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Norm Hacking's Prose
Race Track Hack:
"Maybe One More"



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Taxi News, December 2003, p. 15-16.
© Norm Hacking 2003

An old man, with a beat up hat, and a long beard, stands before a mirror.

The mirror’s vision is clear, yet the old man must squint and guess.

His beard appears as if a billowing snowstorm, a blur of gray and white. He rubs his eyes.

The mist from a lifetime of tears of sorrow and joy, is joined by thin huffs and puffs of soured mortal breath. Tainted by age, and human trial, each breath now wheezes laboriously through yawning gaps, where once stood rows of strong white teeth.

The mist freezes in crystal layers upon the mirror, distorting the old man’s face. Yet, not his faith.

For the frozen mirror still seems to him somehow true, and timeless in its way.

“Hearts can still fly when legs falter,” he mumbles to himself.

And, as he continues to squint deeper into the confusing blur, faces of the ages appear to him, as if by magic.

“You are still here, with me,” he whispers back to each of them while placing a gnarled hand upon his chest.

Mostly, there are young faces, full of curiosity, and vitality, and promise, and an oh so desperate love.

There are sounds of singing, and dancing, and grateful celebration. Smells of wood smoke, and hearth, and all day cooking fill his nose.

He raises his right arm and tentatively places his palm upon the crystal glass. For a moment his handprint melts the frost, providing a brief patch of clarity. It is in this glimpse, that a vision of a lone fir tree, covered in snow, appears to him.

Upon the topmost branch, a small bird begins to sing. The old man is startled, for the song of the bird seems to speak to him, as if in human words.

“Those who understand the gift, must never give up. We are lost without you.”

The old man slumps heavily into his favorite chair. The wind moans outside, while ghost cyclones whirl and spin like snow ballerinas, past his window.

It takes a sigh of hesitation before the old man awkwardly reaches around beside himself to answer the ringing phone.

“We are worried about you,” came the voice of the caller.

“I remember your voice,” replied the old man. “You started out with a passionate interest in fire engines, which you soon transferred to cocktail waitresses and cocaine.”

“This isn’t about me, old man,” spoke the voice. “No one seeks comfort in me.”

“I am you,” replied the old man, his tired voice barely whispering into the telephone.

“No,” argued the voice. “I was born naked, and confused, and afraid. I have lived my life that way. And, now, I wait - empty, and terrified, and faithless.”

“And, yet, you are calling me,” chuckled the old man.

“You’ve spent a lifetime finding people to live your life for you. You created me to keep the faith you claim you don’t have. And, yet, here you are, on Christmas Eve, calling me! You are the guardian of faith, my friend. Not me. You claim you do not understand the gift, but you do. You just don’t want the responsibility.”

The caller’s voice was silent for a moment.

“It’s true that it is Christmas Eve, old man. And maybe there is still a little faith in all of us. Is there enough in you for one more year?”

The old man’s gaze fell upon his old wooden cane leaning up against the fireplace. The clatter of dozens of hoof beats suddenly shook and rattled the roof of the old man’s cabin.

“I suppose,” said the old man, “that if the world has one more Christmas left in its heart ... well, then so do I.”

“Thank you,” said the caller as he hung up the phone.

“I must thank you, as well,” muttered the old man. “I might have died tonight. But, now, there’s no time for that - too much to do!

“One more Christmas,” he smiled to himself. “God bless us, every one.”

And with these words, a surge of energy made the old man’s tired limbs young and strong again.

He slung a huge and heavy, seemingly bottomless bag over his shoulder as if it had no weight.

As he climbed the stairs up to the attic window, he reached into his deep red coat pocket to check for reindeer kibble.

P.S. - To my wonderful Taxi News extended family, I thank you for years of kindness. May we continue to find, each year, that there is one more Christmas left in our hearts.

Editor’s Note to Christmas shoppers:  Norm Hacking has 3 critically acclaimed CD’s available - Skysongs... A Writer’s Collection, One Voice and Orange Cats Make the Very Best Friends. Check his website: for details on how to order, or call Festival Distribution toll free at 1-800-633-8282. Also available at most CD retail outlets. (Orange Cats is a perfect gift for kids and/or cat lovers of all ages.)

Norm's spoken word CD I Am the Night (2005) includes this story.

Taxi News website is with Norm's current monthly column at and a few archived issues in .pdf format at (check the last few pages of each issue). Taxi News is a monthly publication with news and commentary on Toronto's taxi industry and is available by subscription or free at distribution points.

For more of Norm's writing, read:

Norm's December 19, 1999 Toronto Star feature article, "Looking for Christmas: A Songwriter's Journey."

Lyrics to Norm's song "Waiting for Christmas"

The 1988 Stubborn Ghost album dedication letter to his young son Ben and a photo from the album. (Most of the tracks on Stubborn Ghost are included on the recently reissued CD Skysongs... A Writer's Collection and six of the songs were recorded by other artists for One Voice, A Tribute to Norm Hacking, Volume 1.)

See the index of Norm's lyrics, poetry and prose (including other "Race Track Hack" columns for Taxi News) on this website.

Added to Norm's website December 5, 2003
Link to CD added January 27, 2008