On the Eve of the Fourth Thursday of November in America

“Hey dude!”

“What?”

“What are you giving …”

No, dude! No, no, no!!

“What the …”

“Whatever I’m gettin’ you for Christmas, it’ll be more than I can afford.”

“A box of matches?

“If you’re lucky. If you’re even luckier, I might even throw in somethin’ to light with ’em. But I ain’t even gonna think about Christmas until it’s, like, Christmas, dig?”

“Dude, I wasn’t talkin’ ’bout Christmas. That’s next month. I was askin’ ’bout the holiday that’s, like, tomorrow!

“There’s a holiday tomorrow? All I been seein’ and hearin’ are ads for last-minute Christmas gift ideas – startin’ the day after Labor Day. What’s tomorrow’s gig about?”

“Somethin’ about a turkey, dude. It’s Thanksgivin’. I was gonna ask you what you’re thankful for.”

“Like ferinstance?”

“Your job?”

“Flippin’ burgers for minimum wage – assumin’ His Nibs don’t have an excuse for why he can’t cut checks this week – and no bennies?”

“At least you got a job, dude.”

“Riiight. Which I had to slog to, through the snowstorm this week, in my holey, leaky old sneakers, so I could get to keep it. I s’pose I should be thankful for that weather too, dude. Builds character, eh?”

“Too late, dude, you’re already built – and if they didn’t toss the builder in jail, they should’ve. Look, dude, you’ve got me.”

“You’re right, dude! I do have something to be thankful for!”

“Dude, I didn’t know you …”

“My computer is immune to your viruses! Too bad I ain’t. Dude?”

“What?”

“You see those big yachts in the harbor?”

“Yeah?”

“Why don’t you just run on board one o’ those an’ ask them what they’re thankful for?”

What? An’ have ’em cut me up an’ feed me to the sharks?

*     *     *     *

“Another glass of port, Syd?”

“Thanks, Reg. And might I trouble you for another of those fine cigars?”

“Absolutely. It gladdens my heart to know that you enjoy them. We do have much to be grateful for, do we not?”

“Indeed, that we do. But, as you know, there’s always something. We’ll be shutting down three subsidiaries next week.”

“Unprofitable?”

“Actually they were making money, but not enough to stop them from putting downward pressure on our stock price. No buyers, so we’ll be liquidating them. Couple thousand jobs lost. We might be able to keep a few of the best employees, but only at about two-thirds of what they were making before. ‘Course, with the job market the way it is, I doubt I’ll hear much in the way of complaint.”

“And your portfolio?”

“Limited my exposure a long time ago. Almost no damage from this episode. Overall, I’ll be doing about 10% better than last year.”

“Well done, Syd, well done! Let me top you up again, and offer a toast to the blessings of prosperity. You’ll be off to Tahiti soon, then, as you planned?”

“Yes we will, Reg; me, the wife, and the private jet. Tell you what I’m really thankful for … that I don’t have to try to get anywhere on a commercial airliner this time of year …!”

*     *     *     *

“Man, I hate the holidays! Look at that line!

“Yeah, Damitri, an’ I’ll bet half of ’em don’t have their liquids in the regulation baggies, and they’ll gum up all the screening stations. This shift’s gonna be a slog.”

“We can do it, gentlemen. Protect and Serve, remember?”

“Oh. Hi, Jack.”

“How many times do I have to tell you, no jokes …”

“Ah, give it a rest, willya? You gonna work in airport security with a name like that … How long you gonna be here?”

“All night.”

“On Thanksgivin’? That’s gotta be one offa the list of things you’re thankful for.”

“Hell no, Damitri, it’s one on the list.”

“How come?”

“Y’mean besides the profits from the resale of all this stuff you’re confiscating? How about the body scanners?

“Oh, yeah, that’s right!

“Keep those machines in good workin’ order, guys. The brown paper boys are waitin’, and payin’. OK, I’m off to check in on the crew at the next gate. Happy Thanksgiving!”

“Happy Thanksgiving, Jack!”

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