The Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #22

santa schoolThe Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #22

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Nine

One Picture

One Element

One Emotion

200 Words

Santa Claus

Psithurism

8 Maids-a-Milking

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6 thoughts on “The Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #22

  1. Part 8 (day 9)

    When he’d got to his feet, he was alone. All he could hear was the sound of the wind in the trees, the rustling of the leaves. Psithurism. Funny how certain words stuck in your head during literature classes. Brad enjoyed the brief moment until a cow broke the spell with a moo. Of course, eight maids-a-milking! There were farm buildings some distance away, and Brad got to them as fast as possible, only to be surprised by the sight he saw when he entered a barn. Eight Asian girls with white beards sitting on stools and milking cows.
    “What the…?”
    “Help!”
    Brad spotted the man in the back of the barn and hid in the shadows.
    “Help, please! We au-pairs. We from down woad, we help out Santa school. He take us and we milk cow.”
    Maids were far and few between nowadays. He had to give it to the man, au pairs were a sensible choice. Now, how to stop…too late, the crazy man had already opened another portal and the au pairs and cows were being sucked in. Oh, for a few moments to think! Brad grabbed hold of the last cow’s tail and was taken through.

  2. The old man finished the painting.

    ‘Santa many times over?’ the nurse asked.

    ‘I love stop-motion photography. This is a photo-realistic take on it,’ he said as he shucked off his painting smock.

    ‘Once this must have been a beautiful smoking jacket,’ she said, folding it away.

    The old man laughed. ‘A present from Kay. Look carefully,’ he said. ‘Inside the paisley pattern are hundreds, maybe thousands of little drawings of—’

    ‘Cows?’

    ‘Eight maids-a-milking,’ he said. ‘Another tease from my dear wife. She called me all sorts of names, “Reprobate” when I made a naughty suggestion, “skinflint” when I was tight with money, but her best was when I was doing property development. She called me an “anti-psithurist”.’

    The nurse looked blank.

    ‘One who’s against the sounds of wind in leaves.’

    ‘Oh.’

    He settled back in his armchair. ‘Years ago, I bought old houses, tore ’em down; built new ones. Sometimes we rented out the wrecks briefly. She called me a—‘’

    ‘“Slum landlord”?’ the nurse guessed.

    He laughed. ‘Yup. This smoking jacket was a silent tease.’

    ‘I don’t get it.’

    ‘Milking every last cent,’ he said.

    ‘Not true, surely.’

    ‘What do you think?’

    ‘’Course not,’ she said, secure in her illusions.

  3. “You know that famous Life Magazine photo of all the Santas putting their beards on?” Gilbert looked at Brad with raised brows as he asked, but his Santa hat covered them from view.

    “I have no idea what you’re talking about, man. Let’s just get out there and start ringing the damn bells to get some money.” Brad shook the dust from his second-hand Santa coat and sneezed.

    Gilbert fidgeted nervously. “My grandfather was in that picture. He was a famous Santa. It feels kinda weird doing this, knowing that he was famous for being Santa and all.”

    Brad swung his big belly around to face Gilbert and sighed in exasperation. “Yeah? Well my mom was on the cover of the Times for winning the National Spelling Bee with the word ‘Psithurism’. You think she’s proud of me now? Get over it.”

    “Psithurism?” Gilbert asked.

    “Wind whistling through the trees, or some such. Now can we please get to ringin’ so we can buy some booze tonight?”

    As they set up their kettles and started to ring, they heard carolers singing from the lawn of First Baptist down the street. “8 maids a milking, 7 swans a swimming…”

    “Good,” said Brad. “They’ll bring more donations.”

  4. Episode 9

    FX: Train whistle, and train sounds at moderate speed

    Narrator – “Jack Brandy had spent the entire night thinking and pondering the things he had seen and heard since climbing aboard this train. By the time the Sun rose and cast it’s warm yellow light across the landscape, Jack had decided whatever it was that was happening here was important. He slide the boxcar door open and lit up the whole interior of the boxcar for the first time.

    FX: Heavy door sliding open and rushing air entering into the car with sound of fluttering pages under

    Narrator – “Something caught his eye on the floor. It was an issue of Life magazine with a photo of eight men dressing up as Santa Claus. The pages fluttering in the wind reminded him of autumn leaves Jack smirked.”

    Jack – (sarcastically) “Santa Claus!

    Narrator – “Picking up the magazine, he flung it out the boxcar door.

    Jack – “Commercialism! It sells it’s self as servants to the people, but it just wants to milk this thing for all they can get out of it.

    Narrator – “Realizing what he had just said, Jack paraphrased the statement.

    Jack – “Eight maids a milking!”

    Narrator – “Then he smiled a broad smile, gave a chuckle, and stood in the doorway taking in the warmly lit countryside.

    FX: Train sounds fading

  5. The rain stopped nearly as abruptly as it started. It’s a Florida thing.

    My drive brought me past the Salvation Army post where I saw a curious sight.

    A host of men dressed as Santa emerged from the building. They were the jolly lot who worked the various department and grocery stores. Kids loved to take change and drop it in the bucket when Santa was on duty, ringing his bell.

    Kids.

    I made up my mind where I was headed.

    Further down was the turn off to the county hospital. It had once been a mental institution but had been converted into the Highlands County Memorial Hospital in the 1980s.

    My girlfriend Sara worked there as a neonatal nurse.

    The road approaching the hospital was a long stretch flanked on either side by hawthorn trees. The wind that pushed the storm by rustled through them vigorously. I enjoyed the psithurism. Thank you Obsolete Word of the Day.

    Up on the third floor, I stood at a plate glass window and watched as Sara showed a group of eight new mothers in breast feeding gowns how to pump for breast milk.

    Sara looked up, noticed me standing there, and smiled.

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