The Time I Saved Christmas - Conclusion

The Time I Saved Christmas
Part I
Part II


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Part III - Conclusion

And then I had another even more worrisome thought.

The present I had left under the tree in the cul-de-sac was, for all purposes, an “unmarked box.” In my mind, I could imagine the new neighbors in their pajamas and coats, terrified of the strange box at the end of their drive, waiting for the bomb squad to arrive Christmas morning and blow up my hot cocoa present that I had worked two weeks to buy. I was as silly the little Marino girls to think I could make a Christmas surprise.
I sat in bed wondering what to do. On Monday morning when we returned to school, and Mrs. Heffron asked us to report on our surprise present projects, would I be telling how the bomb squad was called to our street on Christmas Day? Or how the green truck was marooned next door by a dead battery?
Then I remembered what my Grandpa had told me about a war he fought in. Grandpa said, being brave was not the same as knowing what to do. Grandpa said, to be brave, you just do what you think is right, and then live with the consequences. I wanted to be brave enough to save Christmas. For the Marinos, and for their guest, and for my neighborhood. But first, I would need some paper and a pencil.
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I got dressed, again. This time I found my other glove. Then I wrote, “Thanks for the nice tree. From: Kit,” on a piece of notepaper. I ran down to the end of the cul-de-sac to put the note on the present. The street was still quietly blinking holiday colors, but now, I was on a mission, no time to notice the quiet night. Next, I ran to the Marino’s house. I was going to ring the doorbell. The green truck’s cab light was already getting dimmer. And when Mrs. Marino stopped yelling, and the girls stopped crying, I would explain…….
I paused at the front door. There had to be a better way. When would Santa get here anyway? Maybe he could explain to Mrs. Marino?
And then I remembered. Mr. Morino and Brian what’s-his-name were staying in the girls’ room. Is that what I had heard at dinner? Zupa de pesca seemed like a week ago now. But what if I could wake up the Brian guy, and tell him about his truck, without bothering anyone else? It was worth a try. Yes, that was a plan worth taking consequences for.
I ran around the side of the house. Which bedroom window belonged to the girls? The first one, I was pretty sure. Anyway, it was too cold to stand there wondering for very long. I climbed through the bushes at the side of the house. When I got under the first window, I felt around the ground for a stone or stick, something to knock on the glass with.
And then I got a break. I could hear snoring. Poor Mr. Marino, sick with a cold, was snoring loudly, telling me the window was open a crack.
“Mr. Marino,” I whispered, loud as I dared. I had to call three times, a little louder each time, before the snoring stopped and I heard Mr. Marino’s loud, “Who’s there?”
“It’s Kit, from next door. I came to….”
“Kit, have you been out all night?” Mr. Marino sounded more concerned than angry, I was glad of that.
“I came to tell your friend that his truck light is on.”
There was silence for a long second. And then, with relief, I heard the sound of keys being fumbled for, and shoes being tripped over.
“Thanks, kid,” said Mr. O’Brian through the dark window. “I would've had a dead battery, on Christmas Day.”
Then Mr. Marino started to say something, but I didn’t wait to hear. I ran back home and got into bed fast as I could. I didn’t look for Santa, or say goodnight to trees. I might be in big trouble on Christmas Day, but I had helped someone, on Christmas Eve. I would take any consequences that came.
******
Christmas morning, Mom was surprised I slept in.
Santa had come, and the bomb squad had not. Nor had Mr. Marino called my Dad.
And the big green truck with Brian O’Brian and everything he owned, was gone.
Thanks to me.

THE END
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The Time I Saved Christmas - Part II

Part I
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Part II

.........That was when I saw the odd light by the Marino’s house.
There was big new green truck in their driveway, and the cab light was on. I stopped to think. Of course, it must be the house guest’s truck. And when he had gone out to fetch his travel things, he must have left the cab light on. My dad had scolded me for doing the same thing. Once I had left the car lamp on, and our car battery had died.  I detoured over to the Marino’s house. Maybe the truck door was ajar. Surely I could help shut the light off and save the battery.
Standing on a rock by the side of the drive to look in the cab, I saw that it was filled with presents, suitcases, a vacuum, a blender. Wow! Whatever trip this guy was making on Christmas Day, he had a lot of presents to deliver. Then I saw the blinking red light on the dash that says a car alarm is turned on. No point trying the doors. I would only succeed in setting off the truck alarm and waking the Marinos, or worse, the whole street. I imagined how angry Mrs. Marino would be if the girls were woken on Christmas Eve.
    I was glad to get back into our warm house, my new Christmas PJs, and my own bed. I looked out my window one more time at the little pine tree. It seemed to blink brighter now that it sheltered a present same as a real Christmas tree. Would Santa notice? I wondered as I pulled my quilt up to my chin. But when my head touched the pillow, I had a very different thought…
    Brian O’Brian was running away from home! There was no empty spot in his truck at all, except for the driver’s seat. His truck wasn’t full of presents, it was full of all his stuff, I was sure of it. And that was why Mr. Marino, sick with a cold, had invited a near stranger to stay at their house on Christmas Eve. The man had no home. I was just as sure that on Christmas morning he would have a dead battery.
And then what? Mr. Marino couldn’t help fix the truck, he was sick. There would be no shops open where they could get new truck parts.  Like my Dad always says, “No good deed goes unpunished.” The Marino’s Christmas would be ruined by the stranger’s broken truck. Not to mention, Mr. Brian would be grounded on Christmas Day. Unless I did something.
What could an eight-year-old boy possibly do? I was already in bed, and it was cold out. Plus, I wasn’t even supposed to be outside.  Anything I tried to do, would get me into trouble. Santa might not come. What’s the point of helping if it causes more trouble?
And then I had another even more worrisome thought............
Final Part III Coming Friday, December 23rd
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