To read Part One, click here.
As Baby Frederico stepped to the edge of the driveway, he squinted into the raging snowstorm that was now overtaking the area around his house. Everything around him began to buck and sway as though it were all coming to life. The little white pickets along the fenceline to Baby Frederico’s right flipped and flopped as though they were preparing to march themselves into the blizzard before them. The mailbox at his left lifted from its post and fell backward,scattering itself somewhere onto the stubbled wheat field behind him. The road that stretched itself before Baby Frederico and beyond the old red truck seemed to curl and roll like a long red carpet unfurling itself before them.
Suddenly, and with a rumbling that seemed to come from somewhere far above it, the old red truck sprang to life. Its headlights glowed brightly and its rusted frame quaked. The wind and the weather began a furious wrestling match with the temperature; it was as though they were fighting to freeze the air itself.
Baby Frederico watched it all as if someone had pressed a slow-motion button on the action taking place before him. He tried to move, but his feet were cemented to the mixture of gravel and snow beneath him. He braced for…what was it…something that he instinctively knew was about to happen. He wasn’t afraid. He wasn’t even cold. He was thinking more clearly than he had ever thought before. He was…ready.
The old red truck lurched forward and then stopped with a quick jerk right in front of Baby Frederico. The engine sputtered and died before a thick puff of black smoke bellowed from somewhere below it. The passenger side window opened and a blast of hot air hit Baby Frederico squarely in the face. Music was coming from inside the cab and the black bear of a dog that Baby Frederico had noticed earlier now bounded from the window and raced past him.
The driver laughed and said, “Don’t worry about him. He knows what’s he doing. You Baby Frederico? Sorry for the delay, but that’s to be expected when weather like this follows me to every stinkin’ stop. They don’t like these types of deliveries you know. Doesn’t bother me though. Nothing unusual there.”
Baby Frederico stood in surprised silence.
The driver paused and looked around, “You ARE Baby Frederico?”
Baby Frederico finally stammered, “Yes sir I am.”
As he said the words, Baby Frederico felt the cold rush of air course its way down his throat and into his lungs. Had he been holding his breath all this time? He couldn’t remember. He didn’t know what to say or do next. He waited.
The driver laughed again, “Well, are you ready?”
“Ready?” Baby Frederico said.
The driver was only mildly surprised by Baby Frederico’s question. “Nothing unusual at all,” he thought to himself, “Nothing unusual at all.”
The red truck rumbled to life once again and turned onto the snow-covered driveway of the Frederico’s home. The black bear of a dog had found a warm bail of hay on the front porch and snuggled into it. Nearby, a gold and silver ornament rolled to a stop.
More to come next Thursday. Merry, merry Christmas!