Secret Santa #4

Nick looked into the bottom of the whisky glass. The whisky glass looked back.

“Do you think you’ve had one too many?”

“What’s that?

“Whisky,” came the voice from the glass. “Do you not think you’ve had one too many whisky?”

“No,” said Nick. “I think I’ve had one too few.”

He drained the glass. The last of the liquid caught in the white fuzz of his moustache and his tobacco-furred tongue swept it hungrily into his mouth. He put the glass back on the table and stared at it, half expecting it to taunt him.

“Come on,” he jeered back. “What are you waiting for?” But the glass was silent.

When the noise came, it was from behind. Nick jumped. It came again. Rap, tap, tap.

He sat.

Rap, tap, tap.

He stared at the glass.


Nick rose from his seat and went to the door, casting one more glance over his shoulder as he did so. He growled through his moustache and opened the door.

“Good evening, sir.” The man took off his trilby and slick, black hair glistened in the wedge of light coming from inside.

Nick felt the blood drain away. His cheeks were cold. The man smiled back. Nick knew the man could see his face go as white as his hair, and that was all he needed to know.

“Will you not let me in?”

“What do you want?” But Nick knew what he wanted.

The man smiled. “There have been some.” The man ran a hand through his shiny black hair. “There have been some complaints. From parents in the area.”

“Complaints? What kind of complaints?” Nick knew exactly what kind of complaints.

Nick watched the man shift his weight, search for words. Just say it, all right.

“That’s all, Sir. It’s Christmas. We just want you to know. Well, we’ll have to come back in the New Year. You understand?”

For God’s sake, if you’re going to take me away, take me now.

“Goodnight, Sir.”

Nick half held out a hand.

Come on, then. Come on. Take me.

The man took Nick’s hand and squeezed.

“Goodnight, Sir,” he repeated.

“Goodnight,” mumbled Nick.

“Oh, and”


“Merry Christmas.”

Nick watched the man leave. His pale overcoat merged with the snow. Nick felt the ice forming in his moustache. He closed the door, turned, and paced slowly back to his seat.

He stared at the glass. The glass didn’t move. In one movement nick took the bottle, drained five fingers into the glass, picked the glass up and emptied it down his throat.

“One too many?” he bellowed. “One too fucking many? I haven’t fucking started.”

His eyes bored into the side of the glass.

“Well what are you waiting for? Come on. Say something!”

He stared.

Rap, tap, tap.

Nick jumped.

Rap, tap, tap.

He got up and went to the door.

So you’ve come back for me.

He opened the door, but there was nothing there. Nick stared into the snow, trying to make out a figure, an outline. Trying to make out something.


Nick stepped out of the porch and onto the path.

“Have you come for me?” He shouted into the emptiness.


He turned. The door was closed behind him. Nick tried the handle. It was locked. He shook the door but it wouldn’t budge.

He felt ice forming in his moustache.


The ice crept into his beard. It began to find its way into the thick white hairs on his chest. He pulled his arms around himself.


The night was silent. Nick scoured the house with his eyes for an open window. He walked around it, his footsteps getting slower and heavier. His breath began to form a ball of ice that burned his lips. He found himself back at the door having found nothing.

I’ll have to smash a window.

He went to move his feet to hunt for a rock under the snow. But his feet wouldn’t move. He felt the alcohol and the cold thicken his blood. He could no longer feel his limbs. He could no longer feel the ice in his hair or on his lips. He could no longer open his mouth to shout into the emptiness. His mind was hazy, as foggy and cold as the night.

Nick stared at the door.

The voice came from behind it: “Do you not think you’ve had one too many?”

~ by yearzerowriters on December 23, 2009.

30 Responses to “Secret Santa #4”

  1. That is def somebody writing Larry.

  2. This is somebody doing Heikki. Possibly Larry?


  3. It’s funny how hard it is to tell on first reading what’s someone doing the writing and someone being written as. I wonder if that’s to do with the way people write or the way we read. I wonder if, in years to come, our little game will be researched by psychologists and sociologists of literature? I can see the Heikki in it, for sure – the same kind of creepy as Dispatchers

  4. This is a tough one. And I agree with you, Dan, it’s hard to tell with the first reading. Or the second.
    I think it’s someone doing Heikki. Who, though . . . It feels like a woman. That’s my gut instinct, but I’ve been wrong with gender before.
    The use of “Do you not think” is driving me crazy, like that’s the key to who wrote it. But I can’t figure out who it reminds me of.
    – Sarah

    • When were you wrong before? You seem to have been 100% on the money so far

    • Do you no(t) think – that’s Scottish, isn’t it Sarah? Or even Irish? I think that rules out the American authors, even writing in character. My guess is Marcella doing Heikki?

      • Yes, when I hear the sentence out of context I hear it with an Irish accent. Marcella’s already done Daisy, but there’s no rule against someone doing two.

      • It’s not me. Do English people never say “do you not think”? When I read that line, I read it and imagined Penny’s accent.

      • English people do say it, but it’s more Scottish, you ken? Does Roland have any Scottish links?

        Maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree.

      • Scottish would be more “Do you nae think?” maybe

      • I wasn’t thinking of someone who wanted to be seen as Scottish. But it’a a red herring. Not American, that’s all.

  5. Dan, this is the first one you haven’t had me in the frame for at some point


  6. I also notice that “whiskey” is singular, where Irish people would have had it be plural in that sentence. Also, the mention of the “trilby” makes me think of Pete Doherty.

  7. Is it Dan trying to be Marc?

  8. This is Dan doing Heikki?

    When the glass spoke i thought it might be Simon, but the story isn’t really his style.

    By the way, is ‘Nick’ a pervert Santa?

  9. That was Oli, btw.

    Or was it??

  10. Dan it’s not me and I doubt it’s a la me. Still reckon it’s a version of Heikki, not sure who by. Larry?

  11. All I can say is what PDAllen said before: whoever wrote it wrote it well.

  12. 🙂 I have no idea, my friends, but it is a distinct possibility. I’d love to invent a talking glass…

  13. Yeah, I think it’s someone doing Heikki, and probably a woman.
    I wouldn’t over-analyze any bit of this. I mean, how much is actually intentional when we write? You guys know I slip in all kinds of weird stuff into my writing from different styles of English, but it doesn’t mean anything. I didn’t do this one, by the way.
    I had a dream about who wrote this, but I can’t remember who it was. I’m kind of miffed about it.

  14. It was me but doing Anne, not Heikki – maybe not quite bloodthirsty enough 🙂 I’m pleased the sentence-craft sounded like it was written by a woman though!

  15. Oh, yes! I can easily spot the weirdness in it. I like that the emptiness took on a sort of personality – not so much personification, but an actual personality.
    The Irish in it is definitely me. I love accents because they enable you to ‘hear’ the character. Also accents force you to pick a person who sounds just like that character which means you have an instant face to attach to it.
    Marvelous, Dan! I’m impressed. If I do a story with half the skill with which you wrote this one, I must be a great writer indeed. 🙂
    Sorry I missed these.

    • I’m so glad you like it. It’s very strange writing as someone else. It’s strange – this was a throwaway fun exercise but I think we took these stories more seriously than the ones we write for ourselves – because we didn’t want to let the people we were “being” down.

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