Dec 16, 2022·edited Dec 16, 2022Liked by Justin Deming

Old Black Train, Fiction

For this sleepy town, it's scenery. Most don't think twice about that old black train, yet the exhilaration of machinery holds me. I know where it goes, I checked before. Further south to home and hearth, but the thought hurt. I go to Fillmore's, the new bird here to stay.

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Home for the Holidays, Fiction

At the bar, Frederick wore his winter coat. He clutched a tall pint, a smile spread across his sweaty face.

“Screw ‘em,” Frederick shouted to the empty house. “I don’t need anybody, really…”

“All I want for Christmas is you,” he said to his drink. The bartender feigns a smile.

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I throw back the last watery brown slug of bourbon. It does nothing to soothe the lump in my throat. The phone rings behind the bar. The bartender answers and her eyes land on me. She nods and hands me the receiver.


“Baby?” he says.


“Please come home.”

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Last orders at the Lonely Shepherd, Fiction

When the bell rings, Jimmy McClarty wobbles to his feet, insisting that he’s driving home for Christmas.

“You’ll do no such thing,” you warn him.

Ruddy-cheeked, he waits until you’ve chased out the other stragglers.

You know there’s nobody waiting for him at home.

You’re just the same.

“I’ll drive.”

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Dec 16, 2022·edited Dec 16, 2022Liked by Justin Deming


This night in Scotland is a dazzle of lights!

Enchanted children glide ‘round the ice rink.

Snow-kissed carolers stroll the lanes,

Singing of holly and ivy.

Glistening Christmas markets offer endless treasure.

The pub fills our heads with the warmth of mulled wine.

Toes tap to fiddles and pipes.

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Oslo, last century. Before the unwanted sales career. Before the late ex-husband. Before an aquavit-free future. Melted snow puddling beneath the julebord: lutefisk, warm gingerbread pepperkaker and geitost, that nutty brown goat cheese. Amidst the clatter of conversation, we smile through wine-stained teeth. Raise mugs of glogg to brighter days.

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Dec 16, 2022Liked by Justin Deming

Meeting Santa

“Twas the Night Before Christmas.” He spoke.

I turned to meet the bright blue eyes of a stranger. His jolly smile declared him trustworthy. The vintage Santa garb he was wearing shouted something else entirely.

“I’m not interested, buddy. Go peddle your “Happy Holidays” cheer somewhere else.”

And he did.

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Dec 16, 2022Liked by Justin Deming

Christmas at the Fillmore, Fiction

I'd never seen anyone actually cry in their beer, but there he was, smutty face streaked by tears. Hands shaking from cold though he'd been here as long as me— Hours. Wanting to be discreet as he raised his pint again, I leaned in and whispered, "Zat You, Santa Claus?"

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Dec 17, 2022Liked by Justin Deming

The Last Christmas, Fiction

The pub smells of whiskey and cedar. People chat over the hums of Christmas songs.

The bartender slides another drink in front of you. Your ring clinks against the glass.

Your phone vibrates from a text: I’m sorry.

You delete it and twist the ring off of your finger.

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Dec 16, 2022·edited Dec 16, 2022Liked by Justin Deming

Yuletide Mashup, Fiction

The hearth blazed hot inside the Star & Cross. The men of Churchwood raised their steins and celebrated the Christmas lunch they provided to the village’s poor.

Suddenly, they heard such a clatter they ran to the pub’s windows.

A host of heavenly angels serenaded them, “God rest ye merry gentlemen!”


I invite you to read my story on my publication, and find out more "About this Story". I'm new on Substack and I look forward to growing my readership:


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I’m going to come back later and share a 50-word story. I love this image!

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Waiting By The Fire, Fiction

As he waited, huddled in the cracked leather armchair by a fire perfect for roasting chestnuts, Christmas Eve bundled on. The pub emptied.

Still he waited. For what? Nobody knew.

But, for him, the bells never rang out for Christmas Day.

Somewhere, he is still waiting.

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