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?"
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.