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A Christmas Fable

The weather that Christmas week was wicked, unrelenting storms of hail and wind and snow. Christmas Eve night was no different. Huddled in his over-size TBL coat, but still freezing cold, nineteen-year-old BJ Falstaff plowed the thick-blanketed side streets of upper Harlem, heading south towards Central Park. He either had heard or remembered a shelter being down there in the low hundreds between Lexington and Fifth. BJ focused his concentration. Where ever that shelter was he had to get there soon; the feet he walked on had become like wooden, unfelt stumps.

Jolting him from a trance of automatic slogging, something clutched his right elbow and from it an electric charge shot through his body. BJ, head jerking around to confront, mind readying for fight, grunted "Huh?" in consternation as he looked in the face of a smiling young fellow about his own age.

The broad smile was supported by a pleasant voice that said, "So you're Master BJ, right? And you're down and out and not to mention mucho frio. Correcto?"

Frowning, BJ shrugged his elbow free and studied the beaming fellow, his bright eyes, the teeth shiny white against his brown face. More befuddled, less belligerent, he said, "So!"

Smiley pulled a tablet from an inner coat pocket, fingered the keyboard, said, "Well Brother, sez here you're due for a three month Where-Ever trip. All paid up. You just gotta say Yes, Oui, Si, Da, Hai, Ji, or - . You getting all this, right?"

BJ blinked a snowflake from his eyelashes, which might've cleared his confusion. Then maybe challenged by the gleam in Smiley's eyes, maybe his impish grin, BJ said, "Hell, yes!"

At which Smiley said, "Well, Bro. Hop aboard and let's go!" And BJ only then realized there was a lime-green Pedi cab on the street beside them.

Now BJ hesitated, looked Smiley in the face and said, "But who - ? What charity - ? How - ?"

Smiley put up pale placating palms - a practiced move - as if BJ was a cop. "No problem, my brother. Santa's helper, Claude. That's who I am. Just one of thousands. A member of the giveaway tribe."

"But, but," stammered BJ, touching his own face, "but you're - "

" - Black?" interjected Claude. "Big deal. Had to happen, man. Think of all those elusive and private entries and exits. All those lovely excited ladies and lasses. It just had to happen."

Upon which they shared knowing grins and slapped palms, and seating themselves in the cozy Pedi cab, sledged off and away.

Moral: Expect immodest miracles in the Apple

(c) Kelvin Christopher James Dec.24.'13