This is a Christmas tale about helping those in need.
Twas the night before Christmas, a young man around 19 years old knocked on my door. He stood jaded on the doorstep, holding a sports bag full of cleaning products which he was selling. I noticed he was wearing a baseball cap backwards on his head like a skateboarder or art-house film director. “Can I interest you in any of these items sir?” he managed to muster from his dry frozen mouth. I could see the sincerity in his eyes and answered that I would take two of those rough sponges but any solvent based purchases would have to be discussed as a family. He thanked me for my custom and left. As he was walking I spotted that the writing on his hat said “I’m a boss” on the front which I assumed was a statement of his self-employment. I was so pleased to see a young man making an honest living, especially at Christmas time. It reminded me of the times as kids me and my brother would go carol singing around our neighbourhood, we would visit all of the flats on our estate. Many of the residents were elderly and cautious about answering the door on a dark December nights so we would sing the carols through the intercom so that they could be entertained from the comfort of their armchair.
A short time later another boy, this time a little younger visited my house selling raffle tickets to raise money for his football team to go on a trip to Germany. I was instantly transported back to a trip I went on with my junior football team where we visited a small village in France. We were there for two days and stayed with the families of the French players. I could only speak limited French so most of the conversation centred around sandwich fillings and me asking directions to the local bibliotecque. It was a long couple of days but I gained a lot from the experience and as it was Christmas I bought two strips at a pound a piece. I also donated a brand new pair of rough sponges as a raffle prize out of the goodness of my heart.
A short time after 10pm I was selflessly eating all of the Bounties out of a tub of Celebrations when there was another knock at the door. This time when I answered there was no one there. I stepped out into the street to see who it might have been. As I did so I felt a sharp pain on the back of my head, as I fell to the ground I received another blow to the stomach and a third to the back of my knees. As I hit the deck I saw my attacker. It was the young man from earlier in the night selling the cleaning products, he was setting about me with a toilet brush like I was some kind of Bounty filled piñata. Whilst this was happening the younger boy selling the raffle tickets ran inside my house and started loading my unopened presents into a wheelbarrow before running off down the street. The older boy continued his assault this time with a brillo pad to the forehead which was excruciating.
Eventually my attacker retreated into the darkness and as I lay there with a dented pride and a chaffed forehead I reflected on my decision to help the two boys I thought were in need. If I could turn back the clocks would I be so kind? Will I be as generous in the future? As these doubts swirled around in my head and I began to doubt human kindness I could see a light approaching. It was another boy, this time on a bike, he got off and approached me with a soft, caring smile. He appeared to be carrying something. At closer inspection I could see that it was actually a tiny kitten, the boy looked shaken. He helped me to my feet and checked that I was ok. He explained that he had been on the way home to his elderly Nan when he had come across the abandoned kitten. He had taken pitty on the frightened creature and was going to call the owner but had no change to use the pay phone, he was shaking and tears rolled down his cheeks. He asked reluctantly whether he could possibly if it wasn’t too much trouble use my phone.
I told him to “Fuck off” and quickly went inside.
Merry Christmas Everyone.