I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels, but the majority of my pieces are short fiction, the classic short story. This month’s Tease is from one such story, and just so happens to be set on Boxing Day.
He would have preferred a room with windows, but a hocked laptop only gets you so much when you insist on the Davenport. He hears rustling in the hallway and cracks the door to the extent of its security latch. A gaggle of old women with bulging bags of Christmas wrap are waddling toward the elevator, proud of their Boxing Day discounts. Even the day after Christmas requires tithing to the gods of retail. He closes the door and presses the do-not-disturb button, invoking its red lamp. Returning to the cartel cart, he opens the peanuts, washes them down with a half-empty glass of Canadian Mist then picks up a slab of cashew brittle. Twelve dollars, so what. He’ll never get the bill.
The nuts are soft and the sugary mix shatters into a mass of sweet splinters. Heaven. Sure, he thinks, the streets of Heaven could be confection laced. Makes more sense than gold. If there was anything Jesus wasn’t interested in, it was gold. He probably would remedy our holiday, consumer orgy with less X-Box and more Tiny Tim. “God bless us everyone,” he smirks.
“You can steal from Dickens to get started, Puppy. But you’ll hate yourself if it’s in the final draft.”
He jumps with the words from the uninvited guest. Brown, syrupy spittle oozes from his lips as he lurches forward, catching the bedpost. His heart drums away.
“Who the hell is that?”