Yuletide humor fiction from Playful Thoughts
It is Winter Solstice and a time for cheer in my household. In the spirit of the season I wanted to give something a little special to my readers here at Hubpages. I had tried to come up with a brand new story just for the occasion but between preparation and celebration I’ve had little opportunity to write. So I racked my brain for something, and I finally thought of something that just might work.
Several months back I released a book of fiction for adults under my pen name called Playful Thoughts. It is a collection of both short stories and blog material that some readers suggested I publish. So I did and while it has certainly not been a raging success, I enjoyed compiling it. The following segment is from the section called, What if modern writers put their spin on the holiday classics? It is one of the non-Romance “clean” portions and I post it here for the reading pleasure of the folks who have graced me with their presence and readership since I joined Hubpages.
Happy Holidays everyone.
The following post by Anya Howard originally appeared at the Aphrodisia Authors blog
December 2, 2010.
What if these modern writers put their spin on the holiday classics?
Every year around this time some publishers release holiday-related titles. And by holiday I mean specifically Christmas (helpful hint, dear publishers: you may be missing out on the Hanukkah and Winter Solstice audiences). These days I’m a little too busy to read newer Christmas stories but I do occasionally get to catch a Christmas movie on TV. Also throughout the Yuletide my kids inevitably ask me to read them some of the old Christmas classics to them. But always on their must-have seasonal list is Trosclair’s A Cajun Night Before Christmas. This whimsical poem is a twist of Clement Clarke Moore’s original A Visit From St. Nickolas, aka The Night Before Christmas and one of their favorite stories.
Now one night after having read this story to the kids and tucking them into bed I sat down and turned the TV on. To my delight I came across Scrooged, that hilarious spoof of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I love this movie starring Bill Murray. But when it was over and I had crawled into bed myself I began to think about all the writers who over time have knowingly, shamelessly and skillfully re-worked original Christmas tales. Inevitably these artists grace the end product with their own special flair, and in some cases, what they come up with is more entertaining than the original work. I also began to wonder, hey what if some of our modern authors were to experiment with the old classics? What would they end up reading like?
I eventually came up with a few ideas on what I think these re-worked masterpieces would look like and want to share them with you today. Remember these stories are pure speculation on my part, so please don’t credit the authors noted as being the culprits/responsible parties behind them. For your amusement and consideration, my
WHAT IF THESE MODERN AUTHORS PUT THEIR SPIN ON HOLIDAY CLASSICS?:
What if #1
One of the best-loved Kensington authors around is the talented Kate Douglas. Now what if my friend Kate was to put her passionate pen to work re-writing Earl Hamner Jr.’s heart-warming TV-story, ” The Homecoming”? Just maybe it’d turn out something like this:
John-Boy’s mouth watered as Grandpa took the first portion of thin fried meat and slapped it onto his plate. He’d never seen the old man look so emaciated.
This is the last meal we’ll probably ever have, John-Boy thought dismally.
He watched as the platter made it around the table; from Grandpa to Grandma, to his mother and to his younger siblings. And then Ben passed it to him. John-Boy looked to where the youngest of the brood sat. Poor Elizabeth, she had grown so frail that her black nails were flaking and her snout had developed an unhealthy drip. Ignoring the hungry knot in his stomach John-Boy stood up with the platter and dumped his portion onto Elizabeth’s plate.
The others were too busy gnawing their meat to notice. But sweet little Elizabeth swung her thin arms around John-Boy’s waist and gave him a hug.
“Thank you, John-Boy,” she said and managed a frail howl.
Grandma glanced up, and baring her teeth scolded, “We don’t howl at the table, young lady.”
“Leave the child alone,” Grandpa said. But with a fond smile he reached over and licked her meat-smeared jowl. Grandma smacked his arm, hard enough to make Grandpa yelp and turn back to his meal.
John-Boy tousled Elizabeth’s head of red fur and walked away from the table.
Grabbing his old tattered jacket from the coat rack John-Boy walked to the front door. He glanced at his family; the angry tears burning in his eyes as he quietly left the house and trekked over the snow. In the blizzard coming down the outhouse was barely more than a smudgy coal outline on the horizon. But he knew the way by heart, and with the last of his strength he struggled to make the journey in the frigid cold. Once he got there he had to shove almost a foot of new powder away before he could open the front door. And as he managed this and entered he was encompassed in blackness. In this merciless oblivion he unbelted his trousers and pulled them down, and feeling his way in the familiar shack found the hole on the wood boards. He sat his narrow backside over it, grunting as one icy splinter cut into a butt cheek.
It wasn’t the first time John-Boy had ventured out in the night to take a dump in the outhouse. But he couldn’t remember a more miserable night to do it in. To tell the truth, he really had no urge to relieve himself; but had wanted an excuse to get away from the heart-breaking sight of his starving family. This and exposing his bare ass to the frigid cold until his testicles froze also made it easier to face another lonely night tossing and turning between two homely-as-hell younger brothers while trying to forget that his better looking sisters slept in the next room.
A scraping noise against the door made him jump.
“Wait your turn!” John-Boy said instinctively. Then he realized that nobody in his family scraped to knock except for his father. And Daddy was miles away... still fighting in the Shifters War, right? Or was it running ‘shine over in Bristol? Maybe he was visiting the preacher’s pretty widow like he did whenever Mama was whelping another young’un? John-Boy wasn’t sure which, but he was pretty sure it was one of these things.
Unless, he thought suddenly, his Daddy was dead.
Before the impact of the dreadful thought had time to settle the scrape sounded again, and John-Boy’s eyes were pained by a flash of light between the outhouse panels.
“It’s me, silly,” said a feminine voice.
John-Boy, numb and befuddled from cold and hunger, didn’t recognize the voice.
“I’m sorry, but there’s no Silly here. Now if you’ll just wait-“
“You igit. It’s me, Dorothy.”
John-Boy’s head cleared. Oh yes, he remembered Miss Dorothy. The big-bosomed Sunday school teacher with the good teeth. Quickly he stood and reached for his trousers and pulled them back up. He swung the door open. And there, alit in the soft glow of the lantern she held stood Miss Dorothy. And she looked prettier than ever, except her skin was mighty pale and her lips had turned a vivid crimson. Something about her clothes was different. Ah yes, gone was the big ole cross she usually wore on a rawhide cord from her neck. Gone, too, was the calico jumper of homespun flour bag cloth she usually wore. She was dressed instead in a very sheer gown that accentuated every angle and curve of her slender figure. Two heaps of creamy flesh pushed against the extremely low-cut bodice. And when she smiled John-Boy was mesmerized by the perfection of her ivory teeth, noting for the first time how very sharp and cruel-looking her canines were.
Miss Dorothy moved close to him so that the heaps of flesh pushed against his chest. She made an alluring pout in the hazy light and cooed, “Hi there, John-Boy. What’s up?”
John-Boy felt a tight sensation in his trousers. And as he looked down he knew exactly what was up...
What if #2
Moving away from authors of the sensual, let’s now imagine TV pundit and author Bill O’Reilly having a turn at Jean Shepard’s humorous and greatly loved, “A Christmas Story”:
A Bold Fresh Chickpeas Christmas
My mother stood there rubbing her rosary beads, bless her heart, as my father handed me the impressive long package. I opened the decorative wrapping – neatly, of course, as I remembered crumpled Christmas wrap wastes usable space in garbage cans. When I had removed the paper and unstuck the tape I handed this to Mom to put in her used-tape collection. (Tape was an outrageous 9 cents a roll back in those days). My eyes opened wide in excited glee. For there in my grasp was the wondrous present I had spent weeks attempting to connive, spur and otherwise annoy my parents into getting for me.
Ok. It wasn’t precisely the present I wanted, but a nice and very inexpensive knock-off. It was basically just like the Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle I wanted – just sans a safety trigger, sight, compass and pellets. And I knew at once my Dad must have spent at least a hard-earned seventy-five cents on it.
I held it up to the morning light and basked in the luminous glow of the rusty barrel.
My mother asked what Dad intended me to use for ammunition. His suggestion was as practical as always.
“Your mother has a bag of chickpeas she’s been lax about cooking,” he said. “Why don’t you use those for now and then come tomorrow use that nickel you found in the street and buy pellets?”
I had been saving that nickel to give to the Withered Old Spinsters Fund, and so chimed right up and told my father. I also told him pellets probably cost more than a nickel.
“In that case,” he said. “Save up your allowance to buy some of that pricey ammo.”
He was right as always. With the money earned from chores I’d have enough to buy some pellets in about a year. And my Dad suggested that in the meantime I put the BB gun and chickpeas to good use by practicing on the Bumpass hounds. My mother scoffed at this suggestion, saying the neighbors wouldn’t be too happy if I accidently killed one of the hounds.
However she did have an idea. “You can practice on the front lawn. Shoot directly across the street and aim at the posts over there.”
Now I could have reminded her that the Parkers lived across the street and the posts she referred to were firmly connected to their front porch. Not only did their front window face potential damage if I missed my target, I really didn’t like the possibility of having to hold off saving up for pellets because of a needed window replacement. And what, I wondered, if I accidently hit one of the Parker kids? Ralphie and Randy acted like panty waists for sure, but since Ralphie’s recent emotional outburst had resulted in the hospitalization of my good friend Skut Farkus I wasn’t sure I wanted to chance it.
But then I recalled that atrocious leg lamp Mr. Parker had recently won in a raffle and consequently displayed in their front window. On passing by the Parker house and noticing the lamp Sister Frigidnatius from my school had suffered a nervous breakdown. On seeing it the poor Sister had spent two hours washing her eyeballs out with soap and another several hours at the emergency room for treatment of soap poisoning. And balancing the pros and cons of the circumstances, I knew I was morally obligated to take that sicko lamp out. Such a bold fresh action would not only serve the common good of the neighborhood but also surely score me brownie points with Sister Frigidnatius (if and when she was released from the sanitarium).
So I told my mother what a marvelous idea it was; just as long as she had no plans for the chickpeas. She gave a reassuring smile and said that while she’d thought about cooking them for the Christmas dinner, Mrs. Bumpass had just that morning generously brought over some extra turkey their hound dogs had taken during a hunt. Amazingly, the turkey was already cooked, too.
At hearing this my father patted his stomach and told my mother to set the table…
What if # 3
Moving back to authors of the sensual (isn’t it cool how you can so easily do that in a blog?), here’s an excerpt froma take on Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas as “re-mastered” by good friend and erotic poet extraordinaire Jade Blackmore:
…So the Grinch grabbed the tree and started to shove
when he heard a small sigh like the coo of a dove.
He turned around quick and saw a shapely Who;
lovely Minxy-woo Who, who was a ripe 22.
There she stood naked from flaxen head to painted toe,
making the Grinch’s ‘lil Grinch harden and grow;
she stared at the Grinch, smiling, and said,
“Why Santy, are you fondling that tree when you could fondle me instead?”
That old Grinch was so flattered, this new interest outweighed
The very reason he’d descended MountCrumpit with the sleigh.
“Why my sweet young woman,” the fake Santy said,
“I’d be happier to oblige you than this evergreen so dead,
for while this tree’s bulb needs fixing, ‘tis true
I have a much bigger bulb in dire need of a screw...”
What if #4
Moving on to the horror genre, have you ever imagined what we’d have if Stephen King took on a classic Christmas carol? You never have? Then shame on you...but I did! And here’s a snippet of what I think the King might come up with if he went prose on that popular Christmas tune by Elmo Shropshire, Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer:
The old man’s rosy hollowed cheeks dimpled. He fished into the green cloth sack beside his chair and pulled out a large candy cane. Holding it by the curved top he jabbed the end at Jack’s chest. It was only a light tap actually, but the impact sent an icy chill that worked all the way to Jack’s heart.
“So, my boy, since you’re not on my Nice list, what would you be willing to do for that Playstation 3?”
Any other time such a dubious question might have made Jack reluctant to answer. But Christmas was only two days away. His father had abandoned the family right after Thanksgiving and the landlord had left an eviction notice earlier this week. His Grandma’s incessant drinking hadn’t helped matters. His mother was stressed out all the time, having taken a third job now to pay for his brother Jim’s gastric bypass. That emergency hospital visit had come only a day after big brother had cleaned out the last of the food in the pantry. Jack knew the only present hidden under his mother’s bed was a box of diet bon-bons she intended to give poor Jim on his release. And Jack resented his older brother; he was twenty-three, jobless, hospitalized and had been the one who had sat down on his Play station 2 and destroyed it. Even as Jack’s conscience urged him to just get up and flee from the old man, the sense of deprivation and injustice spoke louder.
He ignored the thin inner voice. “Hell, Santa, I’d do anything!”
Despite the throng of shoppers that had descended on the mall Jack felt the world suddenly slip away. He and the old man were transported to the mere shadows of reality. In this private place it was just the two of them, unmolested by the noise of teens blathering on cell phones and the torturous strains of Justin Bieber tunes blaring from the CD Bar. A timeless world where the aroma of coffee didn’t waft over from the Java Express and no one heard the low moans of grown men who carried purses for their sale-happy wives.
Jack was also aware of how bony and hard the old man’s lap suddenly felt under his rump.
Uncomfortable by this closeness Jack jumped off. But even as his feet hit the floor he felt captured in place by the store Santa’s glare. There was something about his eyes, all blue without clarity, the smoke that encircled his head like a wreath in various shapes: one moment a crocodile, the next a wolf and now the spiraling into the grey billowing form of a corpse. The edge of his white beard was stained a faint gray, and Jack smelled something putrid emanating from the long curly strands. The shape of his gloved hands that wasn’t right; they were massive, with thumbs far too long and far too narrow for any normal human being. Then there was that smile, the yellowed teeth that hovered dryly behind the cracked lips; the crinkled corners of the mouth that turned up in serpentine curls. He was repulsive in every sense of the word, and yet Jack was spellbound.
But the store Santa’s voice was as smooth as the unturned pages of a new Bible. He leaned forward, curling the tip of his white beard.
“Anything, Jack?” he hissed.
The image of the PS3 danced in Jack’s head. “Y-yes. Anything.”
The man’s eyes sparkled with an intensity that drew Jack into their hellish azure gleam. “Well, Jack it so happens my reindeer are practically starved for excitement. But I sense you have something you wouldn’t overly mind sacrificing for their amusement...”
What if #5
Everyone has heard of the famous “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” commentary as written by Sun editor Francis P. Church in his 1897 response to a letter sent by a little girl asking his opinion on the existence of Santa Claus. The world today often seems lacking in the common sense and optimistic sentiments of Mr. Church. I dare imagine that if a modern child had a burning question they couldn’t get answered from a parent, they just might turn to famed atheist and author of The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins. And I further dare imagine the exchange might go a little like this:
Dear Mr. Dawkins,
Some of my friends say there is a Santa Claus. Dad says if the great Mr. Dawkins says it is so, it must be. So I’m asking you for the truth, is there a Santa?
Your friends are so wrong it broaches on the criminal. They have been affected by years of exposure to commercialized holidays, and hence, brainwashed by the very falsehood which underlies religion. They try to comprehend lies fed to them by their parents; their reason compromised by loyalty to the people who gave them life and offer them upbringing. They are suckled on myths instead of logic. You may ask, and rightfully so, why in this great, beautiful godless universe are these harmful myths allowed to breed and spread? The answer is simple: because most people are too stupid to appreciate the rational beauty of science. It was not so long ago, unfortunately, that these kinds of people once persecuted sober-minded, tolerant individuals such as yours truly.
So yes, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus. With science we understand that there could never be a Santa Claus because firstly, reindeer simply do not possess the natural mechanism of flight. Secondly, even if reindeer did possess wings it would still be impossible for any bird of this planet to make a global-wide trip in a single night, a feat which Santa’s reindeer are alleged to accomplish. Thirdly, if Santa forced a group of elves to work year long with no salary the union people would be on his ass in a heartbeat.
And lastly, dear Virginia, think upon this: if indeed this Santa Claus truly existed and was willing and capable of granting the heart’s fondest wish, do you really think I’d be up all night long answering a child’s stupid letter? Let me assure you the answer is a resounding NO. If he existed I’d be attending a lot more parties and spending my time with people a lot more interesting than the loser geeks I hang around with. And, another thing Virginia, if Mr. Claus was real do you think children would run in screaming terror every time I step onto a podium? Again, NO. And if there was a North Pole genie with some magical bag of tricks, one who actually took the time to read the carefully worded letters I sent EVERY SINGLE WRETCHED YEAR do you think I would have simply watched on as the stupid jocks in college took all the good snatch while I had to go to bed every night crying into my pillow like a little girl? HELL BLOODY HELL NO. Believe you me, Miss Virginia, if ole St. Nick had been there it would have been ME trawling the taverns and lecture halls every single night! It would have been ME who sewed my seed into the fertile nether fields of every hot and horny woman that crossed my path! It would have been me-
What if #6
I leave off by returning again to authors of the sensual, and to be utterly fair I have put myself in the bull’s eye this time. I asked myself, if I was to re-write, re-work, re-imagine or just downright spoof a famous Christmas story what story would it be? There was only one answer: my favorite holiday story of all time, O’Henry’s Gift of the Magi. So, with my apologies to the memory of Mr. O’Henry and all his descendants here’s a snippet from that imagined work:
Jim smiled at the necktie in the box. It was a becoming shade of emerald, his favorite color, and made of exquisite silk. Yet he felt a touch of sadness as he raised his eyes and looked at Delia’s shorn locks. The wig maker had given her a cute bob, yes, but how he had adored those long lovely tresses. And now he was hesitant to give Delia her present. With the sacrifice she’d made to buy the tie, he could just imagine her dismay.
Delia’s smile was hopeful. “Do you like it?”
“Oh, Delia,” he answered, “I love it. It’s beautiful.”
“I’m so glad,” she said, her eyes glistening with tears. “You deserve a nice tie for work. And that one will look so fine with that Onyx tie clip your Dad left you.”
Jim sighed and closed the box lid. Setting the gift on the bed he got up and walked to the dresser. Pulling open the first drawer he removed the silver-foil wrapped box he’d brought home the night before. He sat down beside Delia, and feeling a dreadful pang in his gut, handed it to her.
“Well sweetheart, uh, here’s your gift. Please forgive me.”
“Forgive you?” she frowned. But she opened the foil carefully, and holding the box flashed him a curious look. With a lift of the lid she found the hair brush he had bought. It was made of rare tortoiseshell, with real horse hair bristles. Delia bit her bottom lip and holding the brush up admired it in the early light that strained through the bedroom’s one small window.
“Oh, it is gorgeous!” she exclaimed. “Now when my hair grows back in I’ll have something to brush it with! How, darling, did you ever manage to buy such a costly brush?”
Jim told her how he had sold the Onyx tie pin to a man at the flea market. He expected Delia to cry, to be devastated, to be rightfully angrier than when the cat had eaten the last slice of bread on the pantry shelf. But instead she threw her arms around his neck and kissed his face.
“No pin for your tie,” she giggled. “No hair for my brush. Aren’t we a pair?”
Jim had never felt such relief. He pulled her close and kissed her deeply. “Oh, but I have the greatest gift of all! I love you so, Delia.”
“And I love you, Jim!”
Jim took the brush from her hand. It wasn’t just a pretty brush; it was a good sturdy one, too. He reached behind her and smoothed the flat side over the crest of her ass. He gave her a little smack and said thoughtfully, “You know, we do have a nice long tie now and we have this firm brush. I think we can use them together in a very inventive way.”
“Whatever do you mean, Jim?”
“My dearest, we also have a bed with nice solid posts.”
“Why yes, we do!”
“Merry Christmas, Delia.”
“Merry Christmas, Santa Jim. Now...I’d like to see that hog-tie position you use on rambunctious reindeers at your work shop at the North Pole!”
“It would be my pleasure, sweetheart. And then I’ll show you my southern pole…
Wishing everyone the happiest of Holidays!
Excerpt from Playful Thoughts ©2010 Anya Howard
Watch the Playful Thoughts trailer video (with original cover work)
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