Jane and Max Schaefer scurried around their bedroom wrapping the last of the Christmas presents for their son, Billy.
“To: Billy, From: Santa. There, all done.” Jane smiled as she set the last present in the pile of other presents waiting to be taken downstairs. “I hope Billy enjoys the Super two-thousand whatever you call it gun.”
“That’s Super Soaker Two-Thousand Water Pistol. He’s only been asking for it for the past four months. He deserves it after we put him through so many years of getting him nothing but knit sweaters.”
“Hey! I happen to like those knit sweaters.” Jane pouted as Max laughed and walked across the room to console her with a hug.
“Let’s go put Billy to bed so we can take the presents downstairs.”
“Okay,” Jane said as she walked into the hall and yelled down the stairs, “Billy! Come up here and brush your teeth!”
“There,” Billy said as he set the last mouse trap near the bottom of the stairs. He carefully tip-toed through the barricade of mouse traps until he reached the fireplace. He cautiously picked up his check-list and read it carefully so he wouldn’t forget anything.
“Tacks inside the fireplace? Check… Trip-wire across the fireplace entrance? Check… Mouse traps from the fireplace to the staircase in case he tries to escape? Check.”
Billy walked over to the small table where a glass of milk and plate of cookies sat, along with a note addressed ‘To: Santa Claus, From: Billy.’
“Let me see; Glue in place of milk? Check… Oatmeal cookies? Check.” Once finished, Billy quickly checked his list for a second time before he was satisfied.
Jane, still standing at the top of the stairs, was growing impatient. “Billy! I mean it, mister!”
“I’m coming, Mom!”
“Move it, young man, or you’ll get coal in place of presents.”
“It’d be better than clothes again,” Billy muttered under his breath. Billy slowly maneuvered back through the maze of traps and raced up the stairs leaving the list safely hidden. His mother was waiting impatiently at the top of the stairs.
“Did you remember to set out the milk and cookies for Santa? It’d be a shame if you forgot after all the work you put into those oatmeal raisin cookies.”
“Yeah,” Billy smirked as he thought to himself, ‘those aren’t raisins.’
Jane leaned down and kissed Billy on the cheek. “Now get to bed.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Billy ran to his bedroom and quickly got ready for bed. After Jane tucked him in and turned off the light, she went back to her bedroom to wait for Billy to fall asleep. She paced the room restlessly.
“Be patient, my dear. We have to wait for Billy to fall asleep.”
“I can’t wait to try those cookies Billy made. He wouldn’t even let me taste test one when he was done making them. He said he made them especially for Santa.”
Billy slowly slid out of his bed and crept through the darkness to the corner of his room. He turned on a flashlight, trying not to shine the light towards the door. He shined the light into the small cage and whispered softly to the rabbit, “You did great, Pebbles. I just wish I could see the look on Santa’s face when he takes a bite of those oatmeal raisin cookies. Santa will soon learn never to give Billy Schaefer clothes again.”
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. With Jane creeping forward, and I at her back, we crept down the stairs to—SNAP SNAP SNAP SNAP.