Co-written by Dizzy, PJ and Lady Jodie
With Glen and TJ, and a Special Someone
Thank you, Dee, for editing this for us.
TJ opened his eyes and rubbed the sleep from them. Turning on his side, he checked the LED numbers on the clock radio and groaned when he saw it was only three a.m. A noise from downstairs had him sitting up and listening for it to be repeated.
“Nuts!” he muttered, throwing off the blankets and getting out of his warm bed. “Micah better not be trying to find out what’s in his present.”
Stealthily making his way down the stairs and along the lower hall, TJ almost tripped over someone kneeling near the entrance to the living room. “What the hell are you doing, Micah?” he hissed and was almost toppled over by a hand reaching out and yanking on his arm.
“Be quiet! If he hears us, he’ll put us on the ‘naughty’ list,” Micah whispered as loudly as he dared. Seeing an expression of complete bewilderment on his friend’s face, he pointed and ordered, “Look!”
TJ squinted to see through the faint glow being cast by the moon shining in the picture window. His eyes widened and his jaw dropped when he saw who Micah had been spying on. “Shit! Who’d have thought!” he hoarsely uttered in shock as the Christmas tree lights suddenly came on.
Micah pulled his friend back from the encroaching circle of light. A big man had his back to them and they watched enthralled as he circled the tree adding presents to those that were already there, before turning towards the fireplace.
Neither Micah nor TJ thought to wonder where the stockings had come from that the man was now filling with an array of surprises.
TJ did a quick mental check list, holding up a finger for each identifying symbol. ‘Chubby, round and jolly looking, check! Red suit covered in soot, a long white beard, black boots and belt, check! Big bag of toys, check! Pipe with smoke encircling his head, check!’ He turned to Micah with a look of astonishment. “He’s real! He’s really real!”
“Yes, he’s really real!” Micah muttered. “And he’s going to put both of us on the naughty list if we don’t shush up.”
TJ saw Micah’s hand come up to cover his mouth and he shivered as the ghost’s hand went right through his head.
“Sorry, I can’t always touch when I’m excited or nervous,” Micah explained. “But please, be quiet. I really don’t want Santa to know we’re awake.”
“You really believe there’s a naughty list?” TJ taunted. “And you think he knows if we’ve been good or not?”
“Yes, I know there is a list,” Micah responded in a low voice. “I was on it once a long time ago.”
“Why were you on the list?” TJ practically begged now that his curiosity was getting the best of him. “What did you do?”
“It was just before I met Jeremiah,” Micah started. “You may not believe this but I kind of had to make a break for it at one time in my life.”
“Okay, but what exactly did you do to get on the list?”
The young men had become too engrossed in their conversation to notice that Santa had come to the entryway and was standing over them.
Micah glanced up and promptly vanished, leaving TJ to face the music himself.
TJ fell back on his butt and gaped up at the big man. Licking his lips, he stammered, “Uh, hi Santa. You‘re real.”
“Micah, come back here right now!” Santa demanded.
“No, you’ll put me back on the naughty list again,” Micah cried as he sat down next to his friend.
“I won’t put either of you on the naughty list, but I might just let your Tops know that you are awake,” the big man in a red suit said.
TJ could only stare in fascination while Micah reappeared and went on to plead with the man. “Santa, please, don’t wake Jeremiah! You know how grumpy he gets.”
“Yes, I do and so should you.” Briefly studying one of the men sitting on the floor, Santa ordered, “TJ, breathe!”
TJ drew in a huge gulping breath at the man’s urging. “You’re real!” he croaked out once more, his shock still very evident.
“Yes. I‘m as real as you need me to be.” Santa reached down, holding out a hand to each man. “Come on, boys. Let’s talk about this in the kitchen. We don‘t want to wake up your Tops.” He effortlessly hauled them to their feet. “TJ, breathe,” he instructed yet again as he lead the way into the kitchen. “How about some cookies and milk? Maybe Micah can regale us with the tale of how he got on my naughty list.”
TJ poured milk into three glasses while Micah fetched the tin of cookies they baked just that afternoon. Then they sat down at the kitchen table with their guest.
Micah beamed with pride to see Santa eating the cookies he’d helped make. Much to his delight, he’d been allowed to use the hand-held mixer. He’d almost burnt his nose on the little window on the front of the oven door when he’d leaned in too close to watch the cookies rising and turning brown. He hoped and prayed he’d removed all the egg shells that he’d accidently dropped into the batter. He knew he’d just die of embarrassment if Santa was to crunch into one of them.
“So, Micah, how did you get on the wrong list?” TJ inquired, biting the head off the gingerbread man in his hand.
“For running away from home, getting caught stowing away on a ship and lying; all minor reasons when you stop to think about it.”
“Hrmph,” Santa cleared his throat and rolled his eyes.
“That proved to be the worst Christmas I ever had,” Micah pouted.
“How so?” TJ wanted to know.
“It was at the end of my first voyage as cabin boy. We arrived in America the second week of December and collected our wages. It was the clipper’s last cross-Atlantic trip and she was being traded in for a steamship which wasn’t set to sail until the New Year. I spent the next month, including the holidays, walking the streets or moping around in a dismal little room I’d rented not too far from the docks.” Micah grimaced as memories returned to haunt him.
Even knowing this would be a great Christmas for their ghostly housemates, TJ couldn’t help but be saddened by his friend’s story about the one that took place so long ago.
Fortunately, Micah’s mood brightened as an idea entered his head. “Hey, Santa, can we go for a ride in your sleigh?”
“That won’t be possible, Micah,” Santa responded with a shake of his head. “There just isn’t enough time. Besides, you’d have to sign waivers and I don’t have any forms with me.” With that, the big man got to his feet. “Thanks for the treats, boys. Now I have to be on my way and you two better get back to bed before your Tops come looking for you.”
Micah and TJ followed their special guest back to the living room. Good byes were exchanged and two young men stood back with mouths opened wide, staring in awe as Santa disappeared up the chimney.
They ran up the stairs to the sound of reindeer prancing in anticipation on the roof above their heads.
“They’re gone!” Micah and TJ exclaimed in dismay.
“What’s gone?” asked Glen, coming into the living room behind them.
“The stockings!” TJ shouted, pointing towards the mantle.
“And the extra gifts!” Micah cried, getting down on his hands and knees to search under the tree.
“What stockings?” Glen asked, somewhat baffled by the younger men’s behaviour.
“What extra gifts?” Jeremiah was equally perplexed.
“The ones Santa filled,” TJ answered the first question, disappointment written across his face. Seeing his partner’s look of confusion, he adamantly declared, “Glen, he’s really real. Santa is real.”
“He was here last night,” Micah thought to explain. “We both saw him. In fact, we even visited with him for a short time during the wee hours of the morning while you two guys were sleeping.”
“I think your imagination was getting the better of you, my lad” Jeremiah stated as he settled himself into the large armchair next to the fire that Glen was lighting. “It was likely all that cookie dough you ate when you thought I wasn’t watching that caused you to dream.”
“Both of us? The same dream at the same time?” TJ shook his head in disbelief.
“Not to mention being able to remember it all,” Micah pointed out.
“Proof you’ve watched too many holiday movies over the past couple of weeks,” Glen offered by way of an explanation, already assuming it wouldn‘t fly.
“Yeah, right!” TJ scoffed.
“What brought them about is a moot point, love,” Jeremiah kindly commented in light of his Brat’s palpable disillusionment. “The truth remains: there are no stockings and no extra gifts. Therefore, you must have dreamt it all.”
“Have no fear. We’re still in for a grand Christmas. There’s more than enough for all of us.” Glen smiled and shook his head at Jeremiah when to their mild exasperation both Micah and TJ grudgingly attempted to accept the obvious but didn’t quite manage to do so.
“But he’s still real!” the young men chorused after silently eyeballing at each other for a moment and determining they were fully prepared to debate the issue. Fortuitously or not, depending on what one’s view of the situation might be, there were no takers.