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Snowfire on the Eve of Epiphany
Snowfire on the Eve of Epiphany

Snowfire on the Eve of Epiphany

JPYoungJPYoung
1 Review

The end of Christmastide on Twelfth Night had arrived. Their city commemorated it with a bonfire in Powell Park of all the Christmas trees the city council workers had collected. It was the first of the year’s rituals.

‘Have yourself a merry little Epiphany.

Let your heart be light.

This year all our troubles will be…

OUT OF SIGHT!’

Ray, Stash and Joey were at Angie’s door singing a parody of a Christmas Carol. Carolling in her and Joey’s neighbourhood was Angie’s angel angle.

As Joey said,

‘We’re enthusiastic, but we’re not very good!’

‘We’re economical, because we saved money on music lessons!’, Ray added.

‘We’re enduring, because who else would go out in the cold? Even tomcats stay by the fire!’, Stash concluded.

Once they were joined by Peter and Katrina, who everyone agreed was a wonderful singer, they improved.

They had gone carolling to several homes around Christmas Eve, where they were paid with happiness, hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.

Peter’s landlady invited them to a Yuletide dinner where she happily accompanied them with her piano. She came alive telling stories of going to people’s homes to sing together was the most fun of her adult life.

They entered Angie’s home where the Christmas decorations had been taken down that day, as had traditionally been done in all their homes.

‘Do you have your snow boots, Angie?’

‘Yes, I do…and a flashlight.’

‘I’ve got this’, Joey held up his lantern.

‘Joey’s Diogenes and he’ll find us an honest man’, Stash cracked.

‘Don’t fall and break it, you might burn the town down!’, Angie’s mother warned.

Sergeant Preston of the Northwest Mounted Police will find us if something happens’, Ray laughed.

‘”With Yukon King, swiftest and strongest lead dog, breaking the trail!”’, quoted Angie.

After exchanging chatter with Angie’s parents, the Down and Outers were off on an adventure in the cold winter’s night. Instead of acting like normal people and walking down the shovelled sidewalks to the park, they would take a short-cut through the winter snow. They would toboggan down what Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine called the 113 Steps, now covered with snow, then walk by the ravine; an area usually covered by high grass. The Down and Outers could make an adventure out of anything. Stash said that in the civil service people argued all the time but never did anything; the Down and Outers were the opposite.

They didn’t need Joey’s lantern or Angie’s flashlight. It was a full moon, and everything was cast in a brilliant blue light.

‘Snowfire!’, shouted an excited Joey.

‘Is" “snowfire” a real word, Stash?’

‘No Angie, but there’s a movie about a horse of that name.’

‘Well, it should be, it’s a nice word, and nothing else fits.’

One of the great things about the Down and Outers was that they did go with the flow, if the flow was fun or pleasant. ‘Life’s too short not to’, Stash once said.

Snowfire it is!’, Ray pronounced.

‘It’s the first new word of the year!’, boasted Stash.

They followed the snow-covered ravine towards the park and the celebrations. As they rounded a corner…

The blue moonlight illuminated both the .38 calibre revolver in his hand and his expression of utter pathos. Angie was speechless, but Ray sure wasn’t,

‘If you want to rob us, you’ll have to let us go home to get our money. We didn’t bring that much with us. I’ll write you out an IOU.’

‘I…I…don’t want to rob anyone…’

What else would you be doing with a pistol?

The armed broken man’s expression and his hiding in a clump of barren vegetation was as clear as a yellow warning sign reading DANGER! MEN AT SUICIDE. The boys recognised he had a GI surplus sleeping bag, pup tent and field pack; the man looked GI surplus as well.

Wabbit season’s a wong way away’, laughed Joey as Elmer Fudd.

‘Why don’t you talk to us about it?’, purred a sympathetic Angie.

‘There’s nothing to say…I’m a failure, and Christmas proved it.’

‘Maybe so, but Epiphany means a new beginning.’

‘I don’t have a job, no one will hire me, my family hates me-‘

‘They’d be real proud of yuh pulling a stunt like this!’, sneered Angie.

‘Maybe I can give them my insurance pay out.’

‘Do you have a policy?’, questioned Stash.

‘No…’, the forlorn man realised, ‘I’m such a failure that I don’t even have that.’

Stupidcide…

‘Can you wash dishes and take orders from a loudmouth shrimp?’, Ray asked.

That I can do…’

‘Then come with us. He and his family are going to watch the bonfire like we are.’

‘What bonfire?’

‘The annual burning of the Christmas trees’, Joey answered.

‘The holly too’, added Stash, ‘Yuletide provides shelter for the spirits, but they need to be released when the season’s over. If you don’t do that, the spring won’t come.’

‘Spring’s all about new beginnings, but Epiphany’s the start.’

‘The start of the rest of your life.’

‘You’ve been through the bad bit, now’s it’s time for the good. What’s your name?’

‘Mike…and I haven’t got a pot to piss in.’

‘We’ll chip in and buy your .38…it looks pretty rare…what we’ll give you is just a downpayment; the rest we’ll make up by getting you a room at the YMCA. If you trust us, we’ll trust you.’

He handed Ray his pistol, all four gave the man all the cash they had on them. Ray cleared the weapon putting it in his waistband and the rounds in his pocket.

There was a loud pop and everything was illuminated in an eerie glow, The boys recognised it as an army surplus flare that announced the bonfire would begin in 10 minutes time.

‘It’s the star of hope!’, Mike began to cry, ‘I’ve met an angel…and the three wise men.’

‘No, just Angie…and three wise guys.’, Joey answered.

FIN

Author Notes: Happy Third Anniversary!!!
Thanks a million to all of you around the world (and out of it?)! Over 49,000 hits and still going!

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About The Author
JPYoung
JPYoung
About This Story
Audience
All
Posted
27 Dec, 2023
Words
1,027
Read Time
5 mins
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Recommend's
1 (View)
Rating
4.0 (1 review)
Views
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