THE MISTLETOE HUNG OVER THE DOORS of the many deprived of undying agreement when it was such a night as that one. The night when the children dared to walk down the laughing stairways that exhausted its ruth and compelled its laughter under a child’s tip-toe. These nights, this moonlight made it all an ordinary occurrence, despite the dirty egg nog and rotten rum.
The many Santa Clauses stood on the cold, capacious street corners under dim, mellow streetlights, sounding bells as the dwellers dwelled through the glorious twilight. Of the hundreds that stood firm on these corners ringing and ringing was, well, a Santa Clause; a Santa Clause who was confronted by an old man, who was at least ...view middle of the document...
“On my everyday hegira,” He began. “You see, I’ve been homeless for quite some time—23 years to be exact—and, since it is Noël, I was only hoping to have a holly jolly conversation with Santa Clause.”
I buried my hands into his deep, red coat pockets, leaving the bell to briefly ding as I burrowed myself within its crimson secrecy. “I’m sorry to hear that——”
“No, no, no,” the old man interjected. “It’s quite okay! I enjoy these calm nights talking to a fellow.”
I smiled. His figure was almost an exact replica to the fictitious Saint Nick, from the plump body to the red glow on his nose.
“I’d be more than happy to speak with you,”—I pulled my hands out of my pockets, swaying them about as I tried to get a better grip on my bell—“about whatever you feel like speaking of.”
The old man considered.
“—Hegira, young man; I’d like to speak of hegira.”
“Well, to start, what on earth is hegira?”
The old man chuckled.
“It’s a journey, a quest to a more desirable place—if anything, it’s a dream.”
“A dream, huh?” I then propped my bell over my bucket and began rubbing my gloves together. “Boy, don’t I need a dream.”
Once again, the old man chuckled.
“Your dream is rather obvious, sir.”
“And how might that be?”
“Well,” the old man began, “You stand out here in the cold asking, no, waiting, for the minimum amount of charity that is a penny.” The old man reached in his pocket and pulled out twenty dollars in coins. “In other words, you dream of bringing happiness to the child-like mind. Why? Because you are Santa Clause; and Santa Clause is a giver, much like you.” He then dropped the coins in the bucket, making sure not to let one disappear into the self-made black holes in the cold, crisp snow.
The Santa Clause stood there in awe.
“I can’t accept this, sir.” I began taking out the coins, dropping a few, trying to give the coins back to the old man. “I honestly can’t accept this.”
“Nonsense, I am merely a citizen trying to give back.”
“Homeless? Yes and no. I settle in New York. This is my home. The street lights, the curtain on that window . . . until hegira makes way.”
The old man looked down at the coins that had drifted away into those portentous black holes. His sighs drained ominous smoke that raced towards the skies, but only disappeared with the cool air deep within the darkness.
“Do you know why I’m homeless, young man?”
“To make this rather quick and thorough,” the old man began, “I lost millions to the stock trade. This opium stock—it was such a popular trade. So many saw it as ‘the new water to wine.’ I would have never thought that the opium killed so many; drained so many from families and freedoms.”
I stroked my ghostly beard, mumbling words of pity and gibberish.
“So you think giving away your earnings will rid of your guilt.”
“No, it is far from that!” the old man declared. “I give away my findings to the children who live with garbage that...