Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Meanest Theif


   They didn't need the alarm clock to wake them. They had been awake nearly all night. Sometimes they lay rigid with dreadful anticipation, sometimes quivering with anxious joy.

This was Christmas! The time of miracles! The time when special things really do happen. A time when everyone is happy and joyful, and each person tries especially hard to do what is right.

Even big, grown up people seem to be touched by the magic of good triumphing over evil. At this time as at no other time of the year, people strive to ease the suffering of their fellow man.

One by one the five little people climbed from the warm cocoon of their beds, four boys and one girl.

 Their eyes were glowing orbs in their tense faces. After all, they were going to witness a miracle! Small feet slid into waiting slippers. Each child tied a housecoat around themselves with regimental precision.

Then, led by an unspoken command they trooped out to the hall, down the stairs, and into the family room.

The oldest boy paused to plug in the Christmas tree lights, for miracles must be revealed in the soft pastels of  warmth.

As if they were one person, they all turned. Each could see the wicker basket. They touched the faded blue blanket. They could all smell the stale milk and the mealy smell of dog food.

The wonder in their faces changed to a mask of unreadable stoicism. 

While young minds, numb with dispair quetsioned their beliefs. They had been so sure! How could such a thing happen?

The puppy wasn't there. Just as it hadn't been there for every morning in the past week. It just seemed impossible. They had all expected his wiggling warm body, and pink tongue to attack them in a frenzy of joy and love.

Instead they looked at each other in silence.

The miracle dimmed into reality.  Their dog hadn't been returned.

Whoever had taken him, whoever had cut the rope, was unmindful of the pain the theft had caused.

 The thief surely was not visited with the special glow that make folks rise above their everyday  self at Christmas.

The basket was empty!

Just one small tear found its way down a small cheek. Still no word was said. How do you say "Merry Christmas" with a  broken heart? Or greater still, five broken hearts?

The bright tinsel was ignored, the promise of secrets in pretty paper held no appeal. The stockings and presents were left undisturbed beneath the tree.

The oldest unplugged the tree lights. Slowly they turned and filed silently back down the long hall and to the loneliness of their beds, defeated, dejected, and although they were five in number, each was curiously alone.

The meanest thief had stolen Christmas. I wonder how he slept last night

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