Merry Christmas

The Gutter always reminds us:

Sometimes you're the dog and sometimes you're the tree.

Merry Christmas by Wayne Scheer

Boyd Loggins felt like a kid the day before Christmas. 

Driving home from his first night at the Wagon Wheel in eighteen months, he realized how much he had missed the curvy, country roads. It had been raining most of the evening and everything smelled like it had just been washed clean. He kept his windows rolled down and let the rain spray his bare arm.

His radio didn't work, so he beat a rhythm on his steering wheel to the swoosh-tada, swoosh-tada of the wipers. Squinting through the streaked windshield, he focused on the winding road ahead. He drove slower than he once did, imagining someone watching what a careful driver he'd become.

All night he drank nothing but Coke. Most of his old friends treated him as if he were wired with explosives. But that was all right. He expected that.   

It took some prodding, but Tammy Lucas agreed to dance with him. He had almost forgotten how good a woman smelled.

"So what's it like being locked up?" she asked. At least she wasn't afraid of him.

He stared into her eyes, thinking of what to say, afraid of saying the wrong thing. After a few moments, he realized he was still staring.

"What did you miss most?" she asked. The way she squinted made it clear she was growing uncomfortable.

That's when he kissed her. He put his hands in back of her head and planted a good one.

"I sure missed that," Boyd said.

She pushed him away and ran back to her friends. They told Big Roy behind the bar and Big Roy asked him to leave.

He wanted to explain but decided he'd do better to just walk away, like the doctors had told him. At one time, he would have popped Big Roy in his fat face and told everyone to kiss his ass, maybe drop his drawers for good measure.

He was trying to be good, but it seemed like the universe was in cahoots to cause him grief. His meds had him in a kind of daze and it was too much trouble to fight through the fog.

He continued driving and tapping out the rhythm of the wipers when his tires felt like they slid from under him. He spun around, facing the wrong way, and stopped the truck smoothly, proud of himself. Maybe his luck was about to change, he thought.

Just then, Sheriff Conroy skidded into Boyd, head on. Their front ends locked, like two elks in combat.

"Boyd, you sorry ass drunken sonuvabitch,” the sheriff said as he squeezed out of his car. “Your goin’ back to where you belong." 

"Merry Christmas," Boyd mumbled, through thickened fog. 

The sheriff wasn't in a holiday frame of mind.  

Wayne Scheer has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net. He's published hundred of stories, poems, and essays in print and online, including Revealing Moments, a collection of flash stories, available at

A short film has also been produced based on his short story, "Zen and the Art of House Painting." Wayne lives in Atlanta with his wife and can be contacted at