It was her last night at the old gentlemen’s club before the proprietor would close the doors for good. She had just finished the last number of her last set, dancing in a half-empty room to the slow beats of one of her favourite songs. There was a mixture of certain kind of nostalgia, love, and emptiness inside of her as she sat alone in the dressing room. The other girls had gone but some slow jazz could still be heard playing in the public part of the club. Apparently, the last regulars wanted to empty the bar while it still was there. She looked at herself in the mirror and smiled at her reflection, knowing that an end is always also a beginning.
As she looked at the setting sun painting the surface of the sea with its shades of gold, she refused to believe that summer was over. After switching into her favourite bikini that she had gotten in the beginning of the summer, she tiptoed to the beach. The sand no longer had that pleasant burn to it and the screaming kids had abandoned the area. “Finally”, she thought to herself. Dipping her toes into the water made her close her eyes and breathe out a sigh. “Still warm…” she whispered to no one as she walked into the calm waves. The water caressed her body, hugging her with the loving summer feel, when she submerged slowly.
“On your knees”, a voice commanded after the chanting had stopped. She obeyed, and as the cool surface of the stone-paved altar pressed against her legs, she felt a weird combination of excitement, arousal, and fear. The chanting continued and the masked figures dressed in long black cloaks started to circle around the altar, supposedly inspecting the new candidate behind the frozen expressions of their masks. “She chose a suitable outfit for the occasion”, someone said. “Maybe so… but she seems to be married”, someone else replied, pointing at the woman’s left hand. “Even better!” a third voice exclaimed, causing someone to laugh at the back of the ballroom. “Silence!” the leader of the ceremony yelled. The group proceeded with the chanting. Watching the cloaks walk around her made her feel slightly dizzy as the chanting gradually hypnotized her. “Did they also put something in the chalice that they made me drink?” she thought to herself as the room spun faster around her and the stone of the altar turned into feathers. The next morning dawned three days later for her. Without any clear recollection of the recent events, she sat in the back of a black town car and looked out into the grey Monday morning as she was being driven back to her apartment.
The winter had been such a long and dark one that when the first truly warm days arrived, she wasted no time in slipping into her favourite summer dress and heading to the beach. “Maybe I’ll just get a drink and sit taking in the summery scene for a while…” she thought to herself as she was approaching the local beach. “Oh… that is, if the cafés and kiosks are open already.” Since it wasn’t even April yet, she was in for a disappointment. Nothing was open and it seemed that the warmth of the day hadn’t lured anyone else to the beach yet. Determined to enjoy her day, she didn’t let the still hibernating beach bring her down. “I’ll just imagine a cold drink in my hand and a hot guy next to me”, she thought as she walked past the ice cream kiosk, and a soft giggle escaped her lips. “What’s so funny?” a male voice asked. “Oh wow, my imagination must have reached a whole new level. I’m hearing other people’s voices in my head”, she thought, quite amused, and turned towards the kiosk. A shirtless man was leaning against the wall, grinning at her, and she couldn’t help but doubt her own eyes. “This might sound ridiculous… but are you real?” she asked. The man’s grin widened as he signalled her to come closer. “If you let me, I’ll show you how real I am…”
She was in the middle of getting dressed that morning when she heard a subtle knock on her living room window. Assuming it was her husband who had once again forgotten his keys on the kitchen countertop, she didn’t even think about covering her half naked body. Her eyes widened when she saw the man, who had just recently moved into the house next door, peek in through the big window. It seemed to take the man a moment to realize what he was staring at, and once he finally did, it seemed to her as if the man’s mouth had opened for a split second before he lowered his head. “Sorry… Mrs…” the man mumbled. Not unfamiliar with slightly awkward situations, she thought it was best to not act ashamed or even try to cover herself with her hands. Instead, she walked closer to the window, her exposed breasts bouncing to the rhythm of her steps. “Yes?” she asked the man after she had reached a decent distance from the window. “Can I help you?” Even with the man’s head bowed, she could see a grin appear on his face when he said: “I was just wondering… if I could borrow some…”
A few weeks after the bubbly New Year’s Eve and its perhaps a little too optimistic resolutions, she decided to walk a different route home from work. After she had passed a pub with its inviting happy hour deals and managed to resist the temptation, she thought she was safe. But then the smell of sugar and deep frying stopped her in her tracks. “I promised to start leading a healthier lifestyle with no alcohol or unhealthy snacks… at least till the end of January…” she mumbled to herself and checked the date on her phone. “Damn, still over half a month to go”, she thought to herself and sighed, looking around to find some way to cheat herself. “I never promised to give up caffeine. I can go in for just a cup of coffee… and get a better look, and sniff, of the pastries. Also, to whom did I promise these things? Myself! Ha, and I’m the biggest fool on Earth. At least I will be if I ever gave any credit to these promises… No. I will make it this time. Just a coffee. One medium coffee, black… as my soul right now”, she negotiated with herself and stepped in. The line leading up to the cashier was conveniently right next to the huge glass cabinet filled with doughnuts, and as the young pimple faced clerk made an eye-contact with her and asked the foreboding question “And for you, ma’am?” she had no choice but to proceed to the cash register and place her order.
Buon Anno! 良いお年を! Bonne Année! Gott Nytt År! ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! Hyvää Uutta Vuotta! 新年快乐! Head Uut Aastat! Καλή Χρονιά! Feliz Ano Novo! С Новым Годом! Frohes Neues Jahr! 새해 복 많이 받으세요! Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! สวัสดีปีใหม่! Haud Hogmanay!
If you’re reading this, thank you for making 2020 not as crappy as it could have been! Let’s make 2021 a lot better.
It was a loud night at the local pub the day before New Year’s Eve, in a world where pubs still had loud nights and people actually exited their residences. She had asked you to come join her for a few drinks, and as she turned around at the bar, holding two pints in her hands, she smiled widely and said: “Which drink will you choose? The one in my left hand holds a potion that will make this bad dream end for all of us, allowing the world to go back to normal and the humankind to continue as a more loving, tolerant and supporting community. The one in my left hand holds all the pseudo truths about the governments’, secret societies’ and extra-terrestrials’ attempts to control us using the most minute yet crucial vessels. Also, it’s cat piss. No matter which drink you choose, I wish you all the best for the new year and hope that it will be a better one for you, your family, and your loved ones.”
She was supposed to be home by Christmas morning but as the last train of the day got cancelled, she had no option but to call her husband. “I’m so sorry, honey… Moving my grandmother to the new house took much longer than we had anticipated. I was counting on the last train but it got cancelled because of the blizzard”, she explained. “It’s okay… I understand”, the man sighed in response, audibly disappointed. The man didn’t even bother having Christmas dinner that evening and after wandering around in the presumably empty house, he decided to call it a day and head to bed early. As he opened the bedroom door, the sight that welcomed him almost made him fall on his butt. “Surprise, honey!” the wife exclaimed, the colourful Christmas lights caressing her almost naked body. “What the…? How did you…?” the man mumbled. “I wanted to prank you a little… I made the call from the bathroom while changing into this cute little thing”, she explained and ran her fingertips down along the straps of her lingerie. That Christmas night wasn’t exactly a silent night.
“What do you mean you don’t know how to fix it?” she asked and smirked at the poor boy, for he was a boy still, not much over 20 and fairly unexperienced in the catering business. That’s why he had jumped at the first chance to get a trainee position in one of the shady joints in the next town. “You broke my antique chair”, the woman continued and leaned back in her chair. “So, we have three options, really. Either you fix it, which you said you cannot do. Or you buy me a replacement piece, which we all know you can’t afford. Or… I will make you my chair. Now get down on all fours!” she commanded and kicked the boy in the back of his knee. The woman laughed when the boy gasped in surprise as his body collapsed on the floor. The woman sat over his back and rocked her hips from side to side slowly to get comfortable on her new chair. “I did tell you that I’m not bossy… I’m the boss. There’s a difference. And I bet you understand it now”, she grinned and started to sip her afternoon tea, just in time before the early evening crowd.