A Frisson of Schadenfreude

By Roger Haydon

When Ray shuts his yellow front door at the start of December, he disappears.
A taxi turns up in the early morning and he is gone until next year’s April.

Ray is a fortunate man, a good pension and family in New Zealand.
Relatives can be a pain but New Zealand is in summer when we are in winter.

Ray isn’t smug, doesn’t flaunt his blessings but we all know
he is sunning it twelve thousand miles away when we aren’t, the bastard.

This year we all felt a frisson of schadenfreude, spherical with spikes on and invisible.
Ray has missed our summer, isolated in a New Zealand winter.

Satisfaction? You bet. Jealousy? You bet.
Village life writ small.

Roger retired from the NHS in 2012. After a patchwork career of
dry as dust reports, he’s having fun writing flash fiction, short
stories and even the occasional poem.

I wrote this prompted by a weekly online (sadly) Workers Educational
Association creative writing class. I’ve got mixed feelings about how
people are responding to the strictures of the pandemic and this piece
kind of reflects that. I think I read and watch too much news.

I’m depressed about how people are suffering in the pandemic versus the confused and useless messages we all are being fed. I think I’ve moved beyond anger to sad resignation.

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1 year ago

Clever, direct, vivid. Great voice. Glad you got out from under the dusty reports.

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