Not Your Old-Fashioned Mrs. Claus

Betty Claus from Alex Wilson’sThe Last Christmas of Mrs. Claus” in Thoughtcrime Experiments is no round-cheeked old woman:

It was six o’clock. Santa had said he needed to leave at eight. So Betty had made Christmas Eve dinner while listening to—instead of participating in—the big special ops campaign game online. She’d garlic-salted the yams to the tune of Gomez unloading his Glock into a drug dealer. She’d painted the ham with maple glaze while Williams punctuated Patty Smyth’s “Goodbye to You” with bursts from his assault rifle. “Her boys,” as she called them, didn’t take a lot of eggnog in their rum.

Indeed, she is one of the most badass characters I have ever read.

Betty used to love the cold. The first thing she did when she finished her two years at Camp Doha outside of Kuwait City was go off camping solo in the Pennsylvania mountains for the holidays. She was thankful then for the solitude and chilly nights. She ate corn pasta and fruit leather and thought not-quite-seriously about scaring a college admissions officer for fucking with her financial aid, ho ho ho.

But somewhere between midnight and dawn, Betty had heard a rustle outside her tent. Her bear bag was strung up from a tree a few yards from camp. She caught her future husband pawing at it.

She shot Santa twice in the belly with her .22. It would have been more if she hadn’t needed to reload after each one. But before she got her third round into the chamber, Santa convinced her he was no animal. He was just a hairy, hungry old man, as unthreatening to Betty as her practice rifle was to him.

This story is a lot of fun to read, and, like the rest of what I’ve seen so far in Thoughtcrime Experiments, it comes at speculative fiction from an unusual direction, writing from the point of view of an unusual, and unusually well-realized character. Awesome.

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2 responses to “Not Your Old-Fashioned Mrs. Claus

  1. Thanks, Erica!

  2. Anytime. It was a great story 🙂

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