Spinning the Dreidel


“Geez, Kiddo,” Brian was telling the twink over lunch at the diner. “Even the diner is crowded today. Everybody must be out shopping – everybody but me ….”

“Yep, they are,” Justin grinned his agreement. “Been non-stop shopping since 4 AM. It’s Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving – the greatest shopping day of the year …..”

“Well, it looks like you and your friends from the Institute bought just about everything in sight, Taylor,” Brian continued. “Talk about mercenary ….”

“It’s hardly mercenary when everything you buy is for somebody else, Kinney,” Justin retorted. “Like – maybe there was even something for you among my many acquisitions today. You never can tell ….”

“Well now you can rest up for a week or two,” Brian laughed, “before you start decorating the loft for Christmas ….”

“Well there’s like – something I need to tell you, Brian,” Justin confessed. “You know how Mel always does Hanukkah over at their place. Well Gus asked me yesterday at Thanksgiving dinner if we could do at least one of the nights of Hanukkah at our place too. I think he figures we can do a better job than Melanie He wants to have some of his friends over ….”

“And you think we can do a better job than Melanie too,” Brian was still laughing. “You’ve always wanted to show her up. So you told Gus we would be glad to outdo the old witch ….”

“That is not what I told him at all, Mr. Smart-Guy,” Justin protested. “I told him I’d have to ask you.”

“Why didn’t you just tell him to ask me himself, Baby?” Brian wondered. “Maybe you thought you’d be more persuasive than he would be – though I can’t imagine why you’d think that? But I don’t doubt for even one minute that you assured him we would be doing Hanukkah this year – just the way he wants it - and showing up Miss Melanie with all her vast experience ….”

“No comment,” Justin grinned at him.

“So we’ll just put a menorah up next to the Christmas tree and that’ll be ….” Brian supposed. “Bet you bought a menorah this morning ….”

“Nope,” Justin told him. “There were no menorahs on Black-Friday specials at all – but I did talk to my friend, Mike, and we’ll have it Monday. He’s gonna pick up a nice one for us out in Squirrel Hill. I told him exactly what I want. He lives out there and ….”

“So what’s the big hurry, Kiddo?” Brian asked him. “We got time …..”

“Not so much time, Brian. Hanukkah begins on December 1,” Justin informed him. “It’s early this year ….”

“Why don’t they celebrate the holiday on the same day every year, JT?” Brian wondered. “That would be like – too easy?”

“They do celebrate every year on the same date, Bri,” Justin laughed. “Hanukkah always starts on the 25th day of the month of Kislev. It’s just that their calendar doesn’t exactly gibe with the secular calendar.”

“Well you lucked out this time, Sunshine,” Brian informed an unsuspecting Justin. “It so happens that I’m a kind of expert on Hanukkah. There was a Jewish kid in our crowd in college and we played ‘Spin the Dreidel’ at Hanukkah one year. I won nearly two hundred dollars. Be sure you get a dreidel – It’s like a top with four sides and you spin it ….”

“Cut it out, Brian,” Justin stopped him. “You know Gus has a dreidel - and him and his friends will be spinning it in the loft too – for poker chips – and the winner gets a gift certificate for Chuckie Cheese …..”

“Well then I’m not even playing, Mr. Spoil-Sport,” Brian feigned disappointment. “What would I do with a gift certificate for Chuckie Cheese? This party isn’t sounding very good to me at all ….”

“But you will actually be the star of the show anyhow, Bri,” Justin assured him. “You get to read the significant parts of the Books of Macabees - which tell about the origin of the feast – and how the miracle kept the lamps burning for a week ….”

“Well that might be enough to save the day, Taylor,” Brian admitted. “Yeah, I think it will …..”

“So now you’re getting into the true spirit of the holiday, Brian Kinney,” Justin grinned. “All the important religions of the world from paganism on – they have all reminded people that in the darkest times in life – no matter how dark they are - the light will survive - and eventually prevail. That’s the message of Hanukkah – and of Christmas ….”

“And the message of Justin Taylor too,” Brian grinned back at him. “No matter how awful you make things, you always hold out the hope that better days are coming “

“That too,” Justin smiled at him. “Gotta go now. I’ll see you later. I need to check out a few more stores. It’s pretty late already but there may still be some good buys left. I don’t want to miss anything …..’

Brian smiled too. He didn’t want to miss anything either.


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