The Christmas Card

We hope you have enjoyed our month of festive stories written by members of CWC. Today Margaret Barnes brings us the result of a writing exercise from a while ago.

“At one of our December meeting we played consequences to provide each of us with a prompt. We were each given a Christmas card and had to write on the envelope the name of the recipient. The card was then passed to the next person who provided the address. Someone else wrote one message and the fourth person composed a second message. The card was then pased on again and the fifth writer had to write a story inspired by the card. I wrote this piece.

The Christmas Card

‘I’m not going to your mother’s again,’ Jessica said.

Peter grimaced. ‘She’s on her own.’

‘I’m not going and that’s final. She’s a hopeless cook. The potatoes get burnt, the turkey isn’t cooked, it’s desiccated and the Brussel spouts…oh dear the sprouts – cooked to a mush. I was nearly sick last year trying to eat it.’ Jessica bent down to stroke Fran, her King Charles Spaniel. ‘Even Fran couldn’t eat it.’

‘My mother was very upset when she saw you feeding your meat to that dog.’ Peter pointed a finger at the spaniel.

‘What do you mean, that dog? I’ll have you know she’s got better taste than you.’

Peter paced around the room.

‘Stop it. I’ve had enough of this,’ Jessica said.

‘What do you mean – you’ve had enough?’

‘I don’t want to go to your mother’s again. There’s nothing to do.’

‘What you’re saying is, your parents hold a Christmas Eve Ball and then on Christmas Day all your bloody relatives turn up. Eat. Drink themselves stupid.’

‘Who are you calling stupid. At least the food and wine is good. The Ball is always great fun.’

‘I know that first year I came, you were having so much fun…’ Peter demonstrated quotation marks in the air, ‘with what’s he called, the guy in the kilt. Hamish?’

‘Well what about you with my sister.’

‘I wasn’t…’

‘Yes, you were – you were horizontal in the orangery.’

‘You were in that cupboard…’

‘The telephone room.’

‘Whatever it’s called. You were in there with your dress half off.’

‘It was just a goodnight kiss. And before you say anything else, you were very rude to great-aunt Agatha – calling her a stupid old bag.’

‘She’s as deaf as a doorpost. Can’t hear a thing. And anyway she is a silly old thing.’

‘How dare you. She’s got a big house in Chelsea, and…’

‘That’s what it’s all about. That’s why you all suck up to her. You think she’ll leave you a packet. It’s the same with all your family.’

‘How dare you. You think I want to live in some crummy flat in Pimlico or some tatty house in…in Morden, after living in the Hall. I never want to see you again. I’m crossing you off my Christmas card list. Don’t ring or write to me ever again.’ Jessica picked up her handbag and coat, tucked Fran under her arm and walked out of the flat slamming the door behind her.

Peter was still standing open- mouthed when the door opened and Jessica threw her keys to the floor.

‘Happy Christmas,’ she said.”

Margaret Barnes

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