Friday, January 8, 2010

Not to leave you hanging

I guess I shouldn't leave this blog hanging. It's the 8th of January, and the reason I've not updated it is... well, Christmas is over. So this blog is going to sit untouched and unloved until the 2010 Christmas season, at which time I'll hope to make more of an effort with it. Until then...

Thursday, December 17, 2009



Sunday, December 13, 2009

My True Love: a short story

25 December
Dear diary,

Today was Christmas Day. My true love bought me a tree and a bird. Thought it was a strange present, but what the hell. I don't care much for birds, but one is no big deal. I'll plant the tree in the back yard. It's meant to give fruit. Cool.

26 December
Dear diary,

My true love went out and bought me two more birds. At least they're a little smaller this time - won't take up too much space in the house. Still, three birds means a lot of bird seed. I hope my true love thinks to buy me a bird cage.

27 December
Dear diary,

Today my true love bought me three chickens imported from France. My true love's behaviour is really starting to confuse me. I have no idea why he thinks I should want three chickens, and I don't know what's so special about French chickens as opposed to chickens from anywhere else. The house is starting to smell and the chickens are clucking. I hope this stops soon.

28 December
Dear diary,

I am considering breaking up with my true love. Today the lunatic sent four more birds. My house is now filled with birds and there is bird crap everywhere. What's worse is that today's birds never shut up. I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight with all the noise. My true love seems to have a brain defect...

29 December
Dear diary,

All is forgiven. My house may be swarming with birds and fleas, but my true love has finally gotten it right. Today he sent me five rings made of gold! I'm so excited! I weighed them and everything - he spent some serious cash on today's present! Now if I could only get rid of the damned birds... Oh well. Maybe there's a zoo or something I can send them to.

30 December
Dear diary,

Well, it seems old habits die hard. I thought after the rings that that might be it for the birds. But this morning, amidst all the squawking and chirping, I woke up to discover that the moron my true love sent me six geese! As I speak they're running around laying eggs and snapping at my ankles. The rings were nice and all, but my true love seems to have an unhealthy obsession with birds. Perhaps he should see a psychiatrist.

31 December
Dear diary,

It's New Year's Eve. The pear tree hasn't borne any fruit yet, but I made myself a beautiful meal of goose egg omelet and French Hen Cacciatore. They say you can think better on a full stomach, so after the meal I sat down to come up with a way to get rid of all the birds - and possibly to get rid of my true love at the same time - when suddenly I discovered to my horror that my yard had been flooded and was filled with swans. My neighbours are starting to complain about all the birds and I have no idea what to say to them. With any luck the water will freeze and all the swans will die... Oh well. Tonight I'll get drunk, celebrate New Year's Eve, and hopefully wake up tomorrow to find it was all a bad dream.

1 January
Dear diary,

It's a new year. A time to give up old habits and get over old grudges. So I woke up this morning - hung over - determined to forgive my true love, provided he would stop sending me birds. After all, birds die but true love lives forever, right? What's a few geese and hens in the face of eternal love, right? Plus, there were those golden rings...

But I got a shock when I opened my door to the strange sight of eight cows each being milked by a milkmaid. I don't think the mooing is any better than the chirping, really, but at least it's a change from all of the birds, right? Plus, I've got all the milk I need. Milk goes well with goose eggs.

2 January
Dear diary,

Things are getting problematic. The eight milkmaids need food to eat and a place to sleep. They're really good at milking cows but that's really not enough to justify their living in my house. I had to make them sleep on the floor last night, and they all got bitten by the geese. Plus I'm all out of French hen by now, so I'll have to start slaughtering the geese.

The problem has been compounded now by the fact of my psychotic true love sending along nine dancing ladies. Yeah, I like a good dance as much as anyone, but what am I going to do with nine women who are useless for anything except dancing? Where am I going to find space for 17 people in my house? This is a lot to put up with for five lousy rings. I wonder if the rings can serve as brass knuckles? That way I can break my true love's jaw for the hell he's putting me through.

3 January
Dear diary,

I have put a price on my true love's head. Whoever kills him and brings me the body can have any of the five golden rings. In addition to the milkmaids and the dancers, my true love has now sent along ten upper-class twits who insist on leaping around the house. I have no idea who these people are and why he keeps sending them - I'm starting to suspect they're fugitives on the run.

I have now slaughtered most of the birds to feed this army of people in my house. At least the avian stench is starting to dissipate at the house, but with all the dancing and leaping I can barely hear myself think. What I wouldn't do for just some peace and quiet!

4 January
Dear diary,

Please God, if you're out there, put an end to this agony. I think I'm going insane. I couldn't sleep at all last night - the lords keep leaping into the dancing ladies and they collide and fall all over the place, breaking all of my furniture. They're all grumpy now from having little to eat except whatever dairy products we can get from the milking maids. I keep telling them if they're hungry to just go away, but they insist that as they're presents from my true love, they're bound to stay.

I'm going to kill my true love with my own bare hands.

In any case, just when I'd gotten the lords and the ladies to sit still and when I finally thought I'd have a moment's peace, what do I hear but eleven morons playing pipes? Now my house is filled with the din of eleven instruments playing at the same time. Plus that eleven more deadbeats sponging off of me. What am I going to do?

5 January
Dear diary,

This will be my last diary entry. I write this from a jailhouse where I am to be hanged for murder. I am guilty. I had started to go hysterical from the lack of sleep. The constant shrieking of the pipes kept me awake all night. Mayhem broke out when I lost it and beat one of the pipers to death with his own pipe. The agony of this even caused several of the lords to leap out of the top floor window to their deaths, which frightened the milkcows, who then trampled several of the milkmaids. So my house was filled with dead bodies.

Luckily I came to my senses a little once the dancing ladies started shrieking and calling out for police. I took the body of the dead piper and buried it in the floorboards in my bedroom. The cops came and examined the bodies of the dead lords and milkmaids. Luckily, foul play was ruled out as it was clear that the lords were suicides and the milkmaids were accidents.

I thought I was in the clear. I was confident enough even to offer the officers some fresh milk. When suddenly I heard it... the pounding. The incessant thump-thump-thump... the beating of a heart. Not my heart... but much, much worse.

I couldn't stand it anymore. I tore open the floorboards. "Villains!" I shouted, "I admit the deed! Here! Here! It is the beating of his hideous heart!"

...But it wasn't. It was twelve drummers drumming at my front door. A final gift from from the evil, cruel spirit who took my life from me. My true love. My death.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Complementary Addictions: a short story

It was the first Christmas since their reconciliation. Each of them had had an addiction, and it had driven them to the point of divorce. What with his constant gambling, she never had enough money to go to the shopping centre. And with her compulsive shopping, he never had enough money to go to the track. The only things that saved their fractious marriage from complete collapse were their recent vows to each other: he to give up gambling cold turkey, she to give up her addiction to clothes shopping. It had created some tension initially, but by the time December rolled around and the sounds of sleigh bells were in the air, their marriage had resumed normalcy.

So it was with a certain amount of expectation that Della and Jim woke up on the morning of the 25th, for this Christmas would be the one to affirm their vows to each other: both the vows they had made on their wedding day and the vows they had made in the not-so-distant past.

Flush with anticipation, Della produced a sealed envelope, exclaiming, 'Merry Christmas, my dear!'. Jim took the envelope and opened it at once with a smile on his face. Upon considering the piece of paper within the card inside, however, Jim's smile faded.

'What's this, Della?' he inquired sceptically.

'It's a gift certificate from a shoe store, Jim! So you can buy whatever you want!'

'Della, what did you promise me? We said no more unnecessary shopping, didn't we?'

'Oh no, Jim', Della pleaded, 'it's not for me - it's for you! You know you could use a new pair of shoes. Or maybe boots. I swear I won't use it for myself. It's for you, honey!'

Not entirely convinced, Jim hesitated before forcing a smile and stepping forward to embrace his wife. 'Okay, Della. Thank you. And now here's your Christmas gift.'

Unable to control her excitement, Della snatched the envelope from her husband's hand. Tearing it open, she pulled the piece of paper out from within the Christmas card and proceeded to examine it. 'Uh, Jim...', she said slowly.

'Yes, dear?'

'Jim, this is a lottery ticket...'

'Why yes, honey. You know the big lottery that they have on New Year's Eve? I thought you'd like it if you had a ticket for that lottery.'

'But Jim, you promised me...'

'Oh, Della,' said Jim quickly, 'it's not like that. This lottery ticket is for you, not for me. You know I don't gamble anymore. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the excitement of the New Year's Lottery!'

'So if I win something, it's all mine?'

'Of course it is,' Jim said with a feigned angelic look.

Unsure of his conviction, Della decided to offer him the benefit of the doubt and stepped forward to embrace her husband. 'This has been a great Christmas. It's wonderful how close we can be when we overcome our personal problems, isn't it?'

'Yes it is, Della. That's what a marriage is about: sacrifice.'


The cold winds were howling outside the window as Jim closed the shop window behind him. 'Happy New Year, sir,' called the cheery voice of the shop assistant, 'are you here to return a Christmas present?'

'Uh, no', he replied, distractedly glancing at the newspaper in the shop assistant's hand, 'I'm here to redeem a gift certificate.'

'Very well,' replied the assistant. Following the path of Jim's eyes, the assistant added, 'Amazing, isn't it? "Local resident wins lottery, vows to move to Brazil to start a new life". The paper says she was married and she's abandoning her husband. Some people...'

Still distracted, Jim merely mumbled, 'Yeah, some people' in response.

Sensing that her customer might not have been a conversationalist, the assistant decided to get down to business. 'Well, sir, what can I interest you in today? The weather is terrible; perhaps you'd like some boots?'

Jim glanced at his watch. 'Uh, no, actually. I'd like some shoes, please. Shoes with thick soles if possible.'

'Thick soles? You mean platform shoes?' replied the assistant, 'I'm afraid we don't normally carry platform shoes in men's sizes...'

'Well, give me the best you've got,' Jim said, fingering a small package in his coat pocket. 'The style isn't really that important. I just need thick-soled shoes. And be quick, please.' He looked at his watch again.

'Are you in a hurry, sir?' asked the shop assistant.

'Yes I am, in fact,' Jim said as he returned his hand to the small package in his pocket. 'I've got a plane to catch.'


With apologies to O. Henry. And to Richard Reid.