“Candy Claus” – an original work of fiction in The Inlander

She came at closing time, three nights before Christmas. Darla was up front, doing what she did with the office machines, while I sat in back, wondering how long I could keep the walls from closing in. Darla buzzed me and said, “You’re going to want to see this one,” all whispery. “Seems real nice.”

Uh-huh, I thought. They all seemed nice when they first walked in, and Darla liked nice. She had four asthmatic cats, a crippled Chihuahua, and a husband doing a long stretch down at Walla Walla for aggravated assault. Still, she wanted everyone nice, everyone holiday cheerful. She wanted me to want that too, to find a nice bride, for instance, the two of us early to bed and early to rise, and raising a litter of citizen saps. She had no idea how Candy had ruined me, how far I’d fallen.

Read the whole story and more Holiday Noir in The Inlander.