Eschatologically speaking. Of course.

He said to me, now winking and then a drink in his hand was gone. Vodka was swirled, but I can’t remember the orange juice.

“Do you remember the day I wrestled the don?” Like a Jacob with the angel of the Lord.

“No, don’t recall much these days. Drunk most of them. Like Moses should have been.”

“Maybe he was. Burning bush? Poppycock.”

Well, I thought, I’m not Jewish anyway and the Egyptians settled into the dust. There’s a reason for all of that and I hardly think. Dust mites, probably.

“Christmas is a mite too convenient, John.” That’s what Luke said to him after he finished his prized eschaton. “I’ll have lahvosh before wafers, and that’s the end of it.”

“You’re so droll, I’d have you painted with scarves.”

“So would Michelangelo,” he replied, wearily, “but he goes about talking of himself though there’s a bit of tea to be had. The women tire of it.”

“The tea or the gay painteur?”

“Does it really matter?” I asked, broken a bit with colic and halfway to demanding my vodka back.

“Look, no one cares what you do with your penis as long as you make it fit to size.” He had spoken little, but now was quite passionate (and friendly with eggnog).

“The stone ones? John wouldn’t have it. Off to an island, he went. Off with his head.”

“Yes, but that had more to do with the parousia. The Romans weren’t apt bedfellows, so he made them horned beast and whores and paganites with hats.”

“Kept stealing the sheets. And rolling over. Hard to get any sleep.”

I wandered over and dumped my drink back into the punch bowl. I had had it with Jewish vodka. And for that matter, punch had no punch anymore.

“Wine?” Levi asked, double over with giggles, guarding the Mani.

“I’ll have a glass,” I admitted. Something was needed to drown the lahvosh. And I was fed up with water. It reeked of salt. And was dead. As if it were from that sea.

“Is it any wonder Jesus was born?” I turned and asked David.

“Is it any wonder he abdicated?” he shot back, red-eyed.

“You mean he’s not—”

“That’s right. Son of God is YHWH’s rigmarole, no? Good man, though. Tall.”

I laughed, though I didn’t really want to. “Have a glass of wine, dear boy. It lubricates the soul.” As if he needed it, stretched out in his red yarmulke like a mule beneath a star.

So we gathered up the presents and lit them plainly on fire. It kept us warm for three-and-a-half hours until the dull moonlight was usurped by the sun and all was plain as day.

It was, for some idolaters, Christmas morning.