Friday Fictioneers – Tisn’t the Season

I’m delighted to be able to post another Friday Fiction story today. I missed InMon yesterday and if I get chance I’ll catch that up later, but for now, Rochelle’s picture is below and the links to other stories are on her site. Your comments on my response are welcome, as ever.

And at the risk of sounding Scrooge-like, it’s still November, so as far as I’m concerned, the title is particularly apt. Bah, humbug!

christmas-2005-0101

β€˜Tisn’t the Season

They appeared overnight: a light frosting of lights around the eaves and gables of homes, shops and temples. In the twilight hours of dawn, walking the quiet streets to work, I marvelled at their beauty and wondered whether the City had suddenly found some unspent budget for Christmas lights in June.

The local newspapers sported their usual split, with half decrying the waste and half expounding the benefits of adding a little sparkle. But when the journalists interviewed councillors, they were met with confusion and denials. Noone knew where the lights had come from.

And then they began to fall.

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35 Comments

Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

35 responses to “Friday Fictioneers – Tisn’t the Season

  1. Very well written. I have no idea what it means, though. Maybe mischievous elves put them up? I’m sure when others comment it will all come clear. I have a special aptitude for missing the obvious. And how is the little one? Sleeping through the night and walking and talking already? πŸ™‚

    • I shall answer in reverse, Paul, and you may judge me accordingly! Little one is great – not quite sleeping through the night, but allowing Mum two or three spates of 3 hours at a time, for which she is most grateful! I’m sure he’ll be walking and talking soon, so ask me again next week πŸ˜‰
      I’m glad you liked the writing, you might want to look at my ‘tags’ for one possible explanation.

      • At my age I’d welcome 3 hours at a time. Maybe that’s tmi. Oh, well. So it was a possible alien invasion? At this time of year? Traveling is horrendous. What were they thinking?

  2. Dear Jen,

    Echoing Paul’s comments here. Wonderfully written mystery with social commentary aplenty but not enough clues for us to know what’s happening or why.

    Do like the title and the sentiment, Bah humbug seconded.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    • I hold my hands up to the lack of clues, Doug. It was mostly deliberate – I see this as an opening rather than a story in itself. You can find a clue to a possible explanation in the ‘tags’ I’ve attached to it. Cheating, I know, but I hope you’ll all forgive me!

  3. Swift change of direction at the end there. Nicely done Jennifer. I especially liked ‘frosting of lights’ though I might have chosen a different adjective beforehand to avoid repetition.

  4. I really liked this and think that it would be a great start to something bigger. My only suggestion, at least in this format, would be concerning the last sentence, in which the antecedent noun (Ha! Look at my big grammar words!) is unclear. I’m pretty sure you meant townspeople started falling down dead, but “they” could also be the lights, and a story about shoddy anonymous decorating doesn’t have quite the same kick. Having said that, if this were a longer work, and the next paragraph described the first victim, this suggestion would be completely irrelevant.

    P.S. Loved the bit about the local newspapers… added much to the cozy, small-town atmosphere.

    • Hi waiting! Thanks for the comment. You’re right about the lack of clarity – I did in fact mean the lights (check out the tags for whether those are just anonymous Christmas decorations though), but you’re right that it’s not clear. Must try harder – I feel a redraft coming on!
      And yes, aren’t all newspapers like that, and local ones even more?

  5. Strange, very strange. Never mind where the lights came from – what made them start falling? Poor quality control? Sloppy installation? A mysterious story.

  6. I see this as the perfect teaser, draw-them-in opening to a bigger story. As for the lights (and any other decorations), I think any time after Thanksgiving is great but June’s way too early!! Definitely something’s not right in this town and I’d love to know what it is. Knowing you, it would be something interesting and unusual.

    Regarding holidays in general, Halloween (which I don’t really consider a holiday) has become huge and poor Thanksgiving (which should be a holiday we all embrace, whether religious or not) gets squeezed out.

    Glad you’re getting some sleep anyway. I used to be afraid I’d fall asleep during feeding time and drop the baby, but it never happened. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, tea! I definitely saw this as an opening, and yes – something odd is happening in this town. I’m glad you picked up on the June thing.
      We Brits don’t have Thanksgiving, and here in Canada it’s celebrated in October, but either way I don’t believe in starting Christmas until December.

      • I was happy this year to be on a little vacation (with Bill, one of our daughters and some friends) at the beach over Thanksgiving, so I missed all the Black Friday insanity (in which I don’t participate anyway) and didn’t see any stores already decorated and so on. I can’t decorate now because we have painters coming in, so I’ll just get ready in my heart and in getting gifts. I also think seasons get off kilter because of the way stores get clothes in so early and I don’t like that, either.

        janet

  7. Hi Jen,
    You’re right, they probably will be putting up Christmas lights in June if things keep getting moved up. Of course, I burn Christmas lights all year just because I find it festive and I don’t have a porch light. Good story. Ron

  8. oooooh. aliens. uh oh. at first i was going to say the lights were falling because people just didn’t believe enough, like for fairies in peter pan, but then the aliens. yeah. time to run. well done.

  9. Hi Jen,
    I loved this piece. Bah humbug indeed. Lights in June. I wouldn’t put it past the retailers as a marketing ploy. The actual Plaza lights go on every year on Thanksgiving night accompanied by much hoopla. It’s a time honored Kansas City tradition. I honor it by not going down to the Plaza to fight the stifling crowds.
    Much love to Sebastian. I remember the sleepless nights all too well, but in the general scheme of things, it’s a brief time. Kind of makes up for the teen years when they want to sleep all the time. πŸ˜‰
    Okay, I’ve said enough,
    Shalom,
    Rochelle

    • Sleepless nights are getting better anyway, Rochelle, so maybe I’ll be trying to wake him up sooner than we think!
      I wouldn’t put it past the retailers to put the lights up in June either, but you’ve got to hope…

  10. hmmm… an unexpected gift fails. A Trojan light pole? ( smile ) nicely written, and keep me and others guessing.

  11. It seems like the start of some kind of menace. I like who you have everyone clueless. Nice mystery there.

  12. mysocalledDutchlife

    Now, that was crafty! I’m imagining either tiny aliens like the kind from Batteries Not Included, so the lights are tiny spacecraft or the lights are bombs or some other kind of alien weaponry, detonated before the actual invasion begins.

    Could be overthinking a bit though ;-). Enjoyed your story a lot. Glad to read that you’re getting a bit of sleep.

  13. Very interesting. Where did the lights come from? And why did they did they begin to fall? I’d want to read more. Good hook.

  14. It’s very clear from your story that the lights appeared in June and that it was the lights that fell. My take is that they appeared symbolically as the desire of people to feel in their everyday lives the way they feel at the holidays.

    When it became clear that no one knew how’d they come about, people’s innate practicality took over and they began to fall. So we try to rekindle that holiday spirit at other times in our lives but cannot.

    That’s what I think anyway. Good pieceI

  15. Of course any alien invasion has to start with Christmas lights in June. Wonder if the aliens where inside those lights or the consequences of them falling are more sinister.

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