This Just In!
By Lake Stevens, Man About Town
December 5, 2004
A Christmas Wish
This is the year I finally discovered the true Spirit of Christmas.
The "wife" and I were enjoying a scenic drive down the Pacific Coast Highway
in the Miata when "she" brought up the subject of Christmas presents. You're probably thinking:
as a Jew studying the Kabbalah, what use does Lake Stevens have
for Christmas? In today's multi-cultural American melting pot, I feel all holidays
should be given a fair shake. This year we're even thinking of celebrating Kwanza!
My menorah can easily be re-used again; after all, both holidays use the
same number of candles. The "wife" picked up this fabulous silver menorah at Barney's
on her last trip to the Big Apple. I only need to throw a few dried ears of corn
around it, place it on a piece of Kunte-Kente cloth and - POOF -- Kwanza.
As for the presents and gift getting, shopping gives the economy a boost; we must
all do our part to keep this great nation fiscally solvent. I always make a point
to Buy American. With the exception of the money I slip to the "doctor" for my
supply of Darvocet, a portion of every Lake Stevens dollar provides tax relief to
a crack mother or animal shelter somewhere. What? Oh, the "wife" says it doesn't.
C'est la vie.
It took practically the whole drive to decide what I wanted for Christmas this year.
Did I want that darling Burberry rain slicker or that gorgeous piece of antique leaded Tiffany
glass I saw at Sophia's last week? As we pulled into our circular drive and
parked under the porte cochere, I was starting to lean toward a new pair of fur-lined
Ferragamo slippers. I was so deep in thought that it took me a moment to realize
that something was gravely amiss; Consuelo was not waiting on the doorstep with the
customary embroidered hand towel I used to dab the road dust from my brow. How odd.
Perhaps the "wife" fired her again for not making "her" morning soy-milk latte in the
correct manner. Consuelo was always confusing café au lait with café latte. Back in
Mexico or wherever her people are still rolling around in the dirt, the poor dear was
forced to support her family by selling flores or Chiclets or something. She crossed
the border in the belly of a horse or some such craziness. As the Stevens have always
been a selfless lot, we took her in as our hired help. The "wife" and I remind her of
this every day.
Passing through the ornately carved oak and crystal front door, my thoughts returned to
how luxurious those new fur slippers would feel after Consuelo buffed my heels with an
imported Indonesian pumice stone. As for the fur...it's not my fault that a Power Higher
than Lake created certain creatures with such silky and delicate pelts. It cloaks my
heart with a deep sadness whenever I see those horribly misguided animal rights activists
protesting the fur trade in front of "Neiman Carcass." I always tell them three things:
1) some people are meant to be valets while others are meant to be world-famous, hugely
successful journalists; 2) some birds are forcibly fed in order to grotesquely enlarge
and fatten their livers so we of the discerning palate can enjoy halfway decent foie gras
and; 3) some creatures -- like chinchillas, minks, foxes, bunnies and baby cheetahs -- were
solely created so those of us willing to pay top dollar can wrap ourselves in a state of
of perpetual silken bliss. Then I try to get them arrested...they're such an eyesore.
Upon entering the spacious marble-floored foyer, the "wife" and I were aurally assaulted
by a series of high-pitched wails followed by sobbing. Damn! Minnie's new album is not
doing as well as expected.
"That sounds like Consuelo," the "wife" exclaimed.
Whew -- that was a relief! I was in no mood for another evening spent consoling a drunk and
crying Minnie Driver. She gets so dramatic after she's had a few too many Apple Martinis.
The "wife" soon discovered Consuelo, crumpled over and shaking with grief, in her
bed/laundry room. Normally this room makes Consuelo as happy as a pig in shit; she
avoids the awful Los Angeles commute and the Energy Star dryer provides the kind of
warmth she was used to in Mexico.
The "wife" immediately broke into the tongue clicks and chatter of Consuelo's native
language. I had no idea what transpired, but the poor woman finally stopped crying.
She's probably just dealing with her Visitor. After she got herself cleaned up, I
told her I would be expecting a Hot Buttered Rum in the sitting room.
Later, after my bath and third nightcap, the "wife" and I were stretched out on our matching
four-poster canopy beds, our naked bodies draped in 500-count Egyptian cotton sheets.
I was trying to catch up on the newest Danielle Steele thriller. The heroine was
embroiled in a love triangle with her step-brother and elderly gardener. I was hooked.
"Consuelo is upset because her family has been denied legal access to this country."
"Huh, wha...?" The heroine was locked in a passionate embrace inside the garden shed. The
smell of peat moss hung thickly in the air.
The "wife" had to repeat Consuelo's tale of woe several times before I realized the severity of
the situation. Yes, even Lake Stevens has a soft spot in his heart for family. If you
recall, I once traveled all the way to Michigan to attend the reading of Aunt Esther's
Last Will and Testament. Even though the miserly old bitch only left me a near-worthless
set of Depression Glass serving platters, I did bring back a case of to-die-for maple
syrup to pour over my morning crepes.
I mulled it over. Consuelo is upset. Thousands of miles separate her from her family.
How did this affect me? Then it hit me like ton of bricks: a crying
Consuelo can't serve hors d'oeuvres at the "Honor All Peoples Celebration" we were hosting
next weekend! The Spellings would be coming! I had waited 29 years to receive a gift
from Mrs. Spelling. She has her own gift wrapping room staffed by a family of Peruvian
Pygmies. (Their little fingers can make the most intricate bows and crispest creases.)
The beauty of her packaging would nearly outweigh the beauty of the gift itself...which was
certain to come from Fred Segal. I knew what I had to do.
"Consuelo's family will come to America!"
The "wife" looked at me blankly.
"Yes! We can hire a smuggler! Isn't that how most of THEM do it already? Someone can
herd them through the most desolate and treacherous sections of Arizona and Death Valley
until they reach a pre-arranged spot where a truck will be waiting to cart them into LA
under the shelter of night. Undoubtedly, we may lose a few…but those people have the
ability to multiply like lemmings."
"Yes! That is what I want for Christmas! Lake Stevens' Christmas Wish is to reunite a family!"
The "wife" still looked unconvinced.
"Darling, you know that we need a new gardener; he can be Consuelo's husband! You are
always complaining that Consuelo's hands are too big to handle your Baccarat crystal
goblets -- one of those little brown children would be perfect! And so exotic! Why, one of
them could even bring me breakfast in bed and act as my personal houseboy. You know how
much trouble I have slipping into my Armani suit -- his nimble hands will ensure that "all
of me" is snuggly inside the Italian crepe-wool! He can even serve as pool-boy, bringing us
sparkling drinks and helping us change in and out of our European bathing suits."
The "wife" was shaking "her" head; a smile began to light up the corners of "her" mouth.
I really need to tell Kristof to be more attentive to the little whiskers when he does
"her" upper lip wax. As I pay "her" tab at the salon, I expect perfection.
"Let's do it! I'll tell Consuelo in the morning -- right after she gets back from her morning
walk with Mr. Puddles." The "wife" beamed. We both had very sweet dreams that night.
* * * * *
Since we imported fifteen of her closest kin (and two buns in the oven), Consuelo has never
been happier. We've got them packed into the 10 x 10 tool shed behind the pool house. They
are allowed to use the outdoor shower between 3 and 4 am after the neighbors are sure to be
asleep. Every so often I see Consuelo pause, look up from scrubbing the hand-painted Italian
tile in our guest bathroom, gaze into what she thinks are the heavens and mouth the words
"Thank You." I want to remind her that this Christmas Miracle has nothing to do with God.
However, not wanting to burst her bubble, I tell her to get back to work instead. And really...that's what Christmas
is all about: helping people.
-Lake Stevens, Man About Town