It's release day for Sydney Logan's latest holiday short story, "The Little Drummer Boy!"
It’s Christmas Eve, and Justin Banks is on the hunt for a last-minute gift for his wife, Megan. With the help of a homeless man and the beat of a drum, Justin stumbles upon the one thing Megan has always wanted. The one thing money can’t buy. It's amazing what we can hear if we just take a moment and really listen.
Rum pum pum pum.It’s faint, but it’s there. A quiet, rhythmic beat that blends into the night. How this old man heard the sound is beyond me. “You hear it, don’t you?”
With a nod, I look around, hoping to find the source of the sound. The man points toward the coffee shop’s covered alleyway.
“Back there,” he says.
The carolers begin their rendition of “O Holy Night,” and once again, I hear the “rum pum pum pum” coming from the darkness.
Intrigued, I step away from the old man and walk slowly toward the alley. Each step brings me closer to the beat, until finally, I see a little boy, nestled in the corner. His only light comes from a lantern, and a snare drum rests in his lap. The drum is scarred and the strap is frayed, but it’s obviously his most prized possession.
Probably his only possession.
Does he live here? In this filthy alley? And where are his parents?
His clothes are dirty and ragged, and the faded blue jacket he wears is about three sizes too big.
“Shall I play for you?” he whispers.
I want to start this review by saying that there are only a handful of books that have made me cry – intensely. The Lovely Bones, The Fault in Our Stars, the Sea of Tranquility, and Sydney Logan’s the Little Drummer Boy.
Don’t let the fact that I was a blubbering mess over this story deter you in any way. They were good tears, not soul crushing ones. The holiday spirit of grace and love, of giving and receiving, is laced into every word of this novella.
There is heavy subject matter in these pages – a lot of loss, a lot of hope, and mostly a lot of love.
The story begins with Justin, a man who is so engrossed in his work that he doesn’t even know its begun snowing outside. He’s busy – he has work to do. He has a wife that he is completely and utterly enthralled with that he must get home to her (it IS Christmas Eve, after all). But as he leaves work, he is momentarily distracted by some baby books in a window and he’s reminded of a time when he thought he and his wife would need them. Suffering such heartbreak has only made them closer, but the holidays are clearly a reminder of what might have been.
At just the right moment, a homeless man appears and with some simple words, he changes Justin’s life forever: “Do you hear drums?”
Led into a back alley, Justin comes face to face with a little boy sitting in a cardboard box, his only possessions being a small drum and a little lantern. He’s cold and freezing, but he simply asks if Justin would like to hear him play. He doesn’t want money. And he doesn’t want to leave his spot because his mother told him to ‘wait here.’ (Yeah, this is the point where I lost it.)
The rest of the story is wrapped up like a giant Christmas present. Like a puzzle that finally, finally has all of the pieces it needs to be complete. It’s heartwarming and heartbreaking – and is such a testament to Sydney’s talents because she puts all of these emotions into a novella and it feels so complete.
I cannot recommend this enough for a Christmas read. It will definitely put you in the holiday spirit. And every tear is completely worth it.