Christmas Eve

by Kaioto (


        Matt Bluestone sat in his apartment, slumped down in his couch as the chasing lights slowly wove hypnotic
patterns around the five foot tall artificial Christmas tree in the opposite corner.
        The television colors and sounds were a bit of a jumble to the detective's mind, but it seemed that Jimmy
Stewart was soon to cross the screen for the up-teenth time that Christmas Eve. With a groan of disgust, Matt's
hand spasmed on the remote control and cut the power to the infernal machine. With a matching groan Matt's arm
swept across his body and half-heartedly threw the clicker behind the T.V. and Matt turned his weary and somber
eyes to the dancing lights once more.
         He had bowed out of spending the holiday with Elisa by picking up some poor patrolman's day shift, which,
incidentally, would begin in about eight hours. Matt didn't spend Christmas around his friends anymore. He was
tired of forcing smiles and trying to forget.
        Try as he might, Bluestone couldn't get to sleep either.
        Perhaps it was a flash of sheer lunacy, a personal rebellion, but something compelled the detective to neaten
the contents of his coffee table into a winding line of articles. Matt glanced around to his in-shambles apartment and
back at his small island of order.
        As much as he wanted to, Bluestone couldn't laugh. Instead, he sat solemnly again on his sofa and stared at
those items which now bathed in the dim aura's of Christmas lights.
        First his eyes focused on the open bottle of scotch on his left, a present from Montoya. Only one shot was
missing from the bottle, Matt had decided already that there was no cheer in this Christmas cheer. He took hold of
the glass neck and brought it up to eye level, staring into the depths of the amber liquid.
        ~ Still ~ he though reflectively ~ It numbs the pain, they say. At least that was what Dad always used to - -
        Matt cut that thought off as he rose with a start and strode quickly over to his window. With one arm, he tossed
the stubborn thing open and with the other he spiked the bottle as hard as he could on the dumpster in the alley
below. After he took in the somewhat satisfying smash of glass on metal, Matt Bluestone slammed the window shut
against the chill wind which swept over Manhattan.
        Matt took a deep breath and returned to his previous position as if nothing happened. He next picked up his
watch. It read quarter of eleven.
        "Another year dies," he whispered softly before he put it on his wrist. His hands next time fell on his badge.
The metal seemed dull in the colored lights, stubbornly refusing to gleam at all. Bluestone stared at it for a moment,
then tossed it onto the pile of clothes that he'd change into in the morning.
        Matt gave a yawn and scratched his neck. As he stretched his other arm, he brushed up against the trenchcoat
draped over the unoccupied side. The back of his hand scratched lightly as it caught on metal. Instead of retracting
his appendage fully, Matt took grip of his jacket and pulled it into his lap.
        Matt just stared at the pin on his lapel for a long couple of minutes. Finally, his right hand clamped on either
face of the pin and pulled hard, until the fabric gave a satisfying tearing noise. The pin in hand, Matt gave the window a questioning look again, but settled on chucking the pin into a random corner on the room. Matt knew it was stupid,
that he'd have to go crawling around looking for it later, but it felt right at the time.
        With a sigh, Matt turned again to the coffee table. This time he reached left again and his hand fell on his battered composition notebook.
        Slowly, Matt picked up his year's journal and leafed through the pages. They flipped by, filled beyond the
margins with his rushed and almost illegible scrawl. Though Matt's eyes fell only on the pages and ink, he read not a
word. When he was left only with the pale cardboard back, Detective Bluestone turned the book over and took hold
of the first few pages. Deliberately and carefully, Matt tore the unread pages from the binding. He repeated this process
until he was left with two faces of cardboard and a pile of scraggly pages.
        Matt tossed the binding to one side, then folded the pages over and walked to the book case. He pulled a worn hardcover of Sherlock Holmes Mysteries down from a dusty corner. He opened the book, wedged the wad of papers
between the bound pages, and then shoved the book next to several similarly over-stuffed and dust covered novels.
         Matt stalked back to the couch and looked at the two remaining items. He took one in each hand. One his
right, he regarded his service revolver. For a long, silent moment he stared down its barrel, in a similar yet very different
manner as he had beheld the pin and the scotch.
        With a solemn nod and a slow hand, Matt put the gun in its holster on his hip. With that particular confrontation
resolved for another year, Bluestone's eyes fell upon the silver chain which dangled from his clenched left fist. He stared
at this item as well, but had anyone been there to observe, they would have noted the severe difference in his
countenance now.
        In absolute silence, Matt remembered how his mother had looked so many years ago with this about her neck.
Laughing, smiling, crying, tending to Matt's father as his "problem" had gotten worse and worse, looking into Matt's
own eyes from the hospital bed - speaking no words at the same time as saying everything.
        Matt's mind drifted back from memory only as his tightening grip caused him to release the small silver cross
which bit into the palm of his hand.
        Bluestone finally stared at what remained in his hand. The simple piece of jewelry which had meant so much to
his mother, given her so much strength in his childhood. It had been a source of hope and joy for her, and only a
painful memory for Matt. It had never done Matt any ill, interfered in his life; it had never done anything for him.
All it did was remind him of something he didn't have anymore.
        In the blinking lights Matt continued to stared, until a single drop of salt water ran down his cheek. It paused
on his chin, and he remained perfectly still. Then it fell into his hand, splashing onto the dull sliver in Matt's hand,
letting it catch the illumination of the chasing lights and reflect a prism back in Matt's eyes.
        Matt's eyes blurred from what must've been continuous exposure to the air. He wiped them with the back of
his left hand and stood up. He reached out and grabbed his jacket , throwing it on suddenly. He picked up his wallet
and shoved his hands into the cleared deep pockets. His hands empty, Detective Bluestone tied his trench coat tightly
about his lanky frame and grabbed his hat and gloves.
        Ready for the cold, Matt walked through the door and did not look back.
        Matt Bluestone was tired on watching the old year die. He turned his thoughts by will and desire towards those
ideas of rebirth, of beginnings. As he stepped out onto the streets, Matt set off for one place besides a bar and the
precinct that would be open on Christmas Eve.
        That midnight Matthew Bluestone was not on a stake out, but never the less he was standing a vigil and for
the first time in ages, Detective Matthew Bluestone was not alone on Christmas Eve.