“So why is it glowing?” asked the Chief.
“Ummm… because…” started Torch, who really didn’t know why.
“Because We have been asked to reconvene the Tribunal” said a familiar voice. Torch and the Chief spun round, and saw Nurgle standing there.
“I have been asked, by that Most Very Important Person, to get you to get the following people to be in this room within… ooh, hang on, I’m working in Lapland Santa Time… so I need to add 4, carry the two, divide by 3, subtract 4, multiply by 7, take away the number I first thought of… an hour.”
Nurgle handed Torch a list of names.
“I have an hour” confirmed Torch. “That’s not much time. Chief – you contact this person, this person and this person – they’ll come because you phoned that one… and I’ll phone the rest.”
Torch and Chief made the calls quickly. Years of experience of calling firemen and policemen in for urgent tasks meant that they phoned the furthest away first before working closer.
In 54 minutes, everyone was assembled.
“What’s going on?” asked Gail.
Nurgle appeared and clapped his hands. He puffed out his chest and started.
“I have been instructed by the Most Very Important Person to gather you persons here. The Tribunal has met once more to discuss the incidents and trials that have happened in this town and the manner in which they were dealt with. There were… observations.”
“Is that good?” asked Gail. “It doesn’t sound good. Or is it? I don’t know!!”
“Shh” said Nurgle. “I’m getting to a good bit. By the powers given to me by the Tribunal, I hereby summon the Arbitrator of all things… Tribunalary… and Nice-or-Naughtifically and ask that he passes Judgement.”
There was a WHOOOOSHHH!!! and a very familiar figure appeared.
“… so then the Elf says… well you won’t get it started from down there! Ho Ho … Oh! Nurgle, you could have warned me!”
“Santa!” everyone cried.
“No, I’m the Arbitrator of things and things and stuff. I do not know who this Santa person is you are talking of.”
“I think they know it’s you” said Nurgle.
“Oh… oh, alright then. Let me put my coffee down. Now then… after we had our special Tribunal, I took particular interest in watching what you all did next. Not just Trevor there, but all of you as it needed a team to save the city. Consequently, The Tribunal has given me special powers to give you these things a day early. You will find your second choice items tomorrow… it is that time of year you know – and we all felt that you had worked to earn them. Now, let me look at my list. Ah yes, Chuck. Can you step forward please?”
“Now as you used your initiative and skills to fly your drones, it seems fitting that you would ask for the XTC750 model – the top of the range. However, here’s a toolkit as I’d like you to help my team work on the Santa sled. Oh, and the drone’s outside as well.”
“Santa, I would be honoured to help you. Thank you!” said Chuck.
“Ho Ho, very good” said Santa. “Who’s next? Ah, yes, Gail.”
“We heard your singing and music skills and we felt that your wish, to be able to pursue a music career, was an easy gift. So here is a recording contract with Simon Cowtail and we wish you all the very best luck.”
“Wow! Thank you Santa, so much!” said Gail.
“It is, as always, my pleasure” replied Santa. “Now, Chief, can you step forward.”
The Chief stepped forward.
“Your wish was… imaginative” Santa said. “So much so, I had to wrap it myself.”
The Chief smiled and took the parcel. “Thank you Santa” he said “I’m sure Mrs Chief will be very happy with it.”
Santa leaned forward and whispered. “I’ve also put a receipt in here if she decides it’s the wrong colour.”
He leaned back. “Oh, Betty?!”
Betty stepped forward and performed a curtsy. Santa smiled.
“Your wish was an unusual one too, wasn’t it?” he asked.
“To some, perhaps” she replied. “But not to me.”
Santa’s eyes twinkled.
“Enjoy your first edition Hello Kitty doll!”
“Oh… that’s even more wonderful than I had hoped for!” said Betty, happily. “Thank you ever so much!”
Santa’s eyes flicked to the list. “Scurrier? Do I have a Scurrier here?”
The Scurrier waddled up to Santa as fast as his legs could work.
“You’ve been a very busy person over the last few weeks… have you had fun?”
“Was that shrug because you had hoped that your parents would have come for Christmas?”
Scurrier shrugged, then nodded.
“Well, let me fix that….”
“Your dad’s here, but your mum and your fifteen brothers are at home. Enjoy the holidays!”
Scurrier’s face just beamed to the point everyone thought he would just pass out. They hugged, then scampered out before anyone asked them to hold up any more stupid signs.
“Ok, carrying on. Trevor Frankiewiener, please step forward and bring the reverse-o-ray gun.”
Trevor walked forward slowly.
“Now, you know that we have been watching you. We saw what you did after the Tribunal and how you tried to make it all better again. The Tribunal has made a decision. Hand over the reverse-o-ray gun.”
Trevor handed it over. His hands were shaking.
“The Tribunal reviewed the case and realised that you had in fact asked for the wrong thing. Being a scientist, it is in your interests to push experiments to the limits, to check and test what can and can’t be done. We do ask that you consider what it is that you are doing before you do them, but we thought this may be of more use.”
“What is it?” asked Torch.
“It’s an Undo-o-ray gun!” exclaimed Trevor. “If I make a mistake, I can fire this and it will undo anything I did wrong!”
“Hopefully that will stop things for going wrong again” said Santa. “Now, Shawn next I think.”
Shawn stepped forward.
Santa gave him the box, and he rattled it. Shawn knew exactly what was inside – it was the one toy he had asked for ALL YEAR. But…
“Santa, thank you – but…”
“But you don’t think you deserve it? Well, Timmy and Pauline will wake up tomorrow with the presents they wished for. But the gift you gave them meant far more when you gave it.”
“What gift?” asked Shawn. “I didn’t give them a gift!”
“Yes you did – the gift of friendship. When they were big you didn’t stay away, you came round to see how they were and played with them – helping them to forget what problems they had for a few minutes. That gift is a very big gift – and you gave it freely. For that, you deserve this thank you from us.”
Santa looked at his list. “Constable Lodge… I have your name, but you didn’t send me a list. You… you do believe in Santa, don’t you?”
Lodge smiled. “Oh yes Santa, I do believe in you. It’s just… well I’m happy with everything that I’ve got. I’ve got good friends, have a wonderful job and live in a wonderful town. What more could I ask for?”
Santa smiled and nodded. “I think you have the best present anyone could wish for. However, I don’t think you have this. Can you step forward please?”
Lodge looked confused and stepped forward. Santa turned to everyone.
“You see, most people think that I just receive lists and wishes from boys and girls and occasionally the odd adult. But that’s not true. We also get lists from everyone – and in this case, a unicorn.”
“Bambi has asked that Constable Lodge looks after her. Constable Lodge?”
“Santa, Bambi, it would be my pleasure.”
Bambi rubbed her head against Constable Lodge’s leg. “Come on then” Lodge said.
Finally, it was just Santa and Torch.
“Here we are again” said Torch. “Thanks for helping out.”
“Torch, it was a pleasure. It was a great idea to give those gifts out and I’m glad we could help.”
Santa delved into his bag and pulled out a bottle.
“A gift from Mrs Claus. Your very good health.”
“Can you stay for a small sherry?” asked Torch.
“Of course!” said Santa happily. “Are you ready to help me deliver all the presents?”
“You have just got the usual reindeer pulling the sled, not giant ones?”
THE END. For this year 🙂
Thank you ever so much for reading this story – I hope that you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed thinking, writing, photographing, editing and publishing each section. I didn’t know where the story would go and I think I managed to get it to one actual whole 24-day story!
I hope that Santa brings you the presents you wish for – and that he also brings you my gift to you – the gift of friendship and happiness.
With all good wishes of the season and hopes and dreams for 2017,