Short Story: Christmas Hotdog

The crisp air cut through the thin overcoat of the man walking down the snowy streets of New York. The smell of hot dogs drifted through the air and to his nose. His stomach growled, empty. He reached into his jacket pocket with a cracked hand and counted the change residing there: 64 cents. He sighed, placing the change back in his pocket. He walked along the streets until he paused in front of a fountain. The water illuminated the change scattered at the bottom. Feeling the metal resting in his palm, he decided that the change was too heavy. The man plucked 5 cents from his pocket and tossed it into the fountain. He continued down the sidewalk, whistling as he went. 

The man strolled into a park where children played in the freshly laid snow. He decided to take a break, sitting down on an empty bench. He sighed and pulled a faded, worn out photo of his family. Tears welled up in his eyes. He took a deep breath. “Thomas!” A woman screamed. Turning around, the man saw a small child wandering into the street. He pocketed the photo, propelled himself off the bench and scooped up the child. A car blared its horn, swerving around the man. “Thank you,” a woman running up, said to the man, out of breath. She took the child in her arms. The woman glanced at the man, taking in his tattered clothes. “Let me give you something.” She said, shifting the child onto her hip and looking in her pocket book. “Not necessary, Ma’am,” the man said, turning around and leaving. 

Night fell quickly. The man was sitting in front of a huge, glowing Christmas tree. The light sparkled, the colors dancing. Snow was falling onto the man but he felt warm. “Sir?” A man pushing a hot dog cart stopped next to him. The hot dog man composed a hot dog, holding it out. The man looked away from the tree. “Thank you, Sir.”  He took the hot dog in his frozen hands. The hot dog man rolled his cart away, moving onto the next customer. The man took a huge bite, his mouth watering. He smiled as he chewed. A whimper interrupted the man. A small mass of matted fur wandered towards him. The puppy called out again, smelling the man’s dinner. The man paused, looking from the puppy to the hot dog. He smiled and held out the hot dog to the puppy. The puppy, suspicious at first, sniffed the hot dog. Realizing that it was a gift, the puppy moved closer and pulled the hot dog out of the man’s hand, toppling over as he did so. The man chuckled, petting the puppy. After the puppy was finished, the man took the puppy and tucked it into his jacket. Feeling the small bundle of fur falling asleep, the man felt content, watching the Christmas lights until day break.