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.
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! :)