 5 and Thumbnail 6. Her work can be found online at sites including Medium and outofthegutteronline.com. Feel free to stalk her on Facebook (Morgana MacLeod); she knows she’s supposed to tweet but won’t.