Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Christmas story

That morning, Jesus got up after noon. He always got up after noon, ever since he'd quit going to school when he never showed up at middle school after graduating elementary school. One of his teachers had told him he had a gift for math, but school was lame. Anyhow, Jesus shared a bed with his brother, but his brother was already up and gone.

Jesus went looking for breakfast. He found a box of corn flakes in the pantry. There were no clean bowls so he rinsed one out and poured corn flakes into it. Then he looked for milk in the refrigerator. There was none. He shrugged and ate the corn flakes dry.

Jesus went looking for his momma and found her passed out in her bed, a bottle of whiskey clutched to her like a lover. Jesus found his granma in the living room, watching a telenovela. Nobody else was home. Jesus went into the bathroom and washed his hair in the sink. Jesus was proud of his hair, it was long and black and straight and shiny and set off his honey-colored skin well. He loved looking at his last school picture, which his granma had mounted on the wall. He did not recognize the wistful look on that face though.

Jesus was bored. He found his .38 and his bicycle and headed out to do a drive-by of the Lamers. It was only fare, the Lamers did drive-bys of his gang too. Afterward he played a game of high stakes hide-and-seek with several Lamers as his heart raced with an adrenalin high. Eventually the Lamers gave up and Jesus pedaled home.

Some of the gang were playing basketball and Jesus joined them, long black hair swirling as he dodged and juked. He was short for his age, and skinny, but he could move with the basketball as if it were part of him and had a good eye for the basket too. They played basketball until it got dark, then Jesus went home, where spaghetti and meatballs out of a can was waiting.

Afterward Jesus went out to the streetcorner to sell the merchandise. Black tar. Cheap, nasty, not even as sexy as crank nowdays, but Jesus's family had connections back in Mexico and Jesus was only twelve so could not be charged as an adult if arrested. Business was slow. People weren't buying, for some reason. Finally Jesus figured out why when one of the customers said, "Merry Christmas!". Jesus replied, "Ho ho ho!" as he realized that hey, it was his birthday.

So Jesus went home and found his momma and said, "Hey, today's my birthday! I'm thirteen years old!" And his momma said, "Wow, big boy. Lemme give you a present." His momma got up and went to a cabinet that was too tall for him to get into, and pulled out a bottle of whiskey and gave it to him. "Here you go."

Jesus took the bottle of whiskey to the bed he shared with his brother and drank a long hard slug out of it. It tasted funny, like medicine. But then it made him feel warm inside, and peaceful. Jesus drank and drank and drank, until finally he fell asleep, bottle of whiskey clutched to him like a lover. It was Christmas in the 3rd Ward of Houston. It was Jesus's birthday. Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas.

They say a boy by the name of Jesus was born on Christmas Day over two thousand years ago, died, rose from the dead, and went away. But only after he said he'd be back again.

What if Jesus was born again, two thousand years later, to a family in a bad neighborhood of Houston? What if he was raised the way that kids are raised in those neighborhoods, treated the way those kids are treated? What hellfire and damnation would await us all when he grew to adulthood -- and who, amongst us, would not deserve it?

-- Badtux the Former Teacher Penguin


  1. What if he were born again as a Penguin..........

  2. He just needs to pull himself up by his boot straps. We have wars to wage.

  3. Sigh. I hear you, Badtux.

    - Steve Bates the Son of Two Schoolteachers

  4. Hello, Mr Penguin.
    Trying to e-mail you a photo.
    Not sure if the badtuxnospam address is still good.
    Generic link in sidebar.


  5. I got the photos, P.T.


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