Grotto life

Martha Lane

Borrowed baubles in his pocket, he shifts uncomfortably. Pride whispers in his ear.

They’ll know it’s you.

The pub crowd jeering with yeasted breath, maybe brickies from the site. Awareness laced into their boots. Talking to his jingle-bell hat while their kids recite impressive lists, breathless and flushed, while he buckles resignation round his fake fat tummy. Desperation the twinkle in his eye, he ho ho hopes it pays enough.

A familiar weight and warmth hits his lap. The boy. On the cusp of not believing. On the cusp of understanding. Wishes for a bike, asks for a beanie.

Martha Lane is a writer by the sea. Her flash has appeared in Free Flash Fiction, Perhappened, Bandit, Reflex fiction, Briefly Zine and Ellipsis, among others. Balancing too many projects is her natural state. She tweets (@poor_and_clean).