Hark, A Holiday Miracle
As was often the case, he got an existentially ambiguous look from the guy in the full length mirror in his apartment. He adjusted his fedora, swung the scarf around his neck, and merrily proceeded onward—down the elevator, out the front door.
Hard to imagine—he thought to himself as he stepped outside—that there is a vast universe of ten billion galaxies up there in that dome of sky-blue sky.
On the corner a man was picking up his dog’s poop in a little green bag and two men pressed close against each other, just a little suspiciously exchanging something for cash.
A billion trillion stars — his thoughts wandering back to the sky overhead — each one a ball of fire like the one blazing up above the park right now.
He switched the plastic bag he was carrying, with sixty dollars of coins he’d rolled last night, from his right hand to his left.
As he walked by the Dunkin’ Donuts on the corner a customer emerged, his ears were assaulted with a few seconds of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus—and his nose with a bouquet of burnt coffee, sugar, and industrial cleaning supplies. The combination snapped him back from his cosmic ruminations to the reality that this was indeed the last Friday before Xmas, one of the busiest days of the year for credit card chip readers all around town.
Temperature 46, Humidity 56% and the weather station in Central Park was reading a 7.2% increase of environmental EHP (Evaporated Human Perspiration) in the city’s environment. Yes, even through all the thick wintery coats—the anxiety of doing-everything- that-has-to-be-done for the holiday season was seriously ratcheted up.
He was going to visit a friend who lived downtown in a couple hours, so time allowed for a stroll through the park, which looked idyllic from the last couple days of snow. Near the Farmer’s Gate where he entered some young adults, playfully singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, were putting finishing touches on a human sized snowman. They had stuck a two-foot piece of broomstick in as a nose and were dusting the top of its head with orange kool-aid. As he walked by the woman sprinkling the powder responded to his quizzical smile—“the president” she said.
Emerging on the other side of the park he headed for the local branch of his bank to deposit the coins. Making his way past the two men dressed as Santa Claus in the lobby he got on the line for the tellers.
“Okay everybody, lay down on the floor and nobody will get hurt. Keep your eyes down.” yelled one Santa. “You tellers press any alarms and everybody here leaves in a one horse open casket,” announced the other.
He turned his head just long enough to see the two Santas, now with weapons drawn. The other two people in line slowly lowered themselves onto the wet floor, as did he.
His heart was pounding against his chest, and he suddenly realized it seemed synched to the pa-rum-pum-pum-pum of the music flooding through the bank speakers.
He grabbed his cellphone and flung it at the Santa nearest, hitting him right between the eyes. As the Round Red One was collapsing our hero grabbed his dropping firearm. Following up with a few mid-air spins, like in the martial arts films—in slow motion, he landed his right foot on the side of the Startled Santa at the teller window, knocking him unconscious. All of this action was powered by the Jingle Bell Rock soundtrack.
As the tellers and customers applauded the performance he realized this was just one of his usual imaginary heroic escapades that he envisions when under stituations of stress. A couple weeks ago he visualized himself confronting an abusive subway passenger, magically transporting him to Times Square, and leaving him naked, tied up with a bag of ice taped to his genitals, thinking: that’ll teach him to chill out. (Luckily the passenger got off on the next stop.)
Suddenly a white mitten reached under his face, grabbed him by the collar and forced him to his feet.
“You’re coming with us, in case there’s trouble.”
They led him outside where a black Escalade—the automobile of choice for criminals of a higher caliber—was waiting. Eleven pipers were piping on the car radio as he was pushed into the back seat, blindfolded, and the car raced off.
He managed to calculate approximately where they were headed for a while but then lost track as they turned and wove through traffic. Nobody said a word in the car. On the radio Nat King Cole was roasting chestnuts by an open fire.
After about 20 minutes the car stopped. The door was opened.
“Just stand there and count to 100, slowly, before you take off the blindfold.
Don’t try anything funny or Santa will bring you something you won’t like.”
As the car door was closed behind him, the sound of Do You Hear What I Hear was replaced by silence, a few birds chirping.
He waited and counted and when he removed his blindfold was amazed to be standing on the small side street in the West Village, right in front of the building where his friend lived.
As he walked up the front steps the door opened and his friend came out and asked “What was that all about? I glanced out the window and saw you just standing there, as if lost in a dream, so I came down.”
“I think it was a miracle,” our hero replied. As he glanced down to explain it all to his friend, to show him the blindfold, he found nothing in his hand but the sixty dollar deposit slip from the bank, and a cab fare receipt.
© AleXander Hirka 2019. All Rights Reserved.
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