General Fiction posted December 10, 2013 Chapters:  ...13 14 -15- 


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Christmas

A chapter in the book Follow the Fence Row Home

Santa Takes a Ride-Part two

by emjaihammond


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Once in bed, we pulled the covers over us.  The cold winter nights required more than one quilt on the old feather bed. We were beneath so many, we could barely move our limbs.  They were weighed down by the old-fashioned patchworks.  We were thankful that they warmed us on a cold night like this.  We were snug and safe, and we usually fell asleep quickly.  Usually, but, this was Christmas Eve.

“Art!”  I whispered loudly so he could hear me through the buffer of covers.

“What!”  He hollered back.

“Did you hear that?  I heard something!”

Art sat up and listened.  “I don’t hear nothing!  It’s probably just Sport!”

Sport was asleep on the rug at the foot of our bed. 

“Nah, it ain’t the dog, Art.  He’s down there sleepin’.   I hear somethin’ outside.  Sounds kind a like…sounds like…sounds like hooves!”

Art listened for a second.  “Ya mean reindeer hooves?  Yeah, Clyde!  I hear it now!  And just listen!  Did you hear those jingle bells on the roof?  Must have been that fat man loadin’ your stocking full a coal.  You should a been nicer to Millie tonight!”  Art laughed out loud.

“Lads!  Go to sleep now!  No more talking tonight.”  Pa’s stern voice ripped through the cold dark room.  We were determined to obey.  Art buried his face in his pillow until his laughter subsided.  I could only punch my pillow and do the same. I guess I’d let him have the last laugh tonight.  Only, it didn’t work out that way.  Instead, I found it impossible to go to sleep and even harder to stop laughing.  It was contagious, so we spent the next fifteen minutes trying to stifle ourselves, our faces buried under the covers or in our feather pillows.  Finally, we were quiet but lay awake late into the night.
 
Our bedroom was adjacent to our parents' room.  It was in the wee hours of the morning but we were still alert for any sounds that might drift our way.  The grandfather clock in the parlor struck one o’clock.  Then we heard it!  Something was moving through the house.  We sat  straight up in bed. 

I heard the sound of the kitchen door as its squeaky hinges gave the intruder away.  We were listening so hard that we almost stopped breathing as we focused on the noise, least we miss something.   There was complete silence.  We both lay down quietly, not making a sound, not moving, our faces looking toward the ceiling and our eyes wide open and big as saucers as we listened for another sound in the house. 

The door creaked again.  Then we heard a thud followed by a low voice and a few expletives I’ve heard before a time or two.  Even so, they were kept to an angry whisper.  I looked at my brother in the darkness and he looked back at me.  I could barely make him out, but I knew for sure he was smiling.    

We listened again and soon we heard footsteps, ever so careful and trying to avoid detection. 

“I think he’s in the parlor,” I whispered.

“Who?” Art asked me an obvious question.

“Who do you think?”

He didn’t have to answer me because what happened next left no doubt in our minds who was in the parlor and what he was up to. 

The mission was made very difficult in the dark of night.   We listened as presents were placed under the tree.  That’s when it happened.  Bang!  Boom! Bang!  It was a terrible sound, followed by a scream!  “E-E-Yoww!  What the hell!  Son of a…! Whoa-Whoa!!!”

The voice we heard came from out of the darkness!  It sounded just like Pa’s and was cussing a blue streak.  He stumbled over, and got the first ride in our new red coaster wagon, the one that was to be a gift to Art and me from Santa. 

Art and I pulled the covers over our heads and both of us laughed until we could laugh no more.  What a night!  We figured Pa turned out okay as the cuss words trailed off in the distance.  If there had been any doubt in my mind, I knew for sure now about Santa’s secret identity.  I was sure the jolly old elf didn’t know half of the words I’d just heard.
 
The sun fought its way through the clouds to brighten the room where we had tried to go to sleep after Santa came.  We wanted to sneak in and peak at the gifts under the tree, but after what happened neither one of us wanted to risk the wrath of Shorty Bob.  Our pa had enough surprises for one night.  So, we stayed in bed and waited, trying unsuccessfully to sleep.

Snow had fallen all through the night and covered the earth for as far as I could see through the frost-covered bedroom window.  Huge snow drifts made everything familiar look new and different.

We jumped out of our beds and both of us hit the narrow doorway at the same time.  Not giving one way or the other, we somehow managed to squeeze through together and fell into the parlor at the same time.   We picked ourselves up and made our way to the tree where we immediately spied what the commotion had been about last night.   There sat a large coaster wagon.  It was shiny and red and the perfect size for us.  The small dent in the back served as a reminder of our Santa and his unexpected ride, followed by a very different exclamation than we had expected. 

We could hardly wait to take our sleds outside and into the snow for a test run, but Ma said we had to wait.  Christmas dinner was to be at our house and any family who could make it the short distance from their home to ours was invited to share the holiday with us.



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