The secret of a successful
Christmas is careful planning.
I commenced Christmas
preparations in July when I arranged to have a
letter sent to my relatives informing them of my
death. To avoid funeral attendance, the letter
explained that I had succumbed to salmonella on a
cross channel ferry and, for health and safety
reasons, had been buried at sea.
This forestalled receipt of
family Christmas cards, particularly those
containing long, tedious, duplicated, personal
chronologies of the year. It also excused me
effort and expense on reciprocal Yuletide
greetings. Critically, however, it prevented any
possibility of an invitation to spend Christmas
day with family members.
As a pensioner living alone,
invitations to be subjected to this annual,
charitable, Christian ordeal are an ever present
danger. This is particularly true in my village
where residents seem to have sworn a solemn oath
that no person who lives alone shall ever have a
nice, peaceful Christmas day.
It was to address this
diabolic covenant that, from November, I began to
inform neighbours that I would be spending
Christmas one hundred miles away with my,
nonexistent, Cousin Eric. Unfortunately, John and
Mavis live in the adjoining semi, and sound
passing through the connecting wall would have
made it impossible to remain at home without
John and Mavis are elderly
and might not live much longer, so I initially
considered hastening their demise. I concluded,
however, that this would be fraught with
difficulties: It would have to be executed at the
last moment to avoid the possibility of new
tenants arriving before Christmas. I also feared
that, due to my lack of homicide experience, the
police might be more than a match for my cunning.
Finally, upon reflection, murdering ones
neighbours seemed somewhat contrary to the
neighbours have a daughter in Australia who they
had not seen for five years. The daughter was
very grateful for my letter about the declining
heath of her parents and the suggestion that this
might be the last opportunity to fly them to
Australia for Christmas.
John and Mavis were
delighted at this invitation, although
unfortunately became aware of my part in its
planning. They thanked me profusely and insisted
that I join them for Christmas dinner next year.
At least I have twelve months to carefully
revisit my original plan.
So came Christmas Eve. I
placed in my windows the life-sized photographs
of my deserted rooms. I then reconstructed my
living room in the back bedroom. In the fading
light, I loaded a suitcase into my car and waved
to several neighbours as I drove away.
The lock-up garage is just
two miles away, so I soon concealed the car,
donned my black tracksuit and balaclava and
returned home along footpaths.
Today is Christmas day. I
got up late and didnt bother to dress.
Ive had a brilliant traditional Christmas
dinner with all the trimmings but no effort due
to Marks and Spencers and the microwave. Ill
wash up in February.
Now its time for the
Queens speech. I wont watch that
tedious crap, of course. I think Ill open
my second wine box, have a fag and surf some more
pornography on the Internet.
Christmas is wonderful and
need not be stressful. Its all a question