View Full Version : Blue Christmas: part one

The Pepsi Challenge
29-Mar-07, 06:53
Hey Folks,

As a full-time (so-called) writer myself, I can appreciate the time, energy and love that goes into a lot of the poems and stories people post here. I don't usually submit anything myself, purely as I have a busy enough time of it writing for other people. I do, however, enjoy reading everybody else's work, yet I prefer not to comment on what people have written, as I can appreciate how difficult it can be to write, and, above all, stick your head above the parapet so to speak, and run the risk of being judged or ridiculed.

But to hell with it all. For the past while I've had a hard time writing two books, that, thanks to publishers' continuing funding, will hopefully see the light of day in the next year or so. It's factual, biography-type stuff, so to break the monotony I've taken to doing something else, hopefully, that will filter the clutter currently occupying my brain at this present time: Fiction.

This particular excerpt I've listed here is a sharply contrasting two-chapter piece called BLUE CHRISTMAS. It's about a writer, suffering from writers' block (not auto-biographical, honest!), who receives romantic tips from the ghost of Elvis Presley in order to win back his former lover.

So. Feel free to read and take a pop at it. Saying that, I do hope you can appreciate the Twilight Zone-style intro and summary. Cheers!



Christmas Eve. Brabster Street, Thurso. Witness if you will a prison. It might appear to be a normal bedroom: a chair, a cupboard, a sink, a desk with a computer on it, but it isn’t. To Kevin Flynn, it’s solitary confinement. Now witness if you will a man’s mind and body shrivelling in quiet desperation, a writer dying of loneliness unable to write a single word or stimulate any imagination other than his own enslavement by lost love, pining away the hours when he should be spending the festive season with his family. In short, he desperately seeks someone to help him out of this festive rut... and who’s to say he won’t find a Christmas spirit willing to dig him out?


The visualisation on Kevin’s media player ran like melting plastic. He stared at it until it blurred. He blinked and two hot, silky tears ran down his face over the dimple on his left cheek, one dropping into his vodka. He stared into the clear liquid. Gulp! Without any mixer - Sammy always took care of the shopping - it tasted like he’d swallowed a lighted match. Kevin grimaced as it burned its way down his throat. He groped for the last of a mince pie just out of reach of the thin light of the monitor, and threw it down after the vodka, hoping that the sticky sweetness would neutralise the bitter sensation. As if anything could.

He clicked the PLAY button and The King began:

“Maybe I didn't treat you...”

Kevin alt-tabbed to a blank Appleworks document and typed:

“Maybe I didn't treat you
Quite as god (sic) as I should have
Maybe I didn't love you
Quite as often as I cuold (sic) have...”

It was no use. He couldn’t get Sammy’s text message out of his mind.

(“It’s not you, Kev... it's someone else.”)

The irony of being dumped by clichés: that’s good, remember that, the
writer has a sliver of ice in his heart - and it was stabbing into his own
heart right now.

He deleted the lyrics and typed:

“You were Always On My Mind...”

Kevin once tried a short story about a break up, but the pure banality of the dialogue he had to write, to make his characters real, bored him more than composing his own tax return forms.

He’d known that it was soon heading for the Work In Progress folder - as Sammy had encouragingly called the folder where she put the organised and neglected papers she printed out for him at her work. At least that attempt had stretched to 500 words - a full days work some writers might say. Today’s word count? Ha! Appleworks thinks it’s 13. The irony. Kev laughed. Then he cried; full big sobs, for the first time. He clicked-closed the media player. Then, suddenly, something punctuated the air:

“Maybe I didn’t love you...”

Kevin spun around, and in the corner, through the gloom, Elvis had entered
the building. The figure of the great Pelvis himself stood on the other side of their bed in a Las Vegas jumpsuit. He burst into song:

“Tell me, tell me that your sweet love hasn't died. Give me, give me one more chance to keep you satisfied, satisfied.”

The King gestured with his right hand towards the mobile on the desk: Kevin picked it up and looked back at Elvis.

“U-huh. Little things I should have said and done.”

Kevin tapped the lyrics into his mobile phone and pressed send. Sammy answered surprisingly quickly:

“Kevin... I was just listening to that Elvis compilation you made me... I was playing that same song. I’ve made a terrible mistake... I, I...”

Sammy softly began to cry.

“I’m so sorry, Kevin. I can’t talk...I’ll get the 5:30 train up tonight... I still love you.”

Kevin turned round, but couldn’t remember what he’d wanted to look at:
just the usual things: door, wardrobe, bed. Bed - he felt incredibly tired.
He switched off the computer then threw himself down on it.

Kevin lay on his back, looking at what the afternoon gloom showed of the ceiling. He picked up one of his Charlie Brown books and flicked through it. Charlie Brown symbolised everything about himself. A downtrodden character possessed of endless determination and hope, but who is ultimately dominated by his anxieties and shortcomings, and so often dominated and taken advantage of by his peers. Kevin located a page where Charlie Brown was getting all upset about losing his dog, Snoopy, after he had decided to return to his original owner. “Why can’t we get all the people we like and love in the world and just stay together, forever?” moaned Charlie. Why indeed, Kevin thought to himself. He smiled, but not in a good way. He thought of what he should say to Sammy before letting himself doze for another five minutes.

Kevin peeled himself gently free and slipped out of bed. He looked down for his boxer shorts and noticed a short silk scarf in the corner of the room. He’d never noticed it before.

Begrudgingly leaving the house, Kevin made the short walk to the corner shop across a snowy road beautifully untouched by neither man nor machine. He had reached out for a jar of peanut butter at the same time as another hand. He looked up and locked into a mutual gaze. The shop assistant smiled and playfully pulled away the jar. Kevin couldn’t help be amazed by how smooth her olive skin looked; she had a cute scar on her upper lip (no doubt the result of a teenage roller-skating accident) and her dishwater blond hair was tied back in busy-busy fashion. Kevin smiled and grabbed it back.

“You know, we could share it,” she said playfully. They smiled in unison and began making awkward-yet-exciting small talk. Two hours later they would be walking along the river, hand-in-hand together, eating a bag of chips in the soft December snow.

Later, back home, Kevin waited as the computer went through its usual start up. Appleworks popped up with a recovered document: Always On My Mind.

Kevin drew a big breath. His heart was heavy but he knew he was doing the right thing. He looked at the time - 8:43pm. Sammy would be home soon. He simply had to tell her. Yes. Definitely. Sure as Death. Since she’d been with her new boyfriend she shone brighter than ever. Who was he, Kevin thought, to stand in the way of true love. He knew she shouldn’t settle for him. He wouldn’t let her live. He knew deep down in his heart he’d spend the rest of his life holding her back, because he was afraid of losing her. He had to do something for her. He had to let her go.

Kevin stared at the screen. In the reflection he thought he seen a cape with silver sequins on it breezing out the bedroom door. Kevin turned around sharply but whatever was there had suddenly vanished...

29-Mar-07, 07:53
Welcome The Pepsi Challenge - the more the merrier.

Blue Christmas looks fascinating, I will read it in full later.
It's good to have another person participate here, especially one of your ilk !
Most of us who write on this thread are compulsive scribblers nothing more - perhaps I speak for myself. Like Cedric FTBm I collect note pads and keep one at the ready.

People have been so encouraging and I'm sure they find our Kitchen Sink attempts at writing rather amusing ! Does it really matter if the metre is all wrong? I hope not. The important thing is to write from the heart and feel free to express your feelings. The rest will come if necessary.

Too often beginners are Put Down by the expert, and alas, the natural flow just disappears.

Good luck with your Book


The Pepsi Challenge
29-Mar-07, 08:16
Cheers Trinkie,

From what I've seen on my travels, it doesn't matter who you are, how you write, what language you use, or even how your grammar is - everyone has their own, unique style, and that's what I love so much about the written word: It's all about the story. I think the bottom line is to encourage, encourage, encourage people to pen something - anything.

I'll try and read more of what's put up here, and, to be as constructive as I can. In fact, I don't have an ego big enough to call myself a writer yet. Blagger, maybe :)

Awrabest, and thanks for checking out BX. Keep scribbling!