The Holiday Issue - December 2014
Happy holidays from Barrelhouse! As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, many people take time to pause and reflect on fond memories with dear friends.
We decided that it was time to catch up with some old Christmas movie pals. What happened to these characters after the cameras stopped rolling and the days got longer again? We invited some of our favorite writers to share these stories.
Betty was a woman
who could get anything
she wanted when drunk—
those blue eyes, deep blue—
but she never stopped
The phone rings and the woman swirls her glass, watches wine the color of ruby coat the sides of the crystal. Wine is the only red she allows in her apartment; everything else is black: carpets, sofa, even the tall sculptures she makes, stark and granite-colored. Red, of course, and green, and even white – these are the soft, bright colors of Christmas. The colors of her charmed childhood in Who-ville.
He won every time, which was part of the game. Because John McClane does not lose. Nor would we want him to. In the end, Uncle John always found my egg timer bomb in time to deactivate it by turning the dial counterclockwise until it went ding. But little did he know I was in the living room, standing defiantly atop the ottoman with Aunt Holly in my evil clutches. She’d be tolerating us with that smile of hers, the one that looked like sarcasm sounded, and I’d be clutching my stomach, pretending to be shot and teetering close to death.
Last year I stowed away on a mining vessel to this desert, the same sand planet in the outer rim where you and your smuggler buddies used to hide out. The war-cries of the indigenous pealing over the dunes as the suns declined aren’t frightening to me at all anymore.
The fight had left Betty with a cut on her hand and a speck of metal oxidizing in her cornea. It all started when Bob was rehearsing for a Christmas special on NBC. He was supposed to kiss an elf. She wasn’t a real elf, of course, or even an actress – just some buxom crumpet from Minnesota with wax-tip ears and oogly, doped-up eyes.
I’ve been sick
for two weeks
has been sick
its whole life.
Della and Jimmy fought all the time. People often told them, “You fight like a married couple!” This joke was usually told by a mutual friend to diffuse tension, as Della and Jimmy’s fights public fights were personal and awkward.