"I don't get what you see in that movie, I really don't," Nathan was saying when Ezra walked into the office on Monday morning, a fresh cup of coffee in his hand and a curious expression upon his face.
"What are we talking about?" Ezra asked, setting his cup down and unwinding his scarf as he began to unbutton his long black overcoat. The flakes melting off the dark material proved that the on and off snow storm that Denver had been experiencing had started up again.
The other six men grinned to see the clothing Ezra had chosen to wear on this Christmas Eve day, a white shirt, forest green silk tie with slightly lighter green Christmas trees patterned upon it, and a tailored suit of fine deep red wool. He should have looked gaudy but somehow managed to appear festive instead.
Tossing him a foil-covered chocolate, Vin gestured the new arrival to take a seat and told him, "JD's taking a Christmas favorites poll. Right now we're on movies."
Ezra made himself comfortable and unwrapped his candy. Work had been slow, nearly nonexistent over the last week, and clearly things had not changed today. He glanced at the shape of the little piece of holiday chocolate Vin had given him. A reindeer this time. Shrugging slightly, he popped the candy into his mouth and asked, "So, what film did Mr. Jackson find so objectionable?"
"A Christmas Story," Nathan replied. "You know, the one about the kid who wants a BB Gun as his Christmas gift? Vin said that was his favorite and I was just saying that I don't see why."
"Mm," he grunted, washing down the rather inferior grade chocolate with a grimace and a gulp of coffee. "I'm afraid I'm with you on that one. I've tried watching that movie both drunk and sober and it didn't make a bit of difference to the appeal, or lack thereof, although I do know that it's incredibly popular so there has to be some merit in it. Perhaps you and I simply don't relate properly to the boy's circumstances."
Side-tracked from their argument by the diplomatic comment, the two men nodded and helped themselves to more chocolate from the huge bowl set under the office Christmas tree.
"So, what's your favorite?" JD asked. "So far we have 'A Christmas Story' from Vin, 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' from Buck, 'The Santa Clause' from me, and 'White Christmas' from Nathan. Josiah and Chris haven't picked yet."
Ezra chuckled. "An interesting variety. I'm going to have to go with 'A Christmas Carol'."
"Which version?" Vin asked around a mouthful of candies.
He pondered the question. "I suppose I should choose one of the more classic British versions, but my favorite is the one starring George C. Scott. He was perfectly wicked and yet believably redeemed by his experience."
Josiah nodded. "Good choice. I'll go with an oldie as well, though I'm torn between 'It's a Wonderful Life' and 'The Bishop's Wife'."
"Every time a bell rings . . ." JD singsonged, then asked curiously, "What's the other film? Is it a religious one?"
Josiah smiled. "'The Bishop's Wife?' No, not exactly. Cary Grant plays an angel helping David Niven and Loretta Young find their lost Christmas spirit under the guise of helping to raise funds for a cathedral."
"I like that one myself," Chris commented, "But my favorite is 'Donovan's Reef'."
JD frowned. "Isn't that a John Wayne movie?"
Buck was grinning. "Forgot all about that one! Yeah, kid, it's the Duke but it's also a Christmas movie. It's a comedy, and a pretty darned good one at that."
"I haven't seen that one," Ezra said. "In fact, I seem to have missed several of these selections."
Glancing around the neat office, Chris smiled, picked up the phone nearest him, which happened to be Josiah's, and dialed. The others looked at him curiously as he said, "Director Travis? I was wondering if you'd object to my team taking the rest of today off since nothing seems to be happening. I'll keep my pager on in case we're needed, but. . ." The smile on Chris's face grew to a grin, which quickly spread to the rest of the men as he listened and then said, "That'd be great. Thanks a lot. Merry Christmas to you too, sir."
"He's lettin' us go?" Vin asked eagerly.
"Yep, and all six of you are invited out to my place as soon as you have a chance to get home and change clothes. Grab your favorite movies and I'll stop and get some beer and pizza. We'll have a Christmas Eve movie marathon. And anybody who wants to stick around and spend the night is more than welcome since you're all due out tomorrow anyway."
JD shouted, "Cool!" as Buck whooped and the others merely exchanged delighted grins and began gathering their things together. As Ezra began to pull his coat back on, JD commented, "I like your Christmas outfit, Ezra. Too bad you didn't get to wear it very long."
He smiled and brushed at one lapel. "I'll bring it along and wear it again for tomorrow's festivies. Considering that I just had a ten minute work day, followed by free food and a party, I believe it just may possess some Christmas magic!"
Laughing, the seven merry friends departed to begin their holiday celebration.