Inches of Insane

wanted-santa-clausWanted: Santa Claus. CC artwork by Kevin Dooley.

Inches of Insane

It’s staring at me.

Keeps staring at me.

I’ve grown to loathe this time of year. The jolly holidays and merry making, spun sugar that’s set too long and has begun to rot my teeth. I can feel the daily decay gnawing away my gum-line.

The ache of loneliness, not unlike that of a degenerate tooth.

Though, the season is not entirely responsible for my lost loves, buried past, and hidden heartache. It simply serves as a reminder. An overly adorned, inflatable reminder of my single status.

I decorate my tree as Barry glares at me; the cat knows more than he’s letting on. Baubles handed down from my great aunt, some heavy as the weight of emptiness in my chest, some as fragile as my leaping sanity. I hang them all.

Wedging every tchotchke and trimming I can muster between the branches of this fake fir tree, I feel the painted plastic eyes watching me again, mocking.


© Grace Black
160 words

 Fiction written for Flash! Friday Micro Fiction Contest

This entry received an Honorable Mention and here is what the judges, Tamara Shoemaker and Mark A. King, had to say:

TS: An attention-grabbing beginning, followed by some beautiful interplay of words and meaning. I love the layered idea of decay that manifests itself in a sugar-rotted tooth, but worms its way in with the “ache of loneliness.” The phrase “an overly adorned, inflatable reminder of my single status” so neatly locks the festivities of Christmas into the phrase without even once saying it.

Other things: the contrast of the baubles, heavy as emptiness, light as leaping sanity—all hung on the tree and perhaps a mental noose, choking the life out of the narrator.

The single word at the end is a delightful punch in the gut (if there is such a thing) to wrap up the piece, nicely mirroring the first line with the attitude of the stare.

Plus, anyone who can work the word “tchotchke” into a sentence and wrangle sense out of it has earned my eternal admiration. Stellar work.

MK: I completely agree with all of Tamara’s articulate and insightful comments.


  1. Enjoyed the stress of the decorating… I can relate… I had done three Santa stories this year. I just didn’t get around to this one (yet). Often, I think of ideas AFTER the deadlines and then just write for the fun of it. I expect that to be the case here. I liked your story.

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