Coming in at number one from our December Holidays theme....Mission Santa Claus.
Mission Santa Claus
By Richard Bon
The boys hid their bikes and an empty duffel bag behind the bushes and knelt beside one another at the foot of the steep, grassy hill leading up to the old man’s house.
“Remember,” Nathan said to Billy, “if you see a light go on, run back and grab your bike and ride to the end of the road and wait for me by the Smithfield barn.”
Billy nodded and hoped Nathan didn’t notice his hands, trembling.
Billy nodded again, eyes wide.
“Okay, then let’s go. Follow me.”
Staggered, Nathan ahead of Billy and to his right, the boys trotted up the hill until they reached an old weeping willow tree about twenty feet from the grand old wooden house’s long front porch.
“Just wait here,” Nathan instructed Billy. “I’ll go get it and then we’re outta here, piece a cake.”
Billy did as he was told while Nathan made a sprint toward the object of their desire, the reason for their stealth nighttime mission: the brightly lit Santa Claus with its waving, flashing arm. From the house’s location at the top of the big hill, the flash could be seen from all around the small town, a bright white light turning on and off with every motion of Santa’s arm. Rumor had it the old man bought it from overseas years ago, less than ten were made, and it was priceless. At least that’s what the older boys in their school told them, the fifth graders who didn’t let them play touch football at recess even though some of the other fourth graders got to play.
When Nathan reached the Santa and lifted it off the ground, Billy could see a power cord hanging from Santa like a tail. Nathan started taking slow steps toward the house and Billy understood; the cord ran to the house, and Nathan had to unplug it.
Suddenly a bright light turned on, lighting up the entire porch and the lawn where Nathan stood.
Billy recalled Nathan’s instructions to scram if a light came on, so he started running down the hill. When he looked back for Nathan, though, he saw his friend sprinting toward the house, still going to unplug the Santa. Scared, Billy kept going down the hill.
By the time Billy reached the Smithfield barn, he was completely out of breath. The five minutes he waited for Nathan seemed like forever.
“Did you get it?” Billy asked Nathan when he arrived, nervous and excited.
Nathan removed the duffel bag from over his shoulder, and Billy could see that it was full. The boys rode home in silence.
That Monday in school they told the fifth grade boys about their adventure and the priceless Santa they stole. The older boys laughed out loud for a few minutes, bewildering Nathan and Billy.
“What’s so funny?” Nathan asked.
One of the fifth graders asked, “Haven’t you ever been to K-Mart?”
Richard Bon lives in Philadelphia with his wife and daughter. He posts a new micro story, written to be read in five minutes or less, every other Monday at LiminalFiction.com.