I just drove down to the shopping center. Big S, Dexter, and Ferret were sitting out front much to my relief. I was worried no one would be around due to the holidays. The grocery store and adjacent stores were hopping with activity and last minute shopping.
"Merry Christmas," I said, passing out packs of cigarillos, Reese's peanut butter cups, and Coca-colas.
"I thought you would never think of me," Big S said with a hearty grin.
"It is going to be a crack head Christmas!" Ferret quipped as he laughed crazily, opening up his peanut butter cups.
I laughed along and wished I could do more for my unorthodox friends this Christmas. I could have cooked a big meal at my home, but I am barely surviving the festivities myself. These souls have nowhere else to go.
"Crack head Christmas?" I asked, intrigued.
"My landlord's wife is cooking Christmas dinner and I have been invited," Ferret replied. "That's if they can lay off the crack for long enough."
I began to appreciate my mostly calm family, and to be glad I wasn't faced with the dysfunction of Ferret's Christmas as a tenant.
The day before Christmas is traditionally one of the biggest panhandling days of the year. Everyone is in the Christmas spirit and loose with their spare change. Alas, the management of the stores down at the shopping center has really clamped down on this activity. Big S was lamenting the fact that he could be rolling in money by day's end.
"It ain't hurtin' no one," Big S told me, talking about it.
"The say it hurts business," was my reply.
"They just want all the money," Big S said, looking perturbed.
I smiled warmly and left it at that. I wished everyone a Merry Christmas and then headed home feeling shaky. I still feel weak from that terrible anxiety attack last night. I almost felt as if I had run a marathon the day before. I think I did make Christmas a little brighter for my friends though. There is no worse feeling than being out of smokes for a smoker on a holiday. Merry Christmas, indeed!