Temporarily Out of Stock

On the table sits an immaculate white page, no words, no marks not even a scribble to test the black pen. The house is silent, the telly on mute, silently shows a beautiful chef happily demonstrating how to prepare a traditional Italian Christmas dinner.

There is no point in being terrified by it. It had to be done. Pick up the pen and make a list. With a sigh her hands form the words; brown bread, milk, crackers, clementine’s. The next hour is spent envisioning the perfect dinner. Sixty-four black words, with spidery legs and giraffe-necked upsweeps, fill the perfect white page.

Jayne Waters had dreamed of hosting Christmas dinner since she was too little to see over the work-top. She had trailed around after her mother as she busied herself with slicing onions, laying rashers over the plucked flesh of a massive bird and peeked through the oven window, watching the tanning of that prized meat.

This was the year, the year that it would happen. Jayne would pirouette around her kitchen like a prima ballerina and she would award everyone, all eighteen family members, with the perfect Christmas dinner. She had started whittling the idea of everyone coming to hers way back in February. Later, while eating a summer mackerel salad, she had made mention of the impeccable dinner she would spoil everyone with. The house would sparkle, everyone would beam and she would be the star chef.

Jayne woke from her daydream, smelling roasties’ and Brussels sprouts. The imagined smells made her stomach growl in anticipation.

She had bored everyone with ears about her menu, but she had done nothing for it to happen. There was no meat ordered, there was no cranberries in the grocers. That morning, she was told by the frazzled school girl behind the counter “temporarily out of stock”. The girl didn’t know when the next delivery would be before Christmas Eve only two days away.

Jayne shakes herself, looks longingly at the telly that shows now a magnificent table laden with an awesome Christmas dinner. She grabs her keys and bags-for-life and heads out to the car and with a definitive slam Jayne leaves the house to do the shopping.

Three hours later Jayne trips through the door. Her hair is a tangled mess of rat-tails and her lipstick is smeared across her teeth and chin. Her fingers grapple a number of bulging bags. She limps through the house and dumps them on the kitchen table. From her pocket she pulls her broken left heel and hurls it in the bin. She also pulls out the balled up list, it follows the mangled heel.

Back to the bags and she unpacks many an unusual item; a squash; coconut milk; mangoes and more. Forget the traditional this will be the first Christmas with a Martinique coconut curry and spiced pineapple for dessert.