Today we get a peek into Luke's forthcoming novel spanning a Christmastime in California.
Merry Christmas Eve! #wirehousedaily
This is the first page from an untitled novel-in-progress.
There were no ornaments for the tree but there was beer. So I drank the beers and hung the empties in the branches. It was Christmas Eve. My father was half reading, half retelling the nativity story over speakerphone from my parents’ place in Oceana, California where he and my mother and sister and her husband and their kids fanned around the living room and scattered on up the stairs. I imagined the adults watching the kids listen while the kids counted their gifts under the tree and waited for intermission when eggnog and sugar cookies would cart out in special preparation for the savior’s birth. I was sitting on the shag carpet floor, leaning into the foot of a corduroy couch half listening to my father and at least half if not more than half watching ice gray out the yellow coming off an old light bulb on my front porch. Outside, the snow sheeted down and was starting to bury the one-bedroom, half-kitchen cottage I was staying in on a hill across from another snowy hill that passed as a ski slope in Strawberry, this little two-gear town at the base of the Sierras.
I was alone but hadn’t planned to be.
When I came back up the hill that morning dragging a free Christmas tree, my girlfriend June’s car was packed from the seats to the ceiling. She said she was leaving to see her folks before the snow really hit. She called it a visit but she’d taken the television. I could see it jammed between two of her suitcases. She was tired of being cold, she said. Plus, she knew I was thinking of leaving for New York and had talked about Sedona or Mexico or even Wyoming. She needed time to think, and told me not to forget the fact that I didn’t seem particularly over my ex-wife. Maybe this was all too soon, she said. I said maybe she was too just late and she dropped into the driver’s side, lit a cigarette, and turned the car on and with that the stereo blasted my copy of Black Sails in the Sunset. I yelled go then and she backed away and the snow really began to drop and I went inside and started decorating.
This story could take time.
The same shepherds would shuffle in and out of the same stable and inn. And the stable would be very dirty and very glorious and also pretty brutal. The whole setting was nothing if not gnarly, my dad would tell everyone. It was very important that he set the scene up so you understood what would be won and that we won, that Christ’s win was ours, his pain ours, ours his, and so on until finally Amen and the presents came out.
Jesus was one-hundred-percent God, my father would tell the family. He was also one-hundred-percent man, he would eventually add after a measured amount of time. This story of a Savior could sound a lot like Yogi Berra sometimes. Sometimes it was like déjà vu all over again.