The Time I Saved ChristmasPart I
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.
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