Happy Birthday to the Ink Monkey himself.
Yesterday, I sent the following out to almost everybody on my gmail contact list. But, this morning I realized that I haven’t exchanged mails with all of you yet. And I don’t like to leave anyone out. Especially if they might be a very good person… with a spectacular bum.
So here is my Christmas story…
“Hi to everyone on my gmail contact list!
I’m not sending you cards or presents this holiday season.
What? Did you send ME something?
Instead I am going to tell you a story.
It is a story about love… life… and six other things.
Don’t be alarmed if this story changes you on a very fundamental level. That’s just how I do things.
(I’m way too lazy to un-include the people I barely know that, for whatever reason, ended up on my contact. Happy holidays to you strangers too!)
And here it is…
Kyle had been sitting in the bar for a half hour before he noticed the Xmas decorations.
It was early November!
Did her story just finish? They are all laughing. Crap.
Kyle laughed. Or tried.
Kyle was a fifth wheel on this particular evening. And the other two sets of wheels were smack dab in the middle of their honeymoon periods.
He was still trying to figure out the exact number of beers he could drink to numb the pain without loosening his tongue too much.
He liked all these people.
“I’m going to get another beer. Everyone good?” He asked no one in particular.
They ignored him and loudly planned some future trip to Greece.
Kyle walked to the bar. As he arrived, a stool opened up. He sat on it as quickly as humanly possible.
The bartender glanced at him from where he stood chatting up a hot blonde, who was working hard to seem five years younger than she actually was. Kyle held up his empty bottle. The bartender grudgingly grabbed a refill and brought it over to Kyle. Kyle passed him some cash and the bartender returned to his cougar-wrangling.
Kyle looked back at his table.
Just at that point, they all began squealing about something that apparently tickled their collective fancies.
Kyle visibly shuddered.
He turned to find the TV behind the bar. A college basketball game was on. Kyle exhaled and took a sip of his beer.
Maybe this wouldn’t be too painful.
His moment of zen was interrupted by hooting and hollering from a table near the entrance.
Curiosity overcame his desire not to move and he swiveled around on his stool. It was a group of five people who seemed to be celebrating something or other. He was going to swing back around to his game when he noticed her.
She was very pretty.
Okay… she was hot.
But, he had just come out of a relationship, and wasn’t looking for someone new.
He looked at her a bit closer.
She was extremely hot.
She had brownish hair, with some of those highlight dealies. He thought. Maybe.
As he debated the finer points of her coif with himself, some dude approached her.
He looked like a lawyer. Or a Wall Street guy. Kyle could see the waves of smarm emanating from him.
“Ugh,” Kyle said into his bottle.
But, as quickly as Smarm Boy had arrived, he had been dispatched.
Kyle was intrigued by the look of disdain on her face.
Kyle found “bitchy” to be very sexy.
Smarm Boy was followed up by a string of wannabe suitors over the next hour.
There was Muscle Shirt Guy. Bad Comb-Over Dude. Mullet Guy. Slightly Less Bad Comb-Over Dude. The Blonde Cougar That Had Been Talking to the Bartender. We Could See That He Was a Player From Outer Space Fella. And Joe Piscopo.
Not one of them even got the chance to sit down next to her.
Then two barely out of college guys strolled up beside her. They weren’t taking “no” for an answer. One guy even kept putting his hand on her shoulder, despite her attempts to brush it off. Her table mates seemed oblivious. The situation appeared to be escalating as the two guys were trying to drag her out of her chair, and presumably towards the dance floor.
Kyle put down his beer, got off his stool and started over. He straightened his shirt. He fixed his hair a little.
When he got there, he stepped directly in between the two guys and the girl. He stared each of the guys in the eyes. He didn’t flinch. He even scowled a little. They were slightly bigger than he was. He turned to look at the confused, but a little relieved, woman.
“You gave me herpes, you traaaaaamp!!”
Her mouth fell open.
The two guys began blathering. “We were just–” “Sorry for the inconvenience–” “I think I forgot my iron plugged in–“
And they bolted.
The woman slumped back into her chair. She was still a little in shock.
Kyle took a seat in an empty chair next to her. He motioned for the waitress to get the woman a refill and another beer for him.
“You are welcome,” Kyle offered.
“Herpes?” She finally managed to say.
“It’s the first thing that came to mind. I’m Kyle.”
“I’m Sabrina. Could you have said it any louder?”
“Oh yeah, probably.”
And they started chatting.
They found that they had nothing in common. At all.
He was a laid-back fratboy type. She was a definite Type-A.
They disagreed on everything they discussed. They had different dreams, goals, ambitions, backgrounds, lifestyles, etc.
They really had absolutely nothing in common.
As the bar was closing, and they were still chatting, he excitedly asked for her number. And she gave it without hesitation.
And they dated for more than a month. They spent every available moment together.
She took him to fancy restaurants. He showed her that the earth wouldn’t stop spinning if she ate a slice of pizza off a plate fashioned from a ripped-off pizza box cover.
And with the exception of a half hour break-up when he asked if he should wear his “formal baseball cap” to the opening of a new Broadway musical, it had been the best relationship of both of their lives.
As Christmas approached, it was decided that they would go spend it back home with his family, as Sabrina’s family was “a complete train wreck of biblical proportions.”
Bible trains aside, Kyle was very excited that Sabrina would be spending the holidays with him and his family. As was his family. His mother had already started buying things for her visit. Tree ornaments with her name on it. Her own special personalized hot chocolate mug for Christmas Eve.
Kyle and Sabrina, however, were both very stressed about what to get each other for Christmas. Though neither of them would mention it.
Complicating issues was that both of them were flat-ass broke. What money he made, he spent on friends and family. And what money she made she spent on… well, shoes. And on things that would look pretty with her shoes. Like… more shoes.
Shopping days were zipping by, with neither of them making any progress.
Every conversation that they had consisted of them both listening so hard for gift ideas or hints in everything that was said.
Finally, one evening Kyle heard what he was waiting for. Sabrina had seen a purse in a store window. It was a perfect match for her most recent shoe purchase.
The very next day, Kyle rushed down to the store to check it out. His excitement turned to… no excit
ement very quickly. The price tag read $350.
Kyle was a bit bummed. But, she wanted it. And he wanted her to be happy. He’d find some way to get it for her.
That night, while Kyle watched Sportscenter in bed, Sabrina had an epiphany.
Kyle always rambled about wanting the hockey card of some old guy for his collection.
She couldn’t think of his name.
Some Canadian dude.
Gretzky. Wayne Gretzky!
She was excited. She grabbed her laptop from the table near the bed and went out to the couch.
Kyle barely noticed.
She did a bit of googling and found a card at a store only a few blocks away.
It was over $300.
But, he wanted it. And she wanted him to be happy.
She glanced down at her new shoes sitting by the couch. He friend had offered her $300 for them. She loved those shoes. She hated to even think about selling them. But, he REALLY wanted the card.
The trip back to his family home was pretty smooth on Christmas Eve. The weather co-operated. Traffic wasn’t bad.
The reception Sabrina received at the house, however, was a bit overwhelming. People were hugging her from all sides.
Much to her surprise, she loved it.
She loved them. All of them. Even Uncle Doug, with the hugs that lingered just a big too long.
They sang carols that evening. They watched A Charlie Brown Christmas. Or whatever it’s called. She giggled watching Snoopy dance.
She thought holidays like this only happened on TV and in movies.
Her face hurt from smiling.
She even got her own matching wool sweater like everyone else in the family. It was all itchy-like, but she powered through. She had never experienced such a sense of true belonging. She loved it.
Towards the end of the evening, as the rest of the family wandered off to bed, Kyle and Sabrina decided that they didn’t want to wait until the next morning to exchange presents.
Kyle was so excited that he grabbed Sabrina’s present and almost threw it at her.
“You go first!” He blurted out.
Sabrina got caught up in the excitement. She was like a little kid. Wrapping paper flew everywhere. She opened the box inside and stopped immediately when she saw what it was.
She slowly pulled the purse out of the box.
“Kyle, I love it!!!”
She jumped on him and hugged him repeatedly.
“You really like it?” He asked, equally as excited.
“I do!” She said as she rubbed it against her cheek. “Hey– how did you afford this?”
“Well, sweetie, I had to sell my hockey card collection,” he said sheepishly.
She was completely floored.
“I-I can’t believe you did that for me.”
“Anything for you,” he said with a huge smile. “Can I have my present now?”
She was still in shock as she passed him a small wrapped box.
He excitedly tore into the wrapping.
“Cool!” He said. “A $25 gift card from the NBA store. There is a Raptors t-shirt I’ve been eyeing. Thanks, sweetie!”
“It was nothing,” she said, as she held the purse down against the matching shoes that she was currently wearing.
And then they went to bed – where she changed into a french maid uniform and invited him to do unspeakable things to her.
It was the best Christmas either of them ever had.
– fin –
I hope that you and yours have a safe and happy holiday season!