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Ruining Bethlehem and Mince Pies

Enough time has passed for me to look dispassionately at the date, December 23rd—the day I found myself in the office of my family doctor—a life changing day.

To back-up a bit, he’s a man I’d had a pleasant professional relationship with for years. Even so, I didn’t think he’d be calling me in the wish me the compliments of the season. I’d had a blood test days before. I’d been purposefully called—no  ‘if your passing just drop in.’ And let’s be realistic, no busy doctor calls you in two days before Christmas to chat casually about the excellent state of your health. Some sword belonging to Damocles hovered.

Who knows, maybe it was test-result nerves that made me greet the doctor with a mini-book report. The bestseller I’d been reading as he came into the room, had among other things, debunked the myth Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem. Instead, the author argued, the main event took place in Nazareth. Hence the title, ‘Jesus of Nazareth,’  I yammered before he got properly seated.

He nodded. “So, no stable. No star. No, ‘no room at the inn’? No little drummer boy?”

I didn’t notice the enthusiasm-dip in his voice, another side effect of the nerves I suspect. I prattled on. “Nope,’”I said. And with no hint of seasonal diplomacy, I gave him the title of the book so he could put it on his Christmas wish list.

The moment arrived, further evasion became futile. We were after all working on his dime. He looked solemnly at the computer screen and moved onto the test results. In a word, my glucose management was ‘crapola’—not his word. This came as tragic news, since I had, freshly baked at home, enough mince pies to send an entire city block into a coma. I could almost taste the deliciousness. I felt a sharp pain cross my forehead as their sugary promise faded.

Then there was the prescription, and the referral to diabetic school. At the door, we looked at each other, knowing life had for ever changed.

“Sorry about the mince pies,” he said.

“That’s okay. Sorry about Bethlehem.”

We managed a laugh but only just. We had entered his tiny consulting room, neither of us suspecting Christmas would be forever altered.

Parumpapumpum!