Category Archives: Session VII

Wisdom

Gordon Heathrow looked at his dog and saw a man’s face. His dumbass golden retriever had never looked smarter. As he scratched his droopy ears, the little hairs all over Gordon’s body shuddered like how the wind rode the hills back on his ranch. The little golden man sighed. He looked tired and Gordon thought that maybe there wasn’t a thing wiser than a man just lying down and taking a nap.

When Sammy used to run over those green, wavy hills, it looked like he was chasing after the wind itself. He would never catch it, of course, but it sure looked like he was having fun. Gordon, in the meantime, just stood where he was, drinking himself stupid until the dog came home and he beat him. It only happened once, but Gordon never lived it down. He loved that fucking dog and what did his family leaving him have to do with Sammy, anyway? That dog lived better than Gordon ever did.

“Hey, there, champ. I know we haven’t had too many times to just sit down and talk like this, but I just want you to know that I’m proud of you. I love you and I wish I could have been a better Pop to you.” He had to bite his cheek to keep his voice steady.

The young doc stood there, looking out of place with the needle in his hand. “You ready, Mr. Heathrow?”

“Why you askin’ me?”

The doc made some uncomfortable noises in his throat. He didn’t know how to answer. “Just fuckin’ do it, doc.” Gordon wiped away his tears when the doctor’s back was turned, and he looked into his pup’s tired eyes. Looks just like a man, more than anyone Gordon had come to know in his sorry life. “Goodbye, Sammy Heathrow,” he whispered so the doc couldn’t hear. He coulda swore he saw the dog nod, like he had understood everything.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session VII

Kids Say the Darndest Things

There are as many circles of Hell as there are years in life. Starting today, I’m in circle number 8. It’s all right so far. At least there’s cake. But my “friends” don’t like me. Judy’s mom forced her to come. She brought a book of Bible stories for kids. Her mom probably bought it for her. She’s such a weirdo. In school, she picks boogers out of her nose and puts them in her pocket. Sometimes I watch her all through math class and I imagine she goes home and puts them in a row of jars, next to the human brains and baby fetuses. Amy is another freak. She sits next to me in choir because we both have deep voices for our age. She thinks we’re friends but we’re definitely not. I hate having to pretend I like these people. And it’ll just get worse every year. I’ll be stuck with these people and I’ll just have to keep smiling, keep smiling until I’m 100! God forbid I ever make it to that circle of Hell.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session VII

Waiting at a Traffic Light on a Rainy Saturday Morning

The traffic light gods are not pleased with us. Their eyes glow red, even brighter still against the gray sky. The wipers thump back and forth like a metronome, and I can feel my tongue scraping away at my cheek and my gums. It’s not like we have to be anywhere, but it seems so pointless to wait at these lights. I can’t look at her in the driver’s seat. We spent the previous night with the lights off, pretending we were somebody else or with somebody else. It smells like cigarettes in here. My right foot tries to push itself through the floor. I can feel her looking at the light, thinking thoughts that I don’t know or care to know. The red drops of rain trickle down the windshield, suddenly turning green. I blink, a little startled as the car begins to push forward. My shoulders slump and my jaw settles. The rain runs off the sides of the car. I empty my lungs completely before we reach the next light, which is red.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session VII

Santa Movie, obligatory montage leading to the climax

A choir is singing “Carol of the Bells” with an electric guitar accompaniment. The elves are all hammering an assembly line of wooden toys. Santa is checking over his list one last time, brows wrinkled and jaw bulging. Mrs. Claus is pacing around the bedroom, squeezing her palms together. The elves are working and the camera pans to Santa checking the toys. One has a nail sticking out. Santa smacks the elf over the head and takes his seat, showing him how to make the toy. Mrs. Claus looks at her husband’s crucifix and makes a sour face at it. She turns it around so she doesn’t have to look at the poor man strapped to the cross. In the stables, Santa is rubbing down the reindeer and giving them food. The music lowers to a whisper. Mrs. Claus walks in silently while Santa pretends not to notice.

“You don’t have to do this, Nicholas. I don’t know what you’re trying to prove, but I don’t want to lose you again.”

“I’ll be fine, Sara. After all this time, I’ve found my purpose. I can make this world a better place. I know it.”

“I just don’t know why you feel like this all has to rest on your shoulders, Nicholas.” She lowers her head, cringing. Santa reaches his hand out to her chin, raising her head and guiding her lips to his. The head elf walks in.

“Santa! We’re ready when you are!”

“Don’t worry, Sara,” Santa whispers. “I’ll be home for Christmas.” He spins on the heel of his boot, throwing on his cap. “I’m ready.”

The music becomes louder, the electric guitar pealing out and triumphant trumpets added to the score. Mrs. Claus and the elves are all out in the snow, waving at Santa as he snaps at the reins and the reindeer bolt into the sky. The music crescendos as the wind yanks at his clothing. He snaps the reins again and disappears into the aurora borealis. The music ends. Mrs. Claus and the elves stand silent in the cold, looking up at the sky, their breath held in nervous anticipation.

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Santa Movie, flashback scene

“But she’s a Jew!” Nicholas’s father screamed.

“Where did we go wrong? How could we have raised such an ungrateful son?” Nicholas’s mother sobbed into a handkerchief.

“I love Sara!” Nicholas protested. “I’m going to marry her one day!”

Nicholas’s mother wailed into her husband’s arms, blubbering into his shirt. His father glared at Nicholas. “How can you be so selfish, Nicholas? How can you do this to us? You only think about yourself. Just leave! Just leave us!”

Nicholas left home, feeling dejected and betrayed. He had always been taught love and acceptance, and now his parents were telling him who he could not love. Nicholas ran to his love’s house, in hopes that they could run off together.

“Nicholas. I can’t just run off and leave my family. They need me. My mother is sick and it would destroy my father if I left, especially with a Christian boy.”

“So, it’s just because I’m a Christian.”

“No, Nicholas. I…” she looked over her shoulder. “Please go home, Nicholas. I can never be your wife.” She closed the door and the snow bit at his face. Nicholas hated the snow. It made him feel alone.

On his way home, Nicholas saw a bright star in the sky and prayed. His parents had called him selfish and maybe he was. Both they and Sara had told him to leave because of old traditions. If they shared the same village, Nicholas didn’t understand why they couldn’t share a home. Jesus preached love for all men. Maybe he could understand Sara’s lack of sight, but he could not tolerate his parents disrespect for doctrine. That night, he stole some food from the kitchen and left home on the night before Christmas. He never saw his parents again.

Nicholas travelled much of the world and found much good and much evil. People willingly let him into their homes and gave him food wherever he went, but he saw and heard of the most horrible people that he had thought were devils from Hell itself. In a little town in Eastern Europe, there was a famine. People did not have much to spare, but a kind Christian family offered their home to him in exchange for manual labor, though there wasn’t much for him to do with such a poor harvest season. Nicholas went to the butcher to buy some meat to thank the kind family for taking care of him. He knocked and entered, but the butcher wasn’t home. Not a creature was stirring, at least not until he heard the silent cries of a child from one of the barrels. He pried open the top and found three malnourished children looking up at him. He pulled them out, one at a time, and led them out. Just as he opened the door, he met eyes with the butcher. Nicholas made a wild swing to the man’s jaw and he dove at him, punching wildly at the man. The people in the street were outraged by the stranger beating on their butcher. They pulled him off and cried for him to be hung, but the biggest child stopped them.

“The stranger saved our lives! The butcher has been cutting up the kids and eating them!”

The villagers looked at each other, not acting right away. Many of them had sold their children to the butcher, who claimed he had connections with slavers. They knew that they had sold away their children’s lives, but they couldn’t imagine that their children were being sold back to them as food. They never spoke of their own guilt. Instead, they put up the masks of an angry mob. They took their farm equipment and beat the butcher to death, then they threw him in a shallow grave. They hailed Nicholas as a hero for saving the children, making stories about how he brought the children back to life. They were buying his silence with praise. Nicholas was disgusted with himself and everyone else in the world. These people were all children once. How could such pure children, maybe a little naughty at times, grow up to be so cruel to one another? He left that village in the dark of night, just as he had left his home so long ago. Only this time, he took nothing with him. He went north, looking for a place where he wouldn’t have to see another living soul ever again.

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Santa Movie, Scene 1

A red-suited hunter shuffles through the frozen tundra, musket in hand. The frigid winds blow on his frost-laden beard. He tugs the fur trim of his coat over his ears. There is a valley ahead where he can escape the rising winds. Though the man is heavy enough to drop right through the fresh snow, he is familiar with how to move quickly over the frosted landscape.

The red-suited man ducks behind a rock, pulling a cookie from his coat. Just a snack until the winds pass, though that could be hours. He bites down and makes a sour face. It’s frozen. What he wouldn’t do for a plate of warm cookies and a nice glass of cold milk. Knowing not to stay in one place for too long, the hunter warms up his joints and moves deeper into the widening canyon. Hopefully, the valley comes through to the other side. If the wind changes direction, he could be caught in a sub-zero vortex.

The hunter begins to doubt the wisdom of his decision. He’s never been this far away from home, and even if he did find something to eat, he wonders whether he will have enough energy to take it back to his house. He should probably turn back. The sun will be out for another three months, but he knows his limits. He turns around and finds himself smelling the frozen breath of a beast taller than him. He stumbles back, raising his musket in defense. An animal that size could easily break every bone in his body. His breath hides his vision, so he holds it. The thing, with its long snout and cloven hooves, is a deer, only massive in size. In all his time here, he had never seen a deer around the North Pole. And what’s more, the creature was as silent as a saint in a snowstorm. For something to sneak up on him like that, it would have to be a ghost. The monster deer looked him in the eye and the hunter could almost believe there was intelligence in it. Its brown eyes were so engaging that when the creature looked up, his own eyes followed.

Above them both, seven deer were flying in circles like vultures. They drifted toward the ground and the man lowered his musket. He was screwed. The animals or spirits, whatever they were… they could pound him in the dust if they saw him as a threat. He dropped the musket on the ground and offered a gloved hand to the alpha male who had landed first.

“Ho there, boy. Ho. I’m not gonna hurt ya.”

The deer backs away, snorting. It doesn’t trust him. The man grits his teeth, keenly away of the other deer flanking him. He’s never been good with animals and now was probably not a time to start; but if he can show the animals that he is dominant over their leader, the rest will follow suit. The man lowers himself down. In a snap, he grabs his musket and charges the beast. It snaps at his head, yanking off his cap by the fur pom-pom. No time to worry over spilled milk! He shoves the musket into the frozen ground and props it up as leverage to vault onto the deer’s back. The creature bucks so that the man’s entire body shakes like jelly. He holds fast onto its neck as it flies into the air. He wonders whether this was a good idea, but he can’t turn back now.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session VII

Trailer for the Santa Movie

[Santa shuffles through an empty tundra]

In a world frozen in time, one man on a quest from God must find a way to give good will toward men.

Santa: How can I do it? There’s not enough good will in the wasteland to give to a penguin!

[Santa’s angry mitten punches through a block of ice. The camera focuses on his mesmerized face, lips locked in a silent “ho.” Camera changes to an expansive cave with pillars and stalactites made of ice.]

Santa: Who are you?

Head Elf: We’re elves.

[Cue “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” as sung by Enya. Elves are working at crudely constructed tables in the cave]

A saint consumed by his passion to give…

Head Elf: We can’t make these toys in time! And you can’t deliver all of these in only one night!

Santa: We’ll make time!

…finds that the greatest gift in the world is love.

Mrs. Claus: I don’t want to lose you now that I’ve finally found you.

Santa: Don’t worry. I’ll be home for Christmas.

[Cue “Carol of the Bells” as performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and sung by the Vienna Boy’s Choir. Staccato clips of Santa and Mrs. Claus kissing, elves making toys, Santa throwing a glass of egg nog that shatters by the head elf’s head, santa pulling on his black boots and red cap in close-up shots, and finally Santa and his reindeers flying toward the screen with a loud “whoosh” sound effect. Cut to black, fade in to credits.]

Flying into theaters on Christmas Day. Rated PG-13.

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