The weekend’s Mini Sledgehammer was a blast! We headed out to Cloud and Leaf Bookstore in Manzanita (great people, great books!) and hosted the first 36-minute writing contest in conjunction with Sledgehammer.
The prompts were:
hanging Christmas ornaments
“You better watch out…”
Tobi Nason took home the prize with this story:
You Better Watch Out
He sat, watching T.V. Christmas sucked, he thought. All that happy stuff. Things used to be different. He once was a famous golfer, but well, things got out of hand, and now he just sat.
He lived alone since his wife kicked him out. He still hadn’t unpacked. Boxes of his stuff and yes, a small box of Christmas ornaments sat in the corner. The ornaments he brought into the marriage. The ones his ex never really liked. For some reason, there never seemed to be enough room on the tree for them.
“Sorry, hon. Darn,” and his wife would smile that phony thing she did.
By God, its Christmas! And I’m hanging my ornaments, he thought.
He placed an ornament off the hanging kitchen light fixture – a gourd with sporadic sequins and layer of dust. No, it wasn’t the best of the lot, but he made it in the 10th grade. The next one was a concoction of red and green beads and yarn. Moths had eaten some part of it. Hm. Third grade?
It depressed him. Was this all he brought into the marriage? Is this why Elise left him – because he was ill-equpped, even for Christmas?
He did take some pride, though, in one area. He was the life of the party and even Elise would agree to that. He knew his beer, his Scotch, his wine. He kept Tabasco sauce in a gallon jug from Costco, and he felt it added that extra touch to anything. Beer. Bloody Marys. Bad wine.
Elise had told him before he left – or rather, before she packed up his golf equipment and pathetic ornaments and cooler – she said, “You better watch out…”
He immediately thought…I better not cry.
“You better not pout.”
I know, he thought and you’re going to tell me why, aren’t you??
“Max, honey,” she said, “take care, really. Its Christmas. Time for a change. You run over a fire hydrant, you drink a lot and who knows, you may have a woman or two. But this stuff catches up with a person. Like right now.”
And she slammed the door. Maybe she didn’t slam it but it felt like a slam. And nothing feels worse than to be surrounded by our your boxed worldly possessions and you, of all people, don’t even want them.
Elise was right. His ornaments sucked. He had this urge to trash everything.
Instead, he imagined himself lining up a winning putt, the sun shining, the air cool. He sank the putt, and the crowd roared. He looked younger, happier.
He popped open a beer, gave two shakes of Tabasco and sang softly:
“Yes, World…. You better watch out….
I’m coming back.”
© 2009 Tobi Nason
Join for the next Mini Sledgehammer this Saturday, December 12 at St. Johns Booksellers in Portland. Maybe you’ll be the next writer to take home the prizes!