Emily, who was fixated on their uninvited but utterly charismatic guest was roused from her unabashed ogling.
“Uh…right, yes. Sure!” she said rising and heading over to the china cabinet where she grabbed an extra Rosenthal place setting and laid it in
front of their visitor.
“Um. I hope you like Tuna Helper. It doesn’t have any tuna but the kids still like it.”
Martha made a gagging face and tagged someone on Facebook.
“Good evening, young lady.”
“Sup.” Nodded Martha as she updated her Tumblr profile.
“Are you not thankful for your mother’s wonderful cooking? On this of all nights we should be grateful for the bounty which we receive.”
Martha simply rolled her eyes.
“Well, I for one am grateful for your generosity. As a pescetarian I appreciate your humble offering.”
Emily seemed perplexed, “A what?”
“Someone who eats fish.” He replied which caused all of them to nod dreamily in agreement.
Their reverence was broken when the front door slammed shut from the wind and caused them all to whip their heads around in surprise. When they
returned their attention to the unexpected guest they were stunned to see a small tuna resting atop his mound of Helper.
“Where the hell did that come from?” Bob exclaimed as Timmy gaped in awe.
“The Lord provides my dear friends. Shall we?” he said and nodded towards his plate.
“Uh, dad, I need to tal…” Timmy began.
“Not now Timbo,” his father replied, we have a guest, and turning his attention to their guest, “We’re not really into sushi but knock
yourself out.” And retook his seat.
As they all tucked into their meal their unusual guest broke the silence. “You seem ill at ease this evening. What troubles you?”
Bob looked up, a forkful of tuna-less Helper half way to his mouth and said without a iota of doubt in his voice, “Well, I would think you of all
people would know.”
“Know what, my son?”
“That there’s a War on Christmas, on all the values we hold dear.”
“I see, a ‘war." the stranger responded, drawing put the last word, "What exactly, my child, is being attacked? Your ability to help your fellow
man, to assist those less fortunate than yourself? To spread charity and bring cheer to those who suffer?”
“Uh, no, not exactly.” Bob demurred.
“Perhaps it is the ability to spend time with those you love and forsake the material over the spiritual? To be thankful for a life of good health
“No, not that either.” Bob replied somewhat testily.
“Then what my dear friend? What is it that is under attack?”
“Our ability to have everyone say ‘Merry Christmas’ to us! To get our Starbucks in a cup that has a tree on it instead of some generic ‘happy
holidays’! To go to our towns nativity scene without it being all cluttered up with menorahs and other junk!”
“Satan’s work.” Emily hissed.
Bob’s voice was now raising noticeably. “We just want to go to our kid’s Christmas pageant at school and hear them sing Joy to the Goddamn
The stranger slammed his utensils down and gave Bob a frigid stare, “You blaspheme, friend.”
“Well, it just makes me so angry! Heck, I remember when we used to go to church and the minister said something about having hope on Christmas. Now
I just hope it comes and goes as fast as possible!”
The stranger held Bob’s gaze for a few moments and then moved it to the other members of the household. Even Martha tore herself away from her phone
to gaze into the compassionate and compelling eyes of this now somber Christmas Eve guest.
“Perhaps, my dear children, you have lost the meaning of this wondrous day. You surround yourself with needless frivolity,” he said using his
knife to point at Bob’s platinum Presidential Rolex with the diamond bezel.
“You chose the tangibility of the material,” he continued, waving his hands at their opulently-appointed home, “instead of what is truly
tangible. That of love for one another. I am saddened for all of you as true joy escapes you and instead you opt for feigned martyrdom and gaudy
trinkets. For wealth of objects instead of wealth of life. Do you love your neighbor or do you shun him as his television does not have super-amazing
The family hung its head in shame as the stranger continued his sermon.
“Where have you gone astray? Where has the spirit of kindness and warmth gone from your lives? Why are you more concerned with what others think of
you than of how you conduct yourself? Ignore those who you think are attempting to minimize what you know is right and actually do
you know is right. Your only son sits here before you, crippled and in pain, yet you lavish in baubles and items empty of spirit. Behold!” he
shouted and burst to his feet, his chair toppling behind him.
He knelt next to Timmy as the rest of the family looked on in a mix of horror and anticipation. Tossing away Timmy’s crutch the stranger interlaced
his hands and cracked his knuckles in a dramatic fashion and then, with one hand, grasped the stunned Timmy’s bad leg by the ankle. Pulling the
damaged appendage towards him so it straightened, he placed his other hand on Timmy’s knee, muttered a prayer under his breath and pressed done
Timmy’s shock did not register instantly but took a moment for the overwhelming pain in his knee to reach his brain. When it did he let out a wail
that nearly shattered the crystal stemware.
Bob rose angrily and made to confront the stranger.
“Hey! What did you do to my so…” he began but the stranger rose slowly and lightly touched him on the chest.
“Shhh…be still friend.” And lightly returned Bob to his seat.
“Timmy,” his mother asked, “are you alright?”
Timmy’s grimace began to fade and as he rose gingerly from his seat, wary about placing too much weight on his leg, the stranger gave him a nod and
a smile, at which point Timmy stood, wobbled and then smiled as he placed all his weight on his formerly bad leg.
“It’s a miracle!” Emily shouted as Martha snapped a quick photo of the now fully mobile Timmy to place on their wall.
“Oh my Go…I mean, gosh!” Bob exclaimed. “How did you do that?”
The stranger merely shrugged and lowered his head in humility.
“We need to call my mom!” Emily stated and bolted for the kitchen phone.
“Yeah,” Bob added,” and we should celebrate! I know you like wine,” he said to the stranger, “how about some champagne?”
Emily grunted and left to make her way into the kitchen for a piece of pie, face still buried in her phone.
To which the stranger only smiled meekly.
As Emily talked frantically with her mother and Bob struggled with the champagne cork Timmy leaned over the stranger and said pointedly, “I
who you are.”
“I know you do, my son, I saw it the moment I came in your family’s home.”
“But how did
you do that?” he asked motioning towards his knee.
“Well, young man, you had a calcium buildup on your patella which, when I applied an overwhelming amount of force on, released from the surrounding
tissue and allowed you full mobility.”
“Huh” said Timmy as he fell back in his seat.
edit on 1-12-2016 by AugustusMasonicus because: Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn