Nov 22, 2019, 05:55AM

O Holy Night

‘Tis the season for making memories alongside our loved ones. And also the horrible stuff that happens in this sad story.

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Granny Camden hugged her knees and rocked back and forth on a bench in the Greyhound bus station in Springfield, Virginia. She did this to keep warm. It was 11 p.m. on December 24. Granny had arthritis and osteoporosis and other things that ended with "itis" and "osis" that, believe me, you don't want to know about. Having said that, I bet you're wondering about them, huh? Wondering about those other ailments? They involve bodily fluids, too much of some and not enough of others. And getting "the vapors" and calling for her "smelling salts!" You know, old-lady stuff like that.

So Granny was withered and wizened, and watching with great interest the scene that was unfolding before her very eyes. See, a bunch of homeless men were gathered on the floor. One-eyed Willie was delicately constructing a miniature Christmas tree out of toothpicks and people's chewed-up gum. Trevor the Hobo Tramp had helped peel the mostly hardened gum from the undersides of seats in the Greyhound station, which was now closed with its lights dimmed. Schizophrenic "Mumbles" hadn't helped at all, just pacing and ranting about all of the "molecules" swarming about the air. Little Jimmy, who rode to Springfield on a raft, up the mighty Mississippi with the help of a fugitive from a chain gang, was busy with a box of thumbtacks, hanging "stockings" for the group. And by "stockings" I mean he was nailing up a bunch of used prophylactics he had found in the parking lot. All in all, a charming scene, you must admit.

Granny watched the men (plus Little Jimmy, who was a mere lad) go about these preparations. "Lousy bums!" she'd thought in a haughty manner. "Well, screw you guys," (again, this was all in her head, not out loud). "I actually have loved ones who are coming to pick me up from this vile place any minute now. Okay so they're already two hours late. I am spending Christmas Eve surrounded by my darling daughter Cammy and her husband Brian and their huggy grandchildren who say, 'Tell us again, Granny! Tell us again about how you used to churn your own butter in the olden times! Tell us once more about how you got by during the War, equipped only with your wits and pluck! We love that shit! Really we do! Not boring at all!' and a luscious Christmas-dinner spread of a turkey and a chicken and a whole suckling pig with an apple in its mouth and a roasted wild boar that my journalist son-in-law chased down and speared on a tropical island herself. See ya, suckers!"

Only... no one ever came to pick Granny up. I mean, ever. She died there.

You thought she was going to become friends with these slimy bums, didn't you? You thought she was going to cast aside her haughtiness and illusions of grandeur and resurrect that old wit and pluck that got her by during the War, didn't you? You thought those feckless Millennial media hot take journalists Camden Camden and Brian Powell were actually married, and would’ve pulled themselves away from their hot takes and Brooklyn brunches even if they were?

Well hey, guess what happens when you "ass"-ume? You make a butt out of you and me both.


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