Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Untitled by Julianna Spallholz
That was August. Now it’s December. Christmas in three days and finally, praise Jesus, you not here to as usual ruin it. I’m so glad the bitch is gone.
Admittedly I am not a winter person. I prefer tank tops, prefer light. But when shit sucks anyway best not to keep company with those who make it suck worse. That’s what my grandma always used to say.
Our house is just above the activity, just out of sight, just over the hill. That’s our son in the foreground, about to enjoy his win in the Zucchini Festival costume contest. As you know, our son takes things very seriously. He beat out Abe Lincoln. He beat out last year’s Miss Zucchini. I took pictures because I am his mother, because I show up smiling for these sorts of things, because I am his mother, because I take pictures, because I am his mother.
After the contest was completed our son went for a victory lap in the golf cart, which was driven by darling Rosemarie who manages the general store. Our son held his blue ribbon in his fist and absorbed his village as it went by. In the evening, there were fireworks. All in all, it was a fine summer day in a quaint small town in New England, no thanks to you, no thanks to you.
Please give my best holiday regards to your brand new surprise live-in girlfriend who is eighteen years our junior. Just in case you were concerned, his presents are wrapped and ready, arranged thoughtfully beneath the tree. The lights are hung. The nativity is set. Cookies are in the fucking oven.
Playful by Forrest
The deadly art of my ninja clan, forged through years of televisional exposure to underground mutagenic protoplasm, is something I feign to describe to the uninitiated outsider. Every summer, across this lawless realm, hundreds of festival barbequées disguised as former lords reveal themselves all the same as brazen usurpers of their vassals' wives—thus, at request (and advance payment) of concerned parties, I intervene so that an ancient code of honor may be preserved. Often these transactions are better disposed of at a distance, the blowdart being my preference for lethality and the sudden, low note singing from my blowgun, a sound which returns me to my adolescent training. Many a can of Old Milwaukee have I strewn upon the trampled ground in this fashion. And yet, as the one-twelfth steed of this modest cart whisks me away, I consider whether child's play has been perverted into an art with no end, or vice versa. The courtyard of my dōjō fills not with an introspective air of regret, but the beratement of ancestors instead for my sentimental weakness carried against those cold autumn winds of change. Lonely are the nameless masters, it heeds. And abide I must! For there is always another layer to peel away from my famished body.
Something Meanwhile by Lyle
And before you know it, you're in the middle of something. The X, she tells you, says just here somewhere.
There is a wedding—Abe Lincoln, a chef—she checks off the rest of the list. Yup, all there.
Meanwhile: after studying the map, you're not so sure about anything.
And here's the mossy retaining wall, she points to the map and the wall—taptap.
Something, you say ponderously.
There is a small crevice in the retaining wall, you realize suddenly (and at the exact same time that you realize they are everywhere in the retaining wall—in fact, that is how retaining walls are built: at that exact moment you also think maybe that is part of the definition of a retaining wall; at least, you believe, suddenly, it is a solid connotation).
Well then, she says. Yes, you concede.
And then, from the wedding party: Hey look a golf cart.
This Holiday by Alan
This holiday. Like all holidays, I will consider the festive and rub up against the festivity. What I mean, of course, is that I will take no prisoners – roll out the golf cart, so to speak. We will paint the course, appropriately, green, and if the course is already green we will discuss another color, something 19th-century, perhaps. And the entire family will be there. I will make them…
Stop…quiet on the set. In all seriousness, this is not quite the way I envisioned it. We’re all over the place here. And you’re not making any sense. The little one is flexing too much and the smiles are too believable. Dress it up with artifice. Don’t you know you’re not supposed to be doing this? Don’t you know the date? The sun is out. The birds are chirping. There are thousands of parking lots of people making plans dishonestly in America and you have to pick the one that doesn’t have the wherewithal to get it together? And another thing…who put that golf cart in there?
What golf cart?
In the Light Thrown Down by Bill
Over time, building from one year as a notion then become a thought, growing the next year into a sense and after into a shared feeling about the party, a communal disconcertion and finally into a fear – a dread – whenever anyone showed up in an exceptionally outlandish fancy dress, such as the sheer dervish costumes Betty and Matilda wore last year.
The concern was felt as a flutter of unease as guests arrived in on and under outlandish transports. Korigar's entrance on a bull a few years back and then again the following year, reasoning that a repeat would be the most austentatious choice, had matched for a slight prickling of hairs on the back of necks Joseph's arrival in a convoy of four-wheeled ATVs.
The exotic – foods like the white cobra fritters, or drinks, like the rum specially distilled from a sugar-cane which only cultivates symbiotically with an especially aggressive species of fire-ant entomologists claimed were the most war-prone organism on the planet – haunted the guests throughout their revels.
The bizarre, the strange, the rare, the exuberant and humorously mundane, like the golf carts this year taking the guests from one part of the party to the next, all worked to build toward this apprehension which in some ways was the signature of the party, rising in nervous glances and anxiously held breaths as the festivities approached their crescendo – that the party would never come to an end and that they all, dressed in their funny attire, would be trapped there, forever celebrating.
I’ll tell you again how it happened … by Nicole
There was a white golf cart the day Bobby joined the army.
Mom’s face cracked like a soft eggshell against the counter.
Bobby’s top and bottom buttons were always mismatched.
Dad walked in circles, pulled his hair, and shut his eyes.
It would happen sooner or later.
Fear inside my chest like pounding on the concrete belly of a pool.
And next door a family celebrates.