Title: The Orpheum Miracle (2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug)
Author: Pat Henshaw
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 1st 2016
Page Count: 25
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 0 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Christmas joy is a matter of perspective. For some, it’s the happiest time of the year. For others, not so much.
Twenty-nine-year-old Mick, the son of crack addicts, isn’t exactly a dyed-in-the-wool Scrooge. Mick’s been on his own from childhood. As a teen, he lived in a shelter where for a short time he had a boyfriend. After the boyfriend left, Mick moved to the Orpheum Theater. While squatting there and taking care of the grand old building, Mick watched others celebrate the holidays from a distance, never able to share in their joy.
Only his Technicolor dreams liven his dull, mechanical life until one day the world around him begins to change. Mick is surprised when a man named Jim buys the vintage Orpheum and plans to restore it. Something about Jim makes Mick think they’ve met before. In fact, Jim rekindles Mick’s longing for a better life and a little holiday magic for himself.
This was lovely. Very short but it packed a punch.
The tone of The Orpheum Miracle is on the melancholy side. In just a few pages we get the full story of Mick, who grew up in a shelter, and now, at twenty nine, he’s squatting the Orpheum Theater. Until the new owner arrives.
Truth be told, I saw from a mile away who the mystery man was and I think you will too, but I didn’t mind. I liked Jim and I found his contradictory reactions to Mick pretty adorable.
My niggle is that the characters get together only in the last few pages. Their time together is skimped over, the important conversations are mentioned in passing, and the steam is off page. So yeah, it felt a little unbalanced.
Overall, this was a nice holiday short, that combines a little bit of the cinderfella and the second chances trope. The writing was great too.