At the finale of the Christmas show last year in Eugene, OR, I came out as a skid-row Santa, complete with rubber nose, plastic sack full of beer cans, and a pint of peppermint schnapps to fortify the holiday spirit. I also borrowed my wife Faye’s blue egg bucket and labeled it: “Homeless.” I’d jangle the cans like a bagful of aluminum sleigh bells while I worked the mainfloor aisle seats: “Hey, come on, buddy. Put something in the bucket, for Chrissakes. Don’t you know it’s Christmastime? Hey, that’s better. God bless you. You’re beautiful.”
I ended up with only about seventy-five bucks. Not much of a take for a full house at a Christmas show. But even seventy-five bucks was a wad too big to pocket. So after I got out of my red suit and rubber snoot I drove off to seek a worthy recipient. I spotted a likely assortment of candidates in the 7-Eleven parking lot, on the corner of Sixth and Blair. I swung in and held the bucket out the window.
“All right. Who’s the hardest-luck case in this lot?”
The candidates looked me over and edged away—all but one guy, pony-tailed and slope-shouldered, his chin tucked down in the collar of a canvas camouflage jacket. “I got a streak of hard luck runs all the way back to New Jersey,” he said. “What about it?”
“I’m on a mission from St. Nicholas,” I told him. “And if you are, in fact, the least fortunate of the lot”—in the spirit of the season, I refrained from saying “biggest loser”—”then this could be your lucky night.”
“Right,” he said. “You’re some kind of Holy Roller? Where’s the string? What’s the hustle?”
Author: High Times / High Times