The Christmas Heist

The tree and its lights provided the only illumination in the living room. Outside, snow was falling. It was a picture-perfect Christmas Eve. Two small figures huddled on either side of the fireplace.

The larger one whispered loudly to the smaller. “Okay, Kevin, you remember what to do?”

“Yes, Rob.”

“When the bag drops, you grab it, and I’ll close the flue.”

“I said I remember!”

“Shh! We don’t want Mom and Dad to hear.”

They fell silent, listening for any movement upstairs, but it seemed their parents had not stirred. The boys stayed quiet, just in case, and waited.

It was so quiet and dark and peaceful that it was hard for Kevin to keep his eyes open. Every so often his head would start to drop and would jerk back up. Why was this taking so long? Couldn’t they just go to bed? But he knew better than to ask his older brother, who had spent days planning for tonight. Rob would call him a baby. So he forced himself to stay awake.

A thud in the fireplace fully woke him up. He lunged and grabbed at the large red sack. “Now, Rob!”

But Rob didn’t move. The light, regular breathing indicated his older brother had fallen asleep. Kevin fumbled around for the flue mechanism, but it wasn’t easy. He hadn’t practiced this like his brother had. After what seemed like forever, he found the lever and pulled it closed.

He fell back onto the floor exhausted from the panic. After he recovered his breath a bit, he laughed. Rob had fallen asleep! This was perfect. Finally something he could hold over his brother’s head for a change.

“You know, Kevin, there are other ways into the house. The chimney is just convenient.”

Kevin’s heart stopped. He looked up at a large man, red outfit, white beard.

“And before you ask, you and your brother are not the first to try.”

“Santa…”

“Quiet now. We don’t want to wake your brother. Let’s talk over some milk and cookies. You did leave some out, didn’t you?”

Kevin nodded and followed Santa Claus over to two chairs. Between them was a table with a plate of cookies.

“So you were going to take my sack for yourselves?”

“Yes, Santa.”

“Why?”

“Well, Rob said we would get lots of presents.”

“And what about all the other boys and girls?”

Kevin shrugged. He hadn’t thought about that.

“Hmm. Do you think you deserve a present now?”

Kevin recognized that same tone from when his mother was upset with something she had done. “No.” He didn’t even look up as he answered. “I’m sorry.”

“Well, then, that’s that. I should be going.” Santa stood as he spoke and walked over to his sack. He reached in and pulled out a present, which he then placed under the tree. “Now that stays unopened until the morning, okay?”

Kevin nodded. “But why?”

“Because, Kevin. We all make mistakes. One mistake doesn’t put you on the bad list. And you’re sorry. You admitted what you did and didn’t try to blame your brother.”

“Thank you, Santa, but…”

“But?”

“What about Rob?”

“Do you think he deserves a present?”

“No less than I do. Sure, he can be a rotten big brother sometimes. But he’s my big brother. I don’t want a gift if he doesn’t get one, too.”

Santa smiled. “Very well. Here’s a gift for Rob, too. And Kevin…”

“Yes?”

“Tell him Merry Christmas for me.”

“I will, Santa. Thank you. Merry Christmas.”

Tom’s Revenge

The bedroom was dark and quiet, which made the noise all the more startling.  He tapped his wife’s shoulder.

“Did you hear that?”

“It sounded like the wind knocked over some of the Christmas decorations.  I told you it was too early to put them up.”

He frowned.  “It’s November.  Never too early for Christmas.  Besides, there’s no wind tonight.”

She sat up.  “Then what do you think it was?”

“I don’t know.”

“Go check!”  There was a little panic in her voice.

“Okay, okay.”  He grabbed his robe on his way out of the bedroom.

The rest of the house was quiet, and nothing seemed out of place.  Both doors were still locked.  There was no evidence of what had caused the sound that had disturbed his sleep.

Just as he had given up and was returning to bed, there was a sound from above like something  had landed on the roof.  A loud crash followed almost immediately, and he ran outside.

The lighted Santa Claus that had been sitting on top of the house was now lying broken in the driveway.  But that was only the beginning.  All his decorations were in shambles.  The tree was knocked over, the inflatable snowman had been popped, and the lights…  The lights were torn down and strewn all over the lawn.

Except for one strand.  It was wrapped around one of the wild turkeys in the neighborhood as he and several others quickly shuffled down the street away from the house.  What he couldn’t figure out was why they were still lit.

“What happened?”  His wife was standing in the front doorway.

He looked once more at the lighted turkey escaping from the scene.  “I think maybe you were right.  Maybe it was too early to decorate.”