OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the last three years, around this time, the Facets of Fiction crew has been getting together for a Christmas dinner, organised by fictioneer Alison Twigg. This year was no exception. To while away the hours between courses, or over coffee, we set ourselves a task, to tell who has written the anonymously submitted 100 word micro-fictions on a theme provided earlier by Alison…This year’s theme was The Christmas Jumper.

As usual, I guessed all but two wrong…and one of those was the one I wrote…So here are 9 The Christmas Jumpers, for your amusement….written by (but not in this order): Alison, BHD, Carol, Lizzi , Marilyn,Hazel, Hugh, Deryn & Zoe. Fictioneers are rumoured to ape the style of their co-writers, which may explain something, but not particle physics or global warming.

The Christmas Jumper
The three men had gone before her, following the star into the snowy night.  But the old woman had left later, for she too had wanted to take the child a gift.  When she’d finished she packed away the needles and the wool, wrapping the gift in cloth.  Swaddling herself in blankets she left the cottage, setting out into the bitter cold.
And when tiredness overcame her, and when the winter decided to take her as his own, she lay down in the crisp snow.  Gazing at the heavenly blaze in the sky, she lifted her gift to the light.

The Christmas Jumper

Soft, so soft… reminds me of our mother; she knitted wool, angora, cashmere, mohair… Fair Isle patterning, or the twisting cables she crafted on four double-pointed needles… their clack-clacking the backdrop to evenings bickering with my brothers in front of the telly – Starsky and Hutch, Bodie and Doyle, The Dukes of Hazzard… male buddies sorting out the bad guys. Car chases, fist-fights, shoot-outs, explosions. Women like my mother knit our lives for us, and if we’re lucky, we take notice of their gentle crafting, learn from them how to knit our own lives, if not quite these jumpers…

The Christmas Jumper

We don’t use the cradles when there’s ice and snow about. The last thing you want when you’re sat twenty-seven floors up against the glass is compacted ice and snow under the pulley wheels. It can lift you off the cables like it was peeling a banana.

So it’s my job, when the mercury hits zero, to go up on the roof and check out the winding gear. That’s when I see that Christmas Jumper, arms stretched wide on the ledge. Just what I need on a day like today, I tell myself. Just what I need

Christmas Jumper

1000…2000…3000…4000…check. Above me the orange and white canopy is reassuringly swollen. Below me the farmland is spread out like a patchwork quilt, and beyond lies the glittering sea.

Suddenly I am flat on my back, with the feeling that I am motionless, and the world is spinning around me. Did I pass out? Crash land? I hear stamping and snorting behind me and hope that I am not about to be trampled by cows.

Are you ok?”

I open my eyes. The man standing over me looks rather hairy for a paramedic. And shouldn’t paramedics wear green…not red?

The Christmas Jumper:

Working on Christmas Day; Michael couldn’t have been more annoyed.
He was stuck flying rich businessmen half-way across the world to Molokai, in a cramped flight deck,
with a grumpy co-pilot while his family and friends would be sitting down to succulent turkey with all
the trimmings. No presents, no crackers, no twinkling lights. Michael was missing everything he
loved about Christmas.
Although, he mused, thinking about last year. No presents means nothing from Mum. Nothing from
Mum means no Christmas jumper. He sighed, a small smile touching his lips.
Maybe this isn’t so bad after all.

THE CHRISTMAS JUMPER

Where is it?

What?

The gun!

What gun?

The bloody gun you’re minding for me!

Oh, that gun – I’m looking after it, right.

You’d bloody better be looking after it.

He wanted it, right now.

When he called again, two days later, I knew I had a problem. He wouldn’t call again to say thank you. I’d posted it, hadn’t I? made sure it didn’t feel like a parcel with a gun inside? I remembered being surprised – the parcel felt so soft and light.

His voice cracked.

I didn’t ask you to send me a fucking Christmas jumper.

The Christmas Jumper

‘How long has he been up there, PC Pickering?’

‘Twenty minutes, sir.’

‘Said anything?’

‘Says he wants time off at Christmas.’

‘Don’t we all!’

‘And he’s not happy with the outfit.’

‘Who does he work for?’

‘No sir, he wants a new outfit – anything but red.’

‘Negotiator coming?’

‘On their way, sir, and a vet.’

‘A vet?’

‘There are animals with him, sir.’

‘So there are! Hang on, they look like…’

‘Sir?’

‘Is that one wounded, it’s nose is red… it almost glows… Oh my God, Pickering, think of the children? We have to stop him!’

The Christmas Jumper

He snuggled in further – this was a nice warm place to relax. The smell of turkey was making him sleepy.

Just as he was nodding off he felt movement, they  were being lifted up in the air. Then a voice close by said

Do you think Fluffy would like the giblets?’

A large hand appeared through the fur. It wasn’t turkey but it did look tasty.

He jumped.

A piercing shriek filled his world

EEEEEKKKKKKK Fluffy’s got fleas’

And in a moment a huge flat object came down towards him.

Squelch.

Oblivion.

The Christmas Jumper

The first time I found the sixpence in the pudding I was seventeen and thought you were kidding around, as brother’s do. “You can go back to any Christmas you want, just for the afternoon. Stand beneath the old pine and wish hard. We won’t know you’re gone.” 

Instead of choosing a year when we both believed, I chose the year they were divorcing. Remember, mum lost it and everyone went to the pub without her?  This time I stayed home. Just me, mum and the pudding. She laughed with delight at my sixpence and shoved it in the pudding. 

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