It was the middle of the fucking party season and the emphysema was starting to become a problem again. He knew it wasn’t a matter of life and death (he couldn’t die) but it was still pretty annoying to cough up thumb sized gobs of blood every time he tried to do anything remotely athletic. He hated too having to deal with the health sector – medical practitioners worldwide had an obsession with the kind of bureaucracy that really pissed him off – but though he could keep surgeons permanently employed on his staff, getting hold of a pair of good sized lungs had been a problem more than once before. Also, as a very heavy smoker, he was never top priority for any going spare.
Father Christmas, then, was stood on a frosty December morning in the car park of a small GP’s clinic in rural England. He leant against a windowframe so that he could peer at the electronic display while he chain-smoked in the cold, kept warm by a thick red suit lined with polar bear fur. When his pseudonym (Danny Twatt – he was young at heart) pinged up, he crushed a smouldering Camel Blue into the asphalt and strolled inside.
The doctor was sat behind his desk and didn’t shake his hand. He stared for a bit, the recognition dawning slow and heavy like a shag on morning wood. Early thirties. Dark hair. Good eyes. Maybe a Spanish grandparent. If Father Christmas hadn’t come less than five minutes ago, he’d have definitely tried to bone him.
“Sir, it’s an honour.”
Father Christmas was staring with a sneer at the “No Smoking” sign behind the GP’s head and ignored the younger man’s sycophantic entreaty.
“You’re good with confidentiality, right? Don’t want the fucking paps outside when we’re finished in here.”
“Of course, of course.” Starstruck. Or maybe shocked by the language. “What’s the problem?”
“Don’t want any bullshit, Doctor. I want a set of lungs as I’ve been-” he paused and exhibited his symptom into a ragged handkerchief, leaving a dribble of blood in his white stubble. “I’ve been doing that a lot. Needs to stop.”
“Are you a smoker?”
“How many a day?”
“As many as I feel like. Feel like one now, if it matters.”
“How many cigarettes do you smoke on an average day?”
“Ten to twenty packs… Sorry, not packs, cartons. More if the weather’s good, my missus doesn’t like me smoking anything but hash in the house.”
“10 to 20 cartons?”
“I travel a lot, buy ‘em in duty free, so it’s not as spenny as you’re thinking. I know, doc, why my lungs are damaged, but as you’re probably aware from the stories that circulate about me in popular culture – i.e. not Tim Allen films, hahahaha – I cannot die. So, I’m going to keep on smoking.”
“I’m afraid I should advise you to cut down.”
Father Christmas didn’t like this. He spat dark yellow phlegm onto the floor.
“Who the fuck do you think you are?”
“I understand it can be difficult to talk about these things, but”
“-It’s not unpleasant, it’s fucking simple. I need a set of lungs and my naughty lists have got you down as a – a – a-”
His words turned into a series of coughs, and Father Christmas bent over the arm of the chair and started spraying strings of blood onto the linoleum floor. The mess seemed to calm his anger.
He sank back into the chair, breathing heavily. “Sorry about that, doc. As you were.”
The GP paused for a second, floundering. “You’re fourhundredandeightyseven?”
“And you can’t die?”
“No. Blessing and a curse.” Pause. “Can I smoke in here?”
The smug prick ignored the question. “Well, I’ll have to refer you to a specialist.”
“Buddy, I’m here because I heard you are a specialist.”
“I don’t quite-“
“You’re the man in town to go to, I hear, for any “medical needs”.” Father Christmas made finger quote marks like a 90s teen. “And don’t deny it, I’ve got lists and-“
“If you’re referring to the arrangements I have with a couple of shall we say “independent pharmacists” then I’m afraid you’ve got the wrong end of the stick.”
“I’m sure I don’t, doctor. It’s pretty simple: you sell things, I want lungs. I’ve got doctors at home. I just need the lungs. I’m very rich, you know.”
“Why have you come to me?”
“I’m in town quite a bit. I’m shagging the MP’s wife. And their daughter. And once the son. And the MP, if we’re being honest, mate, but he’s probably gonna get deselected because he’s proper Blue Labour innit and I can’t see myself getting hard for an ex-MP or a fucking commie, so-”
The doctor interrupted, either bored or genuinely annoyed. “I’m not going to assist you in illegal organ trading.”
“But you’ll sell to criminals?”
“I do not sell organs to anyone.”
“What do you sell them?”
“Well, y’know, Mr Christmas, I don’t sell them anything. I merely provide some of my patients with large prescriptions for certain pharmacological products that happen to have high black market values and, coincidently, those patients merely provide me with a large consultancy fee for my work on their – as yet unproduced – wine podcast, Grapes and Wrath.”
Father Christmas rolled his eyes.
“You’re just a fucking GP-dealer? Christ, gotta get these forms updated, you’re in the same fucking naughty list as Burke and Hare. I’ve got silos of medication at home, you’d be surprised how many kids write asking for drugs.”
And then came the brainwave.
“Do you smoke, doc?”
Then came the epiphany.
“No? And how much exercise do you get?”
Then came the remembrance of complete diplomatic immunity.
“So, your lungs, mate, they’d be-” big cough “-much better than mine?”
They laughed together.
“Not much point in me sticking around then, is there?”
Father Christmas stood up to leave and shook the doctor’s hand. As he did so, he reached with his left up to the back of the other man’s head, grabbed a fistful of hair and in one movement slammed the doctor’s head into the corner of the desk. For safety, he repeated this three times until the medic’s pretty face had completely caved in. Father Christmas pulled a large red sack from one of the cavernous pockets of his overcoat and pulled it over the corpse.
After a pause for a prolonged spasm of retching coughs, he tied the head of the sack and threw it through the wide, single glazed, window. He climbed through afterwards and dragged the cargo across the carpark and stuffed it in the back seat of his sleigh. There was a bloody streak across the asphalt, and though he was aware that the sack would probably leak all over his upholstery, he was unfazed as he knew the leather had seen much worse during the slave trade.
He climbed into the driver’s seat and cracked his whip. As the reindeer knew the way, he sank into the chair and lit a blunt, pulled out a can of Stella and put some porn on his dash-mounted iPad.
It had been a while since he’d killed (comparatively) and it had given him a very real, very physical buzz. He’d got what he’d come for. And he had new lungs and a week of morphine to look forward to.
As Father Christmas pulled out his cock and saw that even his herpes was behaving itself, he grinned. Happy fucking Christmas.
o o o
Scott Manley Hadley
Find out more about Scott: https://triumphofthenow.com
Scott’s Christmas song for Open Pen: