Never Again - or the WI Christmas Party.
I came across this tale when I was researching for my 98 Reasons book. One of the stories in Struwwelpeter is about three boys who are punished for laughing at a black boy by being plunged into a pot of ink by a scribe. In the German version the scribe is clearly St Nicholas. Dr. Heinrich Hoffmann was no doubt inspired by pictures of St Nicholas rescuing the three boys from the salting pot which looks something like a cooking pot...or indeed a pot of ink.
Anyway, this story about the original St Nicholas appealed to me and I wrote my own version.
You can read it here (although I wouldn't advise it).
So...this afternoon I was just writing away, blissfully occupied, when I suddenly remembered that I was going with a group of friends to give readings at a local Women's Institute's Christmas party. Hurriedly searching through my little collection of short stories for one of suitable length I came across this one which was obviously the right sort of length and which I also vaguely remembered was about St Nicholas - and therefore ideal for a Christmas party.
Unfortunately, I didn't also remember how very gruesome it was until I was half way down the page in front of my audience...
'That's sick!' said someone quite audibly.
Which was when I wished that StarTrek was true and that mobile phone in my bag would connect me to the Starship Enterprise because King Kabs, quite obviously, were not going to be able to take me far enough.
I finished it rapidly - leaving out yet more gruesome parts as I read and sat down quickly.
'I think you upset some people,' my neighbour observed (fairly redundantly).
For the rest of the season I just want it to be known that I am retreating into my shell. Someone please tap on the walls when it's over.
Word Count: 11 300