The Christmas Family Form Letter
The letter arrives every year
usually by the 15th of December
in a pink scented envelope
with masses of colourful stamps
& a professionally printed logo
with their names & address
pasted in the top left corner.
The letters are methodical
bursting with tremendous news-
the continued success of each child
& elaborated upon in great detail
& later, the triumphs of each grandchild
with the accompanying obligatory
smiling family photographs.
The letters are dispatched
identical in every way
apart from the addressee,
the salutation & occasionally,
a penned in, cheerful remark.
A change of tone in the letters
was perhaps first noticeable
following the strained breakup
of their eldest son’s marriage
& the ugly divorce
which tragically frothed forward.
No mention is made
of the wife’s bashing outside her work
nor of the lengthy & costly court proceedings
which they helped subsidise.
And with the eventual breakdown
of the three remaining marriages of their children
and the burdensome custody battles
over grand kids
and the impact it had upon some of them-
dropping out of school
snorting petrol, ice
administering the occasional hand/blow-job
to support a crack cocaine or heroin habit-
the form letters somehow stopped altogether.
The Observation of Ass in Shopping Malls
I used to count people as a summer job
for a multi-national ad company.
bumming around shopping malls
positioning my butt beside billboards
scattered around the joint
& recording the number of people
who walked by their ads.
As instructed, I use a number clicker
six minutes each sign
usually 6-8 signs per hour
for six hours, for a total of
36-48 calculations per day.
Each calculation is compiled meticulously.
The best part of the job
is you can watch people,
observe their mannerisms-
how they jiggled
how they held themselves together
how they related to one another-
& actually get paid for it.
Security guards often stopped to question me
asking me what I was doing
sitting on the floor perving at their customers.
I used to show them my employer’s
letter of introduction which explained
my duties & responsibilities.
A couple of weeks into the job
I counted for the first three hours
then estimated the last three
usually passing the time in the mall’s pub
& talking to the locals.
One day at Magog, I met this crazy guy Andre
& well lubricated, I told him my latest theory
that in my observations of humanity
the female butt in the Eastern Townships
moves from left to right, whereas in Montreal
it is the reverse, right to left.
He laughed, called me crucifix-fornicator in French
& ordered us another round of Labatt’s.
Later, we were on the mall’s mock marble floor
carefully assessing the passing buttocks
of various women & men
others downright decrepit
Andre, I discover, is not one to shirk
from making his views explicit in public-
and provides a running commentary on each ass as it passed:
‘There goes another bubble-assed horn-bag.’
‘That’s more like it, come here, bitch.’
‘Take off your pants honey, I’m rock hard.’
He misses my argument completely,
that is, my left to right hypothesis.
As we are escorted out of the mall by security
Andre tells the woman, “Nice ass, you pass.”
George D Anderson lives in Wollongong, Australia and is a long time blogger of the alternative small press at Bold Monkey. In 2019, find some of his latest poems and short stories in Poems-For-All, Beatnik Cowboy, The Rye Whiskey Review, Rusty Truck, Alien Buddha Press, Horror Sleaze Trash, Dissident Voice, Rust Belt Review, Blue Pepper and other fine magazines. A chapbook of his poetry Fuckwits & Angels will be published by Holy & Intoxicated Press later in the year.