Sweat stung his eyes, but Peter forced the grimace into a smile as he continued strumming. His cousin was recording them and promised to upload it to YouTube later. He was doing it via an elderly Samsung so there was little editing opportunity.
This was the fourth venue they’d played at this evening and hope was running high that they wouldn’t get chased off this time. Peter and his cousin were trying to pump up subscribers to their YouTube site with the hopes of being recognized. The two other singers were hoping for some coins to buy traditional rice, banana, brown sugar and coconut milk treats for their Christmas Eve gift to their family.
The boys could see the colored lights inside the house beyond the gate. Surprisingly, there were dogs in the yard, but they lay on the concrete steps, chins flat, eyes glued to the group and ears attentive to the song. Peter hoped they liked the harmony. When they finished “The First Noel” and started in on “Joy to the World” the front door opened and a fat, balding man stepped outside. The dogs wagged their tails, but didn’t move and Peter thought that was a good omen.
The fat man sat down on the concrete step when they started playing “Good King Wenceslas” and both dogs got up to lick his hand. The boys decided to try a different tack and started in on “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer” next.
Just as Rudolf was about to become famous, their audience got to his feet and walked toward them. He was smiling as he approached the bars of the gate and reaching into his pocket. Without even realizing it, the singers had stepped back leaving Peter alone next to the gate strumming. “Merry Christmas, boys.” The fat man brought out a handful of coins, making sure to give each of them the same amount, more than enough for their Christmas Eve treat. Then he reached into his shirt pocket and produced four Butterfinger candy bars, one for each of them. In turn, Peter, his backup singers and cousin each said, “Thank you, Merry Christmas!”
Smiling, the man turned, walking back to the step and through the front door, leaving the carolers to their smiles. The window was open and he listened carefully to the receding excitement outside his gate as he picked up his gin and pineapple juice and turned to watch “White Christmas” on the flat screen TV in front of him.