This story should have been placed at the end of the first week.

The story was set up for this as a mini-climax. But at the end of the day – because it wasn’t an original photo – I wasn’t comfortable putting it in. Now it’s outside of the story, that’s fine. If someone comes and says “Can you take this photo down, please.” It won’t ruin the line of the story.

It has a title. But for today it’s just “The Boxing Day Special.”

***

“Are you sure you got this right?”

The older man nodded.

The were in a barn.

“It was a place like this. And there was the mother and…not the father. But not in a daylight-broadcast shout show way. The birth was strange. And the strange was wondrous. This was why the child was venerated.”

The first nodded. “Ok. So. The woman is pregnant – in a manner that is strange, but which you don’t remember. And they travel for miles.”

“Yes! Across the snowy tundra, through the dark forests, they travel. And they can’t find a place to stay. And it’s ok – because she’s not ready to pop. But at the end, she’s going to give birth, and they need to stop somewhere.”

The two were cleaning out a barn. They were wrapped up warm against the chill of Coldmas.

The younger asked again. “Are…are you sure this’ll catch on? I mean – the jolly guy who brings presents is very popular.”

The older stopped, stretched his back and sighed. “I don’t know, Thorn. When I woke from this dream things made sense. That…there could be some kindness in the world. That people would help each other. And even if no one celebrates this with is – at least I’ll have that.”

They looked at the clean space in the middle of the barn and went outside to get the trough.

“Ok – so. They got to an hotel?”

The older man looked confused. “What? OH! Yes. A hotel.” He gathered his thoughts.

“And the hotel,” he continued. “It was this swanky movie star and palm tree affairs. All gold plate and zirconium. You know – posh.”

The younger man nodded, eyes gleaming at the thought of such wealth.

“So they try and check in. ‘Hello. My wife’s about to have a baby. We have no where to stay. We’re no so rich.’”

“They didn’t say that.”

“Well – not in so many words – but that was the gist.”

“What happened?”

“Well, the hotel staff said ‘Oh a baby! That’s so wonderful. Maybe you should have thought about that before traveling. You’re not staying here.’ And that went on all over town. Right down to the dive hotels that rent tubes by the 15 minutes.”

“And you wouldn’t want to lie down there, let alone have a child in a place like that.”

The older pointed. “Exactly. I’ll make you right on that one.”

“So what happened?”

“They passed through town and came to a farm. The farmer actually had no room, cussed them out, sent them on their way – but the farmer’s wife stopped them. Said that, even through they had different surnames, and had travelled carelessly, that was no reason not to help. And she lead them to the barn.”

“On their travels their story had spread, and soon people came to see this child with the wondrous heritage. And they came to see. They followed the couple.”

“That sounds odd.”

“It was more than odd. It was wondrous. If only I could remember why…”

“So – that’s it?”

“No! Three fortune tellers – a palm reader, a stone thrower and a cardomancer-”

“Credit or Debit?”

“Hmm?”

“The card guy.”

“Oh – playing.”

The younger looked even more confused. “He was an actor too?”

“What? No! Look – it doesn’t matter. They had all divined the special nature of the child and they had left the resort they were working in, rented a cart and came to  see the child. And they even bought gifts.”

“But – why?”

“It…it was because….Oh.”

And the older remembered why.

***

They spent the rest of the day dressing the barn in the style that the dreamer remembered.

And finally, they found three to play the wondrous family: Mother; Not Father – but not in a daylight-broadcast shout show way; and the baby.

“That was why it was wondrous,” whispered the older man, his voice cracking with emotion. “Because the child was the Son of Dog.”

“Are you absolutely sure you got this right?”

And this is how ideas grow.

If you totally mishear them.

***

This image was supplied by Lee. He’s Dec 8, for those who don’t remember.

If it’s you and you want it taken down, hit the contact us mail link on the website’s main page.

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