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A gift be what make it in the Florida Keys

by tommy kirchhoff

Awoke to the sound of a hungry stray cat, Nick rubbed at his eyes, and his beard, and his fat. Seemed tough for this tan island man to believe that a year quickly passed—was again Christmas Eve.

Hungover a little, he smiled at the day, and the charm of this season that keeps work at bay. Nick chuckled a bit at his job and perhaps a guff for the boss and the clogging grease traps. He gave a “Ho Ho,” not for lack of words—the sea air was warm, and the tourists in herds. “Forsooth a fine day, without gust or gale,” said Nick as he set up his weekly yard sale.

“There is none so clever a merchant as I,” though Nick had no cash, as for change he was dry. Nick sat back a king, in a torn captain’s chair—his driveway a kingdom of common and rare... His conscience, as hangovers often do reap, did dwindle and tire, and Nick fell asleep.

Thus entered a story (within what I tell) beginning with frames of a cold Christmas Hell. With diving so dark, and coral quite dead, then visions of sugar cane burned in this head. Next ringing this dream, this dream ringed a bell—was work that was calling, that ring he could tell. A fine gift was wrapped, and Nick gave it a shake; but opened he found a rancid fruitcake.

Then darkness was lifted and out came the sun; the stolen outboard returned, and the damn thing did run! T’was Christmas and marked by a keg full of beer. “Hey, there’s Martha Stewart! How’d she get in here?”

The phone was still ringing—Nick scared of its bid; the boss said, “Good day lad, I’ll raise you two quid.” And under the mistletoe sprig, caught in angst, Martha S. puckered up; offered Nick, “Um no thanks.”

At the sound of a car, Nick awoke from his wish. Wide eyed and intrigued, he cried out loud, “Odds fish!”

At the sight of a man, he gained poise with a shake. “What interests thee patron, yes, what will thee take?”

“I’ll give you three pence, smile I at that number, for you swooned Martha Stewart while lying in slumber.”

“I’ll take it,” said Nick without showing the pain; “returneth mañana, I’ll do it again.”