Two Christmas Gifts, by Gordon Lawrie

Happy Christmas from Friday Flash Fiction, whatever your faith.

Once, everyone woke on Christmas Day to two gifts: first, everyone was nice to each other; and second, everyone shared wealth with those less fortunate.

Remarkable things happened. Folk discovered that being nice to others meant they were nice back, which was pretty cool. They discovered that making the poor richer meant they could buy more: everyone became richer. They discovered that making people in poor countries well-enough off meant they only traveled to be friends with other people. And now that they weren’t frightened, folk could spend less on protecting themselves. Everyone was richer and happier.

Happy Christmas, everyone.

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Merry Christmas, by Don Tassone

I see him every morning, standing at the corner. The light there changes so fast that he can usually make it only to the first car stopped at the light. I always hang back.

But I feel bad for him in his ragged clothes. As the temperature drops, I worry about him.

He’s begun wearing a Santa hat. This morning, I pulled up to the light and rolled down my window.

“Merry Christmas, sir!” he said.

“Good morning,” I said, handing him my winter coat.

“Thank you!” he said, flashing a gap-toothed smile.

​“Merry Christmas,” I said, pulling away.

First Visit from the Health Visitor, by Gordon Lawrie

Hi. I’m your Mrs Liddle, your health visitor. I’ve come to visit baby.

Is he well? Oh, good. Now you really mustn’t wrap baby too tightly, you know; babies need to move their arms and legs.

Is he sleeping well? Yes, of course you do get pestered a lot with visitors all wanting to see baby, but I’m the important one, remember. My, you’ve had three kings and three shepherds already? Really? Well, if you say so …

Now, mum and dad, about these gold diving helmets you all wear. Baby’s head isn’t strong enough to support something like that yet …

Withdrawal, by Eric Smith

Your heart took more direct hits than you could stand; still you kept your own counsel.

What now?

You could brace for life’s next messy, intricate adventure as it races toward you. But if you can’t countenance that, then retreat—drop off the grid, ignore texts and calls, hide indoors, eat from boxes. If someone does manage to make contact, bore them with details of your mythical back surgery: since the operation you’re walking on a cane, swallowing pain medication with debilitating side effects, and when you’ve fallen you’ve struggled to pull yourself up.

Chances are they’ll not call again.

Haole Boy in Hawaii, by James Blevins

Shawn raised his head from the sand. Wind lifted his lank, blonde hair away from his eyes, all while lifting his screams from beneath the monkey bars to the surrounding school buildings.

Everything smelled of mangoes. His left arm felt funny.

Mrs. Yamamoto reached to help Shawn up from the ground. She came with a strong cloud of L’Aimant perfume. Picking Shawn up by the cuff of his uniform shirt, she steadied him against the door of a nearby utility closet.

“What’s matter?” Mrs. Yamamoto asked in clipped English. “You hurt?”

Shawn raised his broken left arm.

“My arm moved.”

Cheat, by Lawrence Allen

Devoid of any inspiration, but nevertheless determined to win at all costs, Mary-Leeann entered the writing competition many times over. Many of her submissions were merely rewritten copies of material written elsewhere, but another ploy was to re-submit the same entry several times, each with a different title.

She appeared not to understand that she was cheating – cheating the organisers, cheating her fellow competitors, but most of all cheating herself.

That she hoped to deceive everyone was perhaps the biggest insult of all. But then cheats often delude themselves into thinking that it’s everyone else who is stupid.

Crime of the Santa Tree, by Adam Smith

Santa returned from a long night of gift-giving, only to find that someone had broken into his workshop and stolen his Christmas tree.

“Now who would do such a thing?” he asked no one in particular.

Mrs. Claus and Sparkle the elf came out of the house and walked over to Santa. Mrs. Claus handed him a cup of steaming cocoa. “We never heard a thing,” she said.

“Well, you haven’t shredded the Naughty List yet, have you, Sparkle?” he asked.

“Oh, no, Santa. I would never do that. I wouldn’t want to end up on it myself, next year!”