Holiday Shoppers Anonymous

She twisted the sleeve of her Frosty the Snowman sweater and stood before the semi circle of people. “Hi, my name is Sharon, and I’m a holiday shopaholic.”

“Hi Sharon,” the group recited back, their voices echoing of the walls of the empty high school gymnasium.

“Last Chris– I mean holiday,” she stuttered.

“No, no,” counselor Higgins interrupted. “Say its name. You must remember the holiday you are celebrating. Recognizing Christmas and what it represents…” he waved his hand for the others to repeat after him. “Love.”




“The birth of Christ.”

“The birth of Christ.”



Dr. Higgins raised one hand in the air, curled his fingers into a fist to silence everyone as if he were conducting a choir. “This will lead you to recovery.”

Sharon looked down at her sleeve. The thread had loosened above her thumb, creating a hole, which she poked her nail through, widening it further. “You see, the thing is… I’m not even Christian. Growing up, my family celebrated Hanukkah—”

“Ah, we have another Jew!” Dr. Higgins clapped his hands, motioning toward a man three chairs to the left of him wearing a red, grey, and white striped sweater. His hair fell over his face as he bowed his head and waved to Sharon.

Sharon returned a quick smile and continued. “I spent $200 on a mountain bike for my son. It was on sale at Wal-Mart… If you could’ve seen how his face lit up when he saw the commercial…” She turned away, rubbed the rough wool of her sweater against the bags, purple like bruises, under her eyes.

“Yes, yes. Go on,” Dr. Higgins said.

“He can’t even ride a bike. He’s still on training wheels. I’ve been trying to teach him for the past three weeks. I’m here because he’s finally given up. $200! Wasted!” She fell into her chair and it slid back, leaving a black streak on the floor and making a scraping noise like tennis shoes skidding across the basketball court.

Dr. Higgins stood at the center of the circle and clapped. The group followed in applause. “That’s good! Let it out! I want to feel your disappointment, your frustration, your anger even,” he said, turning to look at each person. “This is what happens when you allow commercialism and political correctness to turn your Christmas, or in Sharon’s case, your Hanukkah, or in Tanisha’s case, your Kwanzaa, into a generic holiday for everyone to spend, spend, spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need, running through stores like chickens with their heads cut off! We must take back our religion, our ethnicity! These holidays make us who we are, but they mean nothing if we don’t know them.”

“Amen!” shouted an older black, as if in church. She stood, her purse slung over her shoulder, and clapped more vigorously. The others followed, all clapping, shouting, whistling, closing in around Dr. Higgins.

Dr. Higgins again raised his hand to silence everyone. “Your assignment for next week is to bring in an item you think represents your holiday. Sharon…” he took her hand and held it against his chest. “You can bring in your family’s menorah if you still have it.” He then turned and spread his arms toward everyone. “I want to see you all next Tuesday, ready to learn the true meaning of your holiday! You’re dismissed!”


Day 8 of 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans

31 Days of Holiday Hooligans

Only 25 more days ’till Christmas! And only 31 more days ’till New Year’s… Or is it technically 32 days?

Ahh, what does it matter? I’m just ecstatic that it’s finally the holiday season! The most cheerful time of the year!… Usually. A time for gingerbread houses, decorative lights illuminating the neighborhoods, and presents under the tree… Usually.

Although our intentions are good, sometimes our idea of the perfect family Christmas doesn’t always go according to plan. Sure, we have the cheesy  ABC Family, Lifetime, and Hallmark original movie kind of Christmas get-togethers, but every once in a while, there comes a Grinch, a Home Alone, or a Krampus.

That’s where I come in. For the entire month of December, I will post short-short stories of classic holiday shenanigans that could only happen in… well, everyone’s wacked-out family. I hope you’ll join me for the ride!

Click here to read all 31 holiday hooligan tales!

Bad Influence

“No, you don’t blow, sweetheart. It’s not a cigarette.” He reached over, plucked the blunt from between her index and middle fingers, pinched the end and brought it to his lips. He inhaled deeply, then released.

“Give it to me.”

He tilted his head up, looked at her through heavy eyelids. “You ever done this before?”

“Skip school?”

“Smoke weed.”

She snatched the blunt from his hand, mimicked his movements, but she took too deep a drag, swallowed the smoke, and let out three rattling coughs.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” he said laughing. “You’re so cute trying to be bad.”

“Whatever.” She passed him the blunt.

“Just don’t be like them crazy girls…hallucinatin’ shit,” he said between hits.

A soft giggle in the distance caught her attention. She looked up to see four cartoonish aliens standing behind a tree. They waved, winked, and blew kisses in her direction.

“Oh my god! Do you see that?” She tapped his shoulders frantically.

“What I say.” He shook his head. “Hallucinatin’ shit.”

word count: 171


wpid-photo-20151123132841569Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is a weekly challenge where you write a story in 100-150 words (give or take 25 words) using the provided photo prompt as inspiration.

Driving Lesson

“Texting and driving is against the law,” Malcolm’s dad said in his intimidatingly calm baritone voice.

A loud thud caused Malcolm to drop his cellphone in the crack between the seat and cup holder, and with both hands on the steering wheel, he swerved left to avoid colliding with a car pulling out into the intersection at the four-way stop.

“Pay attention! That car had the right-of-way.”

“What the heck was that?” Malcolm pulled to the side of the road, the right tires rolling up onto the curb. He slammed on the brakes and looked over the dashboard. A ball of fur the size of his fist lay motionless on the hood of the car.

“Squirrel must’ve fallen off the power lines,” his dad said.

“We should’ve taken the Benz.”

“So I can have a dent in my hood?”

Malcolm stepped outside to scrape the dead animal into the street.

“You forgot to…” his dad yelled as the car accelerated forward and plowed into a bike leaning against the speed limit sign.

“Park it.”

word count: 174


wpid-photo-20151109112718588Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is a weekly challenge where you write a story in 100-150 words (give or take 25 words) using the provided photo prompt as inspiration.


Future Soccer Mom

“I’d love a frozen banana dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with salt,” she tells him as she licks peanut butter from the spoon and drops it into the jar between her thighs. “Not too sweet. I can’t take anymore midnight penalty kicks.”

Aphrodisiac Anticlimactic

He claimed to be a master of sex;
sent her naughty pictures through text.
She fed him Thai shrimp.
His penis went limp.
Swollen tongue was its only effect.


This fortnight’s Literary Lion prompt is “limerick.” I couldn’t resist writing one. 😉

Mickey D’s Sweet Tea

It’s the only product on the menu we make fresh daily. People order it in droves. In the drive-thru, I fill 32oz. cups with ice, line them next to the dispensers. I’m always prepared for a big sweet tea order.

Corporate wants to see our drive-thru in action. They say we have the fastest time in the city. One of the owners takes two cups, pours out the ice, drains the dispenser of its famously sweetened contents. “Let’s see how it tastes.” She winks.

The next car has six passengers. They all want tea. My drive-thru time creeps past 100 seconds.

word count: 100


Friday Fictioneers is a weekly challenge where you must write a story in 100 words or less using the provided photo prompt as inspiration. Click the froggy icon to ready other stories and add your own.



Prey, Jehovah’s Witness

I came home to a man curled atop the roof of his car, my Rottweiler scratching at the windows.

“Duke!” He trotted to me, tongue hanging, tail wagging.

“How’d you?” I looked up to my husband’s wide grin behind the screen door.


Hell’s Cafeteria

When the sandwich girl is promoted to head chef (the last one quit), you know the food’s bad.

I keep a snack draw stocked with baked chips, granola bars, oatmeal— I try to eat healthy. Once, I finished a one-pound bag of pretzel sticks in a week. I know it’s the night crew’s doing.

They should do everyone in the office a favor and clean out that kitchen. Bury the mushy black-eyed peas, burnt chili, soft bow-tie pasta she illogically puts in the watered-down chicken noodle soup in the community garden under the moonlight. We’re sick of eating leftovers.

word count: 99


Friday Fictioneers is a weekly challenge where you must write a story in 100 words or less using the provided photo prompt as inspiration. Click the froggy icon to ready other stories and add your own.

© Madison Woods
© Madison Woods

Professional Crier

Most people don’t believe me when I tell them I cry for a living. They write off my answer as a sarcastic way of saying I’m unemployed.

Then someone in their family dies— maybe the potbellied uncle who sat on the couch drinking Bud Light and watching Fox News all day, ranting about how the homosexuals, the blacks, and the wetbacks were ruining America; or the successful NYC sister-in-law who bragged about her six-figure salary, called everyone south of the Mason-Dixon line country bumpkins, and complained about mom-in-law’s heart attack food.


Rhonda’s grandmother lived in her attic. She called Rhonda fat and ugly and criticized her cooking until the day of her stroke. The funeral was held on her family’s four acre ranch. Rhonda assured the priest that the low attendance was due to most of Miriam’s friends dying before her, including her husband. But for good measure, she hired me to collapse against the large headstone, cry out to the Lord, “why,” and faint as they lowered the casket.


Rhonda hands them my card.

word count: 175


Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is a weekly challenge where you write a story in 100-150 words (give or take 25 words) using the provided photo prompt as inspiration.

Click on the froggy icon to read other stories and add your own!