This story, herein replicated from December 19-23, 2016, for your reading pleasure was published in “Carols and Crimes, Gifts and Grifters”, a 2000 holiday anthology of crime stories, edited by Tony Burton and published by Wolfmont Press, to benefit the Toys for Tots Foundation. The story was read in 2010, by British voiceover artist Pearl Hewitt, on the radio as part of the Taping for the Blind show out of Houston, Texas. It was also published in Kings River Life Magazine on Dec. 1, 2012. http://kingsriverlife.com/12/01/santa-and-the-poor-box/
# # #
# # #
Now it’s a year later, but I still smile when I think of that response from Kris to our Christmas Eve invitation. And how, after we had dropped him off at his rooming house, Lily turned to me and said she thought maybe he was taking this Santa thing a bit too seriously.
There was a startling turn of events in February of this year. A guy (a drug addict high as a kite) in a Mickey Mouse suit was nabbed at a church in Connecticut, attempting to pry open the poor box. His fingerprints matched one of the sets of prints taken on the poor box involved in the crime Kris was accused of. Confronted with the evidence, the guy owned up to the Santa Claus caper in our neighborhood. Whew! Kris Taylor was completely off the hook. A happy ending to last year’s Christmas adventure.
Kris has been doing well. For the past year, he’s had a full-time job at the local supermarket as a greeter playing a variety of cartoon characters. A feature story on him recently appeared in the local paper. He’s been to our home several times for dinner. In fact, Lily already asked him to join us for this Christmas Eve, but he declined, giving the same excuse (busy, busy) as last year. I think he’s seen “Miracle on 34th Street” one too many times!
I sometimes wonder if he’s given any thought to suing for false arrest regarding the poor box incident. Probably not. Been there, done that.
What Lily wants this year for Christmas is more of a challenge than last year’s gift. Want the truth? I wouldn’t mind a ‘do-over’ of last year’s adventure. I’m secretly hoping she’ll meet another Santa in need and once again ask for my help as her Christmas gift. That would be easier than giving her what she’s currently demanding to make her Christmas merry–a tattoo and a belly button ring.
For more fun, read Gail Farrelly’s latest spoof: Santa Furious Trump Has Set Up Christmas Eve No-Fly Zones Over Homes of Rivals
# # #
Gail Farrelly (Twitter: @gailfarrelly) writes mystery novels and short stories. She publishes satire at The Spoof ( http://is.gd/ZjsZuy). Her short stories are sold at Untreed Reads (http://is.gd/9uwEfO), on the Amazon Kindle, at iBooks, and at many other ebook vendors worldwide. She shares a website, www.farrellysistersonline.com, with her sister, Rita Farrelly, author of the local best seller, NOT IN BRONXVILLE: A SUBURBAN MYSTERY NOVEL. Gail is working on another mystery novel and also a book of spoofs.