Thursday, December 4, 2014

Chapter 35 Real Santa (20 Days Until Christmas)

MEGAN STARED AT the clock. The hour hand would not move,

and the minute hand was taking its time. By her estimation it would

be seven hours until she would run downstairs and see the presents

under the tree Santa Claus had left behind. Every year she watched

the clock and suffered through the night. She wanted to sleep but she

just couldn’t fake her body into it. She had counted sheep. She had

counted backward from one hundred. She had recited the Gettysburg

Address that she had memorized for her class project. Nothing


But of course she only wanted to sleep an hour. Her father had

rigged an ingenious device with a string tripwire connected to a bell

by her bed. He had stretched the string across the roof and explained

that any person, reindeer, or sled would trip the string. Megan stared

at the brass bell on a pivot wheel. She had tested the string several

times going out the tiny crack in the window. When she pulled on

the string, the bell rang out. She had shut her eyes and done it to see

if she would wake up. She did.

Like a fisherman, she kept one eye on the bell and the string. She

had heard some funny noises outside. It sounded like people were

walking on the roof, but every time she went to look all she saw was

fat, juicy snowflakes. And the funny thing is the snow didn’t even

look real. The flakes looked like soggy cotton balls and fell in large

clumps on her sill. Beyond the snow she could see nothing. So

was left with the bell and the string, and so far the string had not

budged and the bell had not rung. She turned over several times with

her stuffed animals, hugging her Tweety Bird close. Her room was

lit by the electric candle on the sill, and she considered turning it off

to get more sleep. But the candles gave her comfort and told her it
really was Christmas and it really was the 24th of December—finally,

Christmas Eve.

Megan reached over and picked up the video camera. Her father

had plugged it in and made sure it was charged up. He had explained

that all she had to do when she heard Santa was press the red button

and point it out the window. He had even put a piece of masking

tape by the button. Megan had practiced several times jumping out

of bed and running to the window with the camera and pressing the

red button. She really didn’t press it, but she wanted to make sure

everything would go smoothly when the big man arrived.

Megan had great fantasies about the fame that would find her

when she proved to the world there was a Santa Claus. She saw herself

as a guest on popular TV shows, giving interviews and describing

how she caught Santa Claus on video. She and her father had also

gone over the procedure for posting the video to YouTube, though

she already knew how to do this after posting a video of Whiskers,

her cat, hanging off the side of the maple tree in front of the house

then falling ten feet to the ground below.

Megan heard another thump on the roof and turned over. The

string was not moving, and the bell didn’t move. The glowing diode

in the video camera announced all was ready. She wondered what

would happen if Santa saw her string and stepped over it or flew over

it with his sled. Megan imagined girls and boys had probably tried to

catch him before and had failed. He was probably very clever about

avoiding detection. She stared at the string and followed it to the

crack in the window. She turned back over.

Megan had asked her father what time he thought Santa would

come. He had stroked his beard a moment then replied without

hesitation, “Everyone knows Santa comes at midnight.” So she had

a half-hour to go. Megan snuggled back in under her covers and

yawned. That was a first. She had not yawned or felt her eyes become

heavy. None of her usual sleep rituals had kicked in, but now she fe

her eyes actually drooping. She fought against it, feeling that with one

hour this was no time to sleep. But she felt it coming now.

Megan promised herself a ten-minute nap and promptly fell fast


Real Santa...Holiday Sale

Books by William Hazelgrove