Academic journal article Chicago Review

A Christmas Thought

Academic journal article Chicago Review

A Christmas Thought

Article excerpt

Wandering Jew and Methodist, the two of them, deliberately feeling alien to the Yule season, jeered and grumbled when they drove by signs of the season: the draped lines of lights, the mistletoe wreaths, the brass quintet on the corner. They were in league against the Christ Child and were having a dialogue as if the both of them were Herod.

"I shall strike the babies."

"I shall not play Captain Kangaroo with them, nay."

An old tattered half-Chinese Negro walked out of the alley, leaned against the wall of the laundromat, and spat feebly, looging his phlegm on his left cuff. Then it fell and brightened over the pants of his knee, like a cobweb.

"Ho!" said the Methodist, once a conscientious tenor in his church choir.

"Oh, let's dig Mister Poor-At-Christmas again," said the Jewish crew-cut man, a lapsed Rabbi.

They drove the van once more around the block. In the back, stolen wreaths and cut-out reindeer swished and knocked. The smell was piney in there, and warm with their cigar smoke and eggnog breaths.

The van came by the laundromat once again, their windows rolled up securely. They stared at the foul and bleary half-breed, who peered deadly into the laundromat window, perhaps seeking an acquaintance or easily frightened Mexican wife he could touch. The two men stared at him, the Methodist knocking on the passenger widow so the fellow would turn around and give them his entire aspect again. He finally did turn. He, if his eyes were clear enough at all, could only have seen their mouths moving and heard nothing.

"Yo, Mister What-Christmas-Is-All-About," said the Jew.

"Is he not Mister Dickens himself?" said the Methodist. "|May I speak with you a moment, sir? …

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