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The Christmas Addition

by  Desormais

Posted: Friday, December 13, 2013
Word Count: 912
Summary: For the MAZ challenge. Inspired by a family Christmas from long ago. Don't know where I stand on the wordcount but let me know if I need to chop it back, Dave.

Ellen greeted her parents on the doorstep, pulling them into the Christmassy glow of the hall.

“You’re frozen,” she said, peering round them, “you didn’t walk did you?”

Audrey peeled off her coat and scarf, raising her eyes heavenwards, well out of sight of her husband.

“Your father said it would do us good,” she said loudly, before dropping her voice, “but I think he intends to hit the port again this year.”

Ellen smiled. “Give me your coat Dad.” She glanced over her shoulder.

“He’s here.”

“Who’s here? boomed Charles, glancing beyond his daughter.

“Maz.” Ellen spat the word out.

“Maurice? That randy beggar?” said Charles loudly, “he’s got the bloody nerve to show his face after impregnating my grand-daughter?

“Shhh. Don’t ruin things Dad.”

“Any more than they already are ruined,” said Audrey glaring at her daughter. “Fine girl like Sharon, good degree, job in a bank, everything before her….”

“Up the duff by a flaming bricklayer who couldn’t keep it in his trousers,” said Charles, but thankfully in a lower voice.

They went through into the sitting room, where the infamous Maz, sprawling out along the length of the settee, was greeted frostily by Charles and Audrey. Desultory conversation ensued before Ellen called everyone to take their seats for Christmas Dinner. Sharon was yet to appear.

“I said to Shaz, ‘take your time, finish your up-chuck’. She’ll be down shortly,” Maz confided cheerily.

“To whom?” said Audrey icily.

“You mean ‘who’,” said Maz, starting his soup before everyone was seated. “Sharon… Shaz. She’s barfin’ in the upstairs bog.”

“Barfing?” repeated Audrey, stressing the ‘g’.

“Shoutin’ for Hughie, using the big white telephone…” Maz applied himself once more to his soup.

Eyebrows raised at the outset of the meal didn’t make contact with their home base again until the last of the Christmas pudding was polished off, and Maz had noisily belched his appreciation.

Sharon had joined them halfway through the main course, taken one mouthful of turkey and then bolted for the bathroom again. Charles tutted loudly, and glared at Maz as if he’d administered poison to his grand-daughter.

“We watchin’ tele this aff then?” said Maz.

“We always watch the Queen’s Speech,” offered Audrey, “and then we turn the television off and play games until it’s time for turkey sandwiches.”

Ellen’s eyes glazed at the prospect of the eternal itinerary, but she said nothing.

“Queen’s Speech???” echoed Maz, “nobody watches that any more, do they?”

“We do, Maurice. Always have, always will.” Charles looked over his glasses at the putative father.

“It’s Maz, Chaz,” said Maz, “call me Maz.”

“It’s Charles, Maurice,” came the response, “but you can call me Mr Entwisle.”

Sharon, who’d briefly graced the table for the dessert course, looked nervously from one to the other, clutched a hand to her mouth and disappeared.

The afternoon limped slowly and uncomfortably towards dusk. Charles made his way stoically through the best part of a bottle of port as Audrey clicked her tongue disapprovingly, and Ellen, now relieved of the responsibility for the timely production of the meal, hit the bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon with an enthusiasm that had been sadly lacking throughout the festivities thus far.

A table was brought into the centre of the room and Maz fulfilled everyone’s expectations as he stumbled and argued his way inadequately through Cluedo, Ludo, Charades and Find the Lady before Ellen suggested a word game that might put an end to Maz’s humiliation.

“A tool or workplace implement beginning with ‘O’” Ellen announced when it was her turn to choose the letter. She’d managed to win only one round so far. Charles was the master of this game.

Silence reigned as everyone racked their brains. Charles, grinning, was about to win yet again as the word “ohmmeter” sprang to his mind. He drew breath.

“Odd” shouted Maz triumphantly, leaping to his feet and punching the air to celebrate his first victory of the afternoon.

“Ohmeter”, said Charles.

“I said ‘odd’ first, I win,” Maz protested.

“Odd’s not a tool or implement,” said Charles coldly.


“Tisn’t … it is not”

“Tis… ‘odd’… a builder’s ‘odd. We use ‘em down the building site, fer carryin’ bricks, like”

“That’s ‘Hod’ numbskull,” said Charles rising angrily to his feet, before gasping and clutching his chest. He staggered forward, hit the corner of the table with his forehead and collapsed inert on the floor.

Shaz rushed out of the room again, Audrey screamed and Ellen remained transfixed, staring at her father’s body.

Only Maz leapt to his feet, straddled Charles’s body and proceeded to sing loudly “Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother ……” as he performed vigorous cardiac compressions to Charles's chest.

Ellen, galvanized into action, rushed to summon the emergency services. Trying to make herself heard over the loud and uncomfortably falsetto refrain from ‘Stayin’ Alive’ which was echoing from the sitting room, she gave the address.

“Hurry, please hurry.” She couldn’t stand much more of Maz’s vocal gymnastics.

Christmas Day ended in the Heart Unit at the local hospital, four people gathered around Charles’s beside.

“You’re looking much better, Dad,” said Ellen stroking his hand.

“It was all that port,” said Audrey, sniffing.

“It was a miracle,” said Sharon, clutching a cardboard receptacle to capture her next outflux.

“I owe you my life, Maurice,” said Charles weakly.

“Nah, we learned it down the building site,” said Maz, “and it’s Maz, Chaz.

“Thanks Maz,” whispered Chaz, “you’re amazing.”