I enjoyed co-authoring the following piece with my son. Poor kid’s got Christmas on the brain. No harm; so do I. Merry Christmas, everyone.
Christmas at Pilchard’s Diner
Pilchard worked as a short order cook in his own diner on the outskirts of town. The patrons were a rough mix of millworkers and truck drivers, late-night drinkers and cops looking for a pick-me-up or a quick bust.
Towards closing one Friday in December, a man in a black leather jacket showed up with a Christmas tree. Just behind him, two guys dressed in coveralls entered with a box of lights and ornaments.
From behind the counter Pilchard called out, “Hey, what gives?”
“Mind yer business pal,” said the man in the leather jacket.
“I’m Pilchard. This is my business.”
“So, we’re puttin’ up a tree. You gotta problem with that?”
“As a matter of fact, I do. I don’t celebrate Christmas.”
The first guy turned to the others and said, “You hear that? The cook says he don’t care about Christmas.”
“That so?” said the bigger goon with the flat forehead.
The bell over the door jangled as a cop walked in.
“What can I do for you, officer?” Pilchard asked.
“Just the usual: my envelope, and a coffee to go. Any trouble here tonight?”
“Matter of fact, there is,” said Pilchard. “These four plan on putting up a tree in my diner.”
“What’s wrong with that?” Officer Mazetti asked.
“I don’t celebrate Christmas.”
Mazetti looked at the four goons and said, “Take your trouble outta this establishment, or I’ll bring the meat wagon.”
The big goon stepped toe-to-toe with Mazetti. “Pal, Christmas is comin’ whether we put up the tree or not.”
The other guy in coveralls said, “You stoppin’ Christmas?”
Mazetti stepped back. “Now wait a minute, boys. No need to be hostile. My partner in the squad car out there has an itchy radio finger and he’s calling back up as we speak.”
The four looked out the plate glass window. Mazetti’s partner grinned a devilish grin and behind him came the meat wagon, lights ablaze. Marino and two other cops came in, cuffed the goons tight, then dragged them out to the wagon.
Pilchard said nothing to Mazetti, who stood by tapping the envelope against his thigh. “Merry Christmas to you and yours.”
“Outta my joint, now!” Pilchard said.