Santa’s Helper by Bill Baber.

It was a job and a shitty one at that. Wasn’t going to do much more than pay the rent for the month and make a small dent in a growing mountain of bills. It sure as hell wasn’t going to buy presents for her two kids- it might not leave enough for a goddamn…

The Gift That Keeps On Giving by Paul D. Brazill

Living well is the best revenge, or so they say, apparently. And, for most of my life, I did live well – very well – once I’d broken free of Seatown’s umbilical cord, which had been strangling me like a noose. Fame. Money. Drugs. Travel. Fast cars. Faster women. All of the above. And it…

The Loneliest Greeting Card by John Patrick Robbins

The Loneliest Greeting Card The streets are all vacant and the city a ghost town. I didn’t belong but then again when did I ever? Least no one would notice a bum with a bottle, drunk off his ass walking down the seawall in Portsmouth. The few out weren’t here for the sights , for…

THE NAUGHTY LIST By Tom Leins

It was a bitterly cold day when the bodies appeared. Not the coldest day of the year, but pretty fucking chilly. The half-cut eyewitness said they floated up from the bottom of Paignton Harbour like bubbles in cheap champagne. From what I heard, ‘bodies’ was overstating the case – the corpses had been dismembered and…

Barely Crimbo by Graham Wynd

Here it is barely Grimace; Time to deck the malls. Wish you a hairy crossbus; Fall down all the golden balls. Hark the Harold angles bring Glory to the edge-lord bling. Dashing through the pub, With a one-horse foamy ale, Oh, what fun it is to slide Through tat that’s cheap on sale. Olé. Grimble…

HOME ALONE BY PAUL D. BRAZILL

A guilty pleasure is an oxymoron, of course, since no true pleasure should make you feel guilty, but we all have enough skeletons in our closet to make a palaeontologist envious. And I’m rattling mine now. Make no bones about it – bones/skeletons, see what I did then?- the first two Home Alone films are…

PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A CONSUMER CHRISTMAS SPECIAL: K A LAITY

MUSIC A John Waters Xmas Los Straightjackets Complete Xmas Songbook Squirrel Nut Zippers Xmas Caravan Rockin’ Little Xmas (a GREAT compilation) To Drive the Winter Cold Away – Loreena McKennit Dean Martin Xmas Album Ding Dong – George Harrison Father Christmas – The Kinks December Will Be Magic Again – Kate Bush And of course:…

Fiction: JINGLE BELLS, SHOTGUN SHELLS By Tom Leins

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m standing in the middle of a stash house in Hookhills, bleeding from one ear and trying to work out which one of the hired hands I should shoot first: the skinny guy in the soiled Sexy Santa minidress or the fat fuck in the scuffed-looking ballistics vest. I raise the…

Recommended Read:Christmas Stockings by Paul Heatley

Chris owns a dive bar and as such he is regularly drowning in the flotsam and jetsam of life. Even on Christmas Eve, when his customers include a drunken Santa Clause and Chris’ friend Randy – a perennial disaster waiting to happen. Paul Heatley’s Christmas Stockings is a violent torch-song. Like a bittersweet blend of…