Short Story | ‘A Day of Such Good Cheer’ by Kim Farleigh, Illustration by Delilah Buckle
Lou and Larry entered a pub on Christmas day, Lou delighted that he had the opportunity to smile at people he abhorred.
Most people detested this, but Lou loved it.
“People,” he said, “admire my dentures. I’m generous to strangers and distant relatives for this reason.”
He smile-grimaced, teeth glowing in the pub’s light.
Larry said Lou was “cynical; but his sense of humour saves him.”
Lou’s teeth faced the barman as he said: “Merry Christmas.”
Larry’s smiled sincerely, but not for the reasons the barman thought.
They sat down with their drinks.
“A brilliant display of Christmas teeth there, Lou,” Larry said.
“The Three Wise Men’s fantastic dentures,” Lou replied, “got confused with the Northern Star.”
“He,” Larry began, “who had woneth the World Smiling Championships said unto Jesus: ‘Ye shall grin before thine enemies with an insincerity that will piss them off for all eternity.’”
“I see you guys are Bible lovers,” a guy near them said.
“He who blasphemeth Our Lord,” Lou replied, “shall receiveth six million years of extractions.”
The guy smiled, glad he had the opportunity to do it and mean it.
“I just got permission,” he said, “to escape from my wife’s family.”
“Are they religious?” Larry asked.
“They think they are,” the guy replied.
“Hypocrisy,” Lou said, “deserves a rich smile.”
He “smiled,” teeth magnificently exposed.
“I’ve seen you before,” Larry said, “in The Hot Break.”
“I run it.”
“I thought so. I’ve seen you there a few times.”
“You went back?!”
“I’m a risk-taker. The restaurant business must be tough,” Larry said.
“Let’s face it,” the guy replied, “you can’t follow the rules.”
“Better that people pay in cash,” Larry commented.
“Ideally,” the guy replied. “What do you guys do?”
“We’re Inland Revenue inspectors,” Lou replied.
The guy gulped down his drink and flew out the door.
Larry’s guffawing head rolled around. He and Lou worked for an electricity company.
“Let’s eat tomorrow night,” Lou said, “in The Hot Break, wearing overcoats and sunglasses.”
Illustration by: Delilah Buckle