Multicultural, seasonal, bilingual wordplay. If I screwed it up, je suis désolé…!
“Meet us for a walk,” Marlene said, one December night after too long at work. “The weather’s been miserable and it feels marvelous to move.”
Mo leant me his mittens as we marched up the street. Above us, the moon shone, crisp and cold. Midway up the mountain, a church bell began to chime.
“Midnight Mass,” said Marlene, moving her scarf up over her mouth. “I should be there.”
“Why aren’t you?” I asked.
“Moi?” she replied, wistfully. “Lapsed Catholic. Mostly I miss the music.”
“Merry Christmas anyway,” said Mo, his beard frosted already.
“Thanks,” she said, her voice muffled. “Though I’m pretty sure Muslims don’t celebrate the birth of Jesus.”
“You’d be right about that,” he replied. “We don’t generally celebrate the births of any of the prophets, Jesus — may Allah exalt his mention — included. But nothing to stop me wishing you the best, right?”
Both sets of eyes turned to me. “You’re an atheist, yes?” Marlene asked.
I shrugged. “Maybe. Yeah, I guess so.”
“What do you believe in, then?”
I looked up at the moon-lit sky, stars shining even through the city lights. I considered mentioning moth-eaten mythology or mortal metamorphosis, or even the immeasurable immensity of time immemorial.
“I believe,” I began…
My stomach rumbled.
“…in smoked meat. With mustard and a maple marinade. And maybe a mince pie for afterward. My place?”
Mo grinned at me. “Most definitely.”
“Mais oui,” said Marlene. “Magnifique.”
My kind of manger — Montreal-style.
For the month of December, my goal is to post a piece of festive flash fiction here to the blog every day. Twenty-five stories, each 250 words or fewer — a little fictional festivity to brighten the darkest month of the year. For readers, I offer these stories as a moment of peace within a hectic month of busy. And writers? If you’d like to join me, I’ll feature any flash fiction you’d like to share!