- Gift openers · Short story

Hr Fuskefjams og Gavevognen (22)

Solen var næsten gået ned, og Hr Fuskefjams var på vej hjem. Hans ben bevægede sig, mens den øverste halvdel af ham var mast sammen og omformet af gaver som en sandwich.

Gaver gaver gaver glade gaver grimme gyldne gule glimtende

Han tog toget hjem, for Hr Fuskefjams’ kone havde heldigvis betalt hans billet til togturen fra Hillerød til Holstebro, hundrede små stop og et par fra eller til alt efter smagen

Hans ben bevægede sig unægteligt effektivt og elegant, idet han maste sine gaver ind i togvognen, og med en kraftanstrengelse fik kastet resten af kroppen med ind, toget kørte og Hr Fuskefjams kørte i modvind, men han bemærkede intet, for kun hans ben mærkede vindens vægt – resten af kroppen var valgflæsk, gavetæsk og oksekortelet, kold og klemt inde bag gyldne gaver

Fuskefjams fyldte hele vognen, men hurtigt flød gaverne ud og begravede hans sidste levende, spiselige ting, hans ben, bombarderet med udflydende fantastiske flotterier, femstjernede finurlige ideer og gaver i alle størrelser, særligt store og berøvende

Snart var Hr. Fuskefjams nemlig ikke mere, han var blevet slugt af bjerget der hungrede af sult, forfulgt af en duftende vind og en række kvitteringer for ting, der nu havde gennempresset hans krop og sind

Vognen var fyldt, og det faldt hurtigt DSB ind, at de ikke kunne fjerne mængden af sammenklemte påfund i grinagtige former, klumpen i vognen der skinnede og så underskøn ud i et solnedgangslys

Snart kom flere mennesker dog til toget som dagene gik, og gaver blev tildelt til dem, som tog, toget blev en butik og gavevognen dens lager, gyldent og sødt som sukkerflager, familie og faunaer, bring dem alle, kom og se vognen – for nu skal vi have!

….gyldne gaver får gaver gaver gaver gav nok flere end sidste år

En for en blev bunken betydeligt mindre, brikker i et sammenslasket puslespil, bomber i et minestryger-spil presset tæt sammen så der er mindre at tælle, og i sidste ende dukkede den endelige gave op fra bunden, men den var så deform og underlig, at ingen ville have den, og til sidst blev den taget med hjem af en arbejders ven, der endte med at beslutte, at det måtte være muligt at koge den.

Således gik historien om gaver, gaver, gaver, glimrende gratis gaver i Gavevognen, kom og se – ejerskab er ikke det vigtige, så tag uden at give, sådan får alle skønhed at se; sukret mad og julemagi.

 

Advertisements
- Gift openers · Short story

Penguins on Mars (21)

Penguins on mars are a rare sight. Small and rounded and entirely misplaced on the cold red surface of the planet. But every once in a while, if you squint your eyes real tight and look closely, you can find them almost anywhere. Like a colony of ants crawling over each other. A complicated nest of flightless birds. Intertwining networks and pathways they use to get from one appointment to another. And though a bowtie suits them nicely, their tiny wings are too small to even carry a suitcase.

 

But they waddle along merrily enough.

They haven’t got much to worry about…

 

Except their 3 pm cricket game with the new client. Or that rapport that still hasn’t been filed. Or that lunch they really don’t wanna go to, because last time they were there, the restaurant smelled of the dish of the day – salmon – which reminded them a bit too much of home and they got all emotional and had to leave, 7 used napkins, and 10-minute bathroom visit later.
After which they went home and watched an entire season of Pretty Little Liars on Netflix in one go. This is, of course, a common activity in their free time that none of their coworkers know about, because they have an image as a stern and strict authority with little time nor respect for such dull entertainment. Although they, on the inside, are a bit of a yeasayer and would rather have a big hug and some warming words than a solid handshake and a respectful m’penguin when meeting new people around the world. The freezing red world of mars.

 

But penguins on mars are a rare sight.

And I’m sure they haven’t got much to worry about.

- Gift openers · Short story

Bill hadn’t shaved in a month (19)

Bill hadn’t shaved in a month. Not a single time during the entirety of February. That’s 30 days, 720 hours, 43200 minutes, or 2592000 seconds. And Bill had trouble counting to 20.

 

Bill hadn’t shaved in a month, and it was beginning to bug the people around him. On the street, wherever he turned his head, he was met with frowning faces and looks of disapproval. Looks that say

That was, in fact, precisely what happened to Bill this afternoon. So he hid in his hoodie to cover his ears, and pulled down the shade of his cap a bit. Not so much that he couldn’t see, but just enough to avoid judging stares.

 

As he continued his trip to the local gas station, more and more people gathered around him, murmuring indistinctly. Bill was wearing his earplugs, leaving him unaware of the ever-expanding mob of curious souls tracking him down the busy main street of his home town. He realized that he hadn’t shaved for a month and must’ve been looking a little rugged around the edges, but other than that, this was quite the commotion to be making over a little bit of extra facial hair.

When he got to the gas station, he quickly grabbed a few cartons of milk and a Yankee bar. The cashier nearly refused to pay him, but perhaps he found some pity for the bearded man on the other side of the counter. So he let Bill trade his coins for the milk and snacks.  By then, the crowd following Bill had turned into a horde and they were taking pictures and writing notes of what was happening. The whole gas station was lit up by the flash of cameras. Bill was shocked. But he grabbed his stuff and ran out nonetheless. It was a struggle trying to get home. Pushing and shoving people aside to try and get through. And when he finally got in and closed his front door again, he was almost too exhausted to put on his clothes. And so he fell asleep butt-naked on the doormat.

- Gift openers · Short story

White beer (5)

The snow hurt his eyes like sparks of lightning. He was lost.

Empty streets and broken windows. He’d seen it all in his dreams.
He was lost.
But no frightening blows came from the shadows, no red-swollen noses stood out in the cold December night, no one home in the broken windows, nothing but his own

Flesh and bones.

He only notices the light at the end of the crossroads when it glows, more bright and fresh than any of the snow towering around him, like trash bundled up all over his face

No screams from distant alleyways,
no white beers and no wives and their five nights and the tears that followed, always getting in the way of safe trespassing without the conscience getting all bright, he’d rather be lost…

He was lost. The snow hurt his feet and his skin and his eyes like cold flames. Empty heart and no way home. He liked it that way.

- Same New Season · Short story

Cold

He looked so lost in that light. Eyes a blurry mess and flickering in the darkness. Searching for something, anything to fixate upon. It felt as though he could feel her there. He couldn’t, of course. But the feeling still lingered. She watched him silently. A fading memory. A shade from her past.

The first couple of seconds were staggeringly long. But soon the minutes began to fly away. Then hours, days, weeks and even months. She was not about to give up on him. Every night she came by to pay him a little visit. At first their meetings had been awkward and forced. Of course, neither of them really said much. One could only listen and the other could only speak. It’s the sort of thing that follows cryogenically freezing the human body.

Then, with time, visiting him began to feel natural. It had become a part of her routine. As simple as moving one foot in front of the other. She didn’t really know what she was doing there. Or why she kept coming by at all. She just knew that it was right.

His features were dim and waning, but remnants of his before highlighted cheekbones and stern brows still peered out through his frozen cage. She found herself dreaming of him at night. In her dreams he was still moving and speaking. His voice was strong and beautiful. His face was rough but passionate. And he danced.

 

  Oh, how he danced…

 

Those memories seemed so distant now. Eons could’ve passed, and she wouldn’t have known if not for the markings of time on his crystallized cheeks. He was fading as quicker than ever now, and she found herself restless at night. She couldn’t sleep, and she couldn’t stand being awake. Because being awake meant being away from him.

It wasn’t until the ice surrounding his body fully consumed him that she felt truly lost. Because now he was gone. And the dancing man in her dreams was some stranger she might once have known. And she didn’t know what to do or where her road would lead her. Because her shining light had died out and left her fumbling in the dark.

So she etched a note in the ice that now covered him from top to toe. While she was putting down the words, she met her own reflection staring back at her with brand new eyes. Someone else’s eyes. The first beams of sunlight that morning put white streaks in her hair that made it shine in a way she had forgotten it could. She took a step back. Turned around. And walked away. She wasn’t sure where to. But it didn’t matter now. As long as it was somewhere else.

As she walked, she couldn’t help but hop and skip along the road. Soon enough she was dancing into the sunset. A dance coming from somewhere deep inside her. Some place she once knew very well. And she never looked back.

Short story

Gul væske, hvidt tag

Kirkeby var en lille by. Den havde røde huse, gule bænke og en hvid kirke i midten. Det var ikke fordi at turister normalt besøgte byen; tværtimod havde de et hundrede og fireogtredve indbyggere det fint med at leve i fred. Malermester Olsen passede køer i sin fritid og solgte dem til det lokale mejeri i Grønnehave, Præst Jensen bagte surdejsbrød, og Postbud Sørensen fik limonade med fra nabobyen, som indbyggerne nød sammen foran kirken hver søndag. Når solen skinnede, gik de tur i skoven, hele vejen ned til søen.

Kirkeby var en lille by, og forandring var et fremmedord. De fleste borgere passede sig selv eller mødtes foran kirken for at drikke limonade. Men en bestemt torsdag aften slog gnisterne over himlen, og et lyn ramte kirkens top. Det var der ingen der tog sig af, for de kom alligevel kun i kirke for limonaden, men da Malermester Olsen næste morgen skulle ringe til det lokale mejeri, var der ingen forbindelse. Postbud Sørensen cyklede rask af sted næste morgen i retning af Grønnehave, som forresten var den eneste vej ud af byen. Hun passerede de røde tage og kirken, mens hun noterede, at det hele så en anelse slidt ud efter nattens stormvejr. Der lå endda gule bænke i en brændt bunke inde i Præst Jensens have, hvilket fuldstændig kvalte lugten af hans nybagte surdejsbrød. Men det blev værre. For vejen til Grønnehave var spærret af det største egetræ Postbud Sørensen nogensinde havde set.

Kirkeby var en lille by, så dens indbyggere var naturligvis rystede over disse forandringer, men alle tog det alligevel forholdsvis afslappet. Malermester Olsens køer var løbet væk i nattens larm og befandt sig et sted i skoven, men ud over det slappede alle af. Alting gik jo som det plejede. Egetræet bekymrede ingen sig om – ikke i de første par dage, i hvert fald. Men den første søndag efter stormen opdagede borgerne i Kirkeby, at der ikke var noget limonade, for Postbud Sørensen var ude af stand til at hente det på grund af træet. Malermester Olsen konkluderede senere samme dag, at hans køer måtte være svømmet over søen til den anden side. Præst Jensen var også bekymret, for der var ingen der kunne svømme i byen, og derfor ingen mulighed for at komme til Grønnehave og spørge om hjælp til at få ryddet vejen. Samme nat havde Malermester Olsen et mareridt, hvor han drømte at hans køer kom tilbage i natten ledsaget af lyn og torden, og de smadrede de gule bænke og knuste de røde tage, og det hele forsvandt ned i en malstrøm af limonade, som han selv stod i midten af, hjælpeløs og ensom. Han fik ingen søvn den nat, eller næste nat, og tirsdag morgen stod han ude foran kirken og græd en hjælpeløs gråd.

Kirkeby var en lille by, men den føltes kun større efter uvejret. Ting var begyndt at ske. Malermester Olsen stod udenfor og råbte hver nat, hvilket gav Præst Jensen hovedpiner og smerter. Men der var ingen medicin at få, og på onsdagen efter stormen døde hans gamle mormor af mangel på piller, og nu var Kirkeby pludselig reduceret til et hundrede og treogtredive indbyggere. Præst Jensen var ulykkelig, og han forstod ikke hvilken besked Gud prøvede at fortælle ham. Han endte med at ty til mad, så den nat stod et hundrede og toogtredive indbyggere til hans mormors begravelse foran kirken, mens han selv bagte surdejsbrød som en gal, indtil der ikke var mere dej i Kirkeby. Postbud Sørensen havde det heller ikke bedre i de første par uger, for hun følte at det var hendes skyld at alting var gået så galt – det plejede jo at være hende, som bragte alting til byen! En søndag besluttede hun at hun ville genoplive traditionen med at gå i skoven, på trods af at solen ikke havde skinnet i flere uger. På vej igennem det tætte krat der omgav Kirkeby blev hun stanget ned af en af Malermester Olsens køer, som åbenbart var kommet tilbage.

Kirkeby var en lille by, men i dag er den hverken uinteressant eller normal. Hvis man skal derind – hvilket nogle nysgerrige og modige turister forsøger – skal man klatre med enorme stiger over træet, eller undgå de løsslupne vilde køer mens man svømmer igennem søen. Hvis man baner sig igennem det tætte krat, og undgår kvinden, som kommer ridende på en stor tyr igennem marken uden om byen, kan man være vidne til historiens største surdejsproduktion uden surdej, som nu står som et desperat forsøg på at genoplive følelsen som man har første gang man spiser et nybagt brød. Der er ikke mere dej i Kirkeby, så græsset bliver revet op med roden under de resterende halvgullige bænke, og puttet ind i huset af den store, tykke præst. I mellemtiden står kirken tom, men den har sidenhen fundet sin nytte som en kirkegård, da den dog kan beskytte Kirkebys voksende mængde af lig for regn og slud. Præst Jensens mormor var blot den første der sluttede sig til Kirkebys nyeste samlepunkt og hobby, og snart vendte Malermester Olsen sig også til hende på kirkegården, da hans egne køer besluttede sig at vende tilbage pludseligt og voldsomt. Det er stadig uvist hvorfor han valgte at gå til angreb på dem da de endelig vendte hjem, men hans mareridt havde i bedste fald omvendt hans psyke og gjort at han troede at de alle sammen var store, lækre limonadeglas. Manglen på limonade blev desuden det sidste nederlag for Kirkebys resterende seksoghalvtreds indbyggere, men den store mængde turisme har i dag skabt et overdådigt velfærdssamfund for de overlevende. Solen skinner igen.

Short story

Wistful thinking

Isn’t it wonderful?


He gestured towards the glass pane separating their living room from the garden. Tiny little drops of wet cloud trickled spontaneously, unpredictably down the window. Some were big, some were small. Sometimes they collided and merged and waltzed further down before splitting up again.

He took her by the hand and she still hadn’t spoken a word.

They walked into the soggy garden through the backdoor, which wasn’t locked, because it never was. She was wearing unmatched socks, one red and striped, and one blue with little yellow sporadically sprinkled dots. His feet were bare. The pot soil, soaked with beautiful sky-tears, sloshed and wobbled under their weight, but their feet weren’t cold.

It took a few careful steps, but soon enough, they found themselves standing on the rickety wooden fence, a few meters closer to heaven, eyes turned skywards.


Isn’t it wonderful?


He was smiling under the stern look to his eyes. She had her mouth opened slightly, and not a word was coming out.

As the minutes passed, he wanted to give her all the time in the world, though he knew he couldn’t. His hand reached in and found a botched hourglass in his oversized coat pocket. It had three supportive wooden twigs, expertly carved with imminent detail that boggled the mind, and a flowing stream of sand that could never leave the glass chamber, because the curve was too narrow at the junction. He’d spent hours, maybe days, just looking at the thing. He thought about it a lot, and he thought it was wonderful. He held it in one hand, as if it was a delicate nestling whose wing he was afraid to break as he presented it to her.


Isn’t it wonderful?


And he closed his eyes and pictured her smiling back. He saw her hand reaching out and feeling the sleek glass and he let go, because she could have it all, if she wished. As he kept his eyes shut, he tried to ignore the sound of it shattering on the cold hard ground. He thought he really felt her there, if only for just a moment, and he didn’t want to open his eyes again, for he knew she’d be gone, because she was never truly there.

And in his mind he recalled that night panting by her bed, the unnaturally cold grip of her little hand and he heard her once again whisper with her last breath;


“I want you to open your eyes,

isn’t it wonderful?”