Excerpt for The Tale Of Gringo El Loco, A Christmas Feature by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Tale of Gringo El Loco:

A Christmas Feature

by H.L. Dowless

Though his body felt young on the inside, his mind knew deep in the inner most depths of it's midst that he was growing older. On the outside his arms grew tired and his feet ached to the point that he felt that he could not complete his journey forward, even though it was a journey that he had traveled continuously for well over twenty years now. The pits in the shattered sidewalks seemed to grab up at him now, even though he managed to step broadly over them, just as he always had. A sight caught his eye on the left side, he tuned to glance, his eyes beholding a snarling angry face.

“Stay out of my way, old man! What's de matter wid ya? You forgot where ya going,”spouted an angry figure that shook his fist as he spoke so loud?

It seemed like today was the first time that he had ever received words like that from anyone, and it was the third time today that he had endured those types of profane greetings.

“Yea, ya punk kid there! Nothin' is wrong with me! You had just better watch where ya going,” he shouted back through tightly clenched teeth!

As he strained ahead, his eyes felt as though they were slightly more clouded today than ever at any other time that he could recall. He continued forward just as he had done for so many thankless years now. What else could he do, but continue forward? Up ahead for what appeared to be kilometers, he saw his destination; Senior Greko Barbarossa’s wood carving shop.

The stress of the walk seemed to bear even more heavily upon him now than it had even in the past few minutes, and his feet hurt deep inside the center of their soles with ever more growing intensity, so it seemed to him. In his mind he never once doubted himself, he was determined to make that round no matter what fate had in store for his body or soul. Way too many people were depending on him to complete the sacred journey.

Soon as he strained to take his next step, he saw the sign of the wood carver's shop sitting just outside the opened door along with several of his wares that were on display. An old man struggled to walk toward him, a man even much more older than himself.

“Santiago, my dear precious friend, mucho gusto mi Amigo! I am so glad that you are here. I know that this is the season for orders, so I shall assume that is what you came for? You know that you are always welcome here. You are family.”

El Greco hugged the man, clapping him solidly upon his shoulders as he did so, and lovingly kissing his right cheek.

“It's so good to see you again. I heard that you had been very sick, sir.”

Santiago smiled a warm smile, his sun hardened face suddenly shattering as he did so.

“And surly it is so good to be here. Yes, I had been somewhat sick, but I am here now....and stronger than ever, I shall say!”

“Bravo! Bravo! That is so good to hear! I hope that I never hear that you are sick again, and again, welcome back! I can never say that enough. You just do not know how much I mean those words, my friend!”

The shop wasn't much to behold. Basically it was just a concrete hole among many others on this narrow street of unpainted asphalt and more concrete that rose and fell up and down the hills. Beside him sat the pinata shop, before him was the shoe smith, all of these businesses owned by the same people whom he felt as if were his family. In fact, they were the only family that he had remaining in the entire world. Once they were gone, there would be no more, or so it felt to him at the present time. Across the road from him was the helado shop, and the licoria shop was just after that. All of the people walked forward to hug him and wish him a fine welcome back.

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