A fat man dressed in bright red threw an empty burlap sack into the back of a truck, took off his hat, and put it with the bag. He ran his hands through his pure white hair, and sat on the edge of the truck. He pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket, brought one to his lips and lit it, taking a long and pronounced drag.
“So many fucking children.” The man exhaled the smoke and quickly took another lungful in. “We need another plague.”
After finishing the cigarette, the man took another one out and lit it. He threw the empty packet to the side of the road, and started tapping his pockets to see if he had any more. He found a full packet just as he was finishing his second cigarette. He stood up, closed the back doors of his truck, and made his way to the cabin. He climbed in, shutting the door behind him, and put the key into the ignition. Before he turned it, the man looked to the left at the woman sitting in the passenger seat.
“We can go home now, darling.” The man placed two cigarettes in his mouth from the new packet and lit them both. He passed one to his passenger and took a drag on his.
The passenger took the cigarette and brought it to her lips. “Did you deliver everything properly or did you just throw them in the bin again?” She took a drag, held it, and then exhaled.
“Everyone got what they deserved.”
“Good. You can start driving now.”
“Of course, darling. Did you enjoy your nap?” The man turned the key in the ignition and started driving.
“No, I couldn’t get to sleep with all the noise.” The woman flicked her barely-smoked cigarette out of the open window. “You should be more quiet next year.”
“Of course. I’ve not had much practice at this.”
“You’ve had six years.”
“I know. I’ll do better next time.” The man finished his cigarette and put another to his lips.
“You smoke too much. It isn’t good for the image.”
“I don’t smoke on the job. The image is fine.” He lit the cigarette.
“Turn up here.”
“That’s not the way home.”
“There’s traffic on the normal roads. This way avoids it.”
“Okay, darling.” The man did as instructed, navigating his way through small roads, attempting to manoeuvre his vehicle through the rows of parked cars. After he scraped five different cars, the woman told him to pull over.
“Those roads were too small to get through,” the man said, turning the engine off and lighting another cigarette.
The woman snatched the cigarette from the man’s lips before he could light it and threw it out the window. “The last one managed fine.”
“Apologies aren’t good enough, I’m afraid.”
“What do you mean, darling?”
“I mean you’re being replaced.”
“You can’t replace me. I need this.” The man pulled another cigarette out of the pack.
“I need you to remove your coat and step out of the cab.” The woman allowed him to light his cigarette. “Now, please.”
The man opened his mouth to speak but the woman stopped him with a look. He did as he was told, inhaling and exhaling smoke quickly.
“Leave everything on the seat.”
The man placed his jacket onto his chair and got out of the cab. He closed the door behind him and looked at his passenger. She started to spray the coat with a freshener, and then moved onto the rest of the upholstery. He stepped away from the lorry and stopped to light another cigarette. He didn’t see the car coming from behind him. The driver didn’t see him either; he was asleep at the wheel. The collision awoke the driver. He got out of his car and knelt beside the bleeding, folded-into-himself man, then got out his phone and dialled the authorities.
The passenger took the phone out of his hand and threw it onto the ground, smashing it. “You won’t need that anymore.”
“What the hell is wrong with you? He needs an ambulance.” The driver picked up his phone and started jabbing the screen to see if it would work. “You’ve killed him.”
“It was his time.” The woman extended her hand out to the driver, holding the coat. “Put this on.”
“What the fuck is wrong with you? We need to phone an ambulance.”
“Put this on.” The woman pushed the coat into the driver’s hands.
The driver took the coat, held it, looked at it.
“Put it on. You’ll need it.”
The man did as instructed.
“Congratulations. You’re the new Santa. You don’t smoke, do you?”
The man and his passenger got into the cab and started driving.
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© 2018 David Chitty
David Chitty was born and raised in Thanet in the 90s. He devotes most of his energies to writing fantasy fiction novels.