The Christmas Spy
David was a bright little boy.
Bright in mind and bright in spirit. There was little that didn't fascinate him. How did someone think of the wheel? How did someone come up with the recipe for crusty bread?
As Chrismas neared, David began to think about chimneys - dark, narrow and sooty. Father Christmas came down chimneys but never got dirty.
How was this possible?
Every year, sometime between Christmas Eve and the morning of Christmas Day, Father Christmas left David's presents spread all over the living room floor of a flat that didn't have...a chimney!
How was this possible?
David asked friends, but none had a clue. He thought and thought, then thought some more.
There was only one thing to be done - an investigation!
David had a camera. He had a laptop. He had a cable that connected the camera to the laptop. There were cushions on the sofa between which to hide the camera.
The plan was simple. David would set up the camera just before he went to bed on Christmas Eve. He would capture anything that happened in the living room.
David messed about with programs and cables and went to bed.
He loved his pillow. He felt so safe with his head on his pillow. He loved thinking about all sorts of things when his head met his pillow. Did Jane really like him, or was she just pretending? Did his teacher give him good marks only when he was in an especially good mood, or was David actually clever?
David thought about Father Christmas and soot and dirt and chimneys and presents and cake and biscuits and and chocolate and Jane and his last test in maths. Life was such a big thing...always something going on!
David couldn't sleep.
He was thinking about all the nice Christmas pictures he'd seen. A jolly Father Christmas popping out of a fireplace, without a trace of soot on him. Father Christmas placing presents around the tree as children slept. Rudolph the reindeer enjoying the milk that had been left for him in the kitchen.
But David's home didn't have a chimney!
How did Father Christmas get in? Did he have a key to the front door? Could he make himself very thin and slide under the front door? Perhaps he changed into a puff of smoke and wisped in through the keyhole?
David thought and thought and thought, and eventually fell into a deep sleep. The camera waited for something to happen...
When David opened his eyes on Christmas morning, he looked at his bedroom ceiling for quite a long time. Thoughts went through his mind, like trains go through tunnels, like people walk through parks, like dogs run through long grass.
What (when he remembered about the camera) was he about to discover?
Impatient fingers clicked the mouse and tapped impatiently on the keys.
There it was, waiting to be started with just one more click!
David's secret video!
The Christmas tree in the corner started to move, as if a light wind were tickling it's branches. The star on top of the tree slowly changed into a pair of round spectacles. The top branches of the tree began to change from green to white, pine needles becoming fluffy whiskers. Two little blue lamps turned into a pair of twinkling blue eyes.
Some branches, once green, were now a pale pink; they became a hotter pink, and then a very bright red. The pot in which the Christmas tree stood split into two, each half becoming a shiny, black boot.
The tree began to shake, as though a strong wind had blasted into its branches. David could hardly breathe as he watched Father Christmas step out of the tree to leave it hanging, potless, in the air!
Presents were laid on the floor. A reindeer jumped from a red pocket and dashed into the kitchen for a long drink of milk. Three elves appeared from under a red hat and jumped down to dance around the room as they sang a bright song in a language that David couldn't understand.
He stared at his screen in amazement as the scene unfolded. Father Christmas made himself comfortable in an armchair, and took a small packet from a pocket as he watched the elfin dance. He was having a little snack, and a short rest!
Then, in an instant almost too short for the the human eye to deal with, Father Christmas leapt into the Christmas tree with the elves and the reindeer hot on his heels. A bright shimmering, golden with streaks of red...a rustling of quivering branches...and they were all gone.
Just like that!
The Christmas tree stood in the corner as if nothing had happened, but something caught David's eye. Hanging from a high branch was a little parcel that hadn't been there earlier. David went over to see what it was. On a small label was written:
To: The Christmas Spy, David
A present from Father Christmas himself! He tore at the paper to discover a red USB flash drive...thumb drive...pen drive...so many names! David went back to his laptop and plugged in the device. A couple of clicks...a video...Father Christmas in a familiar armchair!
"Merry Christmas, David! I hoped you enjoyed being the first person to discover my secret. Chimneys, indeed! What poppycock! Would you go down a chimney in your best suit? Not many people have a chimney these days, but that doesn't matter. A Christmas tree opens a very special door between my world and the world of people, and that, my friend, is why there must be a Christmas tree at home no later than Christmas Eve.
But all this is secret!
Don't tell anyone!
I have another secret to tell you. Jane has a picture of you on her dressing table. Now go back to bed and dream, and be happy.
With a wide grin and a cheeky wink, Father Christmas disappeared from view. His video disappeared, too, and the memory thingy stick thing turned into a beautifully wrapped sweet. David's video disappeared from the desktop, and the laptop shut down, all by itself.
David put the sweet in his mouth, and instantly felt a million nice feelings. By the time the last trace of the sweet's delightful taste had left his mouth, David was fast asleep on the sofa.
Can YOU keep a secret?
© Paul Drury, 2017