Troubled Times

“Go Fish!” Yelled Samantha.

Jessica glanced through the kitchen doorway to see her little girl on the rug in front of the fire, alone, propped up on her elbows. Cards were fanned neatly between her hands.

“Samantha, dear, the cinnamon rolls will be ready soon. Would you like some hot cocoa, too?” Jessica asked, picking bits of dough from her serrated knife as she watched.

“Not now, thanks. I’m winning.”

The poor girl was so thin already, Jessica worried she would waste away completely. Now she was delusional, too. All Jessica could think about was that she already had enough problems.

She returned to the kitchen and slid the pan of plump, sugary, pinwheels into the oven. These are just like my year, she thought, so full of sugar coated promises on the outside, then a downward spiral to nothing but crumbs and bloated remorse.

Earlier this year, she and Kris had hatched an idea to partner with Amazon when they realized they couldn’t compete. If you can’t beat’em, join’em, right? Wrong. Once they closed the shop and laid off the elves, they realized that there just wasn’t enough delivery business left to keep them afloat. Between Uber and Lyft, that market was saturated.

Now the reindeer were starving and they were down to the last child, one that would barely make a meal, at that. And where the hell was Kris, anyway?

Just then, Kris breezed in humming a Christmas tune. He pecked Jessica on the cheek while making a show of sniffing the air.

“Smells delicious!”

Jessica blushed and batted her eyes, irritation dissolving away. She could never stay mad when Kris was around.

“Why don’t you take Samantha out and feed the reindeer, while I finish up these rolls?”

“A fine idea!” he said, with a wink.

Author’s Note:

I wrote this for a Flash Fiction contest using the prompt: fish, fire, knife. It’s almost halfway through December so I figured it was time to try to get into the Christmas spirit. Not sure I’ve quite got it yet, check back next Tuesday.

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