Cruise To Yuletide
Cruise To Yuletide
A dollop of soot soiled the ivory white right cheek while the youthful head of curly ebony hair had splotches of coal dust offering the appearance of premature graying. The shiny, but scuffed, immense black boots, dangerously hovering over his tender ear, scrapped the bricked insides of the stack attempting purchase to hoist the not so jolly bearded fat man wheezing and squeezing his bulk upwards. The boy waved his outstretched arms wildly in his frustratingly fruitless endeavor to clutch the dangling sack hiding the promised presents intended for the holidays.
The hoofs of several animals of a non-descript character bantered across the roof shingles. The youth saw the backside of the man in the chimney pop up and out of the stack. Being young, he was able to pursue the menace almost to the top of the claustrophobic space but, feeling desperate, just wasn't able to retrieve the bag of stolen holiday treasures. The lash of the whip snapped and the roof at first sagged and then bounced back into its normal angle as the lunge of the fat man's vehicle lifted off to an unknown destination.
Now, with the top half of his body sticking up from the chimney pipe, the boy frantically waved at the disappearing man whisking away on his sleigh with the eight tiny reindeer. Not about to give up, he felt his foot being forcibly pulled back down into the dark vent. He hysterically kicked his legs until he heard...
"Hey, hey, hey, sleepy head. Wake up! Let's go! We got a call." One of Led Daley's firefighting colleagues, the Lieutenant, actually, was shouting as he pulled at Led's foot which was firmly squirreled away under the covers. The Lieutenant persistently shouted and pulled.
Led was logging in extra duty hours at his local volunteer Fire Station. This was never a problem since he loved being a fireman, especially when he got his chance to drive the new $500,000 dollar hook and ladder. Purchasing a truck of that magnitude was quite a coup for the small county Fire District. The recent development of higher rise buildings, including hospitals, was a reality which couldn't any longer be overlooked. The need for the expensive equipment was now required for the safety of the people who paid the taxes.
"Yeah, I'm awake." Led shook the sleepiness from his head and dived into his fire fighting gear which had been strategically placed alongside his cot in the Fire Station's dormitory. He made a mad dash to the fire truck, immediately after a necessary bathroom run, to secure his position as the driver. As he ignited all the bells and whistles of the new contraption, his Lieutenant hopped up onto the seat next to Led and off they went to save someone's day, house or, even, very possibly, their life.
The extra hours on duty had a purpose because he would have to take a short sabbatical from his usual on duty schedule. Led had been looking toward to this holiday season in particular since he had been invited by his Chaplain friend to go along on a holiday cruise sailing out of Miami.
"Wow," he remembered exclaiming to his Lieutenant as he raced the red engine down the road with lights flashing and the horn blaring. "I've always wanted to be on a cruise during the holidays. There will be so many families with good looking daughters on that boat!" Yes, Led had his priorities in line per usual. That was a month ago and nothing captivated Led's mind more than the epic search for his soul mate...the woman-to-become-the wife of his wildest fantasy. He spent every moment planning for the trip and counting down his days of boring bachelorhood...well, fire fighting wasn't boring, he admitted, but the rest of his life nagged for the perfect partner.
"Aren't you going to spend the holidays with your family, Led?" The Lieutenant a