One always starts the holiday season with the best intentions, as wishing betterment for our fellow humans can often be considered as a ‘top-up’ activity to ensure one day, we’ve gained enough positive points to happily stand in front of the wonderous ‘Pearly Gates.’ Unfortunately for this ‘Serial Reviewer’, the Family Thanksgiving Fiasco of 2023 didn’t earn any points, nor could it be rated with any glowing stars; it can, though, be rated by the number of scars inflicted upon family members and their - to my great shame, pets.
Emotional scars 1000, Physical 2 - not counting the cat!
This joyous occasion’s slashing tentacles reached out a number of weeks beforehand through numerous poorly structured and woefully spelt text messages from my mother, who was inquiring if this year I would be breaking tradition by bringing a plus one who wasn’t a low moral drunken floozy or ex-girlfriend of Cousin Barry. I assured my acerbic Mama that my previous lady friends did not fall into the first two categories and that the third had been a guileless catastrophic misunderstanding about Barry’s ability to socialise with anything other than my mother's previously mentioned categories. My Mater's following onslaught of silence was both harsh and extremely welcomed.
Upon arriving at ‘Aunt Sally’s Abode’ with my ‘This Year’s Date’, who, by the way, IS of sound mind, morals and fully employed as an accountant with no knowledge of ever meeting Cousin Barry, but who had been deeply versed in the social dynamics of my pack of snuffling bush pigs… I mean family. We entered the 'Den of Iniquity', otherwise known as Aunt Sally’s bungalow, holding hands in solidarity and trying not to breathe too deeply the piquant aroma of her cat's litter tray parked right at the front door.
The ‘Den’, unfortunately, had not grown in size nor good taste since last year’s prison sentence… I mean visit. The collector plates of stunned little kittens still adorned every wall. Surprisingly, they matched the other horrendous décor of singing trout plaques and dancing Christmas trees placed on every flat surface as delightfully thoughtful talking points.
One never suspects one has homicidal tendencies until one is forced to listen to multiple out-of-tune and out-of-time nerve-grating Christmas carols… from little dancing Christmas trees… for numerous and painful hours… a whole month before Christmas!
After popping an antihistamine and washing it down with a cheap but vinegary sherry, I was able to ignore the atmospheric soundtrack and drifts of feline fluff. Thankfully, I was, at least, able to stop sneezing as, apparently, my allergies were upsetting Aunt Sally’s moggy ‘Mr Tattersworth’ no-end.
The meal provided by said caring family was well below par this year in comparison to the usual half-cooked monstrosity slapped on paper plates. This year, I shouldn’t have bothered trying to find a nice light-bodied red to pair with the turkey, as a microwave meal, to my humble but highly experienced palette doesn’t actually fall into the category of food.
I am not, as my family labelled me over my balanced on-my-knees dinner tray, a horrendous snob who wouldn’t know good food if it bit me on the arse. When I pointed out that food shouldn’t be biting anyone on the rear end, a bald chocolate peanut was dug up from the depths of Aunt Sally’s dentures and then spat out at me, landing in my meal and putting any attempt to be socially polite on very thin ice.
From then on, I chose a liquid diet and enjoyed the lovely red… straight from the bottle. The buzz its combination produced whilst mixing with my second antihistamine was quite nice. And even when Mr Tattersworth stuck his sharp little claws into my right shin, I can’t say I actually felt the effects until a couple of weeks later when the infection set in. The review of spending Christmas Eve in the local ER, having the first of three overly large horse needles deliver my antibiotics right into my buttocks... both cheeks is still to come.
But I digress… Back to the Den.
Quite a stir was caused when my delightful and completely sober date, unfortunately, launched her rubbery cranberry brick labelled on the packet as ‘jelly’ into the air by innocently trying to cut off a cube to add to her serving of moulded white meat. The hubbub that ensued after it hit Cousin Barry fairly and squarely in the left eye was totally unwarranted, as was the uproar when it bounced off Barry’s fat face and hit Mr Tattersworth on the back of his noggin. I was alone in finding the unconscious feline and his floppy little fluffy white legs hysterical. …No regrets!
When my enchanting companion tried to apologise… for us both, Cousin Barry outdid himself by completely ignoring her right to exist in a respectful and safe space by pinching her bottom and then asking if she would like to ditch the pathetic loser she was with for a proper meal at his apartment.
It was at this point that the delightful and now empty bottle of red really kicked in on my hollow stomach and a third… possibly fourth antihistamine. My gallant, gentlemanly nature demanded I find the true purpose of the rock-hard sliced beans on my tray and a dancing Christmas tree. I do not feel any remorse for whacking off seven beans directly at Cousin Barry’s pudgy leering face and globulous body, nor do I feel any guilt that one sliced bean pierced Barry’s trousers and lodged itself firmly into his backside as he dived behind a plastic covered lounge chair.
I hope the doctors and nurses at the local ER were surprised and impressed by my aim and combative use of sliced beans.
In conclusion, for those seeking a warm and tender moment joined in celebrating the thoughts and practice of being thankful for the gifts we have, I would steer you away from my pathetic family's pathetic yearly attempt and encourage you to gain ‘Pearly Gates Points’ in some other way.
I rate my family and their Thanksgiving meal a big fat zero in the shape of Cousin Barry’s now highly bandaged and padded backside.
Furthermore, at the insistence of my dear Mother, I wish to clarify, against her wishes, that I still have no regrets!
Mr Tattersworth is perfectly fine.
I'm looking forward to ignoring the ‘Family Thanksgiving Fiasco of 2024!’ and plan to stay home by myself with a baked yam!
The ER Doctors wish to pass on their good wishes for a Merry Christmas to all.
The ‘Serial Reviewer’
About the Creator
I have a dark sense of humour, which pervades most of what I write. I'm dyslexic, which pervades most of what I write. My horror work is performed by Mark Wilhem / Frightening Tales. Pandora's Box of Infinite Stories is growing on Substack
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!