Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the one hundred and seventeenth piece in this series. This week’s is a 488-word hard-hitting Santa story by novelist, short story author and guest blogger Annie Ireson. This story will be podcasted in episode 36 (with three other stories and some 6-worders) on Sunday 26th January.
Warning: contains some violence. Not suitable for younger readers.
‘Come on, you smelly old Dedoochka – get a move on!’ Alex rolled his eyes and whistled Singing in the Rain as he leaned on his broom, waiting to sweep up in the grotto.
It had been a long day and I’d had enough. My back was aching, I was hot and sweaty from being cocooned for the last eight hours in a cotton wool Winter Wonderland with children draped over my lap. More than several times I had reminded myself never again to volunteer for this job.
I sneered at Alex under the cover of my white beard. He was a nasty piece of work. I knew exactly what he got up to with his ‘droogs’. I’d marked his card years ago when things first started to go wrong. He’d been given the part of a sheep in the Christmas nativity play and kicked off when he’d been given some girls’ white tights to wear. His mother, full of Christmas spirit as usual, had stormed into the school, puffed cigarette smoke into the Head Teacher’s face and complained, saying her precious lad would be scarred for life by having to wear girls’ clothes.
Alex jabbed at my feet with his broom, pretending to sweep me up as he tried to be clever with the stupid language he had picked up, along with his recent obsession with Beethoven. I couldn’t understand what he was saying. He was dancing around like an idiot, and the broom banged hard on the backs of my heels, almost sweeping me off my feet.
I stood with my back to him, deliberately slow as I leaned forwards to pick up one of Rudolph’s sleigh bells from the floor.
Turning around, grimacing as I held my aching back, I squared up to him, leaned forwards and rang it in his face.
‘What was it you wanted for Christmas, Alex?’ I said in my best, kind Santa voice, hoping my eyes were twinkling. ‘Or have we been a baddywad little boy lately?’
Alex reached out and grabbed my beard, intending to rip it from my face. He tugged hard. Surprised when it didn’t budge, I knew I had him off guard for a second or two. Taking advantage, I grabbed him by the ear, kicked out the broom from his hand and held onto him.
He screamed out in pain. I twisted his ear harder and then kicked him viciously in the groin with my size eleven, steel toe-capped boots.
‘I know everything about you, Alex,’ I growled as he lay on the floor, writhing in agony. ‘And your so-called droogs, Georgie, Dim and Pete. You wanted ultra-violence for Christmas, I believe?’
On the floor, Alex looked up at me in surprise. I stamped hard on his abdomen and his face turned a strange shade of grey.
‘Well – you’ve got what you wanted,’ I said as I slung my sack over my shoulder and walked away.
I asked Annie what prompted this piece and she said…
A Clockwork Orange was one of my favourite books as a teenager. Rob and I (both underage at 16) went to the Granada in Kettering to see the film. I then read the book several times, and marvelled at the richness of the language, the analogy and hidden meanings. I remember saying to my English Teacher that I thought it would one day be a classic. She laughed at me….
I hope she’s reading this now. Thank you, Annie.
Annie Ireson lives in Kettering, Northamptonshire and works full-time at the local council offices. For many years she harboured what her husband and three children always referred to as a dirty little secret. In her spare time she was as likely to be found tapping away on a keyboard as she was with her head buried deep within the pages of a book, but even some members of her family never knew she was a secret writer.
In 2008, after writing a 200k word family saga, she poked her head out of the writing closet. With what can only be described as pure terror, she submitted her manuscript to agents. After being advised to split the saga into a trilogy, Annie almost secured a publishing deal in 2009. A literary agent advised her to “go and write another book”. Annie is still seeking a traditional route to publication for the trilogy.
Since writing ‘The White Cuckoo’, her fourth novel, Annie has completed the first draft of a fifth and started writing her sixth – a political drama entitled ‘The Fourteenth Traitor’.
Annie has also written a number of short stories, one of which won a gold award in a national competition in 2008, and another that was included in a charity anthology in 2012. She has also had a short story accepted for publication by a women’s magazine.
If you’d like to submit your 6-word or 500-word max. stories for consideration for Flash Fiction Friday take a look here, or up to 1,000 words for critique on my Online Short Story Writing Group (links below).
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Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
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Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
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