christmas fiction

TALES FROM THE CHRISTMAS GOOCH – CHRISTMAS GIFT 2018

CHRISTMAS GIFT 2018

BY SCOTT MANLEY HADLEY

Scott Manley Hadley (whingy hipster blogger, bald poet and proud dog owner) spat out the stone from the olive he’d sucked from his morning martini (gin, dry, dirty), and it flew towards the corner of the room. It bounced once and rolled into the charred corpse of a recently deceased reindeer, probably Blitzen. Cubby, Scott’s loyal Tibetan Terrier (three years old, castrated, charming but lazy), was gnawing on the reindeer’s leg with excitement and fatigue: this was already his second reindeer of the day.

Pulling the wrapper off a brand new Black & Decker sander, Scott Manley Hadley walked towards the bearded fat baby boomer bastard he’d also captured on the roof last night. Scott glanced at his Game of Thrones-themed cufflinks and considered rolling up his sleeves. No, fuck it, he didn’t want to. Scott reached the fireplace of the chalet he’d hired for the weekend and bent down to slap the red alcoholic’s nose that poked out of the bulbous, beard-covered face that was hanging upside down out of the chimney. ‘Merry Christmas, buddy,’ Scott whispered as the old fucker blinked awake. He was still wearing his furs, so was probably boiling. ‘This must be the worst Christmas Day of your life,’ Scott whispered, licking his lips and thinking, happily, of the billions of disappointed children who’d be waking up in a few hours with no presents at all. Scott Manley Hadley, instead, had the ideal Christmas present for the angry youngish millennial: the quasi-mythical body of a fat old man, whose very existence was doubted by pretty much everyone over eight years of age. Perfect.

Stepping away for a moment, Scott plugged his box-fresh sander into the extension lead he was running the Christmas tree lights off and undid his top button. He made sure the sandpaper was attached properly to the bit of the machine that spins, and depressed the soft, green, ignition button. As he stepped towards Father Christmas’ face, words began pouring forth in panic and fear.

‘What’s wrong?’ Scott asked, ‘It’s important to remember to exfoliate.’

Roughly, hungrily, Scott Manley Hadley used his left hand to tightly grip the hair on the back of Father Christmas’s head, and with his right pressed forwards with the shiny, matt black, sander. An absolute fucking torrent of blood sprayed onto the cream throw rug in front of the fireplace and Cubby immediately skipped over to lick up the fragments of flesh. Scott was impressed by how fast his new toy could sand off an entire nose, and words were again flowing out of the mouth above the gaping fucking wound.

‘Sorry, Santa,’ said Scott, thinking about what to sand off next, ‘I don’t speak Swedish.’

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Scott Manley Hadley reviews for Open Pen, as well as over on his blog Triumph Of The Now.

His debut poetry collection Bad Boy Poet is in shops now, and available to buy at OpenPen.shop with free shipping.

AN OPEN PEN CHRISTMAS: Father Christmas and the Doctor-Dealer

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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?”

“Yes.

“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?”

“Correct.”

“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.”

Pause.

“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.

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Scott Manley Hadley

Find out more about Scott: https://triumphofthenow.com

Twitter: @Scott_Hadley

Scott’s Christmas song for Open Pen: