The Christmas Works Night Out. Obviously the only reason anyone would still working for Coffee Society. One night to take our minds off our dire economic circumstances and get wasted. But first, the dreaded Secret Santa. Nobody really wants to buy colleagues a present for just short of an hour’s wage, but our manager insists that it will boost morale.

We pass around a red basket and I pull out mine. It is in a little faux-designer gift bag.  Inside, a mug says, “I Am Batman.”

A voice asks, “Do you like your present? I knew you liked superheroes.”

Oh God, it was her. All Burberry, Prada, yada yada. We all know it’s from the Barras. Isn’t this a secret Santa, anyway?

I muster the most grateful voice and smile I can, “Oh my gosh, I LOVE it! Thank you SO MUCH!” I reach across the table to hug her.

I hate Batman. He shouldn’t count as a superhero. He’s a wooden bastard who’s only really considered a superhero because he’s rich.

During the meal, I quietly try and think of a way to dispose of it without being overly rude. Maybe my cousin will like it. But does he like Batman? Who cares.

After getting royally pie-eyed, I take the short cut home. I’ve spent the taxi money on a fishbowl, and it’s not far. It should have been perfectly safe.

But then a mad-looking man in a black hoodie materialises.

“Geez the bag!” he coughs.

He glares at me, his eyes manically wide. He’s right up in my face. I thrust my handbag in his hands.

But this only antagonises them further. “NO THAT BAG THE OTHER WAN!”

The other one? The gift bag with the mug? I hold it up, “What this on-?”

Before I can finish, it is snatched out of my hands, and he scurries away down the street.

That was Cucci not Gucci you idiot! I smirk to myself. If I ever get a present like that again next year, remind me to walk home!


I Know The Effects of Gravity

From my top floor apartment I can hear eery Christmas jingles from inside shops. It’s got a good location, if you like going out in the town and to the student union but I’ve never been a big fan. Usually, games nights in my house would do me. If I had any friends, that is. They’re always busy, and they live at the other side of the country. They don’t call or text anymore.
I look down at the great drop below me. The shoppers are like aphids. From here, you can’t see their expressions, and you can’t hear them talk to each other. Any one of those aphids could be squashed, or burned by the magnifying glass of God at any given moment, and they’ll never see it coming.
I could jump you know. I can’t stand this life anymore. I hate Christmas, especially. The cheer is fake and that once a year I have to pretend that my family actually care about my life, at least outside my career prospects. All of them piling in from St Andrew’s to lord it over because I’m at Glasgow which is for slow people. But I’m studying medicine, like they want me to, so they can’t hold that against me.
Next week, I’ll be in the exam hall, tested on how efficiently I can regurgitate facts. Everything I’ve learned, everything I am will be defined by that day. I know for a fact going to fail it. I’ve missed so many classes, because I’ve been either so anxious I can’t speak or so depressed I think I’m coming down with the worst flu ever. Slow person. It almost suits me now. I can barely drag myself over to the window sill.
The only person who is actually there is my cat, Tesla. She’s out hunting. Every time she comes home, she brings back a bird or mouse corpse. It’s these little kindnesses that make my life less bitter. Except for her, I have no-one.
I bring myself to my feet. I look down again. I could do it. I could jump… but then, I can hear the cat flap. Tesla. I can hear her meowing. You can’t be hungry, can you? There’s food in your bowl. She sits at my feet. Her claws dig into my feet and she’s looking up at me with those ‘Don’t Leave me’ eyes. She knows.
“You’ll manage fine without me.” I cry.
Tesla meows louder, and sadder. As if to say, ‘But I don’t want to, without you.’
I collapse onto a heap on the floor, and cry my lungs out. She pads up to me, climbs onto my knees and starts to lick my nose. I need help. I pick up my mobile phone and text some of my friends to invite them down for Christmas. I’ll try to keep going for another six months.
My phone pings. It is my friend Stephanie. She says she’s coming down tomorrow.
Featured Image by McKenzie Clarklove-is-a-violent-feeling

Love Is Blind

My girlfriend Millie said she was having quality time with her mother today. So seeing as how I was behind with my Christmas shopping, I thought I’d get cracking. I’m feeling pretty smug, now. I’ve got Millie’s presents more than sorted: a box of chocolates, a golden necklace with a heart pendant encrusted with diamonds and some really cute stationary from Claire’s Accessories. This week, she’s been moaning about how she’s got virtually none of her stationary back from her students. She’d love to have some more.

But as I’m walking past Costa Coffee, I can see Millie and her mother in the distance. No!

I walk the other way so I’m not spotted. I peer over my shoulder and they’re following me! What a pain! If she sees me she will want to stop and chat, and when she stops and chats she’ll notice her whole Christmas. Then the magic of her Christmas will be gone!

Keep calm, Becca. Maybe she won’t see it. Maybe she hasn’t seen me.

I peek behind me again and find they are closer, and yet closer. They close in and….

…. It’s not them. It never was. They are probably wondering why I look so pale! I slip into the nearest shop, trying to look as casual as possible.