So…still with me? I hope so. And if you are, feel free to share this story with all your friends and family. Tell it around the dinner table on Christmas. Re-enact it with your school drama club. Make it a Christmas tradition. Make me rich!
Santa walked with Joshua towards the young boy with the greasy chin and the turkey leg.
"Hey, Stevie," Santa said. "Come here for a second. I want you to meet our newest friend, Joshua. He's gonna be your roommate."
"Hey," Joshua replied, still a little leery of this strange young boy.
"Stevie," Santa said, "How about you take Joshua upstairs to your room? Give him a snack, show him some games. I'll be up in a little bit with dinner."
"Sure. Come on, Joshua."
Joshua didn't know what else to do, so he followed Stevie up the stairs. They went to the second floor, a long empty hallway with multiple doors on each side. A single bare bulb hanging from the ceiling lit the hall. Stevie opened the first door on the right and walked in.
"Here we are," he said. "Wait till you see all the cool crap I got."
Joshua could barely walk into the room. Toys littered the floor. The first thing Joshua spotted was the 50-inch television screen against the far wall. Then he noticed the X-Box 360 beneath it.
"I got the bottom bunk," Stevie said. "The top bunk is yours, and everything else in here is everybody’s. Just don't hog the X-Box."
Joshua was already planted in front of the television, sifting through the many video games. He found one he liked and popped it in the console. Stevie picked up a tray of cookies from a table near the bed and brought it over.
"Try these," said Stevie, "They're awesome."
Without taking his eyes off the screen, Joshua grabbed a cookie and stuffed it into his mouth.
"No problem," said Stevie. "There are always great snacks around here. It's part of the program."
"What program?" said Joshua, still mashing the video game controller and staring at the images on screen.
"The SCS program. Why do you think we're here?"
"Because Santa wants to make all of our dreams come true?"
"Ha! That's a good one" Stevie took a bite of a cookie and put it back on the tray. "I’ll have to tell that one to the guys."
"What the heck are you talking about?" Joshua's uneasiness towards Stevie was quickly returning.
"See this suit?" Stevie tugged on the front of his red shirt. "Notice how everyone here is wearing it?"
"And how about all this food lying around?"
"What are you saying?"
Stevie sat down on the bottom bunk. He reached underneath the bed and pulled out a large cardboard box.
"Let me show you something," said Stevie, patting the space next to him.
Joshua put down the controller and walked timidly towards the bed. Stevie chuckled, and began pulling things out of the box. There were books, cassettes, a walkman, an empty brown paper bag, and finally, a red cap with a white wig and beard attached.
"What is all this stuff?" asked Joshua.
"These are all the SCS training supplies."
"I still have no idea what you're talking about?"
Stevie stood up, picked out a fresh cookie, took a bite, and threw it back on the tray.
"Okay, where to begin? Around Christmastime, you know how Santa’s all over the city on the same day?"
"Yeah," Joshua said. "He moves around a lot to reach more people. He's a real hard worker. My mom told me so."
"I bet you're mom told you a lot of things. Think about it, though. There is no possible way one person can be in that many places at one time. Those are all different people you're seeing, Joshua. And none of them are the real Santa. Especially not Dennis."
"He's the guy that picked you up," Stevie said.
"Santa's real name is Dennis?" Joshua stared blankly at Stevie.
"No, no, no,” Stevie said, shaking his head. “You're not listening. He's not really Santa. Santa doesn't do field work."
"Yeah. Listen, you better sit down, because there's a whole lot more." Stevie handed the empty brown bag to Joshua. "Hold on to this, too. You might need it."
Joshua sat on the bed, motionless. It seemed like his whole world was crashing in on him. Dennis Claus?
"Look Joshua," Stevie said, sounding almost sympathetic, "I know you probably don't believe me, but trust me, everything I've said and everything I'm about to say is true."
Joshua stared at the brown bag in his hands, completely silent.
Merry Christmas Eve! I hope Santa brings you everything you want tonight! I'll bring you the finale tomorrow!
I Love You all…Class Dismissed.