Category: Stories

The Gift

My father would be 90 years old if he was still alive. When I was young he’d send each of his five kids, $20 for Christmas. It was the most exciting gift I ever got in my childhood. Money is fungible, you see. You can buy whatever you want for yourself, without having to depend on the out-of-touch notions of an adult.

After I grew up the annual Christmas bonus stopped. But Dad and I remained lifelong friends. Sometimes we visited during the Christmas season, and those were always special times. We also corresponded back and forth, and sometimes got a little creative, by writing stories.

One of the stories my Dad sent me involved a gift from a young man to a young woman, and serves as a cautionary tale about wrapping presents. Since this is the season of giving, I thought I’d share this tale. Consider it a gift from a ghost of Christmas Past–my dear old Dad.

The Gift

A young man wished to purchase a Christmas gift for his new sweetheart. They had not been dating very long, so with careful consideration he decided that a pair of gloves would strike the right note—romantic, but not too personal. (This was back in the day when gloves were fashionable evening wear for women.)

Accompanied by his sweetheart’s younger sister, he went shopping and bought a pair of white gloves. The younger sister purchased a pair of panties for herself.

During the wrapping the clerk mixed up the items. The sister got the gloves and the young man got the panties. Without checking the contents, he sealed the package and mailed it to his sweetheart along with this note:


I chose these because I noticed that you are not in the habit of wearing any when we go out in the evening. If it had not been for your sister, I would have chosen the long ones with buttons, but she wears short ones that are easy to remove.

These are a delicate shade, but the lady I bought them from showed me the pair she had been wearing for the past three weeks, and they were hardly soiled. I had her try yours on for me and she looked really smart.

When you take them off, remember to blow in them before putting them away as they will naturally be a little damp from wearing.

Just think how many times I will kiss them during the coming year. I hope you will wear them for me on Friday night.

All my love,

P.S. The latest style is to wear them folded down with a little fur showing.

The Bird Feeders

The security guard ambled past her and the dove. A dove that had become trapped somehow in the airport terminal. She tossed a peanut on the floor behind his back, and it landed inches away from the heel of his black-polished boot. He never noticed, but the dove did, and it pecked the peanut to pieces and hungrily gobbled it down.

It was like this everywhere they went. She loved to feed birds, and never paid heed to local prohibitions, or signs that explicitly commanded, “Do not feed the birds!”

Her husband dared not participate in this illicit indulgence of the dove. She had an uncanny knack for never getting caught. But he was never so lucky, or skilled, or blessed, or whatever you might want to call it. She would always play the role of Eve and offer the forbidden temptation to him, in the form of bread from a loaf sack, or a spare hot dog bun, or perhaps a morsel from a restaurant doggy bag.

But he, fearing he would be caught, and appreciating the reasons behind the bird-feeding proscriptions, always declined. He would leave this venial and pleasurable sin to his wife, for her sole amusement during their travels. However, he would serve as lookout for any watchful security guards, thus committing the crime of accomplice to avian gluttony and underfoot birdshit.

There was this one occasion however, when he accepted a slice of day-old bread from his bird-loving spouse, outside a casino. He cast a wary glance over his left shoulder, then began shredding the bread and tossing it to several hungry geese and ducks, honking and quacking at his feet. Within seconds his delight was interrupted by the voice of a security guard over his right shoulder. “Sir, do you see that sign there? We don’t want people feeding the birds, sir.”

“Oh, sorry,” he replied, feeling embarrassed while glancing at the prominent sign two feet away. “I didn’t notice that,” he obviously lied. They walked away hangdog. Once they were out of the guard’s earshot his wife began cackling uncontrollably. Disbelief seized him. “I don’t know how you always get away with it! The one time I try, I’m busted, just like that.”

Forty-plus years of marriage and vacations passed, and never once was she caught feeding birds. But he never tried it again. Then a few years after feeding the peanut to the dove in the airport, her spirit took flight like a dove and she left him grounded and alone.

He missed her and their vacations together. He took to traveling alone, haunting their favorite travel spots. It helped him feel close to her.

He always carried a bag of chips, crumbs, stale bread, or some other such treat. And when a bird drew near, he took no heed to warning signs or other prohibitions. He never turned away a hungry bird. He felt her presence very close to him at these times.

And perhaps her closeness was why he was never caught.

Flip Phone

My mistress shows her kissy-face to me. I lean forward, but her lips recede and suddenly she’s a hundred yards away, in the grandstands.

Whack! A bat cracks and a ball soars above me as I hang my head in defeat, on the pitcher’s mound. It sails into the outfield stands as the crowd roars. A distant pipe organ joyfully plays the tune, Take me out to the ballgame, take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks. I don’t care if I ever go back . . .

The stadium fades, but the music lingers. Over and over it plays the same tune, as I emerge from a hypnogogic fog into a dim awakening. I realize I have woken. I crack my eyelids and inspect the red, LCD clock display on my nightstand. It’s 4:06 am. What is that music?! Where is it coming from?

For it’s root, root, root for the home team. If they don’t win it’s a shame . . . the pipe organ continues. The notes rise from the mysterious source of this music, but the lyrics rise from my memory.

Something strange is happening. I must investigate. I struggle out of bed and slip on my flip-flops. I crack the bedroom door open and peep into the darkness. The music sounds louder. I venture into the hallway. It seems to be coming from the living room. I cautiously shuffle into the livingroom. Louder again.

I stand in the middle of the dark livingroom, armored with nothing but my sandals and boxer shorts. I try to hone in on the source of the pipe organ.

For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ballgame . . . The song finishes, then restarts. Take me out to the ballgame . . . It seems to be coming from the couch. I shuffle over. There’s a small dark object on the cushion. I pick it up and fumble around with it until I’m able to lift up a lid.

A glowing display of buttons and caller ID greets me. It’s a flip phone. I catch a flash of what looks like my wife’s name, but it disappears before I can confirm it. Whoever was trying to call has hung up. But at least that infernal ringtone has stopped.

A flip phone! Not my flip phone. And not my wife’s. We haven’t owned flip phones in a long time. We’re smartphone people. So whose flip phone is this, and why in goddamned hell is it going off on my couch at 4:06 am?! The mutherfucker calling at this ungodly hour has disturbed me from a deep, greatly-needed slumber, and also interrupted a beautiful dream.

I’m the only one whose sleep was disturbed. My wife is out of town, attending some sort of women’s softball convention. Or whatever. I don’t keep up with her boring shit.

Maybe this flip phone belongs to her friend, who picked her up to take her to the convention yesterday afternoon. That must be what’s going on, I conclude. Damn wifty woman, anyway. She forgets her phone, and I lose precious REM time.

And what an unusual woman she is. She’s a new friend of my wife’s. I just met her yesterday. She’s built like an athlete. Probably one of her softball teammates. She’s sexy, but distant. Very quiet. But watchful. Almost creepy the way she seemed to watch me. But kind of titillating, too. I sure wouldn’t mind boning that bitch! Maybe next time I see her I’ll make my move.

But enough of her. Now my challenge is to find a way to smother this phone underneath something, in order to muffle any future ringtone, so that maybe, just maybe, if I can fall asleep again, I can stay asleep.

I trudge back to the bedroom, with phone in hand. I scout around the room, in the dim light, searching with my eyes for something large and soft, like a spare pillow or blanket. I contemplate burying it underneath my underwear, in the dresser drawer. Then another call comes in.

But this isn’t a phone call. It is a call of nature. I set the phone down on the nightstand, with the intent to resume this smother-the-ringtone project in a few minutes. I traipse into the bathroom and drain the main vein. I curse in the darkness as I wash my hands, knowing that the cool water will wake me up more, and make it more difficult for me to fall asleep. But my OCD won’t allow me to leave my hands unwashed.

I shuffle back to the bedroom and fumble in the dark for the flip phone on my nightstand. Can’t find it. Goddamnit! Now I’m going to have to turn the light on and wake myself up even more! I’m resigned. I switch the light on. I examine the nightstand in the cool, bare fluorescence of the overhead illumination. But still, no flip phone.

I inspect all around the nightstand. I open up the drawers of the nightstand. I inspect the bed. Am I going nuts?! I could swear I set that phone on this nightstand. Son-of-a-bitch! And then a terrifying thought occurs to me, and my mouth goes dry, and my heartbeat suddenly surges, jolting me wider-awake:

Who is in my house?

At that moment a long knife slides around my neck, and I feel the bite of the blade as it digs into my throat. One jugulating slash, and it is gone. I grasp my throat. I fall to the floor. Light fades to black. Sleep resumes.

Where’s my mistress and her kissy-face?

"Depths of Poison" Book 2

Scroll down to read the sequel.

Marie Lamba, author

Some thoughts from author and agent Marie Lamba

Catxman's Cradle

Catxman dances, Catxman spins around, leaps ....... // I sing a song, a song of hope, a song of looove -- a song of burning roses. / Synthesizer notes. // (c) 2021-22


Celebrating God's creatures, birds and plants...

Starting Over

Because there's never enough time to do it right the first time but there's always enough time to do it over

Chel Owens

A Wife, My Verse, and Every Little Thing

Chasing Unicorns

Where smartasses chase unicorns

suyts space

Just another site


A site for the Barsetshire Diaries Books and others

The Trefoil Muse

Words are art on paper, and for me they are the seeds of my soul.

Marta Frant

Humor and Lifestyle

Jessica reads&write

I read to live, I write to share their life

Jessica E. Larsen

Writer. Reader. A mom and a romantic dreamer 🥰 💕

Borden's Blather

A 60-something guy trying to figure out the world, and his place in it.

...i choose this...

joy, happiness, travel, adventure, gratitude

A Pierman Sister

Paris, Travel and Family

Luminous Aether

Light is a state-of-mind.