Friday, December 24, 2004

A Christmas Story: "The Magic Jacket"

Tony came into his apartment late after trudging through the cold streets of the beaten-down northern industrial city to find under his Christmas tree in an unmarked cardboard box a new leather jacket.

"Who left that?" he puzzled. His tiny room of a place showed no signs of forced entry. "Maybe there really is a Santa Claus?"

Tony checked the window. The snowy dark streets of the city below, with silent moving cars, looked heartless. Santa Claus! Right. But who had left the jacket?

Tony tried on the jacket and looked in the faded mirror over his bathroom sink. The golden-colored jacket fit perfectly. The gray room glowed.

"Good thing I put up a Christmas tree!"

When Tony walked the streets of the city the next few days, dressed in the golden warm jacket which fit so well, it was with a surge of new confidence. The world wasn't so bad after all! He laughed and waved at people, who looked at him with respect and admiration.

Tony realized that when he put on the leather jacket he became a new person-- no longer Tony Strumski, long-time job-drifting semi-alcoholic failure, but a man of substance and bearing.

"What a gift!" he exclaimed out loud as he waved at a stranger.

That Friday night at the Industrial Bar across from the closed factory where he once worked, Tony sipped gallantly from a tumbler of fine whiskey-- V.O., the good stuff-- with leather jacket perched proudly on the back of his seat. A trampy but foxy-looking blonde came in, gave Tony a quick glance, then conversed with the bartender, who was her friend. When Tony rose to leave a drink later he put on his magic jacket. The woman's blue eyes alit, became curious. How had she missed him? Who was this guy?

"Don't I know you?" she asked. "What's your name?"

"Anthony."

She went home with him to his apartment and they made burning warmth having wild sex on his small bed, and together killed the remainder of a bottle of brandy kept under his sink. Tony fell asleep happy, and had amazing Christmas-fun dreams. "Christmas! Christmas! Such a happy Christmas!" Tony said drunkenly in his dreams. The world was a wonderful place.

When Tony awoke shivering cold in his tiny gray room of a sad dwelling the blonde woman was gone, and so was the magic jacket.

1 comment:

Noah Cicero said...

Analysis of some lines:

"Tony checked the window."

If Eggers and Moody are the kings of literature currently. This line is pure revolution. Because it makes sense. it conveys an image that everyone can understand, from the factory worker to the lawyer to the MFA professor. But it pisses the MFA professors off because THEY believe they are the only ones that have the right to understand literature. One of the objectives of the ULA I see is a return to having sentences that make sense.

a bottle of brandy kept under his sink:

My father keeps his whiskey under the kitchen sink. The fact that he wrote a sentence that reflected normal human reality is also revolution. Eggers, Moody, sitcoms, movies, nobody popular even attempts to reflect normal people's lives. There is not one bourgeoisie notion in this entire story, by the mere mentioning of the bottle of brandy under the kitchen sink he has attacked the very core of their institution, their lack of reality.

When Tony awoke shivering cold in his tiny gray room of a sad dwelling the blonde woman was gone, and so was the magic jacket.:

I do not know if Wenclas meant this but to me this is what the story meeant and those lines. The magic jacket symbolizes the old magic of Christmas, that bourgeoisie notion created in the fifties that Christmas was beautiful and great, basically only to sell products. That notion of Christmas is gone for Americans, most of us don't have enough money to go around buying tons of presents like we used to and most of our families have been divided between reactionary republicans and not liberals but just people who want America to move into the future and leave this old American notions behind. The blondge symbolizes the lose of love and family, that on Christmas day we all go to our family's house but as the day passes we realize we don't even like them and they don't like us.
The majic of Christmas is that it brings families together, but at the same time when we see them we see how Marx said we are just a 'mere money relation' to each other.
And that we are all alone on Christmas no matter how many people you spend it with, because we have been all so alienated and pitted against each other in America, no matter how hard we try, we are alone.
What this story implies is revolutionary also.
If we can get a good amount of ULA writers to the American people it will have implications much bigger than all of us.