Flash in the Pan


A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

The Christmas Box


by Suzanne Aubin

The Christmas box is full. It has sat on the coffee table for days, gaping open, hesitating. All presents in neat rows inside, a fetching display of matching papers, red, blue and gold. After closing the box, I will wrap it in metallic gold and then in brown mailing paper. One week before Christmas, it will startle my parents out of their routine by its boldness and sit in full view on their coffee table.

My dad was caught once rooting through the box with his blunt fingers although he never admitted to looking for his presents. My mother wraps and re-wraps the package, adding a ribbon, changing a bow, fussing over it as she used to fuss over the tree.

"The box is our Christmas," she often says. There is always a surprise item, an odd-shaped implement or an unusual object which gives away no clue as to its use and normally does not have a name. "A thing to hang something from?" they blurt, "Something to put a glass on?" It becomes their conversation piece when the family visits, the guesses getting wilder and bolder as the wine flows.

Shopping starts in October when flea markets and craft fairs abound. I can hear my mother's voice behind me, telling me not to bother, not to fuss. She must know that it is getting more difficult to choose every year: the door is slowly closing, their needs dwindle. Yet, I plan the box around the same toy every year, a hand top that always sits in the middle. This one will be the tenth in a collection that my mother loves to show off.

"My dad used to bring us tops from his trips to town", she says, pulling the string with a quick flick of the wrist.

The top flies and lands on the table, gaining speed while listing dangerously to one side. It finds center and straightens itself out, colours and lines blurred and unbalanced. My sister once walked in on my parents, racing their tops down the length of the dining table, heckling and hooting till one of them dropped.

I want them to laugh and feel like kids when they open this, remembering all the cereal boxes they had emptied to find the plastic submarines and make them float for me. Will they know I would rather hold their hands in mine than ship them a package? Make them tea rather than print their address in bold letters?

I lay the paper on top like a shawl on their shoulders; metallic flashes of colour disappear behind layers of brown craft paper. One by one, I push the flaps down and close the box.


Native of Québec City, Suzanne Aubin lived around the world before settling in British Columbia where she teaches languages, does translations and writes in her spare time.. Her latest publications include BluePrint Review, Flash Flooding, Salomé Magazine, Flash Flood Fiction, Muscadine Lines and La Fenêtre magazine. She received an Honourable Mention in the latest Mirrors and Masks Mindprints contest and a first place in the Salt Flats book o'salt January Flash contest.


Native of Québec City, Suzanne Aubin lived around the world before settling in British Columbia where she teaches languages, does translations and writes in her spare time.. Her latest publications include BluePrint Review, Flash Flooding, Salomé Magazine, Flash Flood Fiction, Muscadine Lines and La Fenêtre magazine. She received an Honourable Mention in the latest Mirrors and Masks Mindprints contest and a first place in the Salt Flats Book o’Salt January Flash contest.

Tenth Flash


Emergency Room by Jack Swenson
The Ambulance by Antonia Albany
On Dandelions by Alegria Imperial
A Similar Fate by Melanie Surani
Mr. Parker 1972 by Andrea Marcusa
Catch Of The Day by Barbara Toboni
Raking The Beach by Marion Agnew
Untitled by Jo Lauer


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