Franky The Christmas Elf – A “Short” Christmas Story

Franky The Christmas Elf

A “Short” Christmas Story

by Cameron Brtnik

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Franky wasn’t like the other elves: joyful, happy, full of “Christmas spirit” all year round. He was more of a realist, and had a sense of how the world really was – apathetic and uncaring. Even if you dedicated your whole life to giving and helping others, the world owed you nothing. It was a cruel, unforgiving world that didn’t care if your were good or bad, naughty or nice.

He didn’t mind his job; making toys was a decent gig these days considering most of the assembly lines were automated now, putting thirty percent of elves out on the snow. And he was proud to say he was pretty good at it. Franky had come from a long line of toy makers – from his great-great-elf father all the way down to his father – and now him. He learned the art of toy making from his father who was, at one time, Santa’s right-hand elf. But Franky didn’t share the same fondness for the fat guy. Sure it was true – Santa was a kind, old, jolly man the same way he’d been portrayed in Christmas movies, greeting cards and shopping malls. But the big guy just wouldn’t update, get with the times, still stuck in the glory days of old when toys were still appreciated by kids around the world. Now you could simply download Elf Run on your smartphone for free. Who needs toys anymore? Franky wondered out loud as he put the finishing touches on a train set for Timmy (he knew for a fact Timmy had been a naughty boy this year, but Santa would nonetheless fly down his chimney and stick the train set wrapped in blue wrapping paper – blue for trains, red for trucks – under the undeserving little shit’s tree). Santa always repeated the same mantra which, behind his back, we called a Santra: “All children, naughty or nice, deserve a gift on Christmas morning. Only in this way can we teach the true meaning of Christmas,” followed by the mandatory, “Ho Ho Ho!” I didn’t buy it. How does giving a gift to a rotten child like Timmy teach him anything except that he can get away with murder and be rewarded for it? I knew it was a futile argument to have with the jolly guy, plus it’s never a good idea to argue with your boss.

It was two o’clock – three hours till work ended – and Franky was getting his usual wave of itis (he overdid it on the roast reindeer at lunch) so he went to the elf-room to do a line of snow. This always put some pep in his step, and he went back to the assembly line full of renewed energy. He was pumping out train sets double-time now, and realized he’d finish early today; he could finally catch up on Season 3 of Breaking Toys. As Franky went to clock out he ran into the merry man himself. “Ho Ho Ho, hello Franky! Clocking out early, I see?,” he said with just a hint of suspicion. “Um, yes sir, I finished my work early today…” He was hoping Santa didn’t notice his nervous facial twitch that always manifested after a line or two of quality snow. “Ho Ho Ho, good work! You are a hardworking little elf, just like your father.” Then another, even louder (if unnecessary) “Ho Ho Ho!” Franky smiled and quickly made his way out the back door.

On his way home Franky ran into Susie, a sexy little elf he’d been checking out since she’d started a month ago. She was the new secretary. “Hiii Frankyyy,” she purred innocently, her cheeks blushing scarlet red against her angelic white skin. He could tell she liked him, but Franky wasn’t sure if he should pursue her or not. She was still an elfin (or virgin in humanspeak) as far as he could tell, and so much more attractive than all the other slutty elves who worked at the shop. She smiled her bright, snow white smile and he felt himself melting into his boots. “Where are you off to so early?,” she teasingly interrogated. “Um, I finished my work early so I was just gonna catch up on some Elflix.” “Ooh Elflix and chill…I’d be down to join, if you don’t mind.” “Uh, I just wanted to go home and relax. Maybe another time?” Fuck, he thought. “Looking forward to ‘Elflix and chilling’ with you Franky,” and she winked and skipped back to the shop. Franky knew he’d have to stripe the ol’ candy cane when he got back home.

   The next day at the shop was like any other. Jack got in shit for using superglue instead of wood glue, and the wings of his airplanes kept falling off. He was sent home for a week with no play. There were only ten days left till Christmas and production had ramped up to full speed! Most elves were working double shifts, and some even pulled all-nighters meeting their quotas of train sets, teddy bears, Barbies, snowboards and board games (Candy Canes & Liquorice was Franky’s favourite as a kid, a Shoots & Ladders knockoff). He heard Santa had finally opened a smartphone division, but that he had built the assembly line out in the East Pole because of the cheaper labor. He also heard the conditions there weren’t cold enough, and the elves were overworked and under-played. It was run by relentless managers, and one guy even attempted elficide but was saved by a hammock they had hung outside the window (apparently it had happened before). It may not be perfect but Santa treats his elves pretty well, Franky thought. Plus he received a good elf plan.

  …sprawled out on his polar bear rug, her glistening white skin hot by the crackling fire posing for an elfie, her perky breasts innocently exposed through her green, furry blouse, her long legs stretched out and her delicate hand placed on her thigh, arched high enough to just cover her trimmed…

 “Franky!” He heard a voice snap him back to life. “Looks like you didn’t show up for work today, he he he. Wanna join us for lunch?” It was Carl. What a way to end his daytime fantasy. “Um, yeah, I guess.” What he really wanted though was to sit with Susie. “The roast reindeer with a side of baby carrots, please.” Franky usually had the same thing. It was either that or the vegetarian option (Gross! Franky never ate the cold dogs either – he heard they used all parts of the reindeer to make them). He sat with Carl and the rest of the gang, shooting the shit, with the usual gossip: Who’s fallen behind on their quota, who’s dating who, Santa’s tour route this year, the usual dull conversations that made Franky wish he could ride away on Santa’s sleigh and never return to this dull little town in the North Pole. But then, Susie… 

    …There was red splashed everywhere: red on white. The reindeers shuffled in their reins. Santa lay motionless in his suit, tuffs of his beard speckled with his own blood. The last thing Franky and the reindeer heard was Santa’s bells hitting the ground, and one final “Ho” escaping his rouge, pouty lips. Franky looked down and didn’t recognize his own hands holding the bloody snowbar. Franky realized something: He’d killed Santa…

    After lunch, Franky was on his way back to the shop when he noticed Santa out in the shed feeding the reindeer. He walked over and said, “Hey Santa, hows’s, um, it going?” “Ho ho ho Franky, no need to be shy around me. You know, your father was always my right-hand elf before he became ill, and I fully expect you to take over his post one day. Now, come help me feed the reindeer, Ho Ho Ho!” Suddenly Franky’s vision went blurry, he felt dizzy and he blacked out… When he finally came too, he jumped back… There was red splashed everywhere…

 Franky found himself staring up at the giant sleigh. It looked empty and ominous. A void Santa’s corpse left, would leave, Franky realized, for eternity. He also immediately realized someone would have to take his place. Without a third thought, he threw the snowbar in the back of the sleigh, climbed up the stairs and sat in Santa’s seat. He must’ve looked like a child in the driver’s seat of a car. He reached for the reigns and thought they felt quite heavy; it took all of his elf strength to lift them. Prancer – or Dancer, he could never tell the difference – shuffled his hooves impatiently. Franky looked behind him: Santa’s sack full to the brim with toys that he had made: trucks and train sets, doll houses and dinosaurs, robots and radio controlled cars – who would deliver them all? He would, he thought. To all the good girls and boys. What about the bad ones? Santa would have delivered toys to every girl and boy, naughty or nice, good or bad. But Santa wasn’t here anymore, Franky reminded himself. Santa was laying stiff in the snow: he was reindeer food. Which reminded him, he’d have to find food for the reindeers. What did they eat again? Carrots, apples, bird eggs…and something for the naughty kids. He suddenly had some ideas.

    …Franky had spent the day looking for things for the bad girls and boys to fill Santa’s sleigh with. He looked everywhere: the shed, the toy shop, and even visited the city dump. There he found treasures: gifts for all ages, and the perfect stocking stuffers. He spent all night carefully wrapping them in the shop; no one noticed the light on. When he finished, he never felt more satisfied with his work. He pictured all the little brats waking up excited, running down to their sparkling tree, only to be disappointed once they opened their gifts. “This year you’ll get what you deserve,” Franky said to himself.

 Franky was on his way back from the shed with a bucket of carrots and fresh chicken eggs to feed the reindeer with when he ran into Susie who just finished work. “Hiii Franky!” she said in that sultry voice of hers, a voice that could melt snow. “Oh hi Susie, how was, um, work?” “Franky, are you okay? You look, um, a little pale.” “I’m fine! I’m, uh, just feeding the reindeer.” “Oh, can I help?” Franky felt his little heart beating out of his chest. He hoped the fresh powder snow had covered Santa’s stiff body by now. “Hmm, maybe, just um, help me feed the reindeer.”  He walked – Susie skipped – over to the sleigh. Franky could see a sliver of red peaking through the fresh snow – perhaps one of the arms of Santa’s housecoat. (That’s really what his suit was, wasn’t it? A colourful bathrobe.) “C’mon Susie, this way!” he quickly directed Susie toward the reindeer. She held out a carrot for Dasher, or Dancer, who ravishingly munched it out of her hand. Susie said, “Did you hear about the new reindeer that was born with a red nose?” “Yeah, uh, I heard something about it. Like, his nose lights up or something. Weird.” “I think it’s cool! Would sure help Santa guide his sleigh at night, what with all the bad snow storms around Christmas… Say, where is Santa anyway? Shouldn’t he be getting ready to fly already?” “Uh, yeah, actually, Mrs. Claus told me he came down with a cold, and he’s feeling under the weather, and she, um, asked me to take over tonight.” Susie blinked at him in disbelief. “No fucking waaay..that’s amazing! Can I come?” Franky had to think quick. For what he had planned there was no way he wanted her getting involved. Then again, she would be good company on the long journey, and she didn’t have to know what he put in the boxes for all the naughty kids. And who knows, maybe even a little sleigh sex. Franky had heard of other elves joining the mile-fly club.

    …Susie was already loading the last of the gifts into the giant sack. He watched her as she stepped up on the sleigh’s ladder and reached upward with all her might, her sparkly blue elf skirt lifting just above her thighs, exposing just a peak of her pink apple bottom, and he was beginning to think this was a good idea. “Okay!” He said a little too excitedly. “Okay, what Franky?” “Um, I mean yes, you can join me!” “Duh, I already know that.” “Oh,” was all Franky said.

  They were both seated in the sleigh – Franky holding the reins, Susie comfortably sitting on his left (the North Pole followed UK driving regulations to leave Santa’s whip-hand free). She felt warm next to him, like a living, breathing blanket, one he could snuggle in all year round. At that moment, Franky had never been happier in his life. Santa was gone, but it didn’t matter. It was his time. The world needed a new, updated Santa, one who was fair and just, who cared that the good kids were good and the bad kids were bad, a Santa who would teach proper beliefs and values based on the real world! Life didn’t reward you for being mean, dumb or lazy. You had to be smart and hardworking like his father – like him – he thought. The bad kids would soon find out that being bad had consequences. The worn out empty threat of, “Santa only delivers coal to the bad kids,” from every mom desperately disciplining their child was a sham. It was time for these pitiful parents to follow up on their word and stop giving in to their rotten child’s every whim just so, in their and society’s eyes, they seem like a “good parent.” Franky inhaled a big breath of fresh air, and everything was right with the world.

   “So Franky, you actually know how to fly this thing?,” Susie broke his trance. “Uh, yeah sure, I’ve seen Santa do it hundreds of times! Plus, when he would go to the local tavern he took me along sometimes so I could fly him home after, you know, one too many eggnogs (Santa’s favourite). I got the hang of it. Just gotta steer the reindeer in the direction you want to go and whip’em every once in a while, but only if they’re slowing down,” and quickly added, “Don’t worry, reindeer don’t feel pain.” He wasn’t sure if that was true, but he could see it put her at ease. Franky gave the reins a slight shake and suddenly remembered how heavy they were – Santa was a big guy after all – and felt a little embarrassed. Susie reached over and took one of the reins and they shook them together. This jostled the reindeer out of their satiated state and they stepped forward. They shook the reins a little harder and the reindeer started moving forward in unison, an exciting feeling because they were doing it together. Franky got the whip out of the glove compartment, but Susie quickly stopped him declaring, “No, Franky. I don’t want to hurt these poor animals.” Franky relented and instead said, “On Dasher, on David..” – Susie quickly intervened – “On Dancer, on Prancer, on Vixen!” Franky continued, “On Comet on Q-tip..” – “Cupid silly! On Donner and Blixem!,” and she let out a squeal of joy. What kind of name is Blixem anyway? Franky thought. Must be German. Now they were picking up speed, dashing towards the edge of North Pole Valley… Suddenly both their hearts dropped like the sleigh itself off the cliff, and they were airborne now, flying through the cool, snowy air, snowflakes landing freshly on their rosy cheeks, and Susie grabbed Franky’s hand, and he could now die a happy elf, and his green tights grew even tighter.

…Franky didn’t have time to rub one out before leaving on his long journey, and he imagined Susie getting wet under her velvety dress, leading his hand down the inside of her thighs, her juices warm on this freezing night, glistening in the moonlight…

  “Look out!” Franky quickly jerked the reigns out of reflex, narrowly avoiding a flock of geese honking wildly as they flew past. He had to get his mind out of the gutter and focus. He took out his elPhone and connected to the Sleigh Bell network. He turned on the GPS, or Global Positioning Sleigh, and they were off, into the night together, to deliver joy to all the good girls and boys and, unbeknownst to Susie, misery to all the bad ones. Franky, I gotta pee,”Susie complained. He pictured her squatting over the side of the sleigh, pulling her panties dow– “Franky! I can’t hold it any longer!” He knew there was a Porta Potty on board, but he needed to stretch his legs anyway. He tugged hard on the reins, indicating to the reindeer to slow down and start descending.

    They landed on a rooftop in a snowy suburban town somewhere in middle of buck fuck nowhere, Canada. Susie hopped off onto the roof and pulled down her pants right in front of him, squatting, the fresh rooftop snow stained light yellow, like syrup taffy on ice. “Don’t look!,” she teasingly squealed. “Unless you like it…” Did he just hear her right? Or were his fantasies starting to blur with real life? Franky attempted to be a gentleman and half-looked at his list. A kid named Lucas lived here, and he saw he was a naughty boy this year, as well as every previous year to this one. (Weren’t all boys named Lucas naughty? It’s funny how you can tell so much about someone just by their name. Tylers were also bad, Jordans, Ryans and Brads. Franky wasn’t exactly a common name, but he imagined all Frankies were good boys, studious and hardworking.) He grabbed the appropriate parcel and threw it down the chimney. It bounced off the bottom of the fireplace and landed under the tree, a trick his dad taught him, who in turn had learned it from Santa. “What did you give him Franky?” “Oh, uh, just a train set he asked for..I made it too!” She would never know it was actually a box fill with petrified reindeer droppings, his own version of coal, wrapped nicely in shiny, blue paper along with the obligatory Christmas card reading: “Dear Lucas, make sure to be good to your mother next year! Ho Ho Ho! Love, Santa.”

By eleven pm Franky and Susie were making good ground, already covering half the U.S. in less than an hour. (Of course this was only possible on Santa’s sleigh, a kind of time machine if you will, using the principles of space-time Einstein laid out in his special theory of relativity, effectively slowing time down for them but ticking the same for everyone else in the world something Franky had learned in grade 3.) The children were tucked away in their warm beds dressed in their cotton PJs, or perhaps curled up by a warm fire, some already in dreamland imagining all the nice things they’d find under the tree in the morning, their tired parents draining the last glassful of eggnog, putting milk and cookies out for Santa and carrots for the reindeer, and all the other banalities that parents do to give the whole event a touch of theatrics because, Father Christmas forbid, the little rascals didn’t believe in a fat guy dressed in a red bathrobe coming down their chimney full of soot, late at night while they were sleeping, carrying awkwardly-shaped parcels down the narrow passage, somehow not waking anybody in the house, not even mom who’s a light sleeper who wakes up at the sound of a light switching on, placing them under the tree ever so delicately, wash back some stale cookies with nine day-old milk, then somehow manage to pull his fat ass back up the chimney (Does he fly, use some sort of hook fashioned to a rope or a grappling hook?) back to the roof, then do that another 7 million times in the same night! The milk and busquits were a desperate attempt at keeping that far-fetched fantasy alive as long as possible before the little brats became teenagers, experimenting with drugs, alcohol and casual sex….

    So far Franky had delivered a box of tacks to Kyle (another terrible kid’s name) with the card: “Stick’em up cowboy! You were bad this year…maybe next year you won’t be such a prick” (Franky always had a way with words); a pack of dirty socks and skid-marked undies with the accompanying note: Just wash once and they’ll be like brand new!; a dozen rotten eggs to Sam with the sentiment: A dirty rotten gift for a dirty rotten child. Another box was empty with the card reading: Dear Billy, this is exactly what you deserve. Love, Santa. “Hey, next on the list is Sarah!” Excited to be bringing joy to all the girls and boys, Susie peaked inside. “Franky, why is this box full of tampons? Eww and they’re bloody…” “Uh, weird, that must be a mistake.. maybe one of the elves thought it was the garbage sleigh and, um, accidentally threw the trash inside.” Susie had opened more boxes, disgusted at what she found: reindeer dung, used condoms, a dead mouse, moldy cheese, old socks, a rotten fish, live worms…”Franky, what the fuck is goin on?” Shit he had to think fast. He could just tell her – maybe she’d actually go along with it – but what if she didn’t? That would certainly ruin their trip, and he’d have to turn all the way back to drop her off and that would mean no more sleigh sex for him… But he had no choice – he had to tell her now. “Um, see those are only for the bad kids. The good kids get the train sets, the bad ones, well, they get bad things. It’s only fair. The naughty children don’t deserve nice things. They deserve nothing, or reindeer droppings, or dirty socks, and the worst possible things imaginable so they actually learn their lesson! Santa was too nice, but he shouldn’t have been nice to all those undeserving little shits, they didn’t deserve it!” Franky was yelling now and was worried to think he may have frightened her. He could tell by the appalled look on her face that she wasn’t convinced. He decided to let it all out. “Those kids deserved what they got! They were rotten, spoiled, naughty children and somebody needed to teach them a lesson! Santa didn’t understand that you can’t be nice to everyone, that there are just some people who are born evil, and they need to be put in line! If not, who’s going to discipline them? Their mothers? No, they think their child is ‘special, or ‘it’s just a faze, they’ll grow out of it.’ They think their child deserves to be loved. No they don’t! They deserve to be disciplined and beaten with a wooden spoon. They don’t deserve gifts, they deserve garbage! They need to be taught that it isn’t okay to be rotten!” Franky realized he’d been screaming. What would Susie think of him now? He suddenly felt ashamed. “S-Sorry, I didn’t mean to get angry.” “Franky, it’s okay.” He realized Susie was embracing him now, and he was actually crying, sobbing into her warm chest, her arms wrapped around him like a warm blanket. “It’s okay Franky, I understand, it’s okay…”

…Susie liked Franky. She often thought about him at work, and watched as he expertly put together train sets, a master at his craft, his adept, strong, sculptor-like hands… She was wondering what else those hands would be good at. She’d fantasize being at his place, watching some Game of Gnomes (her favourite show), their hands accidentally meeting in the bowl of chocolate covered almonds, then slowly turning toward each other, their eyes meeting, both knowing what the other wanted, going through the motions, Franky’s elfly hands spanking her tight bottom, she tells him to hit harder, asking him to call her one of Santa’s hos, felt herself getting wet as she sat at her desk…

    “Franky, did you…kill Santa?” The words didn’t seem real, like he was in another one of his daydreams. “No, of course not! He’s just.. taking a day off. You’ll see, he’ll be happy we helped him, maybe even give us a promotion!” Franky could feel his body getting hot underneath his parka even in the bitter cold. He wanted to tell her, tell her everything, but not yet… “Franky, I know you’re lying! I had a weird feeling when we were back at the North Pole, but I just didn’t say anything because, well, I wanted to come on an adventure! I’ve never left the North Pole – I’ve never even left Toy Town – and I wanted to join you because, well, I liked you too Franky, until I saw what you did to those children, to, to Santa! How could you?” Tears were rolling down her cheeks, freezing to her angelic skin. “Franky, take me home, now!” The thought briefly entered his mind.. but he knew it was too late now. If it ever came to elf court he would say she was his accomplice. He felt bad for her, but she was already in too deep. They were both guilty now. 

    “Susie wait, listen, I gotta tell you something… First, I really like you. I mean, I think you’re special, not like the other elves, and I think I, um, love you.” But he knew it was too late. He wanted to confess to her about what he did, killing Santa, his whole plan, but he was afraid she’d never talk to him again, as if she was ever going to now. “Franky, turn around now, or I’m calling the police.” Susie reached for her phone, but he quickly snatched it out of her hand and smashed it on the dashboard. Franky made up his mind: he put the sleigh on autopilot, picked Susie up, hopped in the back and dumped her inside the big red sack. She flailed her little arms and kicked her legs, but she was no match for Franky’s strength. Franky felt bad, of course, but he knew it had to be done. Evil thoughts crept over him… He would just tell the other elves she didn’t have her sleigh belt buckled up and she fell out of the sleigh, or maybe that she committed elficide because, uh, because Franky turned her down.. Yeah, she asked him out, he said no, she felt depressed so she took her own life by jumping out of the sleigh at high speed and landed on a rooftop, her tiny guts spilled out all over the snow covered shingles… He would miss her on his journey home. Her skin was a warm retreat from the frigid air, her icy blue eyes cooler than the snow. 

    Susie screamed and kicked, but it was useless. She slumped back in the sack. Her mind was whirling now… How could Franky have done these horrible things! And..he…did Franky really kill Santa? She didn’t want to think about it. It all didn’t seem real.. Just this morning they were flirting on their way home from work, and she remembered thinking how cute Franky looked in his green tights… Blah! She tried to shake the thought from her mind, but couldn’t. One minute Franky was this sweet, happy-go-lucky elf that she was falling for. Now she didn’t even recognize him; he had turned into a monster. What happened? He must be taking drugs. Her Franky would never act like this. Her Franky was kind, caring and generous. At least that’s what she thought.. Maybe he had developed a serious kind of mental illness. We’ll get him help when we’re back in the North Pole, she thought. She found a loose candy cane and started sucking on it.

    After what seemed like ages, Susie suddenly heard the sack unzip, and a breath of fresh air blasted in through the opening. The foul odour from inside the sack was starting to make her feel nauseous. Slowly, she climbed out. Franky was still flying the sleigh. His comparably tiny elf hands were squeezing the large reigns in a death grip, eyes fiercely faced forward, his head clearly somewhere else. Just then Susie noticed something laying behind his seat. It was covered in blood. She grabbed the snowbar and… Now! she thought. It was her only chance to knock him out and get safely home – but she hesitated for just a second and Franky suddenly turned around, easily grabbing the bloody snowbar from her hands. He threw it over the side of the sleigh and her only weapon disappeared into the snowy void… “Sorry I had to put you in the bag. I just, I just couldn’t risk it. I’m sorry you had to be a part of this. I didn’t mean for you to get involved.” Susie remained silent. Franky didn’t know if he should fly back the North Pole, or keep going till the reindeer ran out of steam and just let the sleigh plummet into the icy ocean, floating calmly to the bottom of the abyss, never to be seen or heard from again… His thoughts were muddled, unclear, unfocused. He thought he had a plan, but didn’t much think about the repercussions he’d face later on. He’d stupidly planned out this toyorist attack without thinking of the consequences… He would be strung up on a candy cane and publicly hung. “Gnomicide!,” they’d angrily shout knowing that he had murdered the fat jolly man in cold blood. Why go home? Maybe I could start a new life with Susie in the South Pole… Raise elfants together, go ice fishing on weekends, make a living building igloos…

    Susie suddenly lunged at him with a sharp object – this time Franky didn’t see it coming –  but he ducked out of the way at the last minute, just barely getting stuck with the sharpened end of a candy cane. Even though they were roughly the same size, Franky easily overpowered her and was able to pin her down… The reindeer veered sharply upward, sending them flailing backward. Susie quickly reached out and grabbed onto one of the reins and clung for deer life. Franky fell backwards, thwacking against the bulky sack, then cascading over it. At the last second he grabbed onto the top of the sack… Susie was reaching to try and grab him. “Franky! Hold on!” Now everything ran through his mind like a movie reel. All the bad things he had ever done: beating up Gordie in third grade, stealing five elf dollars from his mom’s purse, getting Carl to clock him out late even though he’d left work early, having a wank in Santa’s office, and how the elves would react if he did make it back alive, what would happen to him, more importantly what would happen to him and Susie… “I’m sorry,” Franky said. “I..I love you.” Then he let go… Franky felt himself falling, falling, through the crisp, snowy air, and suddenly felt much lighter, no more feelings of hate or anger, just pure and perfect bliss, and he felt happy. “I’m coming Santa,” he said, although his voice easily got lost in the wind…. 

    …thoughts and images flashed in front of his eyes… Slaving in the toy shop making toys for all the undeserving girls and boys, his father telling him he’s not good enough and beating him with a candy cane, his mother drunk on Christmas Eve, Santa touching him on his bits as a young boy, Susie naked, oh Susie, how he longed for her embrace… He never loved someone like that his whole life… They’re married now, with little elfkins, one of them looks like him! Susie looks so beautiful, baking in the kitchen wearing her apron, only her apron, and she’s such a wonderful mother, and now Franky felt happiness like he’d never felt in his  entire life… Then, splat.

   Susie was in shock – Franky was gone. But she had to get control of the sleigh again. Quickly she tugged on the reigns and pulled as hard as her little hands could…and the reindeer quickly corrected course and flew back into formation. She checked the GPS and saw she was a bit off course. Since it was a long way back, she made a decision. She made a sharp turn and headed back in the direction they were going. I’m gonna make this right, she decided.

Since she was on elf time it was only 2 AM and she calculated she’d still be able to hit all the stops on Santa’s route and be back by morning. She read the list of all the “naughty children” and returned to all the homes they’d already been to, making sure to replace all the bad gifts with toys and teddy bears and train sets and skateboards and doll houses and robots and Barbies…. She knew, deep down, these kids weren’t bad, or if they were they wouldn’t stay like that forever. These kids would grow up to be the students and teachers, firemen and police officers, bankers and lawyers, secretaries and salesmen of tomorrow. She believed they deserved love and gifts, just like the good children did. Franky was wrong, she told herself and now tears rolled down her cheeks, glistening and sparkling like the stars.

   When Susie got home, she curled up on her couch from Ikelf, threw on some Elflix and watched House of Toys, her second favourite show. “I love this show,” Carl said, even though he’d never seen it. He’s no Franky, Susie thought, but Franky was gone and she wouldn’t let that spoil her evening as their hands met in the bowl of nuts.

The End.

Cameron Brtnik is a Canadian short story writer and educator. He admittedly still believes in Santa Claus.
(original post Dec. 31, 2019)

10P 10: How To Throw a GOOD Party This Summer

10P 10:

How To Throw a Good Party This Summer

written by Cameron Brtnik

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“Make it a Potluck”
    We’re finally into the summer party season, and you’ll no doubt be celebrating at your cottage up North, hitting a patio downtown, or throwing a backyard BBQ. You will surely be stocked with cold beers, coolers, freshly rolled joints and other party favours to help keep your guests inebriated. And let’s not forget the staples: juicy burgers, sausages, and some unidentifiable vegan choice. You’ll probably have a couple card games on hand like Cards Against Humanity, or Uno. And this would all seem like enough..but often, it’s not – not if you want to make your party memorable. Here are some ideas to add some originality, fun and excitement to your shindig, and ensure your parties will be the most talked about this summer!
1. Get Decor – Buy some decor at a store. I know it seems tacky, but it’s better than nothing! Eg: Streamers, balloons, and other party favours. Tip: These can all be bought at Dollarama.
2. Plan Some Games – This may seem childish, but as I’m sure you’re well aware, a drunken crowd is a childish crowd. Some ideas: Pin the Tail On the Donkey, Twister (this will turn x-rated pretty quick, unless it’s a family function), Truth or Dare, Card Drinking Games like Kings Cup
3. Have Prizes – Don’t forget to have prizes for the winners. I usually like to have cheesy prizes ie. stuff you can get from the dollar bin, as it makes it funnier, promotes good sportsmanship, and will ultimately save some $. Some favourites: Bag-o-nuts, a pair of socks, or some kind of childish toy. It’s probably good to have a real prize for the harder games like Trivia. For this you can have nicer items like a bottle of Tequila or a movie Gift Certificate. Tip: For a great prize (and to save you more $) you could make a “Dinner for two with Me and You” gift card where you invite that guest and a plus one for a dinner night. They will love it cause they’ll get to spend more time with you!
4. Host a Trivia Game – Everyone likes to play trivia at the pub, but how about in your own living room? And have guests answering questions you designed yourself? Tip: Make it theme related ie. On a trip to Chicago you could include trivia about that city, or for a birthday you can find out trivia about the birthday boy (ask his girlfriend the answers beforehand so it makes it super subjective!)
5. Play Kings Cup – I mentioned this in #2, but I felt this game needed a whole category in itself. You know it – it’s that game you played in college where, by the end, you were either throwing up in the bathroom or making out with a stranger. Kings Cup is still the king of drinking games (see what I did there?) and what I love about it is that you can tweak the rules or even make up new ones along the way. “Kings! From now on no one can use the word ‘drink’ during the game.” Good luck with that one.
6. Entertain Your Guests – Invite at least one talented friend. This could be a musician, a dancer, a clown, or even a chef. It doesn’t matter, as long as they’re prepared to be put on the spot at some point in the night to put on a show. It’s a win-win: They entertain your crowd for free and they get invited to the next party.
7. Play Match-Maker – Know a couple of stand-up individuals in your circle of friends who haven’t found the right one (yet)? Perfect! Act as matchmaker. Whether or not they hit it off by the end of the night, they’ll thank you for your well-meaning efforts. You never know – they may just name their baby after you.
8. Throw a Dance Party – Halfway into the night guests will be chilling on the patio, deck, or huddled inside if the weather’s chilly… That’s when you ask Alexa to throw on some party tunes! Watch as your normally shy friends bust out the Floss. Ah DMX never sounded so good.
9. Make It a Potluck – Make the party a Potluck Party and that will certainly take a lot of the stress off of hosting. You can designate one cook, or guests may use the grill to cook their own food (this comes with an obvious warning).
10. BYOB – Ask guests to “Bring Your Own Booze.” This seems evident but it’s worth mentioning. Imagine the PR nightmare if you ran out of booze halfway through the event – apocalyptic. If everyone brings their own booze, you can relax knowing there’ll be plenty to gulp down for the duration of the event (and even leftovers for dinner the next day!). Oh the joys of hosting. Tip: To make the party amusing put out a bowl of edibles. WARNING: Make sure your guests know they’re edibles! If they’ve never tried them advise doing just a little so your guests don’t disappear halfway through the night. I recommend gummy bears, but just the head.

Cameron is a freelance writer based in Toronto and part-time party planner cbrtnik.com

Poetry Corner – The Italian Girl

The Italian Girl

... Deep, hazel eyes, like staring into them too long would be dangerous, the threat of never escaping... Sumptuous curves, elegantly, delicately put together, sculpted from Eve herself... Without knowing her past, she maintains a childlike innocence, no way of knowing, but it doesn't matter... 

I want to be lying alongside her now, stroking her platinum blonde hair, brunette roots showing, adding a feeling of realness to her, proving I didn't just conjure her up in a sun-stroked daydream... Caressing her magnificent tits, boobs, breasts, these words too crass to do any written description justice, like just by saying them would offend her unequaled beauty... 

Lying there apres-sex, our sweating bodies heaving, melting together... Our fingers exploring each other's bodies, still unknown even after making love, even more foreign than when we only fantasized this... Our feet intertwining like latin dancers, latin lovers under a howling full moon...

Soft, luscious lips, softer than air, they would disintegrate on contact, upper and lower lips pursing together like two pillows, pillows you want to rest your lips on, and never part from, both her and your saliva acting as coital glue, breathing through your noses, listening to the charged sounds of your breathing, feeling each other's heartbeats, and you could stay like this forever...

-Bali, Jan 12/2017

Short Story – The Flight Attendant

The Flight Attendant

A Short Fiction by Cameron Brtnik

The Flight Attendant


Part 1

    She wore too much makeup; too much red lipstick that gave her a likeness to The Joker, already dry and cracked from the airplane’s dry, recirculated air, and too much foundation, giving her skin the veneer of a vampire. Her faded, slightly dirty blue flight attendant uniform matched her pale visage, and the lipstick smudge on her collar “complimented” her tacky red lips. Her fake smile was very sincere, fooling even the most frequent of flyers, men nodding back at her as they boarded the plane, in the back of their mind their inner voice saying, That smile was just for you, stud. She was probably thinking, Hurry and get the fuck on board fatty, you’re holding up the line.

    The non-smoking signs flickered on to remind people there’s no smoking in the cabin. Really?! Are people still lighting up on these flights? Do they still need a reminder after smoking was banned in the 90s? Is this really still a thing! My God humans must be stupid. (The real reason of course was for the Chinese; they would light up a cigarette in the middle of a gas leak at a power plant if there weren’t a million signs everywhere warning of the obvious dangers.) Now on to the familiar, yet forgettable life vest demonstration. You know the one: you’ve seen it a million times, yet haven’t quite committed it to memory. If the plane were to ever actually crash, there would be chaos, calamity, and confusion, people hastily scrambling for the pocket on the back of the seat in front of them, life jacket instruction manuals darting through the air, whipping around the cabin, slapping people’s faces, ironically posing more of a danger than an actual “life-saving” manual. I half paid attention as I pretended to switch off my phone, not quite understanding what all the fuss was about – “Please turn off all electronic equipment before takeoff,” like my runway text message to my Tinder match somehow tampered with the plane’s sensitive instruments, the news captions reading: “Tinder Tragedy as plane lands in nearby field.” After my seatbelt was fastened, seat pushed up, all electronic equipment was “off” and the window blind rolled up (why, to get a good view of the engine during takeoff?) we were up in the air, the initial queasiness slowly fading into an easy calm, a forlorn acceptance that my fate was now in the pilot’s hands, no way to know if he had had a “late nighter” at the rippers the previous night or the line of cocaine he just did in the bathroom was affecting his judgement. We were now a human-filled bird, cutting through clouds, on our way to our destination in Southeast Asia.

    The announcement came on that it was okay to unfasten our seatbelts (half the passengers had done so already without the captain’s consent). The red-lipped stewardess – the same one who artificially welcomed us aboard – came by to offer “coffee, tea or wine.” I went with beer; this was going to be a long flight. She opened the can, poured it into a small plastic cup, and flashed her fake smile, a bit of red lipstick smudged on her front teeth giving the comical impression she just ate a Pink Sherbet Crayon for a quick, light snack, and set the tiny cup on my personal plastic table placing the half-empty can next to it. I was thinking You might as well save time and open three more while you’re at it, then mandatorily thanked her and flashed her my own fake smile, lips pursed together, cheeks creased into a Grinch-like grin, hoping it looked genuine enough. I opened my magazine – the one I’d been planning to read since May – to an article entitled “Genghis Khan: New evidence of his twenty-one year reign,” and sank back into my chair, leaning back enough that I was comfortable, but not far enough that my rotund rear neighbor would complain.

    The robotic voice of one of the bored airline stewards came over the speakers offering “discounted merchandise” – T-shirts, perfume, and Prada purses (who has enough money to burn that they buy this crap? If they really needed it, wouldn’t they have purchased it on the ground? It was all unnecessary and useless and a waste of money in my poor opinion.) Eventually, the welcome scent of chicken smothered in tomato sauce filled the cabin with its delectable aroma. Our deceitful stewardess came by to offer the airline meal: chicken or lasagna. Most people complained about airline meals but I actually enjoyed them; I went with the lasagna. She smiled that fake smile of hers and leaned over the isle seat, the first passenger getting the full blast of her fake Chanel No. 5 perfume, the remaining aroma wafting up our nostrils like freshly baked perfume pie. Her siren red nail polish clashed with the bland colors of the yellow and orange lasagna. As she placed the lasagna on my tiny tray, I felt something strange – I think it was the way she looked at me – but it was also something more, just a feeling I had as she hovered above me, balancing our glorified Hungry-man meals over our heads. I could almost swear she had some kind of intentions, however silly that sounds. She finished serving our cuisine, attempted to say, “Enjoy,” and moved on to the other famished passengers (it had, after all, been at least an hour since they gobbled down that fried chicken at the airport KFC). That odd feeling quickly dissipated and I enjoyed my clammy lasagna (don’t people always complain about the food being too dry?) and asked for my neighbor’s bread roll when he didn’t eat his. I was satisfied – I guess my only complaint was that you can never get full from an airplane meal – and washed it all down with a glass of red wine I had ordered with the meal; I was already ready for another.

    I was into my second glass of wine, and 20 pages into my new Michael Crichton book, but I couldn’t stop thinking of the Janus-faced stewardess and that weird feeling she had given me. I watched her as she served the other passengers, and they all smiled back at her seemingly fine with her “friendly” service. Was it just me who was feeling this way? Maybe I was just tired, or the notes of fake jasmine from her perfume were rubbing me the wrong way. I decided to drop the thought and went back to my book, something about the “airplane engine having malfunctions” (I know, probably a poor choice for flying.) I liked Crichton’s books because they always seemed so realistic, like they could really happen with just enough science and bad luck. I must’ve dozed off because I woke up feeling like my head just hit a brick wall. I made it to page 39 and a half. I guessed it was evening because everyone was dozing off, watching movies, or already dead to the world. I decided to check the in-flight movies available on the personal screen in front of my seat. Coincidentally, they had the movie adaptation of Turbulence, the book I was reading. I decided I would wait to watch it, wanting to finish the book first (besides, the books were always better than the movies, with a few exceptions where the movie was as good as the book). I decided to go with ID4 2 – it was on my list – even though I knew it’d be terrible. I suppose that’s why they kept making terrible movies; because studios know we keep shelling out our hard-earned money to see them! If I see another mindless Transformers movie trailer, I might forgo movies altogether.

    At some point nature was calling, so I got up to go to the bathroom. I hated the arduous process of getting up to go to the bathroom: asking your neighbor to move his legs and awkwardly shuffling between his knees and the adjacent seat, making a scene of it, almost like holding a sign saying, “Look at me, I have to pee!” But when nature calls, answer you must (they really should design a tube that drops from the ceiling like an oxygen mask for emergency bladder-emptying). I strolled down the carpeted isle toward the back of the plane and waited behind the large gentleman in front of me. I glanced back into the staff area of the plane, mainly where they kept all the hot food and coffee, and suddenly locked eyes with the red-lipped stewardess. I could feel my heart actually stop for a moment – why? – but I returned her fake smile with one of my own, minus the uneven lipstick. The obese guy in front of me – American – went into the tiny cubicle and I was left open and vulnerable to her somewhat psychotic stare. “Where are you from, sugar?”, she suddenly asked. “Um, here, Canada,” I managed but left out the city for some reason. “Ooh, that’s great! Where are ya headed, hun?” “Uh, Vietnam?” (Wasn’t everyone headed to Vietnam?) I suppose this was typical attendant-passenger small talk. But her trying to be nice to me was making me feel uneasy. I hoped that lard ass would finish up in there. “You know, I had a son, he’d be about your age by now…” Did she just say had a son? I wasn’t sure how to respond, so I just nodded and smiled, adopting her fake technique to a tee. “But he disappeared some years back…never found out what happened to him.” Probably ran away from his psycho mother, I thought to myself. Finally what seemed like hours later, the fatty opened the cryogenically sealed bathroom door and squeezed by me back to his seat. I nodded and escaped into the bathroom.

        

                                                                                     Part 2

    The bright lights inside gave a feeling of sterility, like waiting inside a doctor’s office. I felt a sense of freedom inside, from the other passengers, from the rest of the world, a momentary blue-white bliss… A moment later I heard a knock at the door – can’t the stupid idiot see it’s occupied! – so I knocked back, alerting them to the occupant inside since they so clearly missed the red “occupied” sign above the door handle. As I was washing my face, repeatedly pressing down the tap handle and quickly gathering as much water in my cupped hands as I could before it shut off again, I heard a knock at the door again. I guessed whoever it was really had to go, so I said, “Just a minute,” and suddenly heard the lock unlatching… I saw five siren red nails come through the opening like each finger could see, slithering and guiding their way inside… I recoiled and froze, not sure what was happening or what the Hell I should do about it. Maybe she was just refilling the soap, was the first thought I had. “Hey sugar, do you need any help in there?” “No, I’m fine,” I nervously replied. She was now halfway inside… “I’ll just be a moment,” I convinced her. I could see something in her hand, glinting in the bright fluorescent light..scissors? A kni– Suddenly I could see her hand with whatever was inside swoop down…I moved out of the way just in time. I had to think fast. I kicked up and knocked the sharp object out of her hand; the fingers attached to her arm withdrew fast. I slammed the door shut and locked it again, trying to catch my breath… What the Hell just happened? Was she trying to kill me? Maybe I was just being paranoid, frightened of her fiery red nails, imagining they had a life of their own… Maybe she was just refilling the tissue dispenser. I composed myself as best I could, and slowly unlocked and opened the door… There was a little old lady waiting to use the bathroom, and she looked pissed. I looked around, but Freddy Fingernails was nowhere to be seen. I calmly walked back to my seat, having to wake up my dozing neighbor, a look of annoyance escaping his face as he shifted his legs to let me through again. I plopped back into my seat and took a few deep breaths…

    For much of the rest of the flight, I didn’t see the maniacal flight attendant – maybe she was seeking shelter from the breaking dawn shimmering in through the cabin windows – and I was glad. We had a friendly Asian male attendant serve us. When I asked him about our previous attendant, he said he wasn’t sure whom I was referring to. I shrugged, and fell into a deep sleep…and awoke to terrible turbulence. The captain’s reassuring voice came over the PA system: “Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts and remain seated as we’re going through an area of turbulence. Ah, thank you–.” Then, I couldn’t be certain, but I was sure I heard a lady’s voice..it almost sounded like a moan. No one else seemed to notice. The turbulence rocked and jerked us, up and down, side to side like an old rickety wooden coaster. Everyone had woken up, and their faces were tense now, the pallor of the vampire attendant’s makeup. No matter how many times you experience turbulence, it always feels like the plane just blew out an engine and is going down…Malaysian Airlines all over again. I always calmed myself by watching a comedy; I found The Simpsons on the selection screen and put it on. But even Homer’s antics couldn’t ease the queasiness I felt in the pit of my stomach. It wasn’t so much the turbulence – I had felt turbulence lots of times and knew it was par for the course when flying over the Pacific – as the voice I thought I heard at the end of the captain’s announcement. Why would there be a woman in the cockpit? I mean, unless she was the copilot, but even then why was she moaning?

    I reached up and pressed the service button. A minute later our friendly Asian steward walked shakily toward our seats. “I’m sorry sir, at this time there’s no service.” I nodded, and then added, “Is there a lady in the cockpit?” He gave me a weird look, then turned to go back to his seat. Ten minutes of intense jumping and churning went by.. then the plane felt like it was in free fall… I instinctively reached out to grab the armrests on either side of me – my neighbors had beaten me to it, and I awkwardly clung to their arms. I could hear audible screams coming from the other passengers. My heart was in my throat..then just as suddenly, the plane evened out. An inaudible sigh of relief could be felt like a wave through the cabin. I heard a crackle over the PA system, then the clear sound of the captain screaming…then deafening silence. Then, surprisingly, a pleasantly fake, female’s voice: “Would the passenger seated in J22 kindly make your way to the..cockpit. I have a message for him.” My heart suddenly sank…and my mouth instantly went dry. That was my seat. I looked around awkwardly; everybody nearby was staring. I dutifully unbuckled my seatbelt and slowly got up, aware of a hundred pairs of piercing eyes boring a hole through me. I ignored them, focused on my martyrly mission, and the hell-colored nails awaiting me in the cockpit…

    I slowly marched to the front of the plane, everyone looking expectant, placing the entire air pressure of the cabin on my shoulders. I had no idea what to expect… Did she kill the captain? But the plane was still in control. Was the captain in on it? What did she want with me? To kill me? To rape me! I was frightened, but what choice did I have? The jeopardy of the entire plane was in my hands… I made it all the way, through Business class, past First class (damn First class and their private pods and champagne flutes) to the cockpit. I remembered when I was a child I was allowed into the cockpit to meet the captain, watch him fly the plane, and even take the wheel..I felt so powerful; 416 passengers at my mercy (although now I realize it must’ve been in autopilot), everyone’s life in my tiny hands.. This was pre-9/11 of course. I looked at the airline attendants for help, but they all looked in shock. I decided just to knock on the cockpit door… “Who is it?”, I could faintly hear from inside. “Um, it’s me, you called me..to come…to the, uh, cockpit.”There was a momentary silence, then I could hear the heavy lock unlatch from the inside (it could only be opened from the inside, apres-9/11)…I peered in. I had a momentary feeling of relief as I saw the captain at the wheel. I couldn’t see her. I stepped inside, and the door quickly slammed shut behind me. (Why didn’t the other attendants force their way in? Useless!) “Hey sugar,” I heard her say in her falsetto voice. I didn’t want to look, afraid what I might find. “Don’t be shy, it’s comfy up here,” she said with feigned friendliness. I slowly turned my head toward the disembodied voice…all I could see was red. Not red from her lipstick or fingernails – there were stains of red across her uniform, dark red on light blue, red droplets splashed across her face, and the copilot looked like he was sleeping… Although I knew he wasn’t sleeping; he was dead. She had killed him with her sharp, deadly fingernails. But why? I had all these questions hitting me at once – mainly, what was she going to do to me? I started thinking of way out – but we were on a plane – there was no way out. “What did you do to the copilot?”, was all that escaped. “Ooh, don’t worry about him sugar, he wasn’t really that helpful, right cap’?” I waited for the captain to respond…but he said nothing, kept his eyes straight ahead. Thank God. (Why did God always come up in life-threatening situations? I hadn’t used God’s name since, I couldn’t remember..) “Why don’t ya come sit up here with me?”, she patted the seat next to her. I hesitantly obliged, not seeing any other way out of this. She pulled the limp copilot’s body off the chair and let it slump to the floor, and pat the seat for me. I sat down, the tension in the cockpit excruciating.. I glanced over at the captain, who looked extremely uncomfortable, sweat stains pooling in his blue shirt, eyes focused ahead, doing his job, flying the plane…

    The red woman put her hand on my lap. Normally that would be an exciting prospect, but in this circumstance, it was not. “How are you enjoying your flight?,” she demanded. “Did you enjoy the nuts?” As she said this she squeezed down hard on my crotch… “What do you want!”, I blurted out. She leaned in closer…”You remind me of my son,” and she planted her big, red lips onto mine, giving me an unexpected and unwelcome kiss. “Maybe if he didn’t treat me so poorly, I wouldn’t have had to kill him.” Those words hung in the air like an acrid smell…”I’m, uh, sorry that happened,” I feebly managed. “You see,” she continued, “I was in flight school. My dream was to fly a plane one day…not be a stupid flight attendant. But then he came along. I didn’t have the time to finish flight school, I had to take care of him. So I dropped out… His deadbeat father left, and I had to take care of him, me, me!” I didn’t know where she was going with this rant, but I had to take advantage of her stalling… “And he took care of his stupid twenty-one year old bimbo of a girlfriend, probably ex-girlfriend by now, probably thinks he left her for a younger woman…” Then she let out a laugh, more like a shrill, and I had to cringe as I couldn’t cover my ears. Thankfully she continued, “So I had to make do with being a flight attendant. Nobody respects a flight attendant! Flight in, flight out I have to smile at these idiots and their disgusting children, ‘Welcome aboard Cardinal Airlines,’ ‘Please take your seat,’ ‘Please put your carry-on luggage in the overhead storage,’ ‘Please buckle up your fuckin’ seatbelt!’ These morons need to be treated like children to understand anything! I hate my job, I fuckin’ ha–” I quickly grabbed her and put her in a chokehold. I was scared, but I couldn’t just sit there and listen to her pitiful whining. The captain didn’t budge; I guess he witnessed what she did to his comrade. I shouted, “It’s okay, you’re gonna come with me, out of the cockpit, and sit still till we can land this plane. You’ll be escorted by security once we land..” She was flailing now, trying to loosen my grip on her neck, when suddenly I felt a pain in the left side of my abdomen; I looked down to see a shiny object protruding out of it: her silver Cardinal Airlines pen. I felt my grip loosen… “I’m sorry sugar, I didn’t want to have to do that.” I was on the floor now, backing up, in extreme pain. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the lever to open the cockpit door..I quickly reached up to grab it, and used all my body weight to pull it down..and the door hissed open. I winced and fell back to the floor. Nobody in the cabin moved, and she quickly pulled the door closed again, pushed the lever back up, closing off my only escape… As she did this, I could see movement coming from the captain’s direction. He threw something to me, and I quickly shoved it under my head; the psychopath didn’t notice. She came back over and straddled me. “Now that wasn’t very nice,” she said, and started unbuckling my pants. “Somebody’s gonna have to learn their lesson…” She yanked my pants down below my knees, and hiked her uniform’s skirt up. “You’ve been a bad boy, just like my son was a bad..bad..boy.” She hopped onto my groin and reached down…just as I threw the life jacket – the one the captain tossed me – over her head and tugged the strings on both sides. The jacket inflated quickly, catching her by surprise. I squeezed both sides together, cutting off her air supply… The captain then made a bold move: he sharply veered the plane to the left – effectively knocking her to the floor – and probably giving every passenger on board a heart attack. I jumped on top of her, adrenalin surpassing the pain I felt in my side. I kept squeezing the life jacket, ironically using it to end her life. She slowly stopped grappling, her lifeless red fingernails falling to the floor like extinguished flames, a moribund menorah.

    Finally, the flight attendant with the blood red lipstick, firetruck fingernails, and bloody uniform lay sprawled out on the cockpit floor. I was breathing heavily, feeling like I might pass out… The captain finally asked, “Is she dead?” “I think so,” I said in a tireless breath. “Sorry I couldn’t help, she disabled the autopilot.” After a moment I asked, “Who is she?” “My ex-wife,” he calmly replied, and steered the plane towards our destination, first stopping for an emergency landing in Taiwan. “She was always a real bitch.”

End

            

 

Cameron is a fiction author living Taiwan, and is not part of the mile high club…yet cbrtnk.com

Short Story – The Magician’s Assistant

The Magician’s Assistant

A Magical Fiction by Cameron Brtnik

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The Magician’s Assistant

    There was a thunderous applause reverberating throughout the room, coming from the audience as the lady stepped out of the box, fully intact and alive to be sure! The Sawing a Lady In Half trick never ceased to amaze audiences, even in this day and age of smartphones and catching Pokemon. The magician took the beautiful lady’s hand and bowed with her at the front of the stage, the applause always music to the magician’s ears. He lived by the audience’s feedback, and their applause was proof of their adoration. Amanda, the beautiful assistant, could care less. Her job wasn’t glamorous; she was a glorified contortionist. But she was really a talented escape artist, almost as good as Houdini – she could escape from locks, free herself from a straight jacket while hanging upside down, free her shackled hands while floating in a tank of water, and even break out of jails – but no one cared. They only cared about the magician, the “man who made the magic happen.” She didn’t hate Peter (The Magnificent Julio was his stage name, a moniker that neither resembled ‘Peter’ nor had anything to do with his ethnicity considering he wasn’t even a quarter Spanish), in fact they had a romantic fling time to time that she quite enjoyed. She especially liked when they did it after a successful show in the wooden box where she was usually accustomed to being alone in such a tight space. Amanda realized she enjoyed the claustrophobic-ness of it, especially with no audience to please but herself, where the trick was to come inside the box rather than out if it. She also enjoyed fucking on the the magic prop table, silks, locks and chains flying everywhere in the heat of passion.
 
     Amanda was fine with it. She had a goal: she would be “discovered” and move to Vegas where’d she’d have her own magic spectacle; this was just temporary. So she smiled in her skimpy dress, swallowed her pride and got on with the show, seven nights a week. After all, Julios was the best in the business, and without her the show would be nothing. If Peter replaced her with another girl – probably younger, attractive obviously, but with no experience – the show would go to shit! She was a modern-day Houdini, with a set of long legs to boot! She knew she was irreplaceable. She pushed the thought from her mind and ran backstage for a costume change; she would do the Metamorphosis illusion next and she needed to change into her skimpiest outfit: the glittery blue dress, its dangling frills hanging over her upper thighs. In the blink of an eye she would change places with the magician after being shackled and tied up in a large sack. It was Houdini’s first illusion, and one that was still performed today. It was all about “who performed the illusion the fastest” now, the record currently held by The Pendragons (damn those bloody Pendragons). The audience was always amazed like it was their first time seeing the illusion (hadn’t they seen that stupid masked magician expose this trick a decade ago? On a side note that guy actually improved business by making the “secret art of magic” more accessible to the lay person.)
 
     After a hugely successful show, the theatre manager came backstage to congratulate them and invite them out for celebratory drinks. “We’ll be there after teardown,” Peter said. “Mandy, I’d like you to meet someone. She’ll be helping out in the show from now on. Julia, come here.” This young, beautiful blonde came out of the change room (had she been there all night?) “Hi,” she said shyly, “I’m Julia.” “Amanda,” she said in return, although in a much colder tone of voice. “So…you’re a dancer?” Amanda managed in a clearly condescending tone. “Yes, well kinda, I’m..” “She’s an assistant,” Peter thankfully cut in. “Mandy, you’ll be training her over the next month. Just think of it as, “Double the beauty, double the entertainment!'” he announced excitedly. Amanda didn’t feel so excited. “Oh, okay..” she said more to herself than anyone in particular. “C’mon, let’s go celebrate!” Peter said, wanting to put an end to the obvious awkwardness.
 
     The next morning they were on the road visiting the next middle-of-who-gives-a-shit-nowhere town on their American tour. Amanda was teaching Julia how to to pick locks in the back of the trailer. Julia’s hand slipped and the bobby pin fell to the floor. Dumb blonde, Amanda thought to herself. Where does he get off hiring such untalented girls? Not including herself of course. “I got it!” Julia squealed and threw the shackles to the floor. “Great..” Amanda feigned. “What’s next?” the overly enthusiastic new assistant asked. How about seeing how long I can hold your head under water before air bubbles start floating up to the surface? “Let’s get to the rope ties I guess.” When they arrived at the theatre, Peter started unloading the props, while Amanda led Julia to the stage to go through all the choreography. Magic was as much about showmanship as as the trick itself, and what better showmanship than having two sexy ladies on stage misdirecting the audience’s eyes at all times (or at least Peter thought so anyway).
 
     After an hour of practice it was time to rehearse the Sawing A Lady In Half illusion, an audience favorite. First, she showed Julia how to step into the box like a lady, and where to position her hands, and the secret compartment for her feet. Amanda could contort her body into extremely tight spaces, and she was waiting for Julia to look at her like she was crazy. But suddenly Julia contorted her body into a pretzel, easily fitting into the claustrophobic space underneath. “Like this?” she asked innocently. “Yeah..you ditzy whore..perfect!” She suddenly had the disturbing image of Peter fucking her in this box, this same box at her audition: “Did I get the job?” Oh you got the job alright! “Where does the saw go?” snapping her back to reality. Amanda picked the saw up off the ledge of the table. It glinted in the stage spotlights. Usually Julio was the one who sawed her in half, but she knew how to do it; she’d watched him do it hundreds of times. She held it for a moment, feeling powerful at that moment, that she was in control for once. She expertly swung the saw into its grooves in the box and pushed downward, sawing her body in half, half-smiling at the thought of Julia missing the lower half of her body, her young gorgeous legs no longer attached to the… “Now look frightened,” she said as she removed the saw and pushed the box apart, splitting her right down the middle. “Now you can smile and wiggle your toes..but not really.” The mechanical feet did all that for her; even up close they looked real. She pushed the box back together, unlocked the latches, popped open the lid, and helped her “lovely assistant” out.
 
     Four weeks passed and it was Julia’s turn to get in the box. She had rehearsed it to the point where she was just as agile as Amanda, better even, and Peter felt it was time to give Julia her time in the spotlight. Amanda didn’t really care what Peter thought anymore. She was in the change room doing her makeup, daydreaming about…there was a knock at door. “Thirty minutes to show time!” She could hear the music echoing into the room as the audience shuffled in to find their seats. She put on the final touches and left the change room. As she made her way backstage, she passed by the box.. The box that was no longer hers, like she had been evicted and thrown out on the street. She paused there for long time… She had no idea how long because when she came to the stage manager was yelling at her, “You’re on!” She smiled Thank you you moron I’ve done this more times than you’ve been with women and she stepped out onto the stage to a welcoming roar. The music began, and she performed a flashy dance with Julio while the stagehands wheeled out the mysterious box. Julia appeared from stage left to an even more (to Amanda’s ears) welcoming applause – her young legs glistening in the bright lights, her perky tits perfectly buoyant in her glittery outfit and her white, shiny teeth glimmering intensely, seducing the audience, almost making them forget they were there to observe a magic… The Magnificent Julio and Amanda helped her into the box, her petite body agile and vibrant; no one wanted to see her precious body get maimed. Julia lay down inside the box, forcing her body into a human pretzel. They latched the straps together, locking the lid and trapping her inside… She looked out at the audience in feigned terror. The women in the audience felt anxious; the men were on the edge of their seats. Julio picked the saw up off the ledge of the table and banged on it with fist, causing it to wobble, its sharp teeth glistening under the spotlight – yes it was a real saw. He deftly waved the saw in the air, then expertly swung it down it into its grooves on the box. Now Julia looked frantic, her face twisted into a grimace, her toes frantically tapping at air, wishing she could escape at the last minute… He wasn’t sure, but he could’ve sworn he felt the box jiggle once he stuck the saw in…
 
     The Magnificent Julio pushed the saw downward….and it got stuck. Fifteen years performing this trick and it never got stuck. He felt a large bead of sweat roll down his forehead. He looked at Amanda, who was smiling wide at the audience, professional as always. He grabbed the handle and pushed down harder…still it seemed to be jammed. He couldn’t see Julia’s face from where he was standing – Amanda was blocking his view – but he assumed she was fine as he didn’t hear anything… So, with all his might, he pushed the blade down…and with some difficulty it struggled through, straight to the bottom. There was a palpable nervousness rising from the crowd; a normal reaction, but more than usual. Julio felt another large bead of sweat run down the other side of his forehead. He smiled, stealing a glimpse at the box out of the corner of his eye…and his heart sank. He could see tiny droplets of blood dripping off the saw’s teeth. He first prayed that the audience didn’t notice..then that Julia was alright – he hadn’t heard her scream. I’m sure it’s just a cut, nothing serious, she can contort her body better than any assistant I’ve ever had, the show must go on… Julio and his assistant walked to the ends of the box and pulled them apart, Julio praying there would be no more blood… He had to really put effort into pulling the halves apart, and when they finally separated, it felt like he was tearing a piece of meat off a bone… and then he realized the true horror of what had happened: He could now see (the audience could too) that Julia’s legs had been separated just above the kneecaps. A woman screamed in the audience; some others fainted. Julia’s head had gone limp; either a terrific actress or… Amanda had been calm this whole time. She realized she needed to take over at this point; she calmly pushed both ends of the box back together, a horrible squishing sound created from the collision. Julio was in a daze. Amanda walked to the front of the box, removed the saw (with some difficulty), and unbuckled the latches… She reached in to help the beautiful assistant out…but no one emerged. She grabbed Julia’s arm and pulled – her limp body popped up, head hanging to one side, her hair still done up in a bun. People in the audience were shouting now, many too uncomfortable to watch, many already leaving the theatre… “Ladies and gentlemen, there’s nothing to worry about, it’s all just a joke!” Julio attempted to calm the audience, to save his career… It wasn’t working and people were shouting frantically now: “Call an ambulance!” “He murdered her!” Boos rang out through the theatre, and Julio motioned for the stagehands to come quick and wheel the gurney away. “Ah, we will now take a short intermission, drinks will be served in the lobby…” Julio said in a shaky voice. Amanda was still smiling, through the entire ordeal, imagining her start in Vegas, in the spotlight, and the glamour…it would all be hers soon.
 

The End

Cameron is an English teacher, fiction writer, and professional magician living in Taiwan cbrtnik

Short Story – Bian Tai (The Pervert)

Bian Tai (The Pervert)
A Short (Romantic) Fiction by Cameron Brtnik 

 Bian Tai
(The Pervert)
    “Stop it…” she said, but he just smiled. He loved the shape of her ass. He knew she really wanted it and was just acting “innocent” (Pfft, like those existed anymore!) She was pulling the typical ASD – Anti Slut Defense – but he knew she was really just a whore. They all were, he knew. “No,” he teased her. She let his hand go a little further this time…”Please stop…” but he knew that really meant, “Please baby, keep going…” He kept his hand there and changed the song on his iTunes; she didn’t push it away. R. Kelly started playing (a little mood music) and he pretended to “accidentally” slide his hand further as he turned up the volume… She clinched a bit..Bingo he affirmed to himself. He stroked ever so slightly and watched her body shudder… He could feel her getting wet now. Suddenly he felt his hand being pushed away and the familiar, “We can’t do this…” He knew just what to do: The Freezeout. He got out of bed, stopped the music and turned on the lights. “What are you doing?” she asked, surprise with a hint of worry in her voice. “I’ve got something I’ve gotta work on,” with just the perfect hint of annoyance in his. Wait for it..5..4..3..2…”Come back to bed…” He walked, defeated, back to where she was laying, her now casual body language clearly giving the “go-ahead” sign. He turned the music back on and resumed hand position; inching his rough hand up her smooth thigh, heart pumping faster, feeling a rise in his pants… Back to the wet spot, he continued his pussy-taming ritual. She started moaning now, so he allowed one finger to “slip” into the crease of her silk panties, one calloused finger connecting with the soft pussy flesh underneath. He pushed it in and delighted at how tight it was, couldn’t imagine fitting two fingers inside… He reached with his free hand to unbutton her skirt, its only, helpless button just barely holding it to her body, more of a tease than an actual safety mechanism, almost pleading open me c’mon open me I want to be free…and he could feel the button pop open, the desire to be free of its hole a relief to her entire being… He enjoys this part: slowly pulling her skirt down her long, tan legs, over her knees, easily over the hump of her smooth calves, gliding along the soles of her smooth feet, finally sliding off her toes and carelessly dropping to the floor… Then he dove in for lunch. His tongue eased into her wet, juicy pussy, and he used his joystick thumb to play with her clit like a video game, doubling her enjoyment and his… He was in heaven now – if heaven really existed this was it: her muff the clouds, her clit the halo above her angelic puss– WTF?! What the fuck was that?! He felt something trickle down his face did she just come? but it was red. Suddenly a sickening thought: was she on her period?? But there was no awful reek coming from down there… Suddenly he felt dizzy and could see actual stars in front of his eyes…. He looked up at Cathy, or Carol, or whatever the fuck her name was and saw something metallic in her hands..rectangular shaped my laptop! She was wielding it in the air and he realized, with utter amazement, that she had hit him over the head with it! “You fuckin’ bit– she whacked him over the head again. This time he really felt it and felt himself go black for a moment…. When he came to she was standing in front of the bed, half naked, holding her skirt in one hand and a knife in the other. He didn’t budge. “You fucking pervert!” She was screaming now. “I told you to stop!!” “Ah, you didn’t mean it c’mom, who are you kidding? You’re a whore like the rest of’em, just admit it to– She screamed and lunged at him, but his reaction was slow and sluggish. He was aware of the knife, but couldn’t manage to disarm her..and she thrust it down into the top of his head. At first he was stunned..stunned that he couldn’t disarm some weak cunt, and stunned because he could feel the sharp end of the knife in the top of his head..like an acupuncture needle that penetrated too deep, too deep… Blood shot out from the top of his head like a tiny geiser, spewing like the water fountain you drink from as a kid, the hole making a gurgling sound, gurgle, gurgle… At first he felt rage, and then he felt tired suddenly, like he could sleep for a long time..but I didn’t come yet…was the last thought the pervert ever thought before he took a long, long nap.
End
 
Cameron is a fiction writer living in Taiwan. He learned most of his Chinese from his brilliant English students cbrtnik.com

Travelogue: How To Get Fired From A Cruise Ship

Travel-ogue: How To Get Fired From A Cruise Ship
by Cameron Brtnik
     The year was 2009, and I was freshly back from Hollywood. I didn’t make it of course – I didn’t have the drive; to sleep in a car, to live off macaroni and cheese for two years, to go to five auditions a week only to get a call back to a tooth paste commercial – I didn’t get that either. I had been working on my magic – practicing daily, I even enrolled in the world famous Magic Castle Hollywood and partook in a master class with my childhood magical hero Mark Wilson (The Complete Course In Magic was the first magic book I studied). And I wanted to do something with it. I filmed a demo video, sent it off to Carnival Cruise Lines – the world’s foremost pleasure vessel and self-acclaimed party boat – and whadaya know, I was hired!
     It was a 200,000 ton (fifty times bigger than the Titanic), 2000 passenger occupancy vessel. Simply put, it was a huge. She was a magnificent beast. And it was all mine: The Carnival Glory.
 
But let me backtrack a bit here….
     That summer I was at Sorcerer’s Safari Magic Camp (I know what you’re thinking, and yes they do manufacture real life Harry Potters there) and one of the special guests – a world famous magician cruise ship by the name of Sean Farquhar – regaled us with stories of magic on the big seas…I was hooked. I approached him later that day to ask him more details. He told us the story of a a cruise that involved certain Playboy Bunny guests, and an onboard magician who woke up one day at the ungodly hour of five o’clock a.m. to a knock at the door to find one of the ship’s officers just stopping by to say hello. He admired the photos taped on his wall, mainly noticing the X-rated material of said rabbit ear-wearing guests. He also recognized who they accompanied, and more specifically, the location of where the photos were taken: in that very bedroom.
     Now this all seems fine and well, even a good story perhaps if it weren’t for one G-darned rule: There’s NO frolicking with the guests – even if they are Playboy Bunnies. So this lucky, damned SOB was fired on the spot. No one heard from him again…or so I say. Foreshadowing anyone???…..
I excelled at my job. it was a perfect fit; magic, entertainment, customer experience, and….women. No shortage of them. It was like a haven, a floating forbidden island, an open buffet, a melting pot of American, Asian, African, Mexican, you name it you got it, it was….Paradise. And I? Zero willpower. I met a smart man early on – the wisest of men and the absolute manslut of the cruise: The Pianist. He knew things no other man did – or should – and more importantly, he knew how to manipulate the rules of a pleasure boat. He gave me one simple piece of advice: If you don’t want to get caught, meet the female guests off board the ship. Book a hotel for a few hours, meet the single, university frat girl, divorce or married woman off the premises, have your fun, and return onboard as if nothing ever happened. Because in the eyes of everyone aboard (including the ignorant) husband, nothing out of the ordinary happened; just another drunk guest enjoying her time on land, probably shopping or getting drunk off three dollar martinis at some cheap local beach bar somewhere in Belize.
     Good advice – advice I should’ve taken to heart, considering that was the second unofficial warning. But me being me, never heading the advice of others, never listening to the warnings of previous perpetrators, always wanting to learn the hard way, me -stubborn, selfish, self-absorbed, egocentric, narcissistic – had to learn the hard way….
It was a warm evening – I know because I was getting a BJ on the balcony of th—wait, I’m getting “ahead” of myself now…. It was a regular night. I was working the martini bar, performing close-up magic for Carnivals guests – couples, newlyweds, singles and some curious staff – and this spicy Mexican broad was making eyes. I’d seen the look before: sultry, exotic, flirty, curious, all come-ons, and I knew i could have her that night. It was all part of the process: Girl goes on cruise for first time with friends, girl gets drunk, girl hunts for boys, girl finds no boys, girl goes in search of something more attractive, more charming, more dangerous: the staff. Not just any staff – no, sadly the housekeepers, chefs and servers are not allowed in the guest area – for entertainers. And if the piano man got laid the most, the magicians (and even comedians believe it or not) were a close second. I just happened to be on her radar, or more fittingly, menu that night.
     Here was my problem: I thought I had out-smarted security – I had not. To rub this obvious truth in even more, a friend co-worker who sold paintings at a gallery onboard warned me not a week earlier: “Be careful: they have their eyes on you.” I scoffed at the thought. Around midnight, the time I usually wrapped up my show, I met her at the ship’s nightclub. We drank. We danced. We left about 2am and hurried back to her door. I had been here many times before; “Should I or shouldn’t I?” were always the thoughts that repeated through my mind. On one hand, I’m sacrificing my job and career (and an exciting one full of future possibilities at that!) On the other hand, this chick is hot and horny and that’s also, in it’s own way, full of future possibilities. Many times in the previous few months I had turned this enticing offer down; this time I overruled my silly worries, and discreetly stepped into her room…
     Fast forward to getting a glorious BJ on the deck off her room, under a full moon, the night sea breeze filling my nostrils full of optimism…then a loud knock at the door. Security: “We know you’re in there and we’re coming in.” Me: (Thinking) “I could totally Spiderman down the side of the ship onto the balcony below and not get caught…” The gig was up – I was caught. Now, the thing is I was friends with these security guys – really nice dudes from India who I said hi to and conversed with daily – so it felt surreal as they handcuffed me and led me into a small, windowless room to interrogate me. I was forced into admitting my actions (and a couple others) and writing an apology, promising that I would never commit such an unspeakable atrocity again. (The rules are in place to prevent the cruise line from being sued by guests. Think “unwanted pregnancy” or “mysterious std”.) I was then freed to go with the ominous warning: “One day you may hear a knock at five o’clock in the morning.” So it was true….
     Four days past without incident; I thought I was in the clear! Day 5: Port stop, Miami. 5am: Knock at the door. I thought I was dreaming. An officer standing at the door; it was told to pack my bags. I was escorted off the ship by the sympathetic officer. It was like doing the ultimate “walk of shame” in front of my fellow shipmates whom I had become close with over the six months I had been aboard. I was met by a local Miami officer – a pleasant, religious woman who gave me sound advice on the way to the airport (something about not drinking too much) and waited with me until my plane home arrived. I learned an important lesson that day: The “Five O’clock Knock” is a real thing.
-Written by Cameron Brtnik
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