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Christmas Speculative Inspirational

Cheryl’s skipping Christmas this year, again. Because Brian dumped her, because she screwed things up. Again.

She shivers in the crisp night air, behind Bill’s Beer ‘n’ Beef, in the derelict lot. It’s a good bar to cut loose in, and forget. Her hands cradle her lighter, giving her cigarette a chance to live, and she bobs along subconsciously in tune with the driving bass inside. She lost Brian because she screwed up, and she doesn’t want anything to do with her parents and their endless criticism.

For a moment, the bass is joined by melody and the busy noise of bar chatter as the door opens, and then is cut off once again. Cheryl glances over her shoulder and sees a man. She shivers again, though not from the breeze. Surreptitiously, she checks her purse and wraps her hands around her pepper spray.

“Miss,” the man says. She looks at him again. He’s an older guy. No, an old guy. A head of wild white hair and a Santa beard. Eyebrows so bushy they merge into one. A scowl like he’s seen too much of the world. And she notices – and hates how much she notices – that he’s not white. Middle Eastern, maybe, with deeply tanned skin.

“You dropped your wallet,” he says, holding something out to her as he approaches. His boot scrapes echo on the hollow lot.

Cheryl’s eyes widen and she takes it from him. “Thanks.” A shock ripples through her veins at what she might have lost, but didn’t. She puts it securely back in her purse.

“No worries,” he says. Up close, she sees that he’s huge. Ripped. He wears a leather vest and a Motörhead tee, and his arms are massive and adorned with ink. There’s no single recognizable tattoo, just an abstract interwoven mosaic that almost moves on its own. He looks like what she imagines a Hells Angel looks like.

“Can I bum a smoke?” he asks.

“Uh,” she says. If he is from the Middle East, she’d never know by his perfect English. Then she wonders if that’s racist. She glances in her purse, sees the empty pack. Makes a show of checking even though she already knows. “Sorry, this is my last one.”

“I don’t mind,” he says. And before she realizes it, he plucks the cigarette from her fingers and takes a drag, then replaces it gracefully.

Then he exhales, slowly, and his scowl softens. “Oh, my,” he says, eyes half-lidded. She sees him deflate, as though the smoke carried all the tension away. “I needed that.”

She looks from the cigarette to him and back to the cigarette. She really wants a smoke, but she doesn’t know where he’s been, who he is. He might be a user, or homeless, or sick. But then the aroma of wildflowers hits her and she sees how pristine his teeth are, how immaculate his nails are. And his skin, though old and sun worn, is unblemished and healthy. So maybe he’s clean, maybe he’s a guy that cares about hygiene. In her experience that was rare outside of Brian, but then again she’s not met many seniors.

She takes a puff. “You seem stressed.”

“Yeah,” he says, looking off at the distant skyscrapers. “I hate this time of year.”

She arches an eyebrow. It’s the twenty-fourth of December. “Wait, what? You hate Christmas?”

He grimaces and his eyes climb the skyscraper to the clouds. “It’s my kid’s birthday tomorrow.”

She takes a step back, flinches. Takes a good look at this guy but it doesn’t seem like he’s pulling her leg. She stands in front of him so they’re face to face. “Well isn’t that a good thing? One day of presents and all that?”

He nods. “You’d think so. But he died a long time ago.”

She hides a gasp with her hand.

“It’s kind of a rough reminder, you know?”

“I’m sorry.”

He shakes his head. “Don’t worry about it. Death’s part of life, it turns out.”

She looks down at her stilettos for a moment, the night air teasing her bare legs, sending a shiver up her spine. She offers him the cigarette and he takes it, takes another drag. She continues looking at him when he hands it back.

“You want to know how he died,” he says. She starts shaking her head even though she does, but he continues, “It’s all right. I don’t mind. I like telling people about him. He…” But despite his words, the old man grimaces, the bitter taste of an unpleasant memory in his mouth. “He ran with the wrong crowd, I guess. Had problems with authority. In the end, it got him killed. They killed him, I mean.”

Cheryl’s eyes widen, the breeze smoking the cigarette in her hand.

“He was something of an idealist, and… well, surprise surprise, he didn’t see eye-to-eye with his old man. I guess that’s normal. I wish he listened to me more, but I’ve had a long time to reflect on it and I wish I had listened more too. He was right about a lot of things, things I just didn’t want to see. That’s kind of the point of having kids, isn’t it? We make another version of our self, hopefully in a better time, to have a better life. And we don’t appreciate it when it actually happens.”

He takes another round with the cigarette, and when he replaces it in her hand, Cheryl marvels that it’s still going. It barely looks smoked at all. She muses that sometimes time plays tricks on you. She also takes another puff.

“So did they ever catch the guy?”

The old man nods, once. “You know, it took me a long time. A real long time. But in the end, I forgave him for it.”

“Oh, really?” she says. He nods again. “I don’t know if I could do that.”

“I didn’t either, but it’s what my son would have wanted. And besides, the guy that did it – he was just a dumb kid. He was as much a product of his environment as anything else. He didn’t know better, and I don’t think things could have gone differently.”

She takes a puff. “Well, what about personal responsibility? Lots of people are born in shitty circumstances, but not all of them turn out shitty people.” She chooses to ignore the parallels to her own life. “Aren’t we responsible for our own actions? Don’t we have free will and all that?”

He nods again. “That’s something I spend a lot of time thinking about. Free will. How much do humans have? How does it manifest? How much do external factors force their hand?” He takes a puff.

“And?” she asks.

He shrugs, smoke jetting out both his nostrils.

She rolls her eyes. “That’s not a very satisfying answer.”

“I’ll put it this way,” he says. “I’d rather spend time with my kid, than plumb the depths of creation.”

She can’t argue with that, and her thoughts go back to Brian. Her ex now, but once her this-is-the-one. This year was supposed to be special. This year, she was going to patch things up with her folks, and… well, and they’d share the news of the engagement. Until she Cheryled it all. Mom would have a field day with that. She realizes maybe the old guy is right, maybe Christmas is a crappy time of year after all.

They take another couple puffs in silence.

“You ever wish for anything?” he asks.

She looks at him but he raises his hand. “Rhetorical question,” he says. “Everyone wishes for things all the time. But that’s not enough, is it? You’ve got to work for your wishes, if you want to see them come true. And some wishes are so big, you’ve got to spend your whole life working towards them. And some are even bigger, and no amount of work will make them happen.”

“Sure,” she says, unsure. She takes another puff.

“You ever work for a wish, and then be disappointed when it comes true?”

Cheryl immediately thinks of Mark, charming Mark. Mark, for whom she pissed away her future with Brian. Mark, who then left her too.

But there were other wishes too. Sure, her career as a lawyer wasn’t as glamorous as she had dreamed, but it was a good job and she made a difference. And she was proud of her degree, of graduating top of her class. Of the friendships she forged along the way. The work made her a better person, even if her indiscretions made her a worse one.

“It’s the work getting there that’s the real reward, isn’t it?” he says. His timing startles her. She takes a puff.

“So the people who don’t work for their wishes miss out,” she says. He nods. “Like spoiled children.”

“Exactly.”

He takes a long drag, the cigarette casting them in an orange light.

“So what about people who pray?” she asks.

“What about them?”

“Aren’t they getting wishes without working for them?”

The old man snorts. “God doesn’t answer prayers anymore.”

She crosses her arms. “What makes you say that?”

“Look, there’s way too many people in the world, and they pray for the dumbest things. Help my team win football! Help me win the lotto! Make the traffic go away!” He shakes his head, disgusted. She takes a puff.

“Or here’s one,” he continues. “Help me kill the people I hate so that our army beats the other army! What’s God supposed to do about that? What if both sides are praying for victory?”

She shrugs, smoke jetting out both her nostrils.

He shakes his head. “That’s not a very satisfying answer.”

“I’ll put it this way,” she says. “I’d rather go dancing at a dive bar, than debate pointless metaphysics with no objective answer.”

He grunts, then grins. Then he takes one more deep drag and hands the cigarette back to her.

“Listen, Cheryl, it’s getting late for my old bones. I’m going to take off, but it was nice meeting you.” He doesn’t return to the bar but starts down the alley.

“Nice meeting you too,” she says, waving. “Have a Merry Christmas!”

“You too!” he calls out, and then he’s gone.

She stands in silence for a moment. Maybe Christmas is crappy, she thinks, but then again this guy lost his kid and was able to forgive the guy that killed him. And he turned out all right. So maybe there’s more to life than holding onto the small things, the petty grudges. Maybe Christmas doesn’t have to be crappy. Maybe one day… maybe one day Brian will even forgive her. And maybe today, she can forgive.

She digs her cellphone out of her purse. It’s nearing midnight, and she sees what she’s been ignoring for the past week. Nine missed calls from Mom. She decides to finally return the call. Mom might be asleep. She might be angry at the late call. She might be angry to learn Brian’s not coming any more. She might be furious her daughter’s as big a screw up as ever.

She might be lots of things. But they can deal with that tomorrow. Maybe this year, they’ll have a family dinner like old times, while there still is time.

As the phone rings, she takes a drag on her cigarette and startles to see it’s still almost entirely fresh. She wants to tell her mother about the strange old man, but realizes she never got his name.

And, she never gave him hers.

But then the phone connects and the thought fades from her mind.

“Hi Mom,” she says. “I’ve missed you.”

August 07, 2022 03:01

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53 comments

Tommy Goround
09:38 Aug 08, 2022

A gentle magical-realism piece studying human intimacy. People who smoke together understand this: it is the greatest time to share or apostatize. The people are relegated to dirty parking lots after paying 400% of their cigarettes in taxes. Yeah. Puffless people don't get that. It's like group martyrdom. notes: AWK for me: "Cheryl immediately thinks of Mark, charming Mark. Mark, for whom she pissed away her future with Brian. Mark, who then left her too." sounds like: she was with Mark, cheated on him for Brian and wears high heel (stil...

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Michał Przywara
21:18 Aug 08, 2022

Thanks for the insightful feedback! Yes, this one might have been less bold and macabre. I like to challenge myself with unfamiliar tags, and as I'm neither religious nor inspirational it seemed a good fit. I like that "gods among us" idea too, which we seem to have lost when we moved away from pantheons. Oh well. Thanks for pointing out what's awkward. I pictured her tossing a stable relationship with Brian away, due to a fling with Mark. Maybe I can figure out a way to untangle that. Initially I thought Cheryl and Brian had a really go...

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Tommy Goround
21:25 Aug 08, 2022

Write romance in space?

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05:11 Aug 08, 2022

OK, so I read this, and I was like, yeah I like that. She imagined this guy, and he helped her. There was so much depth there, and I felt like I was missing something. So I read it again... Ok, holy shit, I see it now. This was so clever and amazing. Having a story be good on the first read, and then amazing on the second read is so rare. So rare indeed.

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Michał Przywara
21:20 Aug 08, 2022

Thanks, Jaden! I'm glad it was worth a re-read! And that there was more there the second time around :) I appreciate the feedback!

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Scott Skinner
03:52 Aug 08, 2022

"A scowl like he's seen too much of the world." My favorite line and fitting for this godly character. The description here was good - I liked the part where she's wondering if she should hit the cigarette after he has and notices his immaculate nails, for example. It's interesting how the story pushed itself forward, the line, "You want to know how he died" was what did it for me. It gave the happenings that followed a clear path and I liked the conversation that unfolded, which was believable because of the setting of the bar. What drin...

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Michał Przywara
04:38 Aug 08, 2022

Thanks, Scott! I'm happy the conversation came together believably. I think you nailed it with the bar-philosophy. There's something about that combination of being out of the house, seeing new faces, and lowered inhibitions. Though maybe the conversations don't seem so insightful the day after :P I appreciate the feedback :)

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22:51 Aug 07, 2022

Let's Michal Przywara this comment up: (ahem) We start off with a protagonist who is a sinner, a stranger in a strange land, but doing what is familiar to her: disappointing people. Having your name become a verb is never a good sign: "Until she Cheryled it all." (Great line.) YES on Biker God, God taking a break from feckless humans who pray for selfish reasons instead of selfless ones. And he sacrificed his Only Begotten Son for this lot? Oy vey!! Which brings us to parenting styles (and the sins of the fathers.) Cheryl's parents suck....

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Michał Przywara
02:13 Aug 08, 2022

Heh, I actually had that song in mind while writing it, but holy crap -- I was always under the impression it was sung by Alanis Morissette, and not Joan Osborn. It turns out this is wrong, but I'm not the only one. Mandela Effect perhaps? Anyway. I didn't consider the parenting style angle, but I can totally see it. It's a conversation between a parent and a child, after all, and the distant-father idea is interesting, especially considering free will and independence. So, thanks for explaining my own story to me :) Also, "polysyndeton vs...

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16:51 Aug 08, 2022

One hit wonder, poor Joan. I did want to circle back and commend you on the title. *chef kiss* That is one of my weaknesses, really lame titles...(I wish there were a class.)

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Tommy Goround
09:40 Aug 08, 2022

hahaha @ "let's Michal ... this comment up." :::: exactly.

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Suma Jayachandar
10:35 Aug 07, 2022

Michal, I see you have become superfast in churning out stories as well as comments. Good on you! This story lends itself beautifully to what I'm arrogantly assuming the writer's own metaphysical musings ( well, atleast some part of it). I know, I too dwell on these things quite a bit. And found answers somewhere that tells me life is what it is, some things have to go your way and others in other's way. We are here to experience life and not run from it. Good, bad and ugly et all -with as much grace as we can. Oh! I am rambling on. I have a...

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Michał Przywara
15:52 Aug 07, 2022

Hi Suma! You know, sometimes I will check out the new prompts when they come out on Friday, and then when I check again an hour or two later, there's already three submissions. It's intimidating :) Makes me write fast. Yeah, unlike the characters, I do actually enjoy "debate(ing) pointless metaphysics with no objective answer", so some of that is bound to make it in. I have no definitive answer for who the old guy is, and there's some clues that open it up to interpretation. I was kind of picturing Christian God as one of us, but I like ...

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Riel Rosehill
10:17 Aug 07, 2022

Hang on, did she just talk to God?! "It's my kid's birthday tomorrow" ...died a long time ago... Oh this is so clever! Took me until the end to get it, when she says she never gave him her name, yet he called her Cheryl. A Christmas miracle story! (Which is what I, the Grinch, despise the most, yet this was an enjoyable read.) Great work with this one, with weaving in the theme of forgiveness as well. Stuff I loved: - God isn't a white man (duh) - He is like a nice older man in a biker gang - Tattoos! - He's very human. My favourite sentenc...

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Michał Przywara
15:37 Aug 07, 2022

Hey Riel! I leave the interpretation to the reader :) But I'm glad you zeroed in on it right away, I thought it might be too subtle. I'm not big on Christmas and/or miracle stories either, but I recently re-heard that Alanis Morissette song, "What if god was one og us?", and I'm always looking for ways to grab new tags. I'm glad it came out enjoyable, despite :)

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Bryan Thompson
19:17 Sep 07, 2022

I definitely had the "god among us" vibe as I read through this. I would like to see more from Cheryl in a longer story. It's hard to get character development out of short stories, for me anyway. I think coming back to these "small stories" may provide opportunities to reuse some of these characters. Great writing!

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Michał Przywara
20:53 Sep 07, 2022

Thanks, Bryan! Yeah, 3k words isn't all that much space for character growth, definitely a challenge! It astounds me week after week what some people come up with - lots of skill here. I'm sure you're right about that second point too. A lot of these shorts highlight an episode in what could easily be a longer story. I appreciate the feedback!

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Brandi Yetzer
13:07 Aug 18, 2022

I wish I was as insightful as you in the comments section, but unfortunately, I'm not. However, I did enjoy the judgmental debate of whether to share this cigarette with a stranger -- all while asking herself if it was wrong of her to even have these mental debates. And then for that person give these unsuspecting 'santa' vibes. The way he comes along with not only his wild white hair and santa beard, but his wisdom well beyond her years. The way he was able to not just tell her to stop holding grudges because life is short, but rather ...

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Michał Przywara
14:23 Aug 18, 2022

Thanks, Brandi! I'm glad you highlighted the deceptive first impressions thing. That's something I frequently ponder. They're useful - you see a tiger for the first time in your life, you probably think "yikes, dangerous" and it might save your life - but they're also misleading in our modern human society. It's like we've developed too fast and our instincts are still playing catch up. On the other hand, we've also weaponized lying, so they're not useless either. I appreciate the feedback :)

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L.M. Lydon
17:56 Aug 15, 2022

That really was so clever, what you did there. Old guy whose son's birthday happens to be Christmas, who happened to die due to a clash with authority, who was super into forgiveness. I see your version has mellowed somewhat since the time of the Old Testament, but I guess we can chalk that up to His son's influence. The visual description is awesome- not what we might expect, but understandable given what He's seen over the millennia. I think my favorite lines were "“Look, there’s way too many people in the world, and they pray for the dum...

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Michał Przywara
22:06 Aug 15, 2022

Thanks, L.M.! You got what I was going for :) I like that prayer line too. It's one I often wonder about. I appreciate the feedback :)

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Kelsey H
09:33 Aug 15, 2022

Great opening line to start with, I love how it instantly both gives a sense of the character and makes you want to keep reading to see what has happened. And I love the paragraph which follows to set the scene. I feel like smoking in a parking lot is already pretty atmospheric and the addition of being outside a bar built on that really well. When she is approached by the man her rapid assessment of him as she tries to figure out if she needs to be worried is really well done too, such a relatable feeling for a woman being approached by a...

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Michał Przywara
22:21 Aug 15, 2022

Thanks, Kelsey! I'm glad you had a less mystical interpretation. I think it could definitely be that, like you said, where something mundane takes on spiritual qualities for Cheryl because she hears what she needs to hear at that point in her life. Sometimes it feels like things just line up, doesn't it? Also happy the opening and conversation worked out. It was a fun exchange to write. I appreciate the feedback :)

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Richa Jain
22:06 Aug 14, 2022

Noticing someone's race, especially if it isn't the same as yours isn't racist I think; her being surprised he spoke perfect English was a little ignorant. But these lil things are what add to a realistic, believable character, right?

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Michał Przywara
23:22 Aug 14, 2022

Hi, Richa! Yes, I think you're right. Furthermore, I think anyone who even stops to consider those questions is probably on the right path. But I think that's how it starts. Cheryl probably just doesn't have a lot of exposure, and a woman alone at night being approached by a strange man is, unfortunately, a justifiable time to be suspicious. Thanks for reading :)

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Richa Jain
00:38 Aug 15, 2022

You make a very good, and sadly realistic, point about Cheryl there. I would probably be extra wary of a strange man at that time in the night too, and notice things I wouldn't usually. Props to you for being able to think so accurately in her perspective.

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Sid Sham
06:48 Sep 20, 2022

Login to your LinkedIn. I’ve made even better points haha.

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Tommy Goround
02:55 Aug 14, 2022

Been 24 hours. No new story?

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Michał Przywara
03:32 Aug 14, 2022

Ha :) I have a first draft, but it needs more work. Hopefully tomorrow :)

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Tommy Goround
03:47 Aug 14, 2022

I'm at four shorties now and can't figure which is worth the edit. Blah. My kids are too old to bribe

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Amanda Lieser
01:40 Aug 14, 2022

Hi Michael! Oh boy this story was a beautiful one. I loved the characters, the time of year, the message it’s sending. I really valued that you had the couple sharing a cigarette not be a romantic one because I think it’s an interesting take on the prompt. I also really loved the way that you wove in Cheryl’s anxieties and fears. I’d absolutely read a prequel about her and Brian. Nice job on the piece!

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Michał Przywara
04:04 Aug 14, 2022

Thanks, Amanda! Yeah, I thought a romantic couple sharing a cigarette would be the clear answer, and so I wondered what a different context would look like. I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

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Zack Powell
22:08 Aug 13, 2022

Do you keep track of which genres you've written too? I feel like you've got to be halfway done with the Reedsy list by now, right? Speaking of which, this story is a good example of why we need a Magic Realism tag. I guess Speculative kind of covers it, but there are fringe cases where stories like these are just better suited for a more specific tag. Oh well, the rants of a madman. (Though while we're at it, where's my Steampunk, Metafiction, and Mythology tags!?) Ok, as for the story itself: This is God, right? I'm not tripping? Really ...

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Michał Przywara
00:43 Aug 14, 2022

Hey Zack! Yeah, while writing this, I was picturing non-scriptural Christian God, but I wasn’t hell bent on this, and it's open to the reader's interpretation. There've been some good ones, including Santa Claus, other saints, and other kinds of magical beings. I think he could also just be some guy. The cigarette could be just a trick of attention or time, and he could have learned her name by going through her wallet. I'm not sure how many tags/genres I've gone through, but yeah, they make natural goals, natural challenges. And some are ...

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Zack Powell
00:59 Aug 14, 2022

Oh, you're right about getting the name from the wallet! I forgot about that. That's a really, REALLY clever backdoor to explain things, if you're interpreting this from a non-Speculative lens. Respect for thinking of everything. That's not easy. Totally relate with you on the genre tags matter. Christian is one of the few I have left for that exact reason. Write it well? No problem. But mess things up and...😬😬😬 For what it's worth, and I'm sure you know this: the ending isn't a deal-breaker. Totally subjective, and I'm sure there are othe...

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Aeris Walker
18:09 Aug 13, 2022

Such a simple setting, but with so many layers to the story and the characters. The dialogue was believable and their interactions so realistic. And the way you described smoking in the beginning—I’m sure it would send any “quitter” running right over to the nearest SevenEleven for a pack of cigarettes. “A head of wild white hair and a Santa beard. Eyebrows so bushy they merge into one. A scowl like he’s seen too much of the world. And she notices – and hates how much she notices – that he’s not white. Middle Eastern, maybe, with deeply ...

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Michał Przywara
18:32 Aug 13, 2022

Thanks, Aeris! Yeah, that's a good point. An offhand comment from a stranger, but it leads to her making change in her life. Maybe where or who a message comes from doesn't matter so much as if we're ready to hear it. Actually, that reminds me of writing a bit. Sometimes I've found a throw-away comment, or even word, to be enough to trigger a whole story. Thanks for the feedback :)

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S. Closson
16:25 Aug 12, 2022

I really enjoyed this story! The thoughtful back-and-forth was excellent. The cigarette mechanic works very well, too. As a former smoker, I remember the random moments of bonding with people I'd have never spoken to otherwise. The magic aspect was fun, and though she's flawed, I'm glad Cheryl seems to have learned something from the encounter!

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Michał Przywara
21:01 Aug 12, 2022

Thanks, S.! That social aspect of smoking always intrigued me, particularly after restrictions started coming down. It seemed to immediately give strangers some common ground. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I appreciate the feedback :)

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Aesha Amin
06:39 Aug 12, 2022

WAS THAT SANTA?! Aww now I'm jealous, I wanna meet Santa too. Anyways, I have no idea how you write stories so smooth and beautiful. I loved the repetition of "that's not a very satisfying answer"- it really showed a fun bond between the two. My favorite lines were: There’s no single recognizable tattoo, just an abstract interwoven mosaic that almost moves on its own. “… his eyes climb the skyscraper to the clouds.” “I’d rather spend time with my kid, than plumb the depths of creation.”

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Michał Przywara
21:05 Aug 12, 2022

Perhaps it was Santa :) It would certainly fit the season, although maybe a cigarette that keeps burning is kind of a weird gift. I liked that line repeating too. I've always thought a sign of bonds forming was when people had little in-jokes and private memes, when they could start referencing their own shared history. Thanks for the kind feedback, Aesha!

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22:03 Aug 11, 2022

Well, what can I say to add to the praise that has already been lavished (and rightly so) on this piece. Yes, praise. This is truly clever, subtle enough to make me question what I'd read for a moment, but clear enough that a little reflection was plenty. And man, it packed a punch when I got it. I love that Cheryl is forced to face her own (hidden) racism. Hidden even from herself for the most part. The part where she makes her internal observations of her companion is fascinating and relatable and left me feeling uncomfortable for both of...

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Michał Przywara
23:49 Aug 11, 2022

Thanks, Katharine! > this has honestly brightened my day Reading that brightens mine, so we're even :) You raise a good point with the racism. We can't really choose our gut feelings, only how or if we act on them. It's a fascinating, uncomfortable topic to explore. Faulty first impressions are great for conflict in stories though. I appreciate the feedback :)

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00:19 Aug 10, 2022

I loved the image of someone meeting a god-character who is v chill and human. The concept of a Christmas story in summer was brilliant! Some amazing dialogue, appreciated the anti-war message in some of it, the sentence "his eyes climb the skyscraper to the clouds" was wonderfully metaphorical. Thought the first paragraph setup up the tension really well! One thing in the 2nd paragraph somehow my mind still pictured them in the bar perhaps because I'm not a smoker, and that they were 'in the derelict lot' was a clause in a sentence with...

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Michał Przywara
01:28 Aug 10, 2022

I'm glad you liked it, Scott :) It was an interesting set of ideas to play with. Thanks for pointing out the trouble spot. I've reordered the sentence and hopefully it's more clear going forward. I suppose there probably are still plenty of places where you can smoke indoors, but I haven't seen one in a long time.

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01:44 Aug 10, 2022

That's true, it's probably mostly me being in asia where indoor smoking went on for a lot longer and my days(nights?) in bars being a long time ago;)

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Seán Mc Nicholl
21:53 Aug 08, 2022

Brilliant as always Michał! I immediately thought of God the Father, once you said about the son being killed. Which I thought was brilliant - and made me wonder how the ‘pious’ would react if they met God but He appeared different to how they imagined. From a Christian POV we are meant to see God in everyone, in all shapes and sizes, so why would He not be a tattooed biker!? But then as I read on, and the disagreement with the son, I wondered was this St Joseph. (Because from a Christian POV God the Father and God the Son are consubsta...

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Michał Przywara
22:46 Aug 08, 2022

Thanks, Seán! That's a very insightful dive into things, and beyond my knowledge, I'll admit. While the interpretation ultimately belongs to the reader, yeah, I'll admit I was kind of writing with God the Father in mind. A loose, perhaps non-theological interpretation. Some of those questions occurred to me too. If He appeared, what would it be like? Would people have any idea? And I wondered... Perhaps he wouldn't disagree with himself, but could he be of two minds on a topic? Maybe that's putting too much of us "in his image", but it doe...

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Seán Mc Nicholl
23:01 Aug 08, 2022

Oh it’s a great story! Not taking away from it at all! Loved it! Just thought provoking on my part! And yes, there’s PLENTY of those folks about!

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