FICTION: Festive Doom


Photo credit: Rolands Lakis

Via Daily Prompt: Festive


There’s a weird relationship between happy tunes and horror movies; the twinkling of a baby mobile, or tunes from a theme park. You don’t get the same chill from, say, dubstep or emo rock.

The advertisement jingles in supermarkets are right up the horror-movie aisle (heh). How could anybody be happy about a ten percent discount off a two-dollar item? My heart goes out to the staff every time I shop in a supermarket that repeats music and the month’s current offers.

Today, I find myself at the hypermarket deciding on a door gift for a new year’s party. Should I go for the wine, or the snacks? I visualise a wine snob at the party—and it’s a real possibility because I don’t know anyone there—frowning at my ten-dollar bottle of wine. But ten-dollar wine is classier than twenty-dollar bags of Lays, surely?

I get to the counter with my cheap wine. The cashier tries to shout over the speakers, which were announcing a two-for-one deal for jasmine rice. “Cash or credit card?” he asks.

“Cash,” I say. Because I’m too broke to own a credit card. Come to think of it, I’m too broke to own cash too.

I arrive at the party, the jasmine rice jingle still playing in my head. “Just in time!” the host says. “We were just about to start playing charades! Oh wow! This is nice wine! Just leave it at the snacks counter for the other guests, alright?” I toss it between the other bags of chips and cheap wine.

Mingling has always been the bane of my existence, but I try anyway. I poke and prod for commonalities, but it turns out, not many people share interests in video games and social awkwardness—not at my age at least. It’s like trying to prospect for gold in my backyard. They’ve all moved on to house mortgages, baby-feeding methods, and the maximum mileage they can squeeze out of a car.

Are people different now, or am I the one who’s left behind? Maybe all those years of avoiding human contact is finally catching up to me. “So,” I tried as a final saving grace, “You guys like jasmine rice?” After a couple of polite nods, I retreat to the corner to play with the host’s dog. She seems to understand me best.

The clock strikes twelve, and there I am, amidst the sound of party horns, loud cheers, and Auld Lang Syne. In any other setting, they’d be sounds of joy, hope, and happiness. Everybody’s wishing each other a happy new year, and I’m just standing there, wondering what I’ve done with my life to date.

It’s the new year and I’m not happy, the sounds of merrymaking a backdrop to my feelings of impending doom. And slowly I come to a realisation: I’m living in my own horror movie.

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