DECONSTRUCTING CHRISTMAS

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in
“Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?”

It was January 8th, the second Sunday of the new year; Martha asked her husband George to help her take down the Christmas decorations. As was George’s usual reaction, he sighed heavily, a look that said “anything but that” dripping from his face. He just couldn’t help goading her.

Martha planted herself directly in front of George and began singing an annoying children’s song in a very loud voice. The lyrics had been changed and Martha thought they were so very clever; George thought they were maddening and covered his ears tightly with his hands. Martha pulled George’s hands away and sang even louder until George was ready to explode.

“Enough howling! You sound like a cow giving birth!” George shouted in response. “Well, I guess you don’t leave me much choice.” He inserted a bookmark into his dogeared copy of “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf, placed it on the side table and pushed himself out of his easy chair. 

“Oh, don’t be such an old cluck, George! I have reinforcements.” Martha disappeared into the kitchen and emerged a few minutes later dancing a clumsy version of the bossa nova while rattling a martini shaker over her head.

“Now you’re speaking my language, señorita!” George replied, rubbing his hands together in anticipation. Martha poured them each a drink. George took a sip, savoring the perfectly chilled vodka. No matter what he thought about Martha, she could make a damn good martini. George stoked the logs in the fireplace, enjoying his drink and staring at the flames.

“Are you just going to stand there while I do all the work?” Martha asked, her temper starting to rise.

“I’m getting into the spirit, Martha. Are you going to begrudge me every little pleasure in life?”

Martha drained her glass. “The trouble with you, George, is you’re perpetually petulant!” She struggled with the tongue twister and laughed raucously. 

“Shut up, Martha. You’re incredibly less humorous than you think you are” snapped George as he poured himself another martini. Martha suggested George fuck off and went back into the kitchen to prepare another round. Popping an olive into her mouth, she was startled to hear the sound of breaking glass coming from the living room. 

“Honestly, George! How can you be so clumsy? We’ll be drinking our martinis out of plastic cups at this rate!” 

The un-decorating rapidly deteriorated when Martha realized George hadn’t dropped his glass; it was one of her treasured Swarovski crystal angel ornaments. It landed on the hardwood floor and shattered, the slivers spreading like a crack in thin ice.

“You dumbbell! You wretched, good-for-nothing oaf! I despise you!” Martha shrieked like a wounded animal.

“Oh, stop braying, Martha. It isn’t exactly a Michelangelo, you know!”

Martha picked up George’s beloved book and threw it in the direction of the fireplace. George lunged for it and crashed into the Christmas tree, toppling everything onto the floor. Lights and ornaments smashed under the weight of his body and he cried out as broken glass tore into his skin.

Oh, God! My ass! My neck! Bloody hell! There’s glass everywhere!” he bellowed.

Martha casually finished her martini and threw her glass into the fireplace, delighting in the tinkling sound and the dancing flames. She looked at George entangled in the tree, shards and splinters of glass strewn about, and she started chuckling. Clutching the martini shaker, Martha chuckled more and more until she tumbled into the easy chair laughing uproariously. She removed the cap and poured what little vodka was left straight into her mouth. Standing unsteadily, she looked around the room. 

What a dump!” she quipped.

“Darling, I’m in a fair amount of pain. I believe I’m going to need a Band-Aid … and another martini. Be a dear and make a fresh batch.”

George started laughing uncontrollably as Martha danced around the room singing “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf, Virginia Woolf, Virginia Woolf? Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf so early in the morning?”

Slurring her words to the song, she fell to her knees in a dizzying fit of drunken hysterics.

NAR © 2023

41 thoughts on “DECONSTRUCTING CHRISTMAS”

  1. haha Nancy… Sounds like a story many go through no doubt. As for me, I could skip all the hoopla anymore but my husband gets every box down and puts them away and I watch him and complain cuz it takes until February to be done with all this.
    Great story and relatable !
    ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, good for him! We have scaled down considerably and I couldn’t be happier. I do miss my extensive nutcracker collection but it’s just too much work and we can be just as merry with less. I’m glad you enjoyed the story; check out the movie if you haven’t yet. Fascinating piece. Thanks for all your great comments! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Michele, for reading my story and referencing the movie. I was not sure how many people were familiar with the film, even though it is a cult classic. My hope was to do right by Albee so, while it wasn’t the easiest dialogue to write, it was a great deal of fun. George and Martha are definitely made for each other; I don’t know who else could stand to live with them! So glad you took the time to stop by, give a read and leave a comment. 💫 🎥

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a very lovely thought, Keith, but I’m pretty sure the laughter was caused by a mixture of booze and schadenfreude. They did have moments of extreme affection for each other but in the end the dysfunction usually wins. Not one of my happier stories; I had to travel deep into unfamiliar territory when writing this one.

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    1. Good thing your acquaintance kicked off before you got your hands on him! This is the type of movie you either love or hate; I didn’t know if people were going to like my story or not but I had to take a chance. If you don’t take a chance, you don’t stand a chance! Glad you enjoyed that phrase; it was an “aha!” moment for me. 💫

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  2. (* I am 6 years old with my grandfather fishing on his boat)

    You start, Nancy, with positioning us in an all too familiar scene.
    (*lures ready, threw the line in the sea)

    Then, a psychological spike…but there is a reassuring promise of a resolve.
    (*Grandpa, fish ate all the bait and I didn’t manage to catch any.
    Patience, Nick…not the time yet…let them eat it)

    And then, you unleash an ink full of jet fuel…and as your green eyes smile, you light a match and throw it over the inked words, setting them on fire!🔥
    (* Grandpa hands me the new line, prepared and ready…try this one now, Nick…now its the time)

    Got strong vibes from two movies, also:
    Perfect Strangers by Paolo Genovese
    and Carnage by Roman Polanski.
    Muscles tensed as each of your words hits my prefrontal cortex…
    (* I pull the line and its filled with fish, fooled by the earlier easy treat…my eyes dance between them and my grandpa in amazement… never forgot that day).

    Unlike my recent Six Six sentence story, not much brevity in this comment, eh cara mia?
    But that is the result of a potent storyteller as yourself, Nancy: to make even a Lone Wolf more than howl to the full moon😉

    Brava. Brava. 💐

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess you liked it, then?

      This play/movie has been tap dancing around my brain since the first time I saw it. It is not easily forgotten. The only thing that held me back writing something sooner is this question: How many of my readers are familiar with this cult classic and will they relate to it?

      The other day I came across the photo you see as my graphic and I took that as a sign that I had to try to write something in the style of Albee. I was pleased with the result and hoped it would be well received.

      I’m thrilled to see the memories it brought out in you; thank you for sharing the treasured stories of your grandfather. If I can do that for just one person, it’s all worthwhile.

      Tanti grazi, caru amicu. Tu mi onore.

      Nancy ♡

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your masterful writing and the “luring” into the climax of the story brought to mind that memory of mine.

        Aah, signs…always hidden in plain sight!

        Again, 👏👏
        (Another credit to your story is that even if the reader is not familiar with that classic movie/play, he/she can and will relate.)

        Liked by 1 person

      1. It took that long, did it, Michele? 🤣 I need to work on being too subtle!
        These two bottom feeders are a perfect match; they love and hate each other equally and with a force not many us can comprehend. It’s a disturbing fact of life.

        I’m thrilled my little tribute to Edward Albee has started a ripple of conversations.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. And that, my dear Misky, is exactly what it’s meant to do. It’s an ever-present uncomfortable and disturbing pall over the dysfunctional relationship between two lost souls. I hope Edward Albee would approve. Thank you for taking the time to stop, read and comment. I appreciate you. ♡

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I always read, but right now I’m not commenting much because I haven’t the energy. Between jet lag (we’re back home) and some hideous cold-flu virus we both caught, I’ve gone rather adle-minded. We seem to be asleep both day and night!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh no! Sorry to hear you’ve got it now! Perhaps you picked up a bug while you were here. Most of my family was ravaged with this awful virus the entire month of December. I hope whatever you have leaves quickly and you’re done with it very soon! 🙏🏼 💙

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          1. I definitely caught it in the US, so it might be the same virus. It’s a week since the sore throat started, and now I’m coughing with a plugged up head. I should have bought more Muscinex while there. Can’t buy it here.

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  3. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s real-life relationship had a quality of its own. I have often thought about how it is to live in such a relationship. I keep thinking of Strindberg, who addressed this kind of relationship in a few plays.

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