Category Archives: Short Stories

‘Get Stuffed’ Thanksgiving Short @PeaceNovellas

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Thanksgiving kicks off in Peace!

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This is the first time that Devan will have had anything to do with the celebration of Thanksgiving. Being  born and bred in Britain, he is experiencing something rather new and different as he makes his home on Peace. Montana. There will not doubt be some new traditions developed as Devan continues to build his life in Oakview.

 

Get Stuffed

2017 Copyright Punam Farmah

 

You didn’t shoot the damned thing, now did you?” Aditi’s words rose to a squeaky crescendo of incredulity.
Devan tutted, shaking his head. “God, no!” he exclaimed. He had moved his ‘phone from his ear slightly. There was a sharp scratchiness in Aditi’s voice.. “I just drove out to the farm; must have window shopped for at least forty minutes,” he continued closing the ‘fridge with his elbow. He was making tea and needed milk. “Did my best to look for the one that looked the least psychopathic-”
“I want that one!” squeaked Aditi; she was now chortling quite loudly over the line.
“Pretty much,” Devan agreed. “Waited in the café type place; I read the paper whilst it was, you know, despatched.” He pulled a face at the thought of the turkey being sent to meet its maker. He was a dipped in the wool omnivore, but had never thought about what went into killing his dinner before. “All I wanted was fresh turkey. I wasn’t going to get a frozen butterball thing that if I got it wrong, would give me food poisoning.”
Aditi was now laughing almost uncontrollably; her chortling crackled across the miles between them. “Food poisoning versus ethical eating, you’ve lost me on this one,” she said drawing in a deep breath to compose herself. “I once tried to go vegan, only I fell down at scrambled eggs and a full English.”
Devan chuckled quietly as he filled a kettle with freshly drawn water. “That I remember,” he stated placing the kettle on its base and dropping a tea bag into a mug that he had set aside on the worktop. “I deliberately asked you how you wanted your eggs.”
“Wasn’t the eggs entirely, sweetheart,” Aditi chimed in. “I caught the scent of smoked bacon wafting up the stairs from the kitchen, and that was it. It was Goodnight, Vienna. What is your plan then; this turkey day a dry run for Christmas, proper?”
“Sort of,” he replied. “I didn’t plan to use it all, since it’s just me home alone. Might do now, though, all this talking of food. I’m here, you’re all the way over there.” Devan let out a deep, resigned sigh. As he exhaled, he felt the twang of his figurative heart strings. “Christmas proper, would have you being here. You, I would roast the whole stupid thing for, throw in the trimmings. This turkey day is all about being thankful. Thankful, and not in the typical, British, stiff upper lip, tea and biscuits way either.
Devan jabbed a teaspoon into the teabag that swirled around in his mug. Unscrewing the top of a milk bottle, he poured a splash into his tea, stirring it until golden. Clinking against the ceramic, the sound of the teaspoon briefly punctured the silence between them.
“Is there much going on in town?” asked Aditi, her words gently breaking what felt like a cloying heaviness.
“Probably,” Devan replied, lifting his mug to his lips and noisily taking a mouthful. “I haven’t got a clue to be honest. My plan is to stay at home, watch all the Thanksgiving movies that I can find. Eat myself into oblivion; drink my way through leftover bubbles.”

“Hardly thankful then!” shrilled Aditi; there was even a rather loud snort of derision. That’s moping, Devan. You made it through Halloween, give this a shot too. Try being thankful properly. Be thankful, that you and I claimed one another. Be thankful, that the nurses at St.Vincent’s didn’t brain you for being a stroppy patient. Be thankful that you are happy, healthy and have a home in Peace. Dunk that biscuit in your tea, Coultrie.”
“Now that’s an idea,” Devan laughed and put his hand to the biscuit barrel next to the kettle. “And yes, dear, no, dear; whatever you say, dear. Oh, look, a gingersnap.” Smiling to himself, Devan did as he was told. He dunked the biscuit and munched half of it. “I am thankful for all of the above; especially for the item at the top.”
He heard Aditi stifle a yawn across the line. “You, Ms.Rao,” continued Devan, the second half of the gingersnap dunked and thrust into his mouth. He took a moment to savour the flavour being gulping it away. “I’m thankful, and for you. I don’t think I have ever been so thankful for a fellow human being.”
“Not just a fellow human,” tutted Aditi, suddenly sounding very awake. “I’m the one that you pledged your whole life to. Not as romantic as ‘I love you’, but I’ll take it.”
“I do,” whispered Devan, his memory harked back to Halloween. “I love you. More than I can say. Slush and I, Aditi, aren’t exactly bedfellows, hence the clumsiness.”
“No, but you and I are,” Aditi whispered back. “Just keep that in mind for me. I don’t actually have leave left for Christmas, what with the extended sabbatical.”
“Christmas,” repeated Devan. “I hope you do make it, the whole family is coming. You, Aditi, are part of the family, a big part of it. I’ll get through this first. I will practice being thankful. I’ll roast the bird, see how much of it I can eat. You ever had turkey burgers, or turkey curry for that matter?”
“No, yet, no,” there was an altogether way tone in Aditi’s reply. “I will imagine from a safe distance. I will try, Devan, to get to you for Christmas.”
Feeling his stomach flip, Devan could feel a tight knot of sadness form and sink to somewhere near his ankles. “It’ll be lonely this Christmas,” he said softly, “And without you.”
He heard Aditi yawn again and bit his lip. “I should go, and play with the bird,” Devan quickly cleared his throat, once more slurping his tea. “The free-range, not so cuddly one,” he added, closing his eyes tightly as the line crackled with tears.
“Give it a good stuffing,” sniffed Aditi, her words were only just audible. “That much you have my permission for. Provided you save all the cuddles for me. Go, go be thankful. I love you.”
Unable to respond, Devan quickly hung up. He too was about to start sniffling. He knew that Aditi was right. There would be no moping. Draining his tea, he planted his mug firmly down upon the worktop.
“Okay then, turkey,” he said loudly as he rubbed his palms together. “Standby, I am coming to get you.”

~+~

 

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Diwali Short Story @PeaceNovella

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Let me introduce you to Devan Coultrie. This is his Diwali and in Peace, Montana.

Diwali: Love, light and Peace
By Punam Farmah
Copyright, 2017

Candles and clay lamps lay in a brown box that sat upon the kitchen table. A second box sat next to it; brand-spanking new and illustrated with twinkling fairy lights. Reaching into the first box, Devan gently put his hand to a stack of five clay lamps and let them rest in the centre of his left hand.
“Don’t you dare drop them!” said his mother as she passed behind him. Bags of groceries hung heavily from her hands. Devan saw a large, red and white bag of plain flour peeking out from the well-filled bags. His mother Avni was preparing the food for the Diwali Celebrations. The flour was required to make the pastry for samosas.
Samosas. Devan couldn’t remember the last time that he had dipped crunchy, flaky, cumin infused pastry into sweet but spicy tamarind chutney and savoured the taste. As the vague and fuzzy around the edges memory splutter in his memory, he heard his stomach growl and gurgle. Placing his palm to his gut, he rued having got up late and missing breakfast. With his leg still healing, he was effectively barred by his mother and Aditi from so much as lifting a finger and doing anything for himself. Both had been absent when he had woken up. Now, they were were occupied with other things rather than wanting to feed him.
Diwali was all about good food, good times and good energies. His parents were here in Peace, Aditi too; having them here, did rather make him feel like this home. Peace by name was becoming peace by nature.
“Will there be Jalebis, Mum?” he asked, using both hands to cradle the clamp lamps. Devan felt as though the lamps were china in his hands; the feeling rather mesmerised him but also rather made him feel cautious having been warned not to drop them. “Gulab Jamun too?” he queried, studying the pink hues of the terracotta that the lamps were made from.
“Right behind you,” replied Avni as her husband walked into the kitchen with a stack of white boxes labelled ‘Deepak’s Sweet Centre, Colorado’. “Your Massi knows a small sweet centre,” she said, placing her shopping bags upon the nearest worktop. “I called before we left to see her, placed an order for all of today’s sweets. Your father and I picked it all up on our way back here. Lovely people,” commented Avni, a smile dancing across her face. “Not much call for Jalebis and Gulab Jamun this side of the pond, or even in Colorado, actually; so they threw in an extra half a pound of each when I told them it was for Diwali. Told them that you’d spread the word around Peace.”
“I’ll try,” nodded Devan. He couldn’t help but laugh at his mother’s entrepreneurial spirit. “Being the only Englishman in Peace is one thing. Being the only part Indian,” he shrugged and rolled his shoulders deeply. “I’ll see what I can do, Mum; not promising anything.”
Devan’s father, Richard, had followed his wife and deposited his load next to the shopping. He looked at his son, and then at the box on the top of the stack; he furtively opened the lid. “Want one?” asked Richard. A bright orange Jalebi glistening with sugar syrup was held like a freshly boiled egg between his thumb and fore finger. “I’ll split it with you.”
Devan’s eyes widened at the sight of the sweet. Gently placing the divas back into the box, he moved as quickly as he could towards his father. Snatching the spiral-shaped sweet, Devan snapped it in half and thrust it straight into his mouth.
“You never did share your sweets, son,” chortled Richard, hard and from the depths of his ever increasingly rotund gut.
“Notmajebis,” said Devan; the second half of the jalebi was crunched down upon quickly. Rapidly chewing away the sweetness, he licked the tips of his fingers to get each and every last drop bit of the sticky, sweet, sugary syrup. Satisfied that he had got every last bit, Devan focused back upon his mother.
Avni had found an apron and was tying it behind her back. “Leave all the food to me,” she said lifting flour and potatoes out of her grocery bags. “Aditi is working on the drinks, and making sure of the guest list. You, Devan, your Dad, you have one job; one job alone.” She jabbed a finger at the candle. “Get to it,” she said firmly, “And quickly.”
“You heard her,” Richard nodded and clamped a hand onto Devan’s shoulder. “The sweets are one thing. There are also lanterns to hang from the trees, more fairy lights and enough tea lights to make sure that Oakview is visible from space. I’ve left all those by the gate, I’ll meet you there. You’ll need this.” He pressed a black and chrome candle lighter into Devan’s hand. “We have a lot of candles to light, young man.”
As dusk started to fall, Devan walked back towards the house. His route had been lined with what must have been hundreds of tea lights and candles in glass jars of all shapes, sizes and colours. Each one danced in the gentle breeze; a beacon that heralded a new start, a new year for Devan, his family and all of those invited to the shindig in the barn. Even the gates onto Oakview shone and glimmered with fairy lights that were plugged into his RV. His next job was to get showered, shave and to suit up.
It took him ten minutes to walk, but the walk was worth it. “Oh,” he all but gasped as he took in the view of the house. All of the lights were on inside, the porch was filled with candles. His home appeared to glow with iridescence as the sunset. Stopping by his front door, he saw Aditi make her way down the stairs. In her hands was a stainless steel plate atop of which were clay divas. Full of mustard oil, each contained a cotton wick; having been lit, the flames flickered and fluttered seductively.
Aditi paused at the bottom step, the plate held between them. “Happy Diwali, gorgeous,” she whispered, revealing pearly white teeth.
Devan took one of the clay lamps, and held it carefully between his hands. He glanced at the flame, and then back at Aditi. “Happy Diwali, beautiful. Happy Diwali.”

 

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