Okay! So Facebook tells me I have 486 fans who haven’t heard from me for a while…Hey There! I’m going to make it up to you with this dinky little flash fiction I wrote on X-mas Eve…
Short Change Short Bread
It would be wrong to say that I hate Christmas. It’s Xmas that I hate.
I make this distinction based solely on the evidence of one article on the internet which may or may not have been written by enthusiatic christians, or even xians. They define Christmas as a celebratory festival for the birth of The Christ. They call X-mas – the X-kiss of Mamon.
It’s pitting mercy against greed, Jesus versus Santa, like in the South Park Episode.
So, I say it’s X-mas, the knee-jerk consumerist spending frenzy of kiss-mamon-mas that I hate.
I seen it when I go into town in December, I see people herding the streets in viral catatonias, bleeping out their data, maxing out their plastic, all sightless under the glamour of a single minded compulsion to engage in monetary exchange.
And if I’m honest, I seen it start with Black Friday and now Cyber Monday, and then January Sales throughout December. Elongating the whole sordid orgy into a slow panting panicked climax lasting several months. I seen people filming themselves in wide-eyed apoplexy as they clasp black boxed electronic trophies to their heaving breast, their mind’s eye fixated on X-mas. Mamon kiss my arse.
Rage. I seen them wander the halls of Grand Arcade Shopping Mall shedding psychic 50 pound notes, like autumn trees shed leaves. I seen it all, worse than the Night of the Living Dead.
So, I am writing this on Xmas Eve Morning contemplating my ill-advised quest into the city centre to use some gift vouchers on some new underwear (solid big knickers from M+S). I am standing stuck in an hour long queue in Marks staring at their Definitive Short Bread Collection, incidentally curated by some half-has-been you-tube culinary star. My eyes jerk among the Skottie Dog shaped gift boxes, floribundances of tartan and stags horns, the wobbly Ben-Nevis-picture-postcard topped tins, the basics economy line wrapped in vegetable-derived bio-degradable cellophane. I feel transfixed with confusion. I feel like I am falling forward into an infinite vortex. I am torn by the urge to spend all my money and a fear of debt that tugs at a cellular level. I am experiencing a strange psychic dissonance. I feel high. I feel high, like maybe a compulsive gambler feels during a horse race, like a sex-addict hunting out ever more repulsive porn, like shrodinger’s cat crouched in the gloom waiting for dinner time. The queue for the check out unfurls ahead of me, endless to a far unseen horizon. I haven’t mentioned the seasonal music pumping out. I will not mention the in-store music.
When suddenly a bell-clear voice, my own voice, rings out pristine inside my head. “But I don’t need any Short Bread”. I am swept back to my queuing reality. I feel sucked at and plucked at, unsteady as I realise that – No! I don’t need any fucking Short Bread. There will always be Short Bread, there will always be more Short Bread. Every Aunty in the UK brings Short Bread at X-mas. My mum brings Short Bread, in fact my Mum doesn’t leave the house in December without a tin of Short Bread tucked into the bottom of her Bag-For-Life. There will always be Short Bread. I don’t need to buy Short Bread.
It feels like silence falls around me, mouths move but no sound comes out, the queue to the checkouts, the altars of the mass of Mamon, surges and undulates like a mexican wave of wealth, a John Carpenter film in real-time. Except now I know I don’t need no Short Bread, I am freed from that spell.
Fortified with my newly realised knowledge I leap out from the queue, flinging my packet of over-priced knickers to the floor, witnessing aloud, let the spirit flow through me that I am a just conduit for the voice of his love, I call out loud in my favourite voice-“No! I will not kiss my arse with the Mamon-pants of Yule! No! No! I will not!”.