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Small Measures

On the fifth Daze of Christmas,

Cal Marcius gives to us. . .

Small Measures by Cal Marcius





I tell him it isn’t up to me, but the kid’s dumb as shit. There’s nothing but wide open space between those perfectly formed ears. I can’t remember when exactly he first appeared. He was Frank’s nephew, so we accepted him without much question. Then a few weeks ago Frank got himself killed, stabbed in the throat, and we were left with this dimwit of a kid.

He calls himself Brad, even though his name’s Martin. We call him Dopey. He says he looks like Bradley Cooper, and he sort of does.  It’s the eyes, that vacant look he has about him. You can tell he isn’t the full pack.

“I think I’ll take her to Lapland,” he says. “See Santa, you know. Travel in a sleigh, all that shit.”

“You even know where Lapland is?”

“Somewhere in the North Pole, right?”

“And where’d that be?”

“Fuck off. I’m not in school anymore.”

“You’re gonna get your dick nailed to the wall,” I say. “You go through the right channels or stop talking about it.”

“What’s wrong with Lapland?”

“Fuck’s sake. Nothing’s fucking wrong with Lapland, but you’re part of this family now and you talk to the boss.”

I already know which way this will go. Even if he does listen and goes to ask the boss, one way or another, his dick will end up in the mincer. You don’t shit where you eat.

A week or so later, John, the boss, calls me into the office and tells me some money’s gone missing. I’m not talking a tenner. This is about ten grand. It’s no coincidence the kid’s on holiday and the boss’s youngest has gone to Norway, Finland, or Lapland. It doesn’t take a genius to put the two together.

“Any thoughts?” John says.

The boss and me go all the way back to primary school. We grew up in the same neighbourhood, and even then he had a knack for making money, selling stolen sweets at inflated prices on the playground.

“Leave it to me,” I say.

I don’t tell him about the kid. I want to give the dope a chance, let him come clean when he returns. Maybe I can work something out. Get him to pay back the money in installments. I know what it’s like to be in love, or at least I did know. Girls don’t stick around with guys like us. Not many do anyway. We can’t all be as lucky as John.

Me, I haven’t seen Lisa in years. She took our son and moved as far away from me as possible. Last I heard, she was living with another guy in Scotland, one of the islands in the middle of fucking nowhere, running a couple of holiday cottages. Living the good life. I can’t blame her. I wouldn’t want the boy following in my footsteps either.

I’ve got one foot out the door and it all goes tits up when Jess, the boss’s oldest, comes storming into her dad’s office. Her tear-streaked face is smeared with mascara. Her eyes are red from crying.

“What’s the matter, pumpkins?” John says.

“He’s a fucking liar, dad. He said he loved me and now he’s in Lapland with Mel. Lapland was my idea. He knew how much I wanted to go there.”

“Who is?”

“Brad.”

“Brad who?”

Brad ... Martin. You know. The guy who works for you.”

The boss looks at me like I’ve just pulled down my pants and shat on his desk. “You know about this?”

I shake my head. It’s not a lie. I didn’t know he was playing the two of them.

“Get that little cunt and cut his fucking dick off,” John says. 

Jess lets out a squeak. “You can’t hurt him, dad.”

“He’s playing you,” John says. “There’s plenty other guys out there. Nice guys. Find one of them.”

“But I love him.”

“He’s an idiot.”

“You don’t know him.”

The boss looks at me. “Will you tell her?” he says.

“Your dad’s right,” I say. “You deserve better, Jess. He’s a joke. A good-looking joke, but that’s all.”

I turn to John. He nods at me.

“If he does that to you he doesn’t love you, pumpkins. Looks isn’t everything. Now let me get back to work. Okay?”

Jess nods.

As soon as she’s gone, the boss looks at me and says, “I want his dick on a platter.”

***

It’s on the local news the morning after — traumatised man found without penis.

Took four of us to hold him down, only one to slice it off. I told him he should be grateful he’s just losing his dick. If he’s lucky, some plastic surgeon can make him a new one. 

I take it to the boss on one of those throw-away aluminium plates.

“Merry Christmas,” I say.

He looks at it.

“Is that it?”

He pushes it around with the end of his pen.

“In all its glory,” I say.

“Kinda pathetic on its own,” he says and starts to laugh.


Cal Marcius is a freelance writer who lives in the frozen wastes of northern England. He has been published online and in print. You can find Cal on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.