Turtle's Christmas Pact


by Meg Tuite

It was endless hours since Turtle had made her pact with Jesus and still her Mom was persistent on dying. Turtle sat and stared intently at the spot on her Momma's belly where the nurse said the cancer howled. Turtle wished she could crack it open like eggs and scoop out all that greasy tang of disease inside. She had lost all patience with Jesus and his horde of saviors. She had been determined to take action. She had stretched out all her Christmas presents around her Mother's bed and made sure that each one touched the one before it, like a train of good will that Jesus could just whoop up when he was ready. Turtle always made it a habit of being precise with everything she did.

She had closed her eyes tight, bowed her dirty blonde head and prayed like the girls did at school every morning.

"Dear Jesus," she said out loud. "I am terminating my ownership of these here toys your son, Santa, was nice enough to give me. I'm sending them back to you. Don't worry, I won't watch or anything. Go ahead and grab 'em all, but you don't get a damn-dastardly thing, not even the Easy Bake oven, unless you snatch out that cancer bubbling under Momma's skin too." Turtle made sure to be as blunt as possible with her deal.

She opened a kernel of an eye to check on things after a long while, but the toys were still lined up and waiting. She must have knelt in that spot for a million years and that jackass of a saint hadn't done a damn thing. Turtle's knees were getting rug burn. She was sure she'd used the right words and even spewed out about a zillion AMENS.

Finally, she opened her eyes and looked up, cause that's where all the girls always looked.

"Listen here, you son of a bitch! I'm not afraid of you or your hell, got it?" She pointed a finger up in the air for emphasis.

Her Mother opened her eyes for a minute. "Turtle-dee, honey, could you play with your toys in another room? Momma's trying to rest."


BIO: BIO: Meg Tuite's writing has appeared in numerous journals including Berkeley Fiction Review, 34th Parallel, Epiphany, JMWW, One, the Journal, Monkeybicycle and Boston Literary Magazine. She has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize. She is the fiction editor of The Santa Fe Literary Review and Connotation Press, author of Domestic Apparition (2011) San Francisco Bay Press, Disparate Pathos (2012) Monkey Puzzle Press, Reverberations (2012) Deadly Chaps Press, Implosion and other stories (2013) Sententia Books and has edited and co-authored The Exquisite Quartet Anthology-2011, stories from her monthly column, Exquisite Quartet published in Used Furniture Review.