An Xmas Tale

Arriving characteristically late to a Christmas party, we handed the hostess a box of chocolates. She glanced with undisguised dread at the gold gilded box and its merry bow and stole a sidelong glance at the children. Several members of her sons’ hockey team were at that moment trying to figure out the fastest way to get across/through/under the buffet table. Their seemingly endless fingers seemed to be working themselves under our shoes and deeply into the baba ghanoush. She forced a polite smile and shoved it in the back of a rarely–used cupboard, underneath some china so fine it had lain undisturbed for years.

An hour later, the hostess sat down, sweating. She leaned in, confidential. “Someone brought chocolates!” she declared in a shocked voice, as if relaying that someone had brought a passel of exotic, rabid monkeys and loosed them upon the guests. She is a truly wonderful woman, so I did not remind her who had committed the deed. In return, she pretended they did not exist. It was our own postmodern O. Henry moment.

Later, we mingled. We met a woman from Chile. Polite chat led to the discovery that Pinochet was one of her “personal heroes”. He was misunderstood, she felt. Democracy, she told us, is just too goddamn inefficient, what with all the talking and all. People, she said, jabber too much.

That night I had a strange, restless sleep, my night pummeled throughout by dreams of dictators having snowball fights.

That morning, I rose to read that Pinochet had been indicted. Thanks to the overly talkative of this world.

Maybe there really is a Santa Claus. And he is one righteous, jabbering bastard.


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