Once Bitten, Twice Busted

This morning I watched a really cute video of children explaining the events that happened in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago. When questioned about the animals in the stable they listed cows, sheep, goats, donkeys, horses, oxen, and the strong smell of manure. Not a single child mentioned chickens. Nor do I see poultry represented in standard nativity sets at Walmart.

This serious omission on the part of historians makes me cry, “Fowl.” I don’t know if  Luke intentionally left chickens out of the birth of Christ story, or if it was simply an oversight on his part. In either case, it’s a sure bet he will never be elected to the Poultry Federation Hall of Fame.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, the Mother Hen who sits at a computer and pecks out our weekly photo prompt is Chanticleer Bantam Wisoff-Fields.  If you’d like to participate in this exercise in madness, head over to her blog for step-by-step instructions. To view the FFF  Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.

copyright - Douglas MacIlroy
copyright – Douglas MacIlroy

“What is that, Professor Niggard?”

“The most dangerous insect on the face of the earth.”

“Really? Is it poisonous? Can it kill humans?”

“The bite is usually not fatal. But once bitten, the victim tends to suffer through long periods of financial instability, accumulate huge debt, and resort to compulsive behaviors beyond their control.”

“That sounds awful. Is the bite painful?”

“No. In fact most victims don’t even realize they been bitten until about a month later.”

“Can it happen to anyone?”

“Yes, but most victims are women.”

“And what do they call this insect?”

“Spendicus monēta.  The shopping bug.”

42 Comments on “Once Bitten, Twice Busted

  1. I have a s-i-l afflicted with this evil disease. Very difficult, if not impossible, to cure, especially at this time of the year. In any case, I won’t be a chicken but will wish you and your lovely wife a most merry Christmas and wonderful 2015.



  2. Chanticleer Bantam Wisoff-Fields? LOL that’s one of your best yet, Russell. My oldest daughter has been severely bitten by this evil creature. This year there is no chance of it biting me, it did however, bite my car, and seeing my car has no money, it is left to me to make regular fortnightly payments on its behalf to the mechanic. I fear next year it will come after me with a vengeance 😀


    • It appears no one is immune to this bug’s bite. Sorry to hear about your car. Raising chickens ain’t cheap either. Glad you got a kick out of Chanticleer.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds horrible, but I’ve already been bitten by the ‘stricta asinum’, which has resulted in an aversion to monetary deprivation.


  4. Dear Russell,

    I am fortunate to be without money and therefore immune to the bite of this terrible creature. The poison lingers in my system, though, so when I do find some money it rapidly disappears. Perhaps I’m not immune after all.

    This was a great story and fitting for both the prompt and the season.

    Wishing you and Connie a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.




  5. Russell, Hilarious! 😀 I probably have been bitten by that bug, but my money doesn’t leave me in big gushes. It’s more like a slow leak. A lot of the spending is due to an addiction I fell prey to years ago–eating. I even have to buy water now. That’s a shame about the chickens. 😦 Anyway, may you and yours have a Merry and Blessed Christams and Happy New Year. 🙂 — Susan


    • The slow trickle is a sure sign. When your shopping bag is filled wit worthless plastic trinkets, you know you’ve been bitten.


  6. Dear Professor,

    I’m surprised there were no chickens in the stable. After all Mary was a Jewish mother so naturally she was going to be making lots of chicken soup. I’m sure it was just an oversight on Luke’s part.

    As for the shopping bug, working retail, I’ve built up a major immunity to it. Amazon’s my friend. On Black Friday I was tucked away in my little office reading Friday Fictioneer stories and avoiding the thundering hordes of insanity.

    Happy Christmas and Merry New Year to you, Connie and the chickens.




    • Dear C. Bantam,
      Amazon is a great way to shop, but can be even more addicting than the brick & mortar stores. There’s so much variety and it’s soooo easy to sit there in pajamas and click items right into that little bottomless shopping cart .
      Happy Hanukah,
      Prof. Niggard


  7. Dear Russell,
    As a woman who hates to shop and has spent many a day working retail, I have to disagree with our good professor concerning who usually gets bitten by this bug. Women may splurge on little things–some products from Bath and Body Works, the occasional manicure, or a few items for the kitchen. Men tend to go “whole hog,” buying expensive electronics, cars, boats, fancy lawnmowers and grills. 🙂

    However, in the spirit of Christmas, I’ll put aside my gripe and tell you this was a fun, humorous flash. I did (mostly) enjoy it.

    Merry Christmas and a happy New Year, Russell.

    Peace and chicken grease,
    Marie Gail


    • I agree that men buy more big-ticket items, but I know a lot of women who to love to shop just for the thrill of it. They don’t have to spend a lot of money, but can easily consume an eight or ten hour day going from store to store touching items they are never going to buy and trying on clothes that don’t fit.

      Thanks for the chicken grease. It was finger-lickin’ good.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What the pluck, Russell — I agree with Marie! I also hate to shop. Last night I had dinner with my longtime friend, Martini Max, who couldn’t wait to show me pictures of all his Xmas gifts … to himself: several new home furnishings. But, I am sure you would equate his new bar as a necessity equal to a stove.

    Happy holidays to you, Connie and your feathered friends.


    • Yes, I remember from your post the other day how you time your shopping to minimize crowd interference, know what you, and get in and out in a heartbeat. It’s reminiscent of a Navy Seal attack on a terrorist compound. That’s the way I like to do it too. I guess we’re birds of a feather. 🙂

      If I ever make it to the Big Apple, I promise not to ask you to take me shopping.


  9. I have been bitten, and ouch, does it sting. I pay for it, too, long after the bite. The story of my life, Russell! I hope your holiday season is a happy one, with no bites!


  10. A parable for our times. The jackals in the shopping malls are sufficient to keep me away at this time of year, but as you say, Amazon is a clickfully rewarding way to shop. Have a lovely Christmas.


  11. Dear Russell, I really like your story of the shopping bug. I too, have been bitten by this financial ruining monster. For years, I never went in a store I didn’t like. Now, thank goodness, I don’t have enough money to pay for anything – let alone Christmas presents. However, I do like the dollar store – but the cheapest thing to get is a box (empty but wrapped) and let the kids make it into a ship, mountain, camp, hiding place, or whatever hits their fancy. The possibilities are endless especially if there are crayons involved.
    May you and your lovely family have a warm, cozy, and blessed Christmas. We miss you, Mike & Nan.


    • Like you, I’m so broke I can’t pay attention.

      I always thought it was funny how on Christmas morning our kids would set aside the toys and spend hours playing with the boxes. Let the imagination run wild.

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and Mike.


  12. I know a good shopping bug repellant: take a husband along on shopping trips. There’s nothing more effective at spoiling a shopping frenzy than a bored, sighing, pacing man who keeps looking at his watch and repeating the same old mantra: ‘But do you really need that?’ Takes all the fun out of it. I loved your idea and I’d like you to pass on my remedy to Professor Niggard, if you don’t mind.


    • I don’t know if anyone caught it, but the word niggard means tightwad, skin-flint, or scrooge. Thanks for the tip. I think my wife would verify that I take all the fun out of shopping too.


  13. I do not like shopping the brick and mortar stores – especially as a social event like many of my friends. On the other hand on-line shopping can catch me up. I try to delete all those advertisements in my email box announcing SALE! SALE! SALE! Happy Holidays to you, Connie and the chickens. Alicia


  14. I don’t know that most victims are women. Anybody with a credit card could be a victim. The only thing to do is burn every one of them right now! But first to get your present, Russell. Same thing as last year?


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