Short Stories, A Christmas Cactus and Nothing To Watch On Netflix: Mundanity Strikes Again

I bought a christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) last year. I got it home, put it near a window and left it be. All the pretty pink buds fell off and I didn’t get a single flower. Apparently they don’t like to be moved. I have nurtured this strange little Brazilian cactus for the last year. I fed her, watered her, moved her in and out of sunlight. I put her in darkened rooms to try and get her to bud. Nothing. Nada. Not a hint of pink. That is until the last week or so, when it finally sprouted exotic looking flower buds and is now trying to flower at last. Apparently they are fickle plants: they grow up on trees in the rainforest and so don’t like to be moved, hence the buds falling. They might be called a ‘cactus’ but are truly a succulent that likes dampness and water. I have been spraying mine with a fine mist and carefully watering regularly. Finally it has paid off. The blooms are iridescent and luxurious. I am quite proud of ‘Frieda’ as I call her. I give all my plants names. Frieda sits next to a Mexican cactus called Federico. I like to think they don’t mind sharing window space. I can’t help but wonder if this time next year I will still be here in my home, watching Frieda flower again, or if it will all go horribly wrong and me and Frida will be parted forever. Schlumbergera are long lived – up to a hundred years. She should outlive me by far. I wonder by how far? If I can just see another year through, it would mean everything to me. I will deal with the year after that when that happens, I suppose.

I have settled into a holiday season routine: I write and work in the mornings, stop around 3pm to eat some lunch and watch TV. There is nothing to watch this year on Netflix. Last year there was Elves – a gorgeous Danish fairytale horror story about killer Elves on a remote island over the Christmas period. There was Love Hard, a cute little romcom. If y you haven’t seen either of these and are in the mood for good festive non-challenging television shows, you could do worse than these two offerings. This year? Nothing. I finally relented and watched Wednesday. It was ok, but not earth-shaking, and definitely no Stranger Things or Squid Games in terms of impact. Quite simply Wednesday did so well because of the total lack of anything else to watch that is new and interesting. It is the only thing available on the ubiquitous Netflix, that is at all tempting, hence everyone and their dog’s mother settling down to watch. The Harry and Megan thing is dullsville. Pure privileged whining. I like the two of them, and hope they are enjoying life, but have no desire to feel as if I am their impromptu counsellor. Watching the documentary feels like an imposition on my emotions and time. I don’t doubt they were both treated appallingly, and that race was the main motivator for their treatment by the British Royal Family and their media lapdogs. I am just not interested in getting involved, and as a viewer I feel as if I am being asked to choose sides in a fight I have no interest in. It is the lack of guts and balls, the absolute self-pitying, when they are rich, they have excellent security and all the options in the world to run to, when there are people out there, in huge danger, with not a fraction of their resources. In short, it is boring and crass, but I do not doubt anything they are saying.

I have put some of my short stories on my blog to read for free, as a thank you to my wonderful and loyal readership. I hope you enjoy taking a few turns down the backroads of America with me, and peering into the dark corners and basements where the wild and uncanny things roam. Let’s see if we can survive this supernatural peek into the darkness together.

Enjoy this quiet time before the onslaught of prescribed fun which is the festive period.

Detroit. Dec 2022

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