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Lee's Christmas Part I

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posted on Apr, 29 2007 @ 12:24 PM
Lee peered out of the window into the world of white. It had been snowing all day and now, he could hardly see the front gate.
The boy's breath formed frozen moziac patterns on the glass and even though the thick blanket from his bed was wrapped around him, he shivered at the icy scene outside.
Again the thought flapped around in his mind like a trapped bird, will he come tonight? it had plagued him all day at his Uncle Hidell's house and during the walk home.

The boy's dilemma was the list. Santa checks it twice, the boy knew all the songs and all the ryhmes, but still he worried. Had he been good for goodness sake? he frowned and pulled the blanket tighter around himself.
Would this man who travelled faster than the jets out at White Sands, remember him? Would he appear, gift-laden and white-bearded in the Lee's bedroom, all smiles and scarlet-covered? The boy's head ached.

The Christmas lights that stretched across Main street swung in the gusting wind and Lee thought more about Santa Claus.
Who was this ruddy stranger who made such decisions? If he passed by this house, wouldn't the boy become more disillusioned? wouldn't he lapse into another year of dispair and cynicism?
The snow fell.

The town clock called the witching hour and Lee, eyelids heavy, watched the dark sky for him.
After a while, boy looked back at his bed and wondered what is father would think if he knew he was still awake.

Pa had been a military man, Lee smiled to himself as he remembered the time his father had shown him the medals.
"This one's for takin' the island of Bunwan" his father had whispered to him.
The feeling of worship and respect was heavy in the air and Lee had nodded solomnly as he watched the silver metal on the ribbon sparkle in the Texas sunlight.
The boy's father carefully put the medal back into it's felt-covered box and even though his pa was drinking more than usual, Lee felt proud of him.

Earlier this evening, father had tucked the boy into bed and told him that he was quite sure that Father Christmas would leave plenty of presents tonight.
Lee smiled back out at the snowy night and thought about what his pa had told him about the war.

It had been a few days before Christmas and the sun had been hot and bright.
Lee's mother had been over at the store buying the last turkey that Mr. Coles had and she had been confident that she would haggle 'that miserly Jew' down a couple of dollars.
It wasn't as if the boy's family were poor, oh no, no. His father worked on the oil fields and the boy's mother worked up at the Manders house. Things were fine, it was just that mother was caught in eternal conflict with old man Coles about his prices.

His father had been sat on the porch seat, smoking his Pallmalls and drinking his whisky. Lee had finished his chores and was checking his rabbit snare at the front fence. "Eh boy, how yer doin'?" his father called across the lawn of dry sawgrass. Lee turned and squinted against the bright sun behind the house, his father looked faded and mishapened when he peered across the front yard.
"Hi pa, I'm hoping I've caught you supper!" Lee chirped and smiled at the shadow that was his father.
"Come here son, ah've been thinking" the shadow said and Lee glanced over to the empty ring of steel that encircled the rabbit run under the fence. "Okay" the boy said vaguely and trotted towards the porch.

His father was drunk, Lee looked down at the half-empty bottle and stepped up the wooden stairs onto the porch with trepidation.
"You're a good boy Lee, you're a lad that a father could be proud of", this said with a belch and a plume of blue smoke. Lee's father stretched and the boy could see the bullet scar under his father's arm. "Did I ever tell yer about Canton Beach?" his father's voice was croaky and slow. A cricket clashed it's legs noisily together somewhere and made the day seem hotter.

A faint jingle of bells brought the boy out of his thoughts and his eyes flitted about, searching the night sky. The sound became louder and the boy's face tightened with fear, he suddenly felt hot and sweaty.
The curtain of snow twisted and coiled in the wind and Lee squinted towards the darkness. Somewhere out there, Lee thought, Santa slapped the reins to urge his deer onward.
Then Lee saw a small flash of light between the branches of the old elm across the road and his breath died in his lungs. As the sound of bells grew louder, Lee gripped the blanket tighter and ran for the closet. He glanced at the bed as he passed and pondered if Santa would check to see if he was asleep.
"Too late" he whispered and shuffled towards the shadowy closet.

The bedroom was quiet and Lee crouched in the dark and watched for Santa Claus.
Occaisionally, snow tapped lightly on the window pane, the flakes asking for help, but the wind would would wirl them away into the night.
Lee's mind rolled back to the time his father had talked of Canton Beach, his eyelids became heavy and his chin lowered into the blanket that furled around him.

"It was hot just like today son" his father had growled and flicked cigarette ash through the space between the floorboards of the porch. Lee stood in the dusty yard and tucked his hands in the back pockets of his jeans. The sun was on it's decending arc, leaving a long shadow of the elm across the road stretching out across the yard. A smaller shadow listened to his father.
"We'd just scrambled off a P.B.Y and was under heavy gunfire from the japs. Ah tell yer boy, ah thought one those bullets 'ad mar name on it" his father took a sip from the bottle and sighed quietly.
"Me and my buddy Mikey had made it to the bushes and we were giving cover-fire for the guys" Lee's father rasped a hand on his stubbly chin and looked away towards the road.
"Anyways" he continued, "Mikey pointed to a thicket where he'd seen movement and pointed his gun and idicated that we should rush 'em ."
Lee's father's eyes were moist and seemed distant, his face was red with the whiskey and Lee wondered if he should sit down and put an arm around him.
He kneeled in the dirt and remained silent.

"Well... ah said no, I had a better idea", this said as a whisper. Another slug of whiskey and another cigarette paused the story. "You see boy, those lil' yella bas..." his father smiled kindly and coughed. "Those japs had set a trap and thought that they would outwit us boys"
Lee's father's eyes became hooded and his brows pulled together. "Ah told Mikey to watch out for me and ah crawled forward, that tall jap grass would hide me from 'em and ah was determined to drop a couple of those pineapples into that jap nest and stop 'em from shootin' at our boys"
Lee stirred the dust and created a strange rune in the dirt, his mind was itching to get back to the rabbit snare.

"There were three of 'em son" his father sneered and hurled the cigarette towards the road. "Three japs and a Gatlin gun... the main hail of fire was from the ridge a couple of hundred yards over and these guys were waiting for us to..." he stopped and shook his head.
A full minute rolled by before Lee's father continued and Lee had kept his face pointed at the dust-rune all through silence. 'Never trust a Red, never trust'em" his father muttered and slowly got to his feet. Lee rose to his feet also and watched his father walk towards the rabbit snare.
Lee followed.

The window squeaked as it opened, but Lee's eyes flickered open silently. A shape climbed in and brought a chilly draught with it. The sneaking shadow that scrambled into the room was big, very big and Lee wondered how such a vast shape could possibly force itself through the small window.
Lee's breathing was shallow and his heart beat a normal tattoo, this was noticed somewhere in the back of his mind. He had thought that he would be frightened and would of buried his head deep in his blanket, yet it seemed that he was in control and this calmness seemed like an old friend.

The shape shambled towards the foot of the bed and Lee saw for the first time, the big sack that was on the shape's back. The light from the window bathed the shape's face and Lee could see a heavily bearded face and a furry trim to a hood. The same light showed the redness of the shape's coat.

Lee looked back into the darkness of the closet. His toy box sat in the corner next to his baseball bats and Lee's eyes scanned to the other corner and there he saw the rifle.

The old Cacarna rifle was Italian, his father had brought it back from the war and Lee remembered how honoured he'd felt when his father had given him it.
They had been shooting cans out in the Sunflower field near Tranter's pond and his father was ahead on hits by five.
"You draw a bead on the can and keep your breathin' calm" his father had said and raised the rifle. Lee looked at his father's stance and emulated him. The sun was going down and Lee had never felt as content as he he did at that point.
Bang! another can spun away from the fence and disappeared into the tall stalks. His father stepped over to Lee and handed him the rifle. " Here son, this is yours" he had whispered and walked over to a bag of tin cans, they had brought with them.
Lee remembered the tune his father had whistled as he'd set another target onto the fence.

The shape was moving around the room and Lee could see the big shiny belt that wrapped around this stranger's waist. The furry hood had slipped away and Lee could see Santa's long white hair which was curly and bright. Lee reached back and grasped the rifle. His mind was calm and and an onlooker would see Lee's eyes seemed distant and moist.

"You're a good son" his father had said, as they had walked back to the house. Lee had smiled and looked at the ground with embarrassment, he felt proud.
The sun was nearly gone as they climbed the steps of the porch, Lee carried the Cacarna easily on his shoulder and his thoughts were light and happy.
It was then that his father had placed a calloused hand on his shoulder and said,
"Listen to me boy, never forget what ah'm about to say" Lee turned towards his father and looked up at his favourite face.
Lee's favourite face was solomn, lines on it seemed deeper than usual and Lee stared into his father's deep blue eyes. "Don't let anyone take that away that from you" a scarred finger pointed at the rifle. "Don't let nobody take anything from you" he whispered and then his eyes became slits. "And never trust a Red" he hissed and gripped Lee's shoulder hard.
The rifle sat comfortably in Lee's shoulder as he drew a bead on the red-coated visitor and Lee smiled to himself as the huge man rumaged in his sack.
The rifle bucked and threw Lee back into the shadows of the closet. A heavy stink of gunpowder filled the air and Lee stuggled to escape from the blanket that had wrapped his head and body.
With a blue cloud still hanging in the closet air, Lee scrambled to see what had happened to the shape. As his eyes searched the room, Lee wondered what had happened.
His head ached and his ears still rang from the confined explosion of the rifle. Lee glanced back to wards the gun, it lay spent and tired against the toy box.

After a while, Lee stepped out of the closet and looked around. Snow and blood smeared the carpet and Lee noticed that the window was open again. Coldness sneaked around the room and Lee reached for his blanket, he could see his breath pluming out infront of him.
Wrapped cocoon-like, Lee shuffled over to the window and peered out into the winter night. Lee's hair ruffled with the wind and his eyes became glassy and blurred with the icyness.

The shape was still. Below Lee's window, Santa laid with his arms and legs spread apart in the snow. Lee noticed that Santa had made a snow angel before he'd died and Lee smiled at the thought of explaining who made the snow angel to his father.
From the window, Lee could see the sunflower field and again, a smile appeared on his lips.
The sunflowers, all rotten and mouldy, slept a blanket of white and Lee wondered if the cans would still be there in the Spring.

The town clock called one o'clock and Lee closed the window. His eyes were heavy with sleep and he walked slowly to his bed. After putting his pillows right and tucking the blanket under his legs, Lee glanced at the pile of presents that sat sparkling and new on the chair across the room.
With a content smile, he said to himself, "Lee Harvey Oswald... you've been a good boy this year"


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