He was small, but looked tall, dressed in a flowing robe, standing by the pay phone, a bottle of wine cleverly covered with a brown paper bag in one hand, a box of Chicken McNuggets in the other.
“Who are you, and, and why did you call me?” I grumbled.
“I am sthe spirit of Christmas Present, and I called you because I am intoxicated, and you are not! Come with me you miserable creature, I have only one hour to spend on this puny little planet!”
Come with me he says? What madness is this?
“Get in the truck, I said. And don’t make a mess!
He did not budge.
“Fine then, be done with it,” I said, and tugged his robe. Seconds later we were “in the truck.”
We sped through the city streets toward our destination. I sat in the Captain’s seat, trying to ignore the apparition before me. He watched me, wise eyes shining, and laughed heartily as we bounced along.
“You don’t even see it, do you?” Homeless Santa asked.
“What do I not see.”
“Life man! It’s all around you, and it’s passing you by. Look at me! I have nothing but am full of the Milk of Human Kindness!”
“You are full of something, that much is true.”
“See outside these windows!”
He pointed to the rear of the truck, through the dirty glass. Lights blurred past, white ones, colored ones, some blinking some not.
“Tell me what you see.”
“I see a bunch of morons who can’t afford to put food on their table putting up stupid lights to celebrate something they cannot pay for!”
“You cannot “pay for” happiness you wretched creature! You sit there, on your throne of discontentment and judge these happy souls, these brothers and sisters who want nothing more that the chance to work, and be with their families, and put a goose on their table at Christmastime. And you wallow in self pity, and wish you could do more, and have more, and spend more so that your own family will appreciate you! Good God, man have you learned nothing! Life is passing you by, and you are letting it!
“I’ll have you know, I am a man of utmost character, well respected in the community! And you are a bum!”
“A bum I may be, but my soul is light from the knowledge that my fellow man is good, and generous and kind. I am not weighed down by the chains you have forged these forty years passed. You see no cell phone, no vehicle to pay for, no mortgage to tie me to this existence.”
He passed the paper bag toward me.
“Now drink, man and know how it feels to be free!”