Short Fiction #37 The Birthday Gift

The Birthday Gift

The small group of family and friends gathered around the table. The glow of the candles lit my face. One puff and they were out, to the cheers of everyone in the room. The flash of my daughter’s camera momentarily blinded me.

‘Happy Birthday!’ they all shouted and they launched into a shaky rendition of the traditional song.

‘C’mon, time to open your gifts.’

I took the first present. I knew it was from my wife. It had sat taunting me for days on one end of the coffee table. I ripped open the beautiful wrapping paper. I think my next expression said it all. It was not the birthday present I was expecting.

I had been giving solid hints for weeks about the latest best-selling novel I wanted to read. The wrapped up parcel looked exactly right. Surely she had heard my heavy hinting?

My gaping mouth said it all. This was most unexpected, and a little embarrassing. As I showed the title to all in the room, I heard a few gasps.

An Illustrated Guide to Pig Farming boasted the cover.

Totally bemused I flipped through a few pages. My puzzled look intensified. There seemed to be something wrong; no illustrations. I thumbed back to the title page. Now I understood. She had tricked me.

‘Thank you darling,’ I said as I kissed her cheek. She’d bought me the novel after all. ‘Nice trick to put on a false cover.’

All rights reserved.

Copyright 2007 Trevor W. Hampel.


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