All I Want: Kindness of Strangers
Rhoda is a bank employee in a small town. Each year she dresses up and rings a bell out front, collecting for the needy, but this year the spirit in others seems lacking. Wishing for the kindness of strangers, for the bank to collect more, she arrives the next evening to find her world shifting with each ring of the bell. But the bank may collect more liquid assets than Rhoda can handle. More
A new comet in the skies each December has brought all new holiday traditions but these traditions might end up truly twisted for many years to come.
Each December for twenty-five days, the Santa Star will appear in the night sky, named by the scientists who first discovered it as a nod to the magical seeming trails it glows through the December night skies, like Santa making his magical trip.
Each year in her small town, Rhoda volunteered to be the bell ringer for the bank, a tradition she has been heavily involved in since her days well before graduating from college, back when she first started working for the bank as a secretary.
She never had any problems with wearing the sexy little holiday outfit, nor even about the whistles and looks some of the drunken fools leaving the nearby bar on main street let loose into the cold night air. All Rhoda cared about was embracing the magic of the season, feeling the kindness in people's hearts, and of course collecting donations for the poor.
It's on a particularly discouraging night that old Mr. Samuels stops by and suggests maybe Rhoda needs to rebuild her spirit, her hope in the season. He suggests what the news has been on about lately, making a wish on the Santa Star. After all, it certainly can't hurt, and she's always so giving and positive about everything this time of year.
So as she is packing up her bell and her canister that evening, getting ready to leave the bank and return home, Rhoda makes a special wish she spent time planning during the hours after seeing Mr. Samuels. She wishes for the kindness of strangers, for them to donate and donate generously so the bank will have plenty this season.
As the next day is a Sunday, Rhoda at least can rest herself before coming in around dusk to ring the bell out front, but she's surprised parking her car behind the bank. Mostly her surprise comes from the clear work being done to the bank, odd that such work would have started on a weekend.
No one is there to answer her questions, such as why the inside of the bank is so frigid and cold, actually seeming artificially cooled. The most frustrating question is just where her little red canister went, someone, maybe a workman clearly moving it.
Annoyed, still hopeful that maybe her wish for the generosity and kindness of strangers might have come true, Rhoda realizes she'll just have to hold anything they might donate, figure out where that canister went later.
Out on the same colorfully decorated main street in town, Rhoda is soon giving a shake to her bell, but it's that first ring of the bell that seems to somehow alter the reality she finds herself in.
Ringing the bell again seems to reverberate inside her this time, a confusion, a warmth, the men no longer as confused but instead quite eager to donate, speaking of multiple donations.
It's then that Rhoda notices the bank she stands in front of isn't the same as the bank she has worked at for many years now. The building may be the same, but the cold refrigerated vault inside makes much more sense. Main Street Finance Bank is no longer engraved into the outside of the building, and instead it would seem she works for Main Street Sperm Bank.
Just another ring of the bell in her hands has Rhoda feeling that reality shift again, and suddenly she might be feeling entirely different about accepting as many donations as she can... for a bank she never used to work for.
All she wanted was a truly selfless giving act by strangers, and this year thanks to the magic of a season watched over by the Santa Star, Rhoda might just be feeling herself overflow with much more than the kindness of strangers.
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