The Christmas dinner

Submitted into Contest #125 in response to: Write a story including the phrase “Better late than never”.... view prompt

41 comments

Christmas Funny Horror

This story contains sensitive content

Note: This story is a funny, Christmas-themed horror tale. Trigger warning: Self-harm, and mental health. However, these themes are not the primary themes in this tale. Story rating: PG-13 until the end of the story, which I give an 'R'.

*****

"I honestly don't know what takes you so long, sometimes," said Brian. "It took fifteen minutes for you to put the goose in the oven."

"Really?" said Naomi. "You were counting? Don't you have anything better to do?"

"Why don't you let me help you?" said Brian, as he started to get up from the dining room table.

"No thank you," said Naomi. She didn't need her husband's kind of culinary assistance, which inevitably seemed to involve a running critical commentary on the ways in which various foods should be prepared.

"Are you sure?" said Brian. "Last year when mother came, the cake wasn't done in the middle."

"Why didn't you tell me last year?" said Naomi. She sighed, and ran a hand through her hair. "If I would have known what Pam thought, I wouldn't have made the chocolate fudge cake, again, this year. She said she adored it!"

"If I would have told you what she actually said last year, you would have gotten angry and defensive," said Brian, as he removed his glasses and lightly rubbed his temples. "Christmas dinner would have been ruined."

Naomi laughed. "Oh, I see," she said. "I would have ruined Christmas dinner instead of your hypercritical mother."

Brian sighed. "I know my mother is a bitch."

"Damn straight," said Naomi, "but I don't want to waste any more time talking. Besides, Pam will most likely be an hour early."

"I know she will, and I'm sorry that you think talking to me is a waste of time," said Brian, as he drank a glass of whisky, neat. "But do you think I want to see her?"

"No," said Naomi. "I don't think you want to see your mother for Christmas, but that doesn't give you the right to act like a typical, anal Englishman."

"I've got news for you; I am a typical, anal Englishman."

Naomi shook her head, and poured a small glass of whiskey for herself. "Good, you admit it," she said.

"Would you just relax?" said Brian.

"What do you think I'm trying to do?" said Naomi, as she downed the measure of whiskey in one swallow. "Whistle 'Dixie'? Anyway, better late than never."

"What?" said Brian. "I don't understand anything you just said."

"Welcome to my world," said Naomi, as she poured another shot.

"What's that supposed to mean?" said Brian.

"It means," said Naomi, "that I wish you would move your goddamned jaw when you talk. Just a little, you know? I can't understand half the things you say sometimes."

"You get mean when you drink," said Brian.

"So?" said Naomi. "You just said to relax."

"I didn't say to get roaring drunk!" said Brian, as his face turned roughly the color of a fresh beet.

*****

"Are you sure you don't want help in there?" shouted Brian.

"It's all good," said Naomi. She hummed to herself as she gave the goose another light brushing of butter. It was browning nicely, and there would be plenty of goose juice for gravy.

"Hey, asshole!" she called from the kitchen.

"Yes, Naomi?" sighed Brian. "I assume you are addressing me?"

Naomi giggled. "Hey, asshole!"

"I give up," said Brian. "What?"

"Do you know that goose and juice rhyme?"

"Yes," said Brian. "I know."

Naomi sank to her knees. "Goose juice!" she said, laughing till she cried. "That's hilarious!"

Brian began to open the kitchen door. "Naomi," he said. "I think you've had quite a lot to drink. I know you don't want any help while you're cooking, but I want to make sure you're okay. Its been quite a while, now. Mother will be here any minute."

"I know," said Naomi. Why was Brian always trying to tell her things she already knew?

"Bloody hell, the door's locked," said Brian. "Would you let me in?"

"No," said Naomi, "I bloody well won't let you in. I know you don't think I pay attention to time, but I've planned this dinner down to the second. As soon as Pam comes in, she'll get some lovely bacon wrapped sausages followed by a stuffed Christmas goose with gravy and all the trimmings...I've even got a delicious boozy trifle for pudding, just the way your mum likes it. Heh-heh."

"Pam?" said Brian. "I don't think you're alright."

"Why, pray tell, is that?" said Naomi. "I feel fine. Great, even. I feel no pain."

"Well," said Brian, "for one, you've just over-pronounced the 'p' in pudding. Next, in the fourteen years I've known you, you've never used the phrase 'gravy with all the trimmings'. Last, and I quote, you've literally just said 'heh-heh'. In other words, you sound mental."

At that moment, there was a knock at the front door.

"Shit!" said Brian. "It's her! I'll go and sit down at the table. Do you mind bringing the first course out?"

"Of course not, Brian!" said Naomi. "I'll just have one more glass of whisky, and I'll be right out."

"Don't do that!" yelled Brian. "Just calm down and bring out the sausages!"

"Okay," said Naomi, who had begun a loud chorus of the theme song from the movie, 'Bad Boys'.

"Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you," she sang, as she carefully carried a platter of bacon-wrapped cylinders into the dining room.

"Hello, Pam!" said Naomi, grinning.

Pam dropped the Christmas presents she was carrying.

"Oh, Naomi," she said. "What have you done?"

"Oh, Mother," said Brian. "Naomi's fine. Don't be over-dramatic."

"Be quiet!" said Pam. "Look at her hands!"

For once in his life, Brian was silent.

"What's wrong, now?" said Naomi. "Everything's perfectly cooked. Would you just eat, already? The sausages are going to get cold! I know English people hate cold food."

"Naomi," said Brian, "how do you feel?"

"Thanks for asking," said Naomi, who was now swaying from side to side. "I feel tired, and like I'm going to throw up, but I always feel that way when I've had too much whisky."

"Darling," said Pam, "I want you to listen to me."

"Fat chance of that," said Naomi, to two identical Pams.

"Naomi," said Brian, "I'm going to take you to a hospital, now, and I don't want you to argue with me."

"Why?" said Naomi, as she looked at the bloody remnants of her fingers. "I finally figured out how to cook the best Christmas dinner, ever, and you're taking me to the, uh....uh...."

"Hospital," said Pam.

"Right, that's what I meant," said Naomi. "That little room with the tiny doctor in it."

Brian and Pam glanced at each other, grabbed a scarf from the hook on the back of the door, and rapidly wrapped Naomi's hands.

"Do you think they'll be able to re-attach her fingers if we take the...umm...special sausages on the tray?" said Pam.

"If you're going to do that, you'll need to get the rest of the fingers out of the goose in the oven," said Naomi.

"Can doctors sew stitches into burnt tissue?" said Brian to his mother.

"I certainly hope so," said Pam.

"I didn't burn a thing," said Naomi, and this was the very last thing she said before passing out.


EPILOGUE:


Exactly one year later, Naomi and Brian celebrated Christmas (sans Pam) in France, where Naomi had always wanted to go. Her fingers were saved, miraculously, by a doctor who was quite short in stature. Naomi and Brian are currently in the process of co-writing a Christmas recipe book entitled: "A Microwave Christmas--How to cook a Christmas feast without sacrificing your time, or your sanity".


Merry Christmas, everyone! :)


Ruth
















December 22, 2021 12:27

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41 comments

10:13 Dec 30, 2021

Great dark comedy. I quite enjoyed it. There were just a few things I didn't quite understand. What is an "anal Englishman"? "as he drank a glass of whisky, neat.", not sure what the word "neat" means inn that sentence. And then the part when there was a knock on the door when Pam arrived. Brian went straight to the table and sat down. Who opened the door for Pam? Just a few minor niggles but overall an enjoyable story. Thanks.

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Ruth Porritt
09:47 Dec 31, 2021

Hello Sergio, and many thanks. :) A. This link will tell you all about whiskey that is served neat: https://www.thespruceeats.com/is-it-neat-up-or-straight-up-759945 B. Essential Meaning of anal: 1. biology : of, relating to, or located near the anus the anal area 2. informal : extremely or overly neat, careful, or precise : ANAL-RETENTIVE He can be pretty anal about keeping his office neat. I have used the informal meaning, above, to describe an anal Englishman. (all information was taken from the online Merriam-Webster dictionary) 3. P...

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Swan Anderson
04:56 Dec 28, 2021

Funny and unsentimental, to put it mildly. It reminds me of the great classic, "The Christmas Story" (you'll shoot yer eye out!") The dialogue sparkles, but I have a small comment: you don't need to use "he said," she said" too much. Most of the time it's implied by the context and the character's speaking style. "Hey, asshole!" she called from the kitchen. "Yes, Naomi? I assume you are addressing me?" Naomi giggled. "Hey, asshole!" "I give up. What?" "Do you know that 'goose' and 'juice' rhyme?" "Yes," said Brian. "I know."

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Ruth Porritt
07:11 Dec 29, 2021

Hello Swan, and nice to meet you! :) Thank you so much for the compliments. :) I am a big fan of a 'A Christmas Story', particularly when Ralphie's mom gets Ralphie's brother to act like a pig. (I also adore the actor who played Ralphie's dad, and I remember that he was in a wonderful t.v. series called 'The Night Stalker'. I believe this series came out in the 70s.) Also, thank you for the invaluable feedback. I struggle with omitting "he said" and "she said". (In my ear, these kinds of patterns often sound right, but I find that most of...

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Sharon Harris
19:53 Dec 27, 2021

Brilliant, I love it 😊 So funny.

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Ruth Porritt
07:26 Dec 29, 2021

Hello Sharon, Thank you so much. :) Have a great day, and catch you later, Ruth

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Michael Regan
19:14 Dec 27, 2021

LOL - another great read.

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Ruth Porritt
09:00 Dec 29, 2021

Thank you, Michael! :) Catch you later, and have a great New Year's, Ruth

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Dustin Gillham
01:46 Dec 25, 2021

Merry Christmas Ruth! I hope you and your loved ones have a Happy New Year! Let me know if you'd be interested in joining an online writing circle. :)

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Ruth Porritt
08:05 Dec 26, 2021

Merry Christmas, Dustin! Yes, it has been a wonderful Christmas. :) (I hope that you have also had a wonderful holiday.) Sure, I am interested in joining an online writing circle. (The only drawback would be live chats. As I currently live and work in Asia, time zones can be a difficult issue for me.) An email writing circle (with no online chats) would be ideal for me. In other words, if the writing circle is through email, only, I would love to join. However, if it involves live chats, I must gracefully decline. Anyway, thanks for in...

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Boutat Driss
15:59 Dec 24, 2021

great tale. I love it

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Ruth Porritt
08:41 Dec 26, 2021

Thank you, Boutat! I enjoyed writing this one. :) Happy boxing day! :) Ruth

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Heather C
23:39 Dec 22, 2021

Whoa…I did not see that coming! LOL, what a great ending! Funny and macabre at the same time. Excellent. I get tired of all the “over cheery” Christmas stories and I thought this tale was quite refreshing!

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Ruth Porritt
09:51 Dec 23, 2021

Hello Heather, Thank you so much. That is exactly what I was going for. (funny and macabre at the same time) LOL, me too. :) (I also tire of the over-cheeriness of Christmas. At the same time, I also enjoy a good Christmas romance story. Funny, no? Recently, I watched 'Love Hard' on Netflix, and this movie fit the bill for something Christmas-themed that wasn't too cheery. I also enjoy the movie 'Gremlins' at Christmas time.) Thanks again, and have a great Thursday, Ruth

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Ruth Porritt
09:51 Dec 23, 2021

Also, 'Die Hard'. :)

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Patrick Samuel
17:41 Dec 22, 2021

If "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" had been a Tales from the Crypt episode...

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Ruth Porritt
10:22 Dec 23, 2021

Hello Patrick, Thank you for reading, and thank you so much for these wonderful words. :) Have a great holiday, and catch you later, Ruth

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Ruth Porritt
10:27 Dec 23, 2021

Also, randomly, I see that you are a fan of Richard Matheson. I am a huge fan of 'I am Legend'. (The first time I read that novel, I remember thinking: 'Wow, I would love to write a novel exactly like this one.') Catch you later, Ruth

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Patrick Samuel
10:43 Dec 23, 2021

Hey Ruth "I am Legend" is great indeed. However my favorite Mathesons are his short stories. "Shipshape Home" was the first terror tale I read and I still consider it one of the best. I'm less of a fan of his "noir" novels ("Someone is Bleeding") and I'm of two minds about "Hell House" (one part of me loves it, the other rolls his eyes and want to grab the nearest Shirley Jackson to cleanse my palate.) Still, when it comes to the short form, he's a master and a model of keeping it simple and efficient. Hope you have a great holiday too!

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Ruth Porritt
08:58 Dec 26, 2021

Hello Patrick, I've never read "Shipshape Home", and I will have to check it out. Stephen King (in 'Danse Macabre') wrote about 'Hell House' and I might read it. (not sure) I adore 'The Stepford Wives', (the book and the old version of the movie) and this novel touches on many themes that I find chilling, personally. I love, love, love, Shirley Jackson. (Can't go wrong with Shirley, and I would like to steal her writing style.) Have you read Ramsey Campbell? (I savor the way he makes everyday things and experiences into something fille...

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Patrick Samuel
22:40 Dec 26, 2021

Hello Ruth, "Shipshape Home" I discovered when I was around 10, in my mother's "Cosmopolitan" (where I also read a condensed version of Stephen King's "Carrie". I read as much adult fiction as I could get my hands on as a child, thinking it held the key to the mysteries of the universe.) Anyway the Matheson story was like a very nasty Twilight Zone episode and I felt literaly like "the kid who has first read his first horror story" (which is how the narrator describes his wife after she finds out... something about their building.) As a Fr...

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Ruth Porritt
07:58 Dec 27, 2021

Hello Patrick, LOL, I am guessing that people who like to write about horrific things must share a curiosity about "scary" things, from a young age. (I put quotations around 'scary' because I was lucky to have a childhood that was free of genuinely scary things.) My father put all of his Stephen King books on the highest level of his DIY plank bookshelf. He said that my brother and I should not read the books on that shelf. When I asked why I shouldn't read those books, he said: "You shouldn't read those books because there are things in t...

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Jon Casper
15:20 Dec 22, 2021

Special sausages LOL. This is great! Loved the dialogue.

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Ruth Porritt
15:54 Dec 22, 2021

Thank you, Jon. You have made my entire day, and I mean this. Happy Holidays, Ruth

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Nicole Of 2022
23:06 May 14, 2022

I LOVED IT!! It was different and new. Also, well written👏🏼👏🏼 ....read mine?

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Ruth Porritt
05:32 Jun 02, 2022

Hello Nikki, Thank you! I am kind of on a writing sabbatical right now, as that sweet teaching life is currently occupying much of my time. I am planning on seeing if I can finish a story today, and then I can take a look at your stuff this weekend. Have a great one, Ruth

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Nicole Of 2022
15:53 Jun 02, 2022

Oh, that's fine! Can't wait to read your new one!! <33

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Ruth Porritt
15:33 Sep 10, 2022

Thank you! I am back to writing, now! :)

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