On the 6th day of Christmas: the continuation of the short story, The Miracle Man. (Previous inserts can be found under “Past Posts” under “Love, Joy, & Miracles.” )
“Well if he’s in the kitchen, I want to file a complaint.”
“You just don’t get it, do you?”
Wendell sets his mug down. Jaw line is tight. “Look. I’m glad you’ve found something that gives you purpose, even joy, but it would take a miracle for me to believe again.”
“A miracle?” There was excitement in Ira’s voice.
Wendell crosses his arms. “I was speaking hypothetically.”
“Hey, you started this. So I’m curious: what would you call a miracle?”
“Boy! For a guy with tubes crammed up his nose, you sure are a cocky-cuss!”
“And I thought a hot-shot lawyer like you would be more open-minded.”
“I am open-minded, Ira. I just know the difference between fantasy and reality.”
“So you’re scared.”
“Truth. Love. Peace. Joy.”
“But what if miracles happen? Wouldn’t that make you consider another verdict about God?”
“Okay,” Wendell snaps; nostrils flare. “You want a miracle? I’ll give you one, but remember: You brought this on yourself.”
Wendell surveys the room and considers his options. He zeroes in on the group sitting off from the others. His years as a prosecutor kick in and he formulates his case in a matter of seconds, and as was his custom, begins with a feint. “I want God to give them joy.” He gestures at the woman cursing like a sailor. “Or make ole what’s-her-name shut up.”
Wendell turns, eyes narrow, and he delivers the real terms. “Better yet, how about a miracle for me and…” He points an index finger at Ira. “You.”
Ira doesn’t bat an eye. “Such as?”
“I want Ruth to give me a hug and a kiss tomorrow. And not something done in the spirit of Christmas, but the real deal.”
Ira rubs his chin, whether to counter or in wonderment, Wendell is unable to discern.
“And for you…” Wendell raises his finger like he did when making his closing arguments. “I want your son to visit on the same day.”
Ira’s eyes widen. “My son?” His voice is hollow.
“Yes. The one who never visits because of your quarrel.”
Ira bites his lower lip.
Wendell sneers and sweeps an arm like a symphony conductor. “There, you see? Those can’t happen, not by tomorrow, so let the matter—”
“I had a dream…”
Wendell’s arm plops to his side. “Ira, seriously, let it go.”
Ira gets a far away look. Fingers drum his chin as he mulls over Wendell’s requests. “Okay,” he says with a head nod, “tomorrow.”
Wendell’s mouth drops open in shock. “Tell me you’re joking!”
Ira’s determined expression tells him otherwise.
“Then you’re a bigger fool than I thought!”
“Perhaps.” Ira’s voice is silky-smooth. “But I’ll risk it all if it means you find joy this Christmas.”
Wendell’s blood boils, and he clinches his fists. “Then let’s raise the ante: if the
miracles don’t happen tomorrow, you promise to never, and I do mean never, talk to me about religion again.”
“And if they do?”
Wendell rolls his eyes. “They won’t.”
“Hey, a bet is a bet.”
“Fine.” He plants his hands on his hips. “I’ll go to the Christmas service.”
Ira considers his offer and gives him a faint smile. “Good. Then it’s settled.”
He flicks his joystick and rolls away.
Wendell stares after him in disbelief. “It’s not going to happen, Miracle Man.”
Ira rounds the corner and the oxygen tank chimes down the hall.