Chapter Ten: Eight Bloody Reindeer
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Jimmy groomed his white beard as his ’91 Grand Wagoneer sputtered and belched idling in the parking lot. He pulled the tiny comb through the facial hair as he often did. This habit was with him in the waiting room at the hospital when he had his first child, in the funeral parlor after the radon poisoning took his family, in the mental ward at the psychologist’s office. It helped soothe his anxiety. He found new life as a Santa Claus. Touching the hope of the season made him feel less hopeless.

Jimmy found himself initiated into a selective group, the Sons of Nicholas. They told him it was his embodiment of Christmas spirit made him attractive to the organization. As secret societies went, this one was pretty mild and not at all nebulous. The local chapter met once a year on December twen...

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