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30 Days of Christmas Day 10: A Holiday Short Story

My gift to you today is a short story published a few years ago in a Christmas anthology. If you like your stories warm and fuzzy, this one isn't for you, but if you like a little twist--have at it! Happy Holidays Times Three by Peg Herring Cass greeted the men who joined him at the back of the almost-empty Starbucks, raising a beefy hand to each but not raising his equally beefy frame from the seat. Despite the December bluster outside, Cass sipped a Coke he’d brought along with him. The kid set down something frothy and steaming; the African’s drink was straight-up coffee, large and deep black, like the man himself. Introductions were brief: “Zar, Mel. Mel, Zar.” Cass revealed only enough information to prove suitability for the proposed enterprise. None of them wanted to know more than that. Mel, a twitchy, nervous kid with a sinus problem that signaled deeper concerns, was an excellent driver. He worked at a used car lot, was desperate for cash, and wasn’t pi