Flash! Friday Vol 3 – 2

Here we are at the second week of Year Three! And I don’t know about you, but after the feverish intensity of Flashversary, I’m feeling like we could use something light and fun. So I called up an old friend to see if he’d pose for today’s prompt, which of course, jolly old elf that he is, he agreed to, er, promptly. Knowing you darlings, you’ll find a way to put my dear friend through the wringer, dragging him on a thousand adventures across darkness and time and space. Clement Moore, eat your heart out!

A reminder that Flashversary results have posted here; be sure to stop by and congratulate the winners if you haven’t already! You can also read the finalists’ stories here (note: as champ Maggie Duncan‘s story is under consideration for publication by Flash Fiction Online, you will not be able to read her story for a bit yet. We’ll be sure to let you know when it’s published). Thank you again to everyone who came out for our annual mega party. You are extraordinary writers, and it’s a privilege knowing you!! Thank you so very much.

 ♦♦♦♦♦

Our second team of new Dragon Captains consists of Mark A. King and Tamara Shoemaker. Take a moment to read their bios and their judging philosophies (it’s worth your time, especially as Tamara wrote you a poem). A reminder that Flash! Friday judges completely blindly; all we crave are really, really, really good stories. And as Mark says, somehow, no matter the prompt or season, you always deliver really, really, really good stories. You and they are both going to have a magnificent time this round, I just know it.  

 ♦♦♦♦♦

Awards Ceremony: Results will post Monday. Noteworthy #SixtySeconds interviews with the previous week’s winner post Wednesdays.  I (Rebekah) post my own unbalanced writings sometimes on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

Now, put out a glass of milk and a plate of cookies, and write a story based on the photo below.

* Word count: Write a 150-word story (10-word leeway on either side) based on the photo prompt.

HowPost your story here in the comments. Include your word count (140 – 160 words, excluding title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one. If you’re new, don’t forget to check the contest guidelines.

Deadline: 11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time)

Winners: will post Monday

Prize: The Flash! Friday e-dragon e-badge for your blog/wall, your own winner’s page here at FF, a 60-second interview next Wednesday, and your name flame-written on the Dragon Wall of Fame for posterity.

—NO DRAGON’S BIDDING—WRITE A STORY BASED ON THE PHOTO ALONE—

Wanted: Santa Claus. CC artwork by Kevin Dooley.

Wanted: Santa Claus. CC artwork by Kevin Dooley.

 

 

 

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431 thoughts on “Flash! Friday Vol 3 – 2

  1. Mistaken Identity
    by JM6, 160 words, @JMnumber6

    “Who’s this guy?”

    “We brought him in on a twelve-twenty-five, Sarge. ”

    “Impersonating the big guy? Another one?”

    “Yeah. It’s less than a week, now. We’re gonna need a psych eval for this one, though.”

    “He thinks he’s the big guy for real?”

    “Yup. Poor nitwit.”

    “You’ve explained to him that three and a half inches is a lot smaller than the real Santa?”

    “He says that it’s how he gets down chimneys but he’s stuck that way as long as he’s in custody.”

    “Clever delusion.”

    “Say, Sarge? How DOES he get down the chimneys?”

    “He shrinks to tiny size along with the presents, then gets back to normal size once he’s in the room. That’s why he needs the cookies. The energy expenditure is immense.”

    “Uh oh.”

    “What?”

    “Um, Sarge? When we arrested the guy, he actually had a sleigh. And eight tiny reindeer.”

    “No. You didn’t.”

    “I, uh, think we might be on the naughty list this year.”

  2. Request to readers. It finally happened. I accidentally used a title I had previously used in another story. (I’ll need to start checking titles before I post.) If you can think of a better title for this story, please let me know. Thanks.

  3. A regular Santa Claus

    Officer Penny reviewed his notebook, “Mr. Nicholas, what were you doing inside that private residence at approximately 4:15 this morning?”

    The burglar was still dressed in his bright red tracksuit. Must be new gang colours. He let out a deep chuckle. Clearly he felt no remorse.
    “I was there to deliver toys!”
    “Sure, sure, you’re a regular Santa Claus. We caught you with a sack full of gift wrapped electronics with other peoples names on them. Care to explain that?”
    “I hadn’t delivered them yet!”
    “Right, of course. We also impounded your getaway vehicle, which we found on a nearby roof. Seems like you were planning on getting out of there in a hurry.”
    “Of course, I still have thousands more houses to get through.”
    “You heard him lads, he just confessed to planning a crime spree. Book him.”

    No-one noticed the scratching noise from the evidence room as a new name slowly appeared on the naughty list.

    160 words
    @todayschapter

  4. @MattLashley_
    155 words

    How Christmas Died

    Tiny Santa swore he caught a fish this big.
    But Sammy thought, tiny Santa was not to be believed.
    Because believing tiny Santa’s story meant believing in tiny Santa.
    And belief in tiny Santa is a hop, skip and jump from belief in other tiny imaginary things.
    Anyway, what would his friends think?
    They would think he’d bashed his head or gone silly, that’s what.
    And what would his friends say?
    They would call him tiny Santa lover, that’s what.
    They would break all the candy canes in his stocking.
    And force him out into the snow naked.
    And he would run away from them.
    And they would throw snowballs at his exposed buttocks as they bounced.
    Because, according to the government’s recently published body measurement index, he was slightly out of shape.
    Slightly overweight Sammy would not, could not believe tiny Santa’s fish story.
    Just wouldn’t be sensible.
    And that was how Christmas died.

  5. WHAT’S BETTER THAN A MILLENNIUM FALCON?

    Brian S Creek
    159 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    Santa looked at the grizzled detective sat across from him. “Hello Peter.”

    “Hello Santa.”

    “You want to tell me what I’m doing here? It’s Christmas Eve and I’ve still got places to be.”

    “You’re not going anywhere. I’ve been chasing you for 32 years and I’ve finally got you.”

    “Are you still mad about that? Christ Peter, you have to let it go.”

    Peter ground his teeth, his mind taking him back to that Christmas morning when he was seven. “You’re going down, Claus. I’ve got you on B&E, tax evasion, illegal import of goods. You think you’re above the law? Well this is the end of the road.”

    “Peter, I do my best every year but even I have my limits.”

    “Excuses.”

    “I’m sorry you never got your Millennium Falcon. But you can’t let your hatred ruin future Christmas’ for others. Especially your son.”

    “I don’t have a son. My wife can’t . . .”

    “Merry Christmas, Peter.”

  6. The accused

    ‘She’s no angel!’
    Santa had a poor defence. Standing for his photo, he pointed at the woman who wore a sparkly dress wrapped around a toilet roll, tinsel necklace, pair of wings and a halo resting on her ping pong ball head.
    His eyes pleaded with the angel. She sneered back from her smudged mouth, a crudely drawn smile from ear to ear, divided her chinless face.
    Santa groaned.
    There had always been an edgy truce between his accuser, and himself. She resented his immaculate outfit, his perfect round figure, jolly face, and welcoming open arms all packed into a four inch high, squeaky clean character and saw her chance to get rid of him during that fateful moment when the cat chose to swipe him off his branch.
    She could easily have moved away, but she lay, prostrate, waiting for him to fall on top of her.
    Her purity was compromised.
    It traumatised the children.
    Christmas was cancelled.

  7. Camera blooper
    Elisabeth Mannerfeldt
    154 words, @AbandonedWorlds

    ”Really, Santa, will you stop playing with the camera?”
    “Ho ho ho, look at me, I’m a dangerous burglar.”
    “You’re not a burglar; we are here to deliver gifts to the police, would you help us instead of dancing around?”
    “Just one more, look at this, with a cute little sign with a number on it!”
    Elf number 1002 and elf number 876 both sighed and started unloading the Christmas gifts from the big sleigh parked in front of the police reception. They carefully put the gifts in the stockings and climbed on to the sleigh again.
    “OK, we’re leaving, are you coming?”
    “Alright, alright!”
    Santa chuckled all way up in the air; the reindeers kept looking back, never having seen Santa so giggly. Until Elf number 1002 suddenly said:
    “Did you erase the pictures from the camera?”
    After that only the sound of the wind brushing the sides of the sleigh was heard.

  8. Old Saint Nick(ed)

    Freddie’d be the first to admit he’d been an amateur, in the beginning. Trying to stay awake all through Christmas night? He couldn’t believe he’d ever tried that. Not for real. Half the kids in the world tried that old ruse.

    It never worked.

    Eleven o’clock would come, Christmas Eve, and it’d be like someone pulled the shutters down. Freddie had long suspected foul magic. He’d sleep like a log till well after Old Red-Suit had been and gone, and the presents left behind would seem like an insult. Try again next time, little man, they’d chuckle. Try better.

    Well, this year, it was on.

    He’d planned it for months.

    Titanium-core netting over the fireplace? Check.

    Steel bolts to seal off the chimney? Check.

    A hyper-sensitive pressure trigger on a brain-rattling alarm? Check.

    Freddie settled back with a cookie, smiling. This year, he vowed. This year, Mr Claus, I’ll be the judge of who’s naughty, and who’s nice. Capisce?

    160 words
    @SJOHart

  9. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
    160 words
    What he told me was so compelling, I stopped and looked right at him: his cheeks were the colour of berries, and his face creased and settled into a smile that reminded me of childhood.
    ‘You put it on your list when you were eight.’
    ‘I don’t remember.’
    ‘I do,’ he said, producing a piece of yellowing paper. Next, he produced  a plastic head from some sort of holdall.
    ‘I hadn’t realised how grotesque those things looked,’ I said.
    ‘All the cosmetics are there.’
    ‘Well, I am  twenty, now. I’m  allowed to shove gunk on my own face.’
    ‘I know. It’s a little late. But I don’t like … oversights. They keep me awake.’
    From his bag of tricks came a bottle. He topped up his coffee.
    ‘I got a little detained that night, you know.’
    And it was then I really believed.
    ‘I know,’ I said slipping in to the seat beside him.
    ‘How’s your Mama?’
    ‘Still mad,’ I said.

  10. A Celebratory Pie
    A.J. Walker

    Once, everyone knew they had their own Santa, somehow this truth had been forgotten and the ridiculous myth of one Santa had been born – one for the entire world! Following his famous findings in ‘Mythological Misdirections and Santas’ Daniel had fallen into his career and was now the world’s number one Santaologist.

    This Santa was average, at 3.5 inches, but as he recorded it Daniel noticed it was his 500th capture. He’d treat himself to a celebratory mince pie later.

    Daniel took his measurements and photographs efficiently – he hated the idea of a child missing his presents for the sake of his study – he quickly got to his one question. “Who’s Santa are you?”

    “Master Eddie Williams from Addlington, sir.” the Santa answered. “He’s been good.”

    “Thanks for your patience, Eddie William’s Santa.” said Daniel, before carefully releasing him.

    “Eddie will be getting his presents this year.” Daniel smiled.

    He bit into his first mince pie of Christmas. “Happy Christmas!”

    160 words
    @zevonesque

    #FlashDogs

  11. @bex_spence
    149 words

    Suspect

    Christmas Eve, Joe stared down the camera his crystal blue eyes were devoid of life, no spark within. Year after year he’d travelled the world, his catatonic reindeer pulling the wooden sleigh. Father Christmas they called him, it was so long ago that Father Christmas had existed.

    Joe had met him once, that day on the roof. Fixing a tile the storm had disrupted. It didn’t take much to throw him off kilter, a slip and a fall, Father Christmas was no more. But Joe stepped in, took the reins, so to say, well actually that is what he did.

    A free round the world trip, he could get close to the children, the ones that mattered, the source of his life. Soaring through the sky, silhouette striking, he left a path of destruction in his wake. He wondered how long it would be before they caught him.

  12. The Real Santa
    @lsunil
    158 words

    ‘Is this tiny Santa all you stole? Tell the truth boy’, said the policeman looking at the boy. He looked of about 10 or 12, shabby clothes, unkempt hair, tears creating a neat path on his dirty face.

    ‘Why didn’t you steal some food instead? You look like you need it.’

    ‘I-It’s n-not for me sir’, the boy said between sobs. ‘It’s for my little brother, Ronnie. We live across the TV shop on the street. And all he is seeing is Santa on the TV, Santa bringing shiny presents, Santa listening to your wishes. He talks of nothing else. So, I thought of getting him one.’

    ‘Don’t you also want to meet Santa?’

    ‘Nah! Grown-ups know Santa is not real’, said the boy.

    ‘Ok. Keep the Santa and here, take this money and buy some food. Tell Ronnie, Santa will come to see him tonight.’

    ‘Mom was wrong. I always knew Santa was real!’, thought the boy. .

  13. Family Tradition

    Janine hated that ornament. Something compelled her mother to give it pride of place on the tree each year, just as her mother and her mother before had done. Her sister had whispered, ‘Don’t look into his eyes; NEVER directly at him,’ as though he was some festive Medusa. And Janine always heeded this whispered warning. Until last night.

    Teenage bravery compelled her to glance over at his pointy little boots dangling from the bushiest bough. Her eyes traced his fat, glittered belly and rested on his rosy cheeks, the furthest point she had dared travel.

    She got up and walked over to the tree until, face to face and fists tight, she stared into his black eyes.

    Nothing. Nothing happened at all, even when she poked him so he swung, clinking rhythmically into the nearby crystal robin. She exhaled and laughed at her stupidity before walking away while, behind her, he steadied himself and narrowed his beady eyes.

    159 words
    @_sarahmiles_

  14. Erin McCabe
    160 words
    @Disturbiakss

    Platformism

    They say that on your right shoulder sits a benevolent angel, glowing bright, white and holy, whilst on the left, sits a malevolent devil, glowing red, dead and gory.

    The idea of this confused Martin as he had neither of these ethereal characters atop his shoulders to aid decision making. Instead, Martin had a tiny Santa.

    It was Santa who had told him to burn down the financial district. In reality, this had taken the form of Martin throwing a brick through the window of his local bank. He doubted this would end Capitalism, but Santa seemed pleased.

    It was Santa who had told him to bring down the ruling classes and denounce property rights; this last instruction leading to their current precarious predicament.

    The Police Inspector examined the report again.

    “Taking a bath in the Mayor’s house?”

    “Santa told me to do it!” Martin Whimpered.

    “Santa?” The Inspector scoffed. “That’s not Santa, that’s the famous social anarchist El Santo!”

  15. “Regifting”
    by Michael Seese
    160 words

    No kid expects a dead parent for Christmas. But that’s exactly what I got one year.

    My Mom was a cop. The good kind. The kind who actually helped folks. One Christmas Eve she tried to stop some loser from stealing another family’s joy. He put one in her chest.

    I stayed with my Grandma. But she had her hands full with her boozing husband. So they put me in foster care.

    The Christmas season always makes me a little crazy. The state psychiatrist would say I needed to find a way to release my anger.

    It’s a good thing the malls don’t conduct background checks.

    As a little freckled cherub settled into my lap, her mother beaming and flashing away, I smiled, thinking about the .45 in my boot. I wanted to say, “This is reality, kid. There ain’t no Santa Claus. Just creeps, like the one who offed my Mom. And me.”

    But actions scream louder than words.

  16. Clause and Effect
    Margaret Locke (margaretlocke.com or @Margaret_Locke)
    158 words

    I had to do it.

    I mean, have you seen all the press that stupid Elf on the Shelf has been getting lately? Cavorting with Barbies, snorting powdered sugar, pooping on cookies?

    He lands Barbie and I’m stuck with ol’ Mrs. Claus? Come on.

    Seriously, it’s as if people have forgotten I’m the reason for the Season.

    Er, well, you get my drift.

    I didn’t think anyone’d notice. People leave me cookies all the time. What’s the big deal about sampling a wee bit early? A man’s gotta drown his sorrows somehow.

    Who knew she’d turn me in for taking a bite? Just one bite. OK, so it was out of fourteen cookies. Perhaps I should have stuck with two. But quality control, I tell you.

    Now here I am, locked up. Until the 24th, at least. Because no matter what fame that idiot Elf claims, I’m still Big Man on Campus come the 25th.

    Take that, Elf.

  17. Ebenezer’s Christmas

    WC: 159

     

    NOTICE TO ALL BOUNTY HUNTERS:

     

    WANTED:

     

    NAME: Santa Clause

     

    ALIASES: St. Nicolas; St. Nick, Chris Kringle; Father Christmas; (possibly Humpty Dumpty?)

     

    SIZE AND WEIGHT: Three and three-fourths inches tall and about 10 ounces heavy.

     

    DESCRIPTION:

     

    Dressed in overpowering red bordered by white.

     

    Black belt with big belt buckle.

     

    Long white beard and tall red and white hat.

     

    Likes to say ‘Ho ho ho’ and ‘Merry Christmas’ a lot.

     

    Carries big red bag around filled with presents.

     

    Has reindeer that fly and a sleigh.

     

    LAST SEEN: Susan McDonald’s house, squeezing down the chimney.

     

    HIDEOUT: Somewhere in the North Pole.

     

    WANTED FOR: Spreading happiness and Christmas cheer.

     

    WANTED BY: Ebenezer Scrooge

     

    PRICE: 16,000 pounds.

     

    MORE INSTRUCTIONS:

     

    Since the reindeer fly, actions might be needed to be taken at his hideout. Locate his magic corn  and replace with normal corn. Then there will be no more escape vehicle.

     

    Don’t worry about being on the naughty list. I’ll make it worth it.

  18. Erin McCabe
    160 words
    @disturbiakiss

    Infamy

    “You’re a four week fad mate.”

    “Excuse me, but do you have your own holiday?”

    “No but…”

    “Children worship me, people dress in my likeness!”

    “You sound like a megalomaniac mate.”

    “People celebrate me!”

    “Yes well, people celebrate me too mate.”

    “No they don’t!”

    “Yes, they do, I’m a household staple mate.”

    “A staple?”

    “Where do you think crisps come from?”

    “Crisps? They make films about me!”

    “They make films about me too mate.”

    “Rubbish, when was the last time you saw a film about a potato?”

    “Mash?”

    “That was a TV series about the Vietnam War!” Tiny mantelpiece Santa could feel his blood starting to boil. Before he could contain himself he had stolen He-Man’s sword and skewered Mr Potato Head through the eye. As it was Christmas there were no Police around so it was left to the Ghostbusters to arrest him. Even as they were taking his mug shots he was still screaming about crisps and potatoes.

  19. Inches of Insane

    It’s staring at me.

    Keeps staring at me.

    I’ve grown to loathe this time of year. The jolly holidays and merry making, spun sugar that’s set too long and has begun to rot my teeth. I can feel the daily decay gnawing away my gum-line.
    The ache of loneliness, not unlike that of a degenerate tooth.

    Though, the season is not entirely responsible for my lost loves, buried past, and hidden heartache. It simply serves as a reminder. An overly adorned, inflatable reminder of my single status.

    I decorate my tree as Barry glares at me; the cat knows more than he’s letting on. Baubles handed down from my great aunt, some heavy as the weight of emptiness in my chest, some as fragile as my leaping sanity. I hang them all.

    Wedging every tchotchke and trimming I can muster between the branches of this fake fir tree, I feel the painted plastic eyes watching me again, mocking.

    Naughty.

    160 words
    @blackinkpinkdsk

  20. Captive Set Free
    John Mark Miller – 160 words
    @JohnMark_Miller

    I was marrying the wrong man.

    Part of me had always known. Michael was handsome and successful… almost too perfect. He was also completely self-absorbed and – well – completely wrong.

    But I knew the moment I opened the gift from Jake, my harebrained friend since preschool. It wasn’t just a new Christmas ornament for my collection – it was the ornament. The same ridiculous Santa that I had cried over when my cat ate it. After all these years…he had remembered.

    There was an audible gasp as I flung the church doors open and fled outside, shouting his name. He says I took his breath away as I ran across the fresh snow in my gleaming white dress.

    He ran across the street to reach me, stopping traffic and slamming into an elderly couple. They actually arrested him for jaywalking, but he says it was worth it.

    We had a beautiful Christmas wedding, and our cake topper? My cherished Santa ornament…behind bars.

  21. Double Life
    (156 words)

    Every year when Christmas rolls around, She of Soft Hands places me on my mantel perch. I survey my festive domain: the tree, the lights, the bows, the tinsel. I’m happy.

    Until he comes.

    When She of Soft Hands leaves the house, Wicked One sneaks over and snatches me.

    Rather than Man of the Month, I become:

    Saint Nicked-the-presents, booked at the LEGO police station

    Claus-trophobic, dropped in a LEGO castle dungeon

    Krispy Kringle, caught in the crossfire between LEGO Jedi and the Dark Side

    Father Christmas-past (or was it future?), crammed in a LEGO DeLorean

    And, to add insult to injury, he records my shame and parades it on the Internet for other 12-year-old boys to scorn. “LEGOmoviemaker0001,” indeed.

    Where’s the love? Wouldn’t this be considered naughty? I’m questioning all that I represent.

    Oh no… She of Little Sticky Hands has grabbed me. Nooooo! Please, not the LEGO Barbie Fashion Boutique.

    Dammit. I’m Santa Claus-dresser.

  22. The Real Deal
    @hollygeely
    157 words

    “I caught Santa!”

    Max looked at John’s outstretched hand.

    “That’s a toy, John.”

    “Are you sure? When I press his tummy he says ‘ho ho ho.’ I’m sure he’s the real deal!”

    John hadn’t been quite right since his wife ran off the year before. Santa needs a Mrs. Claus, the note said, and frankly he has more job security than you do, my dear.

    “It’s a toy, John,” Max said again. He reached for it.

    John’s eyes flashed, his teeth snapped, and he bit toy Santa’s head clean off. He spat the offending cranium at a high velocity into the wall, where it exploded into shards of plastic.

    Max reconsidered his position.

    “There, you’ve had your revenge. Do you feel better?”

    John pushed toy Santa’s tummy. “Ho ho ho!” exclaimed the decapitated doll.

    “At least she didn’t leave me for the Easter Bunny,” John said. “I don’t think the ears would have fit in my mouth.”

  23. The set up. By Mark Driskill
    W.C. 150 words, without by lines.
    “Is that him”?
    “Yes, sergeant.”
    “You sure?”
    “Absolutely. I’d know that face anywhere.”
    “Now Miss America, you’re making some pretty serious charges here. When this gets out it’s gonna be worse than that Cosby thing. Are you prepared for that?”
    Her glare slices through the observation window.
    “Yes, it’s been too long. I should have reported this sooner.”
    The Sergeant fires deep into her conscience with his double barrel stare.
    “Do you realize the implication, of accusing a man of his standing with child abduction, consumer fraud, and grand theft of a holiday?” She nods quickly oblivious to her snowcapped knuckles biting down hard.
    “Ma’am, what’s that in your hand?”
    “m-my Christmas shopping list.”
    The sergeant whispers into his lapel.
    “Did you guys get that?” “We got all of it sir.”
    “Okay, tell Santa he’s free to go. As I suspected.”
    “Miss America, You have the right to remain silent….”

  24. Calling All Cars!
    157 words
    personalvapes@gmail.com

    “Calling all cars! Calling all cars!”

    Every year, we get the call. Every year, we respond. Every year, our department fails to close this decades-old case.

    “Person of interest male, white, late 70’s, portly. Full facial hair, white. Last seen wearing bright red suit and hat with white fringe, black belt, black knee-boots.”

    My hands curl around the steering wheel, mentally preparing for the yearly bloodbath.

    “Suspect get-away vehicle tiny sleigh pulled by 8 animals of reindeer origin. No plates evident.”

    My partner and I lock eyes, knowing…HATING…what’s coming.

    “Occular trauma to multiple victims. Eyes replaced with charcoal briquettes.”

    I yank a cigarette from the pack on the dash. “Shoulda been nice…” I whisper, even as my partner mutters “Here comes the weird part…”

    “Suspect 3.75 inches tall. Last known locations… ”

    A string of addresses follow, blanketing the car in a wall of sound.

    “Public Enemy number one…” I growl, flipping on the siren.

  25. Hard Time at Xmas
    160 words
    @BradyTheWriter

    YOU HAVE A COLLECT CALL FROM AN INMATE AT A CORRECTIONAL FACILITY

    Martha sighed and put the phone on speaker. She had her hands full this time of year keeping the family business going while she waited on Kris to get out of the Hohaho State Pen.

    “Hey sweetie, how’s Christmas going at the shop?”

    She let him sit in silence. Martha had been at this table trying to reconcile a pile of shipping invoices all morning.

    She still loved him, but was still mad at his pig-headed commitment his work team that got them into this situation to begin with. Rudolph already had two priors and a third strike would send him away for life. Kris thought it would be better accept the blame of the DWI himself. The spineless elves on the scene didn’t intervene.

    “Sweetie you there?” he asked.

    Martha chased another bite of reindeer jerky with some egg nog and let him marinate a while longer.

  26. Naughty
    @voimaoy
    159 words

    Emma had always erred on the side of naughty. “Good girls get a diamond first. Bad girls get the diamonds, later,” she would say, laughing  with her friends.

    “You’re a naughty girl,” the man in red said. “No fur coat for you, this year.”

    “But, Santa Baby, haven’t I been good to you?”

    “Sure, Baby,” the man in the skinny red disco suit smiled at the memories. “It’s been good, but I can’t afford it anymore.  You know what I’m saying?  I’m like your Christmas past.”

    “Wait, Santa,” Emma cried, as a new figure appeared. This man in red was round and  haggard looking. “Who are you?”

    “I’m your future, Baby,” the figure said. I’m a repeat-offender boyfriend who’ll leave you for a blonde in Spandex. “You’re looking kind of tired, by the way.”

    “Thanks for nothing,” Emma said. “Who needs you?”

    “Wake up, naughty girl,” the man in the bed said. “I love you, Baby. I’m your Christmas present.”

  27. Caught Red-Suited
    @lizhedgecock
    152 words

    He licked the frosting from his upper lip. ‘So how many have we got down there, Brad?’

    ‘Loads.’ drawled Officer Berry. ‘All with the same paper-thin story. Just wearing the red suit to please the kids. Caught on the roof with a sack of toys but I can explain, yada yada.’ Brad sipped from a Styrofoam cup, his features blurred by rising steam.

    ‘D’ya think they’re working together?’

    Brad shrugged. ‘No clue. I kept ’em separate, anyway.’ He leaned against the doorframe, and yawned.

    ‘You get on home. It’s no day to keep Holly and the kids waiting.’

    ‘You sure, Chris?’

    ‘Sure I’m sure.’ 

    The station door banged. Chris’s smile faded in synch with Brad’s footsteps.

    Chris crept downstairs. Every cell had its own identical Santa, slumped in the top left corner on a regulation chair.

    ‘Nick?’ They turned, as one. Chris jingled the key ring.

    ‘This has got to stop…’

  28. A cheap Djinn will always leave you with a headache

    @geofflepard 151 words

    The modern world depressed Santa. Back in the day everyone had a chimney and children wanted simple toys. Now everywhere is sealed like a vault and the expectations are off the scale.
    The elves put the word out. ‘How do we get our Santa back?’ At his annual medical he barely raised one Ho! let alone three. All sorts were suggested but in the end they decided on a Djinn. Mrs Santa was against it. Always negative that woman and she insisted on the lowest grade Djinn. One wish. He didn’t inspire confidence; he took an age emerging from his lamp, shaking sand from his ears. ‘What is it that you require?’ he intoned.
    Mrs Santa sneered. ‘What Santa needs is a shrink.’
    ‘Needs what?’
    ‘Shrink!’
    The Djinn shrugged. ‘If you’re sure.’
    The elves were horrified: a four inch Santa.
    ‘Cheer up,’ said Mrs Santa. ‘At least he’ll fit the chimneys.’

  29. Log Entry 1: Y. U. L. E. University, Department of Extraterrestrial Anthropology

    “Article 0001, recovered from Alpha Site. Item measures 4 inches and is made of plastic. From what we can gather from the remaining information on the site is that this was some type of idol exhibited during a festival. By its physical appearance, it would seem that it emulates the obesity which is said to have dominated the last era of ‘Earth’, though others have postulated that obesity was a way in which humans tried to emulate this figure, much like the inhabitants of Rgarnudb all have a third eye implanted on their foreheads. A figurine of a horned animal with a distinctive red nose was recovered with it.”

    Eila stopped the recording and stared at the photos of the destroyed planet. How can you recover a whole history from what little remained after a war that decimated all its inhabitants? She ran three blue fingers over the figurine and wished she could have met one of these “humans”.

    Words : 160
    http://www.hersenskim.blogspot.com
    @CarinMarais

  30. Stocking Stuffer (160 words)
    @brett_milam

    Charlie said Santa was a butthole because he didn’t come to his house last year. And because of that, he said Santa wasn’t real. But I knew that was silly since I could see Santa sitting in the biggest chair I’ve ever ever seen with gold around its red edges.

    Mom said I could go to the mall and meet Santa if I cleaned my room. But mom’s just being silly because I always kept my room clean. I picked up my copy of The Adventures of Captain Underpants that had fallen off my shelf, put it back in front of A Wrinkle in Time. That’s all there was to do.

    Santa said when I was sitting on his lap what I guess he said to all the kids except Charlie since he’s rotten, “What do you want for Christmas, little boy?”

    I said back to him, distracted by the movement next to my leg, “Is that your toy, Santa?”

  31. Josh Bertetta
    “Catharsis”
    159 Words
    @JBertetta

    “Number Six please take a step forward. Say ‘Ho, ho, ho.’”

    Her face contorted as must Santa to get down his chimney. “I don’t think so.”

    “Thank you, Number Six. Please step back.” He looked at Janet. “Well…”

    “I know, I know. I can’t tell. They all look the same, sound the same.” She buried her face in her hands and cried. “We’ll never find who did it…”

    “Don’t worry Janet, we’ll catch the bastard.”

    She threw her arms, tight at her mom wrapped her ribbon, around his waist. “That’s all I want for Christmas.”

    Officer Dan opened the door to the lineup room, pulled out his revolver and shot every single Santa in the head, returned to Janet, and said, “See, I told you we’d get him.”

    Janet took one of the Santas in her hands and ripped off its head. She took the Officer Dan doll and smashed the second Santa, looked to her therapist and smiled.

  32. A White Christmas (160 words)
    @brett_milam

    Calvin snugged the Santa hat as tight around his ears as he could. It was going to be a long walk back to the house with the car now dead, but nothing was going to stop him from surprising Andre like this.

    Not even the polyester on the hat, which he was sure was leaving a red rash against his dark skin.

    Andre wanted a Star Wars lightsaber for Christmas, the one Obi-Wan Kenobi used. It was pricey, but this year would be special. If he had to eat black beans for three weeks after, so be it.

    Then in the darkness, the red and blue lights of a police car blinded him. Without thinking, he brought his arm holding the lightsaber to his eyes to shield them.

    The lone officer stepped out of his vehicle, his red and blues highlighting a dark man in a hood with what looked like a sword in a threatening motion.

    Calvin stepped forward.

  33. Gone was the myth that he stood over six feet tall, weight over 300 jolly pounds and rode in an open sleight being pulled by reindeers. The real thing stood barely four feet tall and drove a relic- a red Yugo.

    I picked him at the corner of Main and Brown running with a red kettle marked Salvation Army. I chased him for over three blocks. At the station he confessed- he had run out of money. With a list still to finish for some of the kids in the south-end, he saw the kettle as a sign and a solution to his problem.

    After some negotiations, I returned the kettle, took my credit card out and at midnight, in my patrol car, I drove the guy in the red suit delivering presents.

  34. GIFTED

    Marissa lifts the tiny felt Leprechaun from the box and turns it over for the hundredth time. It’s got painted eyes and long lashes, and a label stuck to it with typed numbers: “0004.”

    “It’s gonna happen again,” Marissa’s partner, Deanna, says from the doorway of the bare apartment. Sirens whine in the distance.

    “I got nothing,” Marissa says and drops the figure back in. It lands on top of a heart, 0003, a snowman, 0002, and Santa, 0001.

    “Nothing. Nothing I can do.” Marissa turns and looks at Deanna. “How am I supposed to solve this?”

    “Maybe you’re not,” Deanna says.

    “But I want to. It’s the right thing,” Marissa says.

    “I know,” Deanna says, rocking the baby. “I know.”

    Marissa pulls four envelopes from the box, each with a bit of cash and a labeled: “A little help from a friend.”

    “I just want to tell them, thank you.”

    @betsystreeter
    154 words

  35. Joy to the Worlds
    Evan Montegarde
    159 Words

    “How dare they bring joy to the world,” Praetor Novum humbugged as he watched the jolly fat micro elf in his little red suit standing happily in the mugshot line behind the diminutive reindeer and additional elves captured on their miniature intergalactic sleigh by the Star Cruiser Asininity.

    “You do realize you are ruining a billion traditions in even more galaxies and endless worlds?” Captain Fairplay noted. “Young things of all kinds would skin you alive if they knew.”

    “It doesn’t matter Fairplay, we need to discover the secret, their mode of instantaneous transport across space and time dimensions. It will be our edge to defeat the Cretin Imperium.”

    “It’s called magic Novum, and we will never capture it in an algorithm.” Fairplay sighed.

    It was then Santa started chuckling, Praetor Novum choked on the sparkling “Pixie Dust” that suddenly filled the processing room and Fairplay began laughing hysterically. The Wonder of Christmas continued unhindered as it always does.

  36. First Contact

    Robert J Becraft
    160 words
    castlewrks@aol.com

    Eight days. Down the worm-hole, into quarantine, health check and then to quarters.
    Outside, it was frozen, damn cold. The fog was the worst as it made seeing things difficult. Not seeing something could be deadly.

    Ugly critters ducked in and out. They looked all fuzzy, till you came around to the front end with the sharpened stick parts sticking out right above their eyes. Too close and they’d try and spear you with the pointed ends. Just close enough, they’d spook and a couple of bounds, they’d take right off.

    The nasty ones were the bipeds. They’d grab your kit and before you could stop them, it would be doing something else other than what it was intended for.

    “Nerd pole”, “Melly kristmas” they’d shout, dashing off across the ice.

    Rumor was they got the big cheese of the bipeds. In his picture he didn’t look very large, but it was just a model.

    Orders were, “take ‘em all.”

  37. We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes

    “He kept laughing at me. At me! Don’t you know who I am?,” he screams across the table, pounding his tiny fists against the plastic. It tumbles over and the Bob rights it again, adding,”We can fix it!”
    “Oh, I know who you are, you’re a small man, unfit for the suit” says Barbie, “And I think you’re too soft for this racket. Laughing? Laughing is what broke you?” She leans over the table using one hand to brace herself, an empty arm socket visible on the other side of her torso, hair lopped off in uneven pink streaked chunks. She keeps smiling. She has no choice.
    The round man in white and red begins to cry.
    “But the laughter never ended. Even when he wasn’t really laughing I could hear it in my dreams!”
    “We’ve all wanted to put an end to Tickle Me Elmo but it’s against the toy code,” Barbie sighs,
    “Book Santa on muppet homicide.”

    160 words
    @CaseyCaseRose

  38. GET OUT CLAUS

    Brian S Creek
    151 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    The large door moans as it opens. The man’s heavy, steel chains rattle as he flinches.

    A large, grey skinned man in a robe walks in and sits opposite. He slams a pile of parchment down on the stone table.

    “Claus Atnas, you have crossed over to the other side and now stand judgment. You’ve persisted with a life of theft. You have taken from others with no remorse. What have you to say?”

    “It was steal or die. I had no choice. I’ll face my verdict.”

    “Perhaps you’d like a chance to make things right? I’m here to offer you a choice; you may go to hell as a sinner. . .”

    “Or?”

    “We have a new role opening up topside. Something that would require someone of your . . . skill set.”

    “What would I have to do?”

    “How good are you and breaking in and putting things back?”

  39. He Knows When You’re Awake

    Maddie plucked the ornament from the box and hung it on the tree next to a robin as featherless as tomorrow’s goose.

    “We’ll catch him in the act this year,” Maddie said.

    “Hope so,” Kate said.

    The opening bars of Jingle Bells heralded the arrival of Uncle Jim, his new wife, and the twins, for whom Maddie and Kate would be evicted from their rooms and banished to a flaccid airbed on the living room floor.

    The evening passed with an excess of food and forced cheer, and everyone was glad of their beds. Maddie heard footsteps as the clock struck midnight. She gave Kate’s hand a squeeze. He’s coming.

    The door opened and in he came: it was time to receive their gifts. She felt his breath, sweet with sloe gin, as he whispered in her ear.

    “You better not shout.”

    Maddie obliged, safe in the knowledge that Santa Spy Cam would prove it wasn’t just her imagination.

    @MicroBookends
    159 words

  40. The Aching Lap

    The rearranged man practised being jolly in the mall bathroom. “Ho! Ho! Huh?” Close enough, he thought.

    Tormented Kris Kringle was dressed in a red suit sewn from the thread of second chances. A girl who wasn’t his daughter vibrated on his thigh, her scroll of requests unfurled like Rapunzel’s hair. Karl smiled, patted her blonde head, and watched as she floated away and leapt into the cultured arms of a glowing man. His eyes stayed on them. The father wore a wool peacoat. Cream scarf. Bliss.

    Karl adjusted his beard and let the children believe he was a summoner of gifts. The boys were spastic lion cubs. The girls were clones, replicas of long-forgotten giggles and bobbing ponytails. His lap was a time machine, a cushioned portal into the lost years.

    At lunch, he bludgeoned a peppermint mocha then punched in seven digits on his phone. “Blue Christmas” caromed of the walls, distorting his mind.

    “I’m sorry, that number…”

    @Blukris
    #FlashDog
    160 words

  41. Not Always Beloved
    160 words
    @twinkieconfit

    “That’s him—in the red suit, with the white beard and rosy cheeks.”

    “Ma’am, you do know that’s Santa, right?”

    “Yes. I also know that he was trespassing in my home.”

    “Trespassing? Didn’t you express a desire for gifts? Most people do, this time of year.”

    “I never asked Santa to bring me any gifts.”

    “Okay, but are you sure you want to press charges? He was just being kind. Most folks think he’s a saint.”

    “I was alone, sleeping, when he came into my house—through the chimney—without permission. He ate my food, poked through my belongings, and tracked soot all over my carpet. When I confronted him, he said he knows I’ve been good all year, like he’s been stalking me. He’s a creeper. Darn straight I want to press charges.”

    “You sure?”

    “I’m sure. He violated my home, the one place I used to feel safe. What if he comes back?”

    “I don’t think he will.”

  42. Number One Wanted

    Santa is wanted. Number One – today’s toy – on scribbled Christmas lists. No need for checking; everyone knows. The need is there, overnight, where before it was nothing and nowhere. The kids have to have him. Demand him. The adults need to find him and fast. He is the bomb.

    Time ticks down in the search for his plush velvet suit and snow white trimming – the sea blue eyes, large in their plea to take him home in his tens; hundreds; thousands. Wide eyed innocent, he watches his homely girth cause fights in supermarkets, shops – even through bids cast online.

    They find him when he wants it – eventually. Each and every one. So satisfied; boxed and wrapped, he waits, dormant, beneath snug layers for his day. It is coming. Not long now. They will see him and know, one and all. He will hold them in his sway for more than a day. He will own them forever. Kaboom!

    (160 words)

    @FallIntoFiction
    #FlashDog

  43. @stellakateT
    159 words

    Rio or Extradition

    The wanted posters were all over town. Dangerous felon, tricking parents into spending too much money, children being terrorised by a fat man climbing down chimneys and yelling ho ho ho. Sometimes this evil character left wanted gifts or some rubbish that was either despatched to the bin, the charity shop or re-gifted elsewhere. He was responsible for a wave of serious disappointment. The RSPCA were after him for making a team of reindeer pull a sleigh for over the registered time span for hoofed animals. He’d eluded them for years.

    He’d drunk too many Sherries, ate too many mince pies. His doctor told him he needed to lose weight quickly or face the consequences. He looks a picture of health sitting with his wife on a beach in Rio. He’s taken early retirement. No more sleigh bells, no more rushing out on Christmas Eve just peace on earth at least in his life until the Feds catch him.

  44. All I want for Christmas

    159 words
    @el_Stevie

    Santa couldn’t understand what was happening to him. His body jerked, turning at the commands of the policemen. Someone, somewhere was pulling his strings.

    “Thought you’d miss me out again and get away with it?” rumbled a voice beyond human hearing, starting to laugh as the officers made Santa dance.

    A lump of coal bounced off the head of the Horned One and rolled towards the fiery pit to gather with its brothers.

    Satan stared morosely into the flames. Once, just once, it would be nice to get something for Christmas, something wrapped in shiny paper and with a pretty silver bow.

    “Well you know what you have to do,” shouted Santa in-between high-kicks.

    “I know, I know, be a good little boy,” said Satan. “But it’s so damned difficult …”

    Santa nodded sympathetically. “Well, just do your best,” he said. “That’s all anyone can do.”

    Satan sighed deeply as he looked at his empty stocking; perhaps next year.

  45. Who’s on the Naughty List Now, Santa?

    Dear Santa,

    I know you only read letters from kids on the Nice List, but you may want to reconsider.

    You see, Santa, my dad is the Chief of Police and sometimes I go to work with him. Last week I jokingly typed “Santa Claus” into the database and was surprised by what I discovered!

    A mug shot of you, in all your jolliness, smiling and dancing for the camera! I guess you made a deal with the arresting officer because your file is password protected. Thing is, Santa, I’m sure you know I’m on the Naughty List because I’ve been busted hacking computers.

    So, if there’s a Playstation 3 under the tree for me this Christmas, I’ll forget what I saw. If not, every kid in the world will get an email with your smiling, red-cheeked face and a rap sheet even a mob boss would be embarrassed about.

    Love your friend,
    Timothy Jordan
    ________________
    Ranee Parker
    155 words
    @RaneeParker

  46. “Elfnip”
    by Michael Seese
    158 words

    “Sssh! Someone will hear us!”

    “I can’t help it. This stuff makes me giggle.”

    It’s true. Elfnip is a powerful agent. Especially when mixed with eggnog and huffed, as these two diminutive delinquents were doing.

    “I can’t wait for this night to be over. I need a break.”

    “You? You never work. You keep snowing the foreman with that ‘I want to be a dentist’ crap.”

    “Shut up.”

    “And if that doesn’t work, you throw the insanity card. The Abominable Snowmensch. What a load of—”

    “Shut it!”

    “You’re just ticked because your name sounds like an STD.”

    “Would you stuff it! Someone’s coming!”

    “Damn! We’ve got to get rid of the stuff.”

    “Just stash it somewhere.”

    “Where?”

    “In the sleigh.”

    “But what if it’s him? We can’t let him enter U.S. airspace with it in his possession.”

    “Relax. It’s only a controlled substance in about half the states.”

    And that is why the North Pole is now automated.

  47. “The Watchman”
    by Michael Seese
    140 words

    Tick tock tick tock.
    Just try to ignore it. The Watchman’s clock.
    Red midnight looms, it’s almost time.
    You’d best be silent by the 12th chime.

    I see you sleeping. And I see you awake.
    He gives and gives. I take take TAKE!
    Visions of sugarplums, and flying reindeer.
    Take care, my pretties. Be still. I’m right here!

    Draw up your sheets, pull tight your cap,
    Prepare for an eternal winter’s nap.
    A barren tree. A rancid goose.
    No silent night with me on the loose.

    Complain not about a lump of coal.
    It’s nothing next to losing your soul.
    I crave your sugar. I crave your spice,
    so naughty, naughty, naughty, nice.

    Am I Santa? God? No, someone else.
    Beware The Watchman on the shelf.
    Wake up, my pretties, you’ve won reprieve.
    I’ll see you all next Christmas Eve.

  48. Elf Off

    I’m a multi-tasker

    Santa’s a harsh master

    cracking his whip at every elf

    doing nothing himself

    One day I’m sorting letters

    next escaping office fetters

    rehearsing with the reindeer

    they rarely get in third gear

    Frustrated and anxious

    spare time precious

    broken toys to replace

    or Santa’s wrath I face

    Last year I got into the spirit

    stopped me feeling so desperate

    worth the kick in the bum

    for the vodka and the rum

    Santa got charged with battery

    my denial set him free

    these days to me he’s blind

    he knows I could change my mind

    His shouting was better than nothing

    I jumped to the sleigh bells ring

    boredom my new misery

    I await a catastrophe

    So enjoy all your mince pies

    your loved one’s smiling eyes

    don’t think of this miserable elf

    until next year I’m back on the shelf

    144 words
    @susanoreilly3

  49. Identification (154 Words)
    @SarahCain78

    What’s this? It’s a Santa chew toy. We bought it for our dog as a Christmas present, but my son Conor had to give it to Beowulf right away. They were having a blast until Beth said to knock it off and get dressed for that stupid Nutcracker Tea. Conor didn’t want to go.

    They took my Jeep because it’s supposed to handle better in the snow. I put Connor in his car seat, which he hates, but he has to use it because he’s small even though he’s almost six. Conor really didn’t want to go.

    Beth had to take Conor to this stupid tea. I don’t know why. I know it was only five miles away, but it was snowing. Why do people drive in bad weather when they can’t drive? Why did she take him when Conor didn’t even want to go?

    Please, may I identify my wife and son now?

  50. Festive Flash
    @Jim_M848
    160 words

    “Mr. Santa Claus? Thank you for waiting, I’m Detective Inspector Moir.” Pause. “Excuse me a second.”

    I flip around in the file as if it’s new to me, ignoring him. Suddenly, quizzically, “Do you understand why you’re here?”

    “Santa’s done nothing wrong” he smiled firmly and fluttered the artificial eyelashes.

    “Perhaps you remember what were you wearing when the officers brought you in?”

    “Just Mrs Claus’s pretty blouse”, he looked at the table between us and then away into the corner.

    “You were in an inappropriate state of dress for a public place. In the UK, this is an offense against the Public Order Act of 1986.”

    “But Santa can’t got to the big house! Santa would be”, he gulped, “turkey meat…”

    I sit back, look at him directly. Midnight.

    “Because it’s now Christmas Eve, we’ve decided not to press charges on this occasion. But you must, in future, keep this kind of thing to your home. Are we clear?”

  51. August
    (159)
    The huge corridors glowed artificial and bright. In the chilled area, I pulled layers of material tighter around us.
    We made our way to the corridor labelled T. My little one pointed up at the shelves laden with beakers and flasks. The primary coloured plastics popped against the pale background.
    I pulled a few of the vessels into the wire trolley.
    ‘They’ll do nicely for what we have in mind.’ I placed a serviceable blanket inside, too.
    A few steps further and the atmosphere changed: black shot through with orange, mimicking an October sky. Skeletal forms dangled in front of us. I walked faster sensing my child’s apprehension.
    In a few strides, we had reached more comforting plump forms arranged in warm reds.
    My child relaxed- demanded more.
    But I stopped at the sight of the Santas. Criminal! Had we not time travelled enough for one shopping expedition.

    Time to head towards the grocery aisle for our picnic food!

  52. Belittling Santa
    By Jay Dee Archer
    @jaydeejapan
    158 words

    “We bring you this breaking news tonight from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Is it an epidemic of home break-ins and robberies, or is it a prank? Brent Sabourin has the story. Brent?”

    “Thank you, Debbie. Yes, here in the Mayfair area near the intersection of Thirty-Sixth Street West and Avenue C North, seven houses have been broken into. The items stolen? Christmas presents. Someone entered these homes sometime during the night and whisked away nearly ten thousand dollars’ worth of gifts. However, we may have a lead on this heinous crime. Barbara Jensen says she saw something very unusual.”

    “I came out of the kitchen at about two this morning and saw someone with a bag standing in my fireplace. I couldn’t believe it! He looked just like Santa, but was only about four inches tall!”

    He watched the television flicker as he listened to the news story. The little white-bearded man smiled. “That’s for belittling me, my dear brother.”

  53. Next
    by Alissa Leonard
    151-ish words (that’s what the word count said, but I think it’s a couple more)
    @lissajean7

    “Seriously? This is what you start with?”
    “What? He’s cute…in that retro spray-fuzz kind of way.”
    “Is he from the 1970’s? Oh! He’s doing the disco, isn’t he?”
    “No. He’s reaching for…um, well, maybe?”
    “Just show me the next one.”

    “How could you think a two-foot stuffed sock puppet…? Are those used socks?”
    “…Possibly.”

    “Kill me now. Tutus and glitter? That’s just…”
    “So… That’s a no?”

    “Ugh! Do I even have to respond to this one?”
    “Moving on…”

    “How many could possibly be left?”
    “We’re on 897.”
    “…That’s not an answer.”
    “Certainly less than 10,000.”
    “10,000?!?!?!”
    “There are only four digits on the number slips.”
    “So, maybe there’re only 1,000?”
    “Doubt it.”
    “Why?”
    “Have you seen any good ones yet?”
    “No! They’ve all been monstrosities!”
    “Believe it or not, they’re getting better.”
    “Can we skip ahead 1,000 or two?”
    “No. That would alter the test results.”
    “But…”
    “No.”
    “Ugh. Fine. Next.”

  54. In the Spirit Of Giving
    158 words

    The worse part of it was that Susan actually didn’t mind being the boring twin. She was used to sharing everything from clothes to personal taste with Emelia. She hadn’t even made a fuss when she realized that they were also sharing her husband, David. It was just…Emelia was never satisfied.

    To be honest Susan was sick of it but pleasing her sister was almost encoded into her D.N.A. at this point which explained why she was baking on Christmas Eve.

    Biting her lips Susan stared at the cake. It was a luscious thing, the vanilla swirling around the trails of red hidden just beneath the chocolaty surface.

    If Emelia didn’t like the cake Susan hoped she’d at least like the tiny smiling Santa that she’d made, after all Emelia had mentioned wanting David’s heart for Christmas and Susan had put as much of her husband as she could into both gifts.

    She hoped Emelia choked on it.

  55. The Festive Season

    The backwater that was Yiwu shook with the frenzy of factories churning out endless glittering baubles. Wei scurried past LED workshops, wraiths tinkering with soldering irons in pulsing light.

    He was late, caught up writing a letter to his fiancé. Responding to her assurances that a smaller wedding was what she wanted, her pleas insulting his sacrifice.

    The letter departed, his crimson fingerprints staining tear soaked paper.

    The boss man tapped a manicured nail onto a watch that a thousand life times could barely afford. Wei bowed apologetically before grabbing a paper mask and the glue sprayer.

    Five thousand polystyrene stars awaited on metal shelving.

    Wei grabbed a star, spraying it with glue, before dipping it deep into the crimson glitter held within a battered oil-drum.

    Lifting out a scarlet jewel, sparkling in the light of the bare bulb.

    Grab, spray, dip.

    Repeat.

    Another mask, fingers stained crimson. Lungs hacking with shimmering dust.

    Whatever Christmas was Wei truly despised it.

    160 words
    @imageronin
    #flashdog

  56. Prisoner 1225

    “So, Friday, four weeks ago?”

    Prisoner 1225 anxiously glanced up at the detectives flanking him.

    “I don’t remember. You can’t seriously . . . it was four weeks ago!”

    “Black Friday. Witnesses saw a man fitting your description inciting the violence and looting that night.”

    The prisoner began to feel uncomfortably warm in his thick red coat, and nervously tended his cascading white beard.

    “What about the early hours of the 25th?”

    ” I was . . . working . . . Making deliveries.”

    “Enough. Book him – Santa Claus. a.k.a. Father Christmas: accomplice to the theft of the true meaning of Christmas. You’ll be tried for crimes against humanity.”

    “But . . .”

    “You’ve got one certain hope. Just confess, testify, and the D.A. will see the Judge forgives you.”

    “If I don’t?”

    “Life. No parole.”

    “Ok, Ok , , , I’ll confess . . . tell the D.A. I want the deal.”

    The D.A stepped out from behind the prisoner, smiled, and confirmed, “IT IS DONE.”

    Word count: 148
    @faithunlocked

  57. #2
    @Jim_M848
    160 words

    So, this is me- about to spend a night at the taxpayer’s hotel.

    “He mugged me, took everything I had and made it about money”, she had screeched at the officers outside our house as the neighbour’s curtains twitched restlessly.

    As calmly as possible I’d said “I don’t hear the economy complaining! Now come on, let’s get in”

    “Always with the economy! You’ve made today about trinkets!” she bellowed tearfully.

    “That’s just not true and the economy really would struggle without frivolous spending.”

    To the policemen I lamented, “I’m so sorry, we’ve both had a bit to drink and we’ve disturbed you unnecessarily.”

    The lead policeman gruffed, “Mr Santa, these are serious accusations, we can’t leave until we’re satisfied that you and you partner are safe.”

    The other policeman stepped forward, “Sir, your eyes are very bright blue, have you taken something?”

    It went downhill from there and that was the last time I spoke to Christmas without legal representation.

  58. Red Breath

    These words are bouncing off my ribs, reverberating beneath my skin.

    It’s all of the lies and the clinging scent of him. The days and nights we spent laughing at the unseen, hidden in margins and bindings. Chaotic poetry they read, we breathed.

    “Beatles or Elvis?” he asked.

    “Niether.”

    “No, come on. You have to answer.”

    “I don’t like boxes. I don’t want to be confined. I’m an out-of-the-box dweller in sepia shades.”

    A word affair.

    Lovers of books.

    “We’re the same kind of different,” he once said.

    Readers of unwritten, between the lines, and from lips to eyes we met and kissed.

    An ephemeral moment has all come to this. A Christmas without him and syllables in varying shades of arrest. You can’t un-think all the thoughts, and you can’t un-live all the life. And there is no little man in a red suit to deliver any jolly ever since he drove off.

    159 words
    @blackinkpinkdsk

  59. Stop, Thief!

    “You’re under arrest, sir.”
    “What for?”
    “Breaking and entering, armed robbery.”
    “Armed robbery?”
    “Surveillance camera caught you carrying a weapon into the Wilson house.”
    “I did no such thing.”
    “The camera doesn’t lie, sir.”
    “But I didn’t rob anyone!”
    “We got a call from the Wilson’s house saying cookies were missing.”
    “Cookies?”
    “Very valuable cookies, sir. A professional spent two hours baking them.”
    “I need to call my lawyer.”

    “This guy in the red suit is dangerous. Who would take a gun into a house, only to eat cookies? And then he forgot to take the gun with him when he left.”
    “The evidence lab analyzed the gun. It’s a BB gun.”
    “The cookie crumbs?”
    “Sugar cookies.”
    “His critters were taken to animal control?”
    “Yes, and the lab can barely hold the evidence we removed from his vehicle. He had millions of toys.”
    “Tsk, tsk. All this on Christmas Eve. Not to mention that Santa is missing.”

    @FictionAsLife
    157 words

  60. A Black and White Christmas

    Detective Investigator Charles Ericson strode into the room. “You finally got him then, Dawkins?”

    “That I did, Detective Investigator,” Dawkins replied. “Caught him in Boston, I did. We’re just starting to book him now if you want to oversee it.”

    “I believe I will,” Ericson responded.

    The suspect was standing in the middle of the room holding a card with the number 001 printed in big black letters. He watched as two police officers slowly entered. In an ominous voice, one of the officers began to read from a piece of paper. “Mr. Kristoff Kringle, you have been arrested on several charges which include, but are not limited to: trespassing, obstruction of flight paths, the thievery of milk and cookies, and the unlicensed ownership of endangered species. What do you have to say for yourself?”

    Santa Claus stared straight at him and said, “I hope you like coal.”

    (148 words)
    by Ian Phillips, Age 13

  61. The Long Winter’s Nap

    “I tell you coppers, you got the wrong guy,” the suspect said.

    “The wrong guy?” the detective sneered. “Let me tell you what we got, Nick. We got about two billion witnesses. We got saliva on millions of glasses of half-drunk milk and half-eaten cookies. That means we got DNA—your DNA!”

    “Geez, Louise, coppers, can’t I have my boots? My toes get pretty cold, you know, at the altitudes where I fly.”

    “Yeah, about those boots, Nick. We got footprints on a few billion rooftops, and they match those fancy black boots with the shiny buckles. We got the goods on you, Nick, right down to the ash and soot. You can’t ‘jolly old elf’ your way outta this one.”

    “Can’t you uncuff me? I got this terrible itch on my nose, and—”

    “Freeze!” the detective said. He turned to the two cops with him. “Whatever you do, don’t let him lay his finger aside his nose.”

    @unspywriter (Maggie Duncan)
    160 words

  62. Little Helper
    160 words

    Softball-sized Santa does a whirling dance and bounces off my head. In zero gravity, bruise-colored eyes twinkle like stars at me. I resist the urge to swat it against the bulkhead.

    Content with long dark stretches of my own company, I aced the tests for deep-space travel. Yet, it seems there’s a thread of nostalgia buried so deep, the tests and five years out didn’t unearth it.

    Year six and a Christmas carol did.

    “Dashing through the snow…” Santa sings and begins fiddling with the food dispenser.

    Some sentient they out there sensed my loneliness and fabricated my new best bud. (I try not to think too hard about alien brain scans.)

    The dispenser whines. If mini-Santa manages palatable coffee, I’ll submit myself to my disembodied overlords. I’m not optimistic. I mean, look at their idea of companionship.

    Santa bowls a drink orb at me. I bobble it. It’s hot chocolate—with rum.

    This relationship may work out after all.

    @rowdy_phantom

  63. Secret Santa
    (156 words, @pmcolt)

    Agent Freely brushed away glass fragments and retrieved the red menace. Outside the shattered window, the elderly couple and their bloodied accomplices were already being lined up to face their penalty. A crowd watched silently, mesmerized by the blue strobes and terrible weaponry of the Response Team.

    “A right jolly old elf,” muttered Freely as he bagged the doll as evidence. He quickly cursed himself: speaking the words of the old poem could end his career, or worse.

    Nowadays, the saint’s red suit, white beard, and blue eyes symbolized the subversives who clung to the excesses of the past, before the Disturbances. Before “holiday” became a watchword. Before the Authorities forbade open celebration. Such was the price of safety.

    Yet a few remained defiant, mainly stubborn elderly and children.

    Gunshots shattered the night. His stomach tightened. “Peace on Earth.” Eyes shut, he wondered how many crackdowns, arrests, and executions would be necessary to make it so.

  64. Elfin Pride

    Buddy squirmed in the red suit. The deputies rushed around the precinct speaking strange words in stern tones. He posed, turned as they ordered. Lights flashed.

    He wished he was back at the workshop, in his green uniform building toy trains.

    When Santa had handed the package to him that morning, Buddy’s chest had swelled with pride. No other elves were trusted with such responsibility. He had run to the sleigh without casting another glance at Santa.

    But now he was in this tiny cell with foul odors emanating from all corners. He thought of the sweet smell of Holly, Pine, and crisp winter air. He longed to dance with fresh snow crunching under his nimble feet. Buddy wished really hard for Santa. He felt awful for not thanking the Big Guy that morning. Come to think of it.. and he remembered the chill in Santa’s voice when he handed him that package. He sighed. Duped by Anti Claus again!

    160 words.

  65. Collecting Debts

    Countless envelopes are scattered across the wobbly table. I toss aside letters from collectors looking to settle debts. Seems like I’m not the only person this kid owes money to.

    My interest lies in the 25% cotton envelopes sent by ‘Mom’. I hope, for my sake, his mother is the worrying type that tucks a few bills in each letter.

    I rip open the envelope and see a picture of a toy Santa, mugshot style. No money, but she wishes him a Merry Christmas. The November letter is the same styling, with a turkey stand-in—zero dollars. October is a witch, and September is a white gnome. The allegations against him: Wearing white after Labor Day.

    I let out a sigh and light a smoke. No luck with the letters but I can make a few dollars selling his things. Maybe I’ll send his mom a letter with his mugshot in it and have a few laughs at their expense.

    @goldzco21
    #flashdog
    160 words

  66. Everyone’s Going to Hate Me
    (160 words)

    Everyone’s going to hate me.

    When the woman looked up at me from the floor, begging for her life, I wasn’t able to go through with trampling her. In fact, I let her stand and pluck the last Beanie Baby from the shelf. My daughter wanted that Baby so badly…and they know it topped her Official List.

    Coming back to the apartment empty-handed…well, I can’t describe how crestfallen I was. The state-issued Santa doll atop the television looked pathetically small. I’m sure my lack of zeal at the department store shrank it at least 1.5 millimeters.

    On the 26th, when everyone brings out their Santas to show how nationalistic they are, I’ll have a shriveled bearded man like Thumbelina in my palm while other people are wheeling theirs in wagons. “What’s the matter with you, eh?” I can hear some vagrant bark, before pulling a revolver. That, or I’ll be killed by dagger-like glares from even the kindest children.

    Help!

  67. Foy, d.b.
    @db_foy
    Word Count: 158

    “From Bethlehem to Yiwu”

    You were birthed in holy darkness, Lightbringer, hailed by winged and mortal both.

    And you, Giftbearer, in walls of crimson concrete, find shape beneath florescent bulb.

    Such a hand that molded you! Set a part from time and error.

    And yours? Her fingers shiver, as each day strips structure away from neurons programmed for death. The black of your iris a dab too heavy.

    You, in days of wonder, walked on water, drinkable as any other yet firm underfoot.

    While you are shipped over wave and boundaries arbitrary, devoid of the miraculous.

    Days darkened and you were abhorred for what you wouldn’t do. Had they not asked for a conquering ruler?

    And you, they adore you for what you will do, crown you saint and king.

    At the last, on beams of wood suspended, raised a mast without a ship, bearing there the greatest gift.

    So you too hang on a tree amongst non-celestial lights, over empty hearts.

  68. Good Boy
    159 words

    Caden pulls the comforter over his head. Please, make it go away! he mouths, but the prayer shrivels in his throat. He’s afraid to wish for anything else.

    Thumpity-thump-thump drums his floorboards.

    Caden peels the tattered hem away from his eyes. Tubby Santa barrels along the quilted squares like a scarlet cannonball. It halts on Caden’s tummy with a “ta-da!” gesture.

    The elves plucked his wish from the night he’d crawled between Thomas the Train bed sheets, raging against the injustice of ice cream held hostage to three more bites of tuna casserole.

    Caden forces himself to smile because if he doesn’t, the Santa’ll throw coal chunks at his nose. Smiles, even fake ones, earn him gingerbread cookies.

    The elves granted his wish and left him with that.

    Now, Caden would trade all the gingerbread in the world for that choked-down casserole because it would mean his parents were around to make it—and not where he’d wished them.

    @rowdy_phantom
    #flashdogs

  69. Secret Miniature Camera
    @mishmhem
    158 Words

    “1-717B Camera is online.”
    “1-775C Camera – online”
    “27-B32 – Online…”

    Margo continued to activate the cameras, not in the sequence they were arrayed, but rather in sequence as they were deployed. “Tracking… seven-five… signal is six-by-six on all tier three sections..”

    “Copy Tracking – standby for Delta quadrant.”

    “Copy and waiting,” she replied as she scanned the footage of those cameras that were currently online. It shouldn’t be long before the entire array was up and running and this time they would catch the perpetrator in the act.

    They’d played the odds with this one for too long and now instead of a few cameras in key places they had opted for full saturation. There would be no escaping them this time.

    “Did you ever think how creepy this all really is?” She asked no one in particular.

    “What’s creepy, Tracking?”

    “This whole ‘he sees you when you’re sleeping…”

  70. Jennifer Ricketts
    @pearlofagirl
    Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer
    160 words

    Hearing the front door open, I yell, “Mom! Grandma’s been run over by a reindeer!” Only after the words leave my mouth do I think about telling her in a gentler way. Crap.

    “What?” Mom says, walking in the door. Freezing in place, she stares at me in disbelief. “Is she okay? Where is she?”

    “She’s going to be fine, but we’ve gotta go to the hospital.” I then add, “By the way, Santa’s been arrested. Turns out he trained them to run her over.”

    Mom doesn’t move, and now she’s staring at our Christmas tree. “How is that possible? He’s so…so jolly.”

    “Apparently not.” I’m becoming frustrated, wanting to see Grandma. “Yeah, plump and jolly he might be, but what about his darker side? You know, the one that landed him in jail tonight?”

    Mom lets me guide her to the door, and I tell her I’ll drive. Besides, it’ll give me time to plot my revenge. Jolly indeed.

  71. Elisa @AVerageADvocate
    WC: 150

    “Manny-Claus”
    ————–

    “Red hat down!”
    “Scruffy and bloated!”
    “Sleepy, ugly bruises on cheeks, blooming.”

    That is how they describe me, warning the little mousies. As if I am criminal and they are the saints.

    All I did was fluff their beds, cuddle their baby, and drink leftover milk, gorging on the cookies they had been coloring with sugar all night long.

    But now I see my face on every newspaper and screen. It seems the public has an odd fascination with my infamy.

    I didn’t mean to start a thing–I just thought I would leave a present or two (or three). You know, to make them smile when they awoke and found me missing cold. The stockings were for laughs, the tooting train was just an excuse while I lay in wait for the headlights to come back up the drive.

    Unfortunately for me, I had to be the best babysitter ever.

  72. Naughty or Nice?
    By Anna Elizabeth
    wc – 160
    @annae394

    “Santa, this isn’t a party here.” PC Jones sighed with frustration, “there is no need to dance for your mug-shot.”

    “Yes,” Santa replied with a grin, still with his left foot pointed and arms in the air, “but seeing as you insist on doing this every time officer I may as well make it fun for me!” He moved for his side photo.

    Jones rolled his eyes, “if you stopped pranking us we wouldn’t have to keep taking you in.”

    “It’s only a bit of fun!”

    Jones raised an eyebrow, Last year you painted the entire interior of the police station red and green!”

    “Bricks just really aren’t that festive!” He retorted, his grin widening.

    “How though? You’re not even four inches tall!”

    “I’m Santa Clause, you’re on the “Santa, this isn’t a party here.” PC Jones sighed with frustration, “there is no need to dance for your mug-shot.”

    “Yes,” Santa replied with a grin, still with his left foot pointed and arms in the air, “but seeing as you insist on doing this every time officer I may as well make it fun for me!” He moved for his side photo.

    Jones rolled his eyes, “if you stopped pranking us we wouldn’t have to keep taking you in.”

    “It’s only a bit of fun!”

    Jones raised an eyebrow, Last year you painted the entire interior of the police station red and green!”

    “Bricks just really aren’t that festive!” He retorted, his grin widening.

    “How though? You’re not even four inches tall!”

    “I’m Santa Clause, and I have a job to do! Merry Christmas to you!” With that he clicked his fingers and disappeared leaving a shower of glitter to rain down on a very annoyed PC Jones. List and I have a job to do! With that he clicked his fingers and disappeared leaving a shower of glitter to rain down on a very annoyed PC Jones.

    • So sorry this is 10 mins late! I somehow got locked out of my account at the wrong time and it wouldn’t let me comment! 😦 once I got it working I thought I’s post it anyway seeing as I had so much fun writing it! 🙂

    • Naughty or Nice?
      By Anna Elizabeth
      wc – 160
      @annae394

      “Santa, this isn’t a party here.” PC Jones sighed with frustration, “there is no need to dance for your mug-shot.”

      “Yes,” Santa replied with a grin, still with his left foot pointed and arms in the air, “but seeing as you insist on doing this every time officer I may as well make it fun for me!” He moved for his side photo.

      Jones rolled his eyes, “if you stopped pranking us we wouldn’t have to keep taking you in.”

      “It’s only a bit of fun!”

      Jones raised an eyebrow, Last year you painted the entire interior of the police station red and green!”

      “Bricks just really aren’t that festive!” He retorted, his grin widening.

      “How though? You’re not even four inches tall!”

      “I’m Santa Clause, and I have a job to do! Merry Christmas to you!” With that he clicked his fingers and disappeared leaving a shower of glitter to rain down on PC Jones.

      [I have no idea what happened with the last one – so here it is fixed up! I am so sorry!]

      • Perhaps you’re confusing the famous quote from Chico Marx in ‘A Night at the Opera’ (“You can’t fool me. There aint no Sanity Clause.”) with Santa CLAUS.

        Great story, Anna.

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