Worst present ever

Worst present ever 


January 01


Three knocks at the door. An owl. Nigel opened the door and invited the guest over the threshold. The porch lit up with the gummy light from the mandarin segment above. The owl wiped his wings. 

“Nigel is it?”

“And you are?”

“Sorry, I am ‘the owl’, you were expecting Gabriel, yes? Gabriel was not available today, so they sent me.”

“Ok,” Nigel nodded and led the owl through to the lounge. 

“Excellent television, holy smokes! Is it 3D?”

“It is actually.”

“Tremendous!” The owl rotated his head 180 degrees one way, then 180 the other, scanning the apartment.

“Hmm, not a bad little flat you have here, spacious yes, modern yes, did you furnish it yourself?”

“I did.”

“Twit twit twoo, get you!” his owl ears pricked up “bills inc?”


“Oh okay, well, one can’t have it all can they now?… anyhow, I’ve got you a present.”

“How lovely of you.”

“I think you’re going to really, and I mean really, really like it.”

The owl stared at Nigel, a distant stare, studying every micromovement as if he was gazing down at a field mouse from the top of some towering pine. 

This went on for a long time. 

So long that Nigel felt like he might melt, “well are you going to give it to me?”

“Oh sorry, of course!”

The owl pulled the present from under his wing, it was in a golden box decorated with cut opals, a huge shiny blue ribbon at the top, he passed it. Nigel gently opened it, stared at the contents. 


“You like it?”

“What is it?”

“It’s the new year, 2020. I got it from John Lewis.”

“Who’s that?”
“He was a man, once,” he looked at his watch, “oh is that the time? I must be-”

“Just quickly, do you have the receipt?”

The owl sighed, “come on Nigel, you get pretty much the same gift every year, you should know by now you can never, never take it back,” the owl laughed unmistakably; an obscene feathery laugh never before heard by man. He vanished.

Nigel shook his head, went to the compartment under the stairs and cast the gift on the steadily growing pile of detritus. 

Outside turned to darkness, though it was only the early afternoon.

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