One Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas in my new first-floor pad
The second-floor walker had me tossing in bed
The little red Christmas tree burnt its last candle
Shopping for more was more than I could handle
Directors and actors still ran through my head
And all of the plays that still had to be read
There’s comedy pieces I pray they’ll find funny
There’s another one witty – I hope not too punny
When out on Milwaukee – it might have been Tripp
I heard a loud clatter – someone driving ripped
Away to my window I shuffled and stumbled
I could almost make out a squat form with a bundle
The bright safety lights from the Schurz parking lot
Lit my tiny courtyard and half of the block
I peered so much closer at the form with the sack
It was little old man who was straining his back
The little old man smiled up at the light
His eyes kind of sparkled in the still of the night
More rapid than camels the cruises pulled up
The blue stripe a blur – but the bright lights lit up
“Don’t move!” one guy yelled and he pulled out his gun
“It’s been a long night. You’ve had way too much fun!”
To my front door the old man sprang with a stride
I – quick – hit the buzzer to let him inside
As crippled-up sprinters the cops tried to soar
But the old guy made it in and slammed the big door
So up to my stairs he carried himself
I opened the door to the out-of-breath elf
And then like a movie the bull horn did roar
“Send out the old guy or we’ll break down the door!”
I returned to the window and what did I see
Twelve service revolvers all pointed at me
The old guy just sat down and pulled out a smoke
“You got any whiskey?” I thought it a joke
“I lost all the toys. They’re out there in the dark,
Now who’s going to deliver to Jefferson Park?”
His eyes looked so tired – a bright shade of red
His cheeks were so sunken deep into his head
His mouth was so wrinkled it looked like a prune
His beard was so threadbare there’d be nothing there soon
The butt of the cig he held clenched in his teeth
Smoke circled his head like a smelly death wreath

He had a sad face and a pasty white tummy
His death rattle laughter just wasn’t that funny
He sat on my nice couch just creeping me out
There was something pathetic about this old lout
With a turn of his head his old neck gave a creak
Something told me he was ready to speak
He spoke just one word – he whispered the rest
Those words hit me hard like his boot in my chest
He took one more drag from that damp cigarette
He thanked me and told me, “It ain’t over yet.”
Then he got up so slowly heading back to the night
“I’ll leave you alone now Kid – this is your fight.”
I heard his words echo as I watched him just leave
“I’m nothing these days if the kids don’t believe.”

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