Fright Nights   

Published 28th October 2022

Here’s the thing…

It’s the season to be scared. Time for pumpkin spice lattes, ‘Hocus Pocus’, and good old fright night fun. But there’s a hiccup. This year’s “fright nights” have been rebranded. Now, the cost of your central heating is far more frightening than a trip to Alton Towers, and no matter how fabulous Jamie Lee Curtis may be in the latest ‘Halloween’, it’s nothing compared to the government’s current saga. I give you: “Trickle down or Treat” economy, an exorcism of Prime Ministers, and a cabinet that changes more than shapeshifting demons. Someone please put a drop of something stronger in my pumpkin spice latte… 

Someone who says it better…

‘@trussliz hold ur nerve babe u got this.’ – Tweet by Joe Lycett

Here we go then…

When the BBC was accused of a “leftie bias”, comedian Joe Lycett stepped it up on the Laura Kuenssberg show, and was sure to express that he “LOVED IT” following Liz Truss’ comments regarding her leadership bid (he’s very right wing). 

But apparently this display of his avid support, along with various encouraging tweets, did little to inspire Liz to go the distance. Indeed, even an iceberg lettuce in a blonde wig has more political longevity (even if it probably did have to sit on a lorry just to make it through customs). Although, let’s be fair, she did succeed in sinking the pound to record lows. Jolly good work; now off you go and enjoy your £115,000 yearly stipend (for life) for a job well done, whilst the peasants keep working for wages that don’t even reflect inflation. 

Meanwhile, many have complained about Joe’s approach. How DARE he take that sarcastic tone? How DARE he undermine the Prime Minister (sorry: ex-Prime Minister… I can’t draft this blog fast enough). But why are they so outraged? Joe Lycett is a comedian. It’s literally his job to keep us laughing. And right now, we need it. And what’s more, we’re supposed to be good at it. We’re British. We millennials are often furiously maligned for our lack of chest-beating patriotism, but if there’s one thing that does make me proud to live on this wildly eccentric little island then it’s our sense of humor (and Paddington Bear, obviously – the only refugee the cabinet actually cares about). We Brits are supposed to be fluent in sarcasm, wit, self-deprecation, along with reserving the most scathing of insults to be used as terms of endearment. But our notorious British humour is struggling. Why? We’ve got two problems. One: a large percentage of us, are busy taking ourselves far too seriously. Two: the rest of us have reached our limit. It’s just not funny anymore. And it’s getting harder and harder to laugh especially when there are ostensibly sane people whose actual response was to “bring back Boris”. Ah, yes – good old Boris. Such fond memories. Remember the parties whilst we were all in lockdown? Depriving kids in need from their only meal? Yep (incidentally, he’s on a stipend too). Here comes some fiction. I entered this piece of Flash for a previous competition, but it feels quite relevant again amid the current cost of living crisis (unfortunately). 

Let’s get creative…

I started this blog to embrace my creative writing, so I’m trying to challenge myself to write a poem, short story or flash fiction to accompany every post. (Makes another coffee. Procrastinates. More coffee.) Right, here goes… 

“Golden Tickets

A piece of Flash fiction by Chrissy Kett

Inspired by the 2020 Free School Meals Campaign during the pandemic

Sam sleeps soundly, oblivious to my gaunt cheeks and the tirade in my head. 

“Can’t she budget?” 

“Just a cash flow problem.”

“Bad mother.” 

I stroke my protruding belly. Not long. Another mouth to feed. 

His eyelids flutter. “Mummy?”

I wipe my cheeks. 

“Please,” I beg, as rain pours down mercilessly. 

A crowd joins me, pressing me against the gates. I struggle to breathe. Drowning with hunger and crushed by rage. 

The government gives way to pressure, and we pour into the factory. Suits inspect our crumpled golden tickets.

I look at injustice shining from candy canes, locked in glass cabinets. I’m hit by the smell of indifference, as a congealed, beige river flows with bruised fruits rotting on top. 

“We’ve provided for you,” the suits gloat. 

“My baby’s coming soon,” I say, as I clutch my belly. “This won’t feed my son.” 

Desperate cries join mine, but we’re answered with sneers and condemnation. 

Cries turn to screams as the suits start snatching our golden tickets from our thin, cold hands. 

SMASH. The sound of glass shattering. A football breaks through the roof, bouncing at my feet. 

I stare up at the hole in the roof, shielding my eyes from the spotlight that illuminates the hideous scene for the entire world to see. 

Tickets are begrudgingly reallocated.

“You stopped reading.” Sam brings me back to my surroundings. 

“Sorry,” I tell the two round faces looking up at me. “Let’s finish it tomorrow.” 

“Does he smash through the roof?” 

He smashes the entire establishment… 

Later, I peep through the door to check on them. 

Sam sleeps soundly, but my youngest returns my gaze.

“Why did you call me Marcus?” he asks. “Because you like football?”

I smile. Let him think I chose the name just for the sport.

Enough creativity. I’m a ‘Type A’ personality–give me a list!

Life’s a bit serious. So here’s a list of four Disney villains I’d rather see in the cabinet…

  • Prime Minister – Hades: he’s literally the gatekeeper of hell – seems fitting. 
  • Chancellor – Jafar: you’ve got to hand it to him, he’s fluent in manipulation tactics. 
  • Health Secretary – Ursula: she might steal your voice, but at least this witch is clued up on her medical terminology. She knows how to sing about ‘larynxes, glossitis et max laryngitis’ as she reflects on all those ‘poor unfortunate souls.’ 
  • Minister for Women & Equalities – Gaston: we were looking for a misogynist, right? 

Let’s cut to the last eight bars shall we?

I confess I’ve stolen this from my mother-in-law, but it’s one of her many sayings that I just love. 

In this ongoing government saga, I think it’s fair to say that the summer circus has become a series of ‘Fright Nights’. And when Disney villains are looking like less bad candidates, it’s all a bit frightening. Quick. Someone bring out Mickey and Minnie to save us all from this terror. But jokes aside, people are struggling, and we’re in for a tough winter ahead, so as Cinderella would say, “Have courage and be kind.” Or something less saccharine… 

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About Me

Hi, I’m Chrissy! I’ve started this blog to celebrate the Arts. I’m a performer who’s taking a little break from being a ‘talking prop’, and am enjoying the teaching and writing side of things. If you want to know a little bit more about me and my writing journey check out my About page.

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