Archive for the 'Twelve Days of Christmas' Category

January 5th, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas–Day Twelve

TWELVE DRUMMERS DRUMMING
by Kaye George
Illustration by Joanne Renaud
I think there were twelve, but I can’t say for sure when I first noticed the drumming. Maybe about the second week of the trek.
Our first night, alone in the tent, I was looking forward to some action. Instead, Jan turned her back. I asked why she was [...]

January 4th, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas–Day Eleven

Soon as Rick barged into the pub I could tell he’d had one of his ideas.

I let him babble for a while without listening to a word he said, something I’d perfected over the years.

Only way to restore the peace of the place was to ask him what he wanted to drink.

“Usual,” he said then put a flier on the bar.

January 4th, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas-Day Ten

Nigel was the first to jump. No surprise there. Always going on about that frightfully sporty girl from Sweden, trying to sell the fiction that he was something other than a world-class wanker and still a virgin at 16.

Nigel’s suite-mate didn’t really think Nigel had intended suicide but rather some sort of spectacular injury that would bring Agneta or Gudrun or whatever her name was, rushing to his bedside to comfort him.

Nigel had not, however, thought things out in much detail and had failed to calculate for the speed of terminal velocity and the height of the fall and the hardness of the stone courtyard at the bottom of the trip.

Nigel was terrible at maths.

January 2nd, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas–Day Nine

Nine Ladies Dancing

By Katherine Tomlinson
Illustration by Joanne Renaud
There were four little cubicles crammed into the basement of Jake Mirzoyan’s club, each with a mirror, a tiny shelf for makeup, a couple of hooks for costumes, and two chairs. On Saturday nights, when all the girls were working, things got a little crowded in the basement. [...]

January 2nd, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas–Day Eight

It’s almost Christmas, yet she’s dressed up for Oktoberfest with an authentic Bavarian dirndl, a crown of plastic flowers, and her hair fixed up in braids. Amy looks like the Chinese-American version of the 80’s mascot for a certain cocoa. Amy goes through the purse that she stole from the makeup girl right before she escaped; she has to bribe the little creep before the other passengers recognize…too late.

January 1st, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas–Day Seven

Seven Swans
By John Donald Carlucci
Illustration by Joanne Renaud
I love fire.
I love the way it dances before your eyes like a living thing.  Eating, breathing, breeding, and dying.  Water I’ve hated as long as I can remember.  Dying at the bottom of Mishikosh Lake was the last thing I expected, but life’s funny that way.
The papers [...]

December 31st, 2010

Twelve Days of Christmas–Day Six

Six Geese A Laying
by Paul D Brazill

A Roman Dalton Investigation

Illustration by Joanne Renaud
It was a cold and wan evening as the plane touched down in an airport slightly bigger than a public toilet. I had the usual thirty minute wait for my luggage, if you can call a battered old suitcase luggage, and [...]

December 30th, 2010

Twelve Days of Christmas–Day Five

Five for the Price of One

By Blue Jackson
Illustration by Joanne Renaud
Antoine was a player but he treated his ladies right. He made sure they had no call to complain because when mama’s not happy, ain’t nobody happy and Antoine liked being happy.
He took his ladies out to nice places and made a fuss over [...]

December 28th, 2010

Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Four

“Would you shut those damn things up?”

Samantha stuck her head out the bathroom door, eyes wide, mascara tube in one hand. “What?”

“Those goddamn birds. They won’t frigging shut up.”

A roll of the eyes he knew all too well, followed by, “Jesus, Mike, they’re just birds. It’s morning. They’re happy.”

Since he couldn’t come up with an answer to that without sounding like a Grade-A asshole, he settled for scowling at the birds in question before he grabbed his sweatshirt and headed for the relative safety of the kitchen.

What kind of lunatic kept a cage full of birds in her bedroom, anyway? When he’d first started seeing Samantha, he’d thought the finches were kind of cute, in a wind-up toy sort of way. And they really hadn’t been that noisy at night…at least as far as he could recall. [More...]

But then he lost his job, and Sam suggested he move in with her, and now he was stuck in the condo all day while she was at work, and he had to listen to those damn birds hour after hour. And they didn’t even sing like normal birds, for Chrissake – they beeped. Or at least that was the best word he could think of to describe the sound they made, which might have been tolerable in small doses but now was slowly driving him nuts.

He couldn’t complain, though – oh, no, then Sam would only give him one of those knowing looks, the kind that somehow managed to be pitying and yet also told him he was the world’s biggest loser. And he knew he shouldn’t be bitching, because she let him stay here rent-free and only asked him to chip in for groceries and part of the utility bills out of his meager unemployment checks. Of course, now he was doing all the housework, but he had to do something, right?

The beeping of the birds followed him into the living room, and Mike picked up the remote and turned on the local morning news, pumping the volume so the co-hosts’ inane chatter effectively drowned out the sound of the finches. He drifted into the kitchen and spent his time fixing a second cup of coffee. Hell, why not? It wasn’t as if he had to shower and shave for a job interview.

When she appeared, Sam had that faint pucker between her eyebrows that told him she was less than thrilled with his behavior, but luckily it was almost 7:30, and she had to get out the door now so she wouldn’t be late for work. Her kiss was perfunctory at best, but at least she did kiss him.

“Don’t forget the laundry,” she said, and then shut the front door behind her.

Oh, sure, how could he forget? She reminded him about it every ten minutes.

He drained his coffee and went back to the bedroom, where he started yanking clothes out of the hamper and stuffing them in the laundry basket. At least the condo had a small stackable unit in a closet off the kitchen; he didn’t think he could have handled the indignity of facing a public laundry room while washing his girlfriend’s bras.

The whole time he was sorting laundry, the little birds kept beeping at him. He gritted his teeth and tried to ignore them.

That was pretty much his whole week. Grit his teeth and endure. The gentle questions about his job search, the polite but pointed reminders about all the chores he had to do. At least he was still getting laid, but he was starting to wonder if his dick was just going to shrivel up one day because of all the nagging.

He’d tried covering up the birds during the day so he wouldn’t have to listen to them, but one day he forgot to take the sheet off the cage before Sam came home, and she gave him holy hell about it.

“You can’t do that,” she snapped. “It messes up their biorhythms.”

Fine, what about his biorhythms? Sometimes he felt as if he were going to start screaming if he had to listen to those little bastards for one more second. And they got their revenge, anyway, because the day he had kept them covered up too long they spent half the night beeping, and he couldn’t get any sleep at all. Finally Sam got out of bed, picked up the cage, and carried it out into the living room, but he knew that was only temporary. Sure enough, the birds were back on the dresser the next afternoon.

He started fantasizing about letting them go. It would be so easy – just take them out onto the condo’s balcony, cluttered with Sam’s less than successful attempts at container gardening, and open the door to the cage. Fly, be free, you little fuckers.

December 28th, 2010

Twelve Days of Christmas–Day Three

Laurent Couvelaire and Pascal Trannoy had been rivals since they both worked in the kitchen of legendary chef Georges Meneau, who hadn’t been impressed with either one of them.

Laurent, who was quite handsome in a Jean-Christophe Novelli way, moved from Meneau’s restaurant into the bedroom of a television producer 20 years his senior and parlayed that relationship into his own half-hour show on the then-fledgling Food Network.

The gimmick the producer cooked up (so to speak) was that Laurent was a sort of culinary idiot savant who somehow stumbled his way into a kitchen each week to produce carefully crafted “accidental” masterpiece meals that were then devoured with great relish by an all-female audience.