Christmas will get me ten bucks from an aunt in a city I can't pronounce.

Twenty bucks from Grandma if she can smuggle it passed Grandpa. If she can't, the old geezer will stiff me with a dime, his reasoning being that that one was particularly shining.

Depending on how well the next few games go, anywhere from fifty dollars from my dad to him shaking me down for my paycheck coupled with a few months of eating the ever-so-coveted brown bag lunches.

Finally, whatever was in this metal pig's carcass.

"So why'd you bring a piggy bank to work?" she asked in that innocently curious voice that rubs me the wrong way.

I looked to her with small hammer in hand. She'd pulled up a stool and been sitting at the counter for awhile now, just sipping her iced coffee and watching me pace around while I tried to calculate percentages and the probability of me actually conjuring up the money to replace the espresso machine before Mr. Waters acknowledges life away from his "lady friend" and finds out I broke it.

I replied, "Because I'm much more cynical at work, and if I'm going to waste all my life savings on something that you made me break, I want to do it in an atmosphere that has the right aura for it."

She began tapping the side of her drink. "If you want I could lend you some money."

"No, I'll handle this." I sighed and tightened my grip on what would be the harvester for all the money I've earned for everything from the tooth fairy to the times I tricked my cousin into thinking my pocket was as good as a bank for storing money. "It's time I lay this pig to rest."

With both eyes closed (due to either true apprehension or dramatic effect) I allowed the hammer a good swipe to the pig's back. It caused a few cracks that spread quickly before it shattered like the little child in me who had always wanted this money to be spent on a deluxe pack of Legos or a bus ride to Canada, but even worse than the death of my childhood was my actual death which might be coming sooner than I thought.

My entire life savings turned out to be about ten coins, one being of Canadian origins, three Starburst wrappers, and a Phil Collins concert ticket.

I just stared at the pitiful pile for awhile, particularly the ticket to a concert I never attended nor knew the headliner was still around for. With a quick glance up, I said, "Hey, do me a favor?"

"Hmm?" She hummed.

"Tell them not to donate any of my body to science. If I find out a man is playing with my organs for the benefit of others, I will haunt him and it will be made into a cheap horror film one day."

She took her time sipping her drink before replying. "Or instead of letting your boss kill you, you could ask for an espresso machine for the holidays."

I snorted. "My relatives already don't get my sense of humor. They don't need another reason to stiff me the dark meat."

"I like dark meat," She said recoiling defensively.

"Of course you would." I rolled my eyes, and when they returned back to her an indignant look had appeared on her face.

"You know, I haven't exactly been having a great day either." She stuck both hands to her hips and paused like she expected me to jump at the call to talk about her day. After a few moments she continued, "I'm just a little disappointed."

"And why ever would that be. Please tell me. I care so much." I droned while collecting the shards of my little, pink companion.

"We haven't all been destroyed in some fiery apocalypse."

"I'd discuss it with the experts before drawing conclusions like that."

"We're still here," she said forcefully as if she was trying to convince me of something outrageous.

"And one of us isn't even getting paid," I said in an equally awestruck voice.

"And you're working!"

I scowled as I dumped the pig remains in the garbage. "Now that I haven't quite accepted. Just let me stay in denial a few more hours; it'll get me through my shift."

As another reminder that this job actually required effort, an old man came up to the register to order. He looked so fragile that I'd have believed he'd been carved from glass. "An espresso?" he asked quietly.

I slowly turned my head to the out of order sign taped on the broken contraption then back to the man. "Sorry to break it to you, but the espresso fairies seem to be on their lunch break."

His misty eyes traveled up to the menu hanging behind the register at a speed that rivaled my tortoise's attempts to snap up his leaf before the cat takes it. In other words, painfully slow. So slow that my hair's color was starting to match his frumpy, grey locks.

"Then could I have a mocha instead?"

"Why not? The sugar in it can't hurt you this late in the game." I prepared his drink at a leisurely pace knowing he couldn't handle anything faster, took his cash, and sent him on his way.

But of course, she had to have a problem. "Couldn't you stand to be a little more polite? You'll scare people away." She watched as the man trudged to a table.

"This coming from the girl wearing a pompom hat and fuzzy boots."

A bemused smile seeped across her face that she tried to hide behind the straw of her iced coffee.

"What?" I asked.

She paused like she didn't want to say aloud what she was thinking. "I'm getting fashion advice from a boy in a little, green apron."

"I have to wear this little, green apron!" The old man looked back over his shoulder at me, and I briefly feared me raising my voice any higher would cause him to shatter into a million pieces. I finished in an indignant whisper, "And I pull it off very well, thank you."

"Technically you don't have to," she said, "You could not work here."

"Oh but then who would you bother?"

My words only made her smile more. "Now, I think we both know you like when I'm here."

"As much as I like catching my hand on the cheese grater" I muttered.

She reached in her overly-large Mary Poppins-esque handbag and pulled out a large box that she placed on the counter.

My jaw dropped, and it took me ages to pick it back up. "A-a-an… espresso machine? You b-bought an espresso machine?"

She just smiled and stood up from her stool. "Merry Christmas, Jason."

My mind raced trying to process what she'd just done. Before I could catch them the corners of my lips turned up, and I watched her walk out the door.

I shook my head, causing my mahogany mop to puff up more and the smile to roll off my face. I called after her, "You could've shown me this before I broke the pig open!"


Happy holidays! Hope you all can find something to celebrate about (for me it's simply not having to sit through science class for the next few weeks)!