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The Boy who caught Santa

On Christmas Eve, a long time ago, a little boy, no older than eight, snuggled himself tightly in his bed sheets.

He was going to catch Santa. He had decided to do it the moment he was old enough to think properly. Year after year, he had sat under a small Bermuda Cedar on the North Shore that leaned out to sea, thinking of the hundreds of ways to catch the jolly man.

He'd come up with hundreds of traps and tricks, only to discard them. He had worked tirelessly on building the traps that he didn't discard, only to dismantle them later on.

Then, on the twenty-fourth of December, while sitting at a table at the Spot restaurant with his parents, a plan came to him. A brilliant plan. A spontaneous plan. A plan so great that no one could beat. So, with a cheer, the little boy shot from his seat and jumped onto the table, shouting “I will catch Santa!”

He worked tirelessly for the rest of the day, building the trap that would catch Santa Claus. He would bike the whole half-mile to ACE Hardware, purchase all the stuff he could fit in his little backpack, rush back home, use those items, then hurry back to the store.

By the end of the day, the trap was set, and the little boy was so tired he could barely hold his head up. He was asleep the moment his head touched his bed pillow.

Several hours later, at precisely twelve-o-clock, the boy awoke. He had just heard a dull thump coming from downstairs. He climbed from bed wearily, pulling on a pair of pants and slipping a small pocketknife into his pant's pocket. Then he crept downstairs.

In his living room, an amazing sight met his eyes. Santa Claus, in all his glory, was hanging upside-down, a rope pulled tight around his ankles holding him up. He wore his famous red suit, yet no sweat from the heat of the clothing was visible on Santa's face as the boy approached.

Santa's face lit up as he saw the boy. “So you're the smart little thing that caught me,” he chuckled. “You're really quite bright.”

The little boy's eyes widened. No one had ever thought him bright.

“Well little one, why did you catch me?” Santa smiled, not in the laughing way, but in the way that told the little boy that he was listening.

The little boy's mind went blank. Why had he done this? Had there ever been a reason in the first place?

Santa shook his head, still smiling. “Do you want to hear what I think?”

The little boy looked up, interested.

“I think you needed to know,” Santa said. “I think you couldn't believe I existed. I don't blame you. I'm definitely not very believable. But you had to know. Is that right?”

The little boy nodded and whispered a somewhat squeaky “Yes.”

Santa chuckled. “I couldn't believe you more. Now, could you please set me free?”

Slowly, the boy walked forward and cut Santa's bonds with his little pocketknife. Santa fell to the floor, but pulled himself up. But to the boy's amazement, the old man did not hurry off. Instead he stared at the boy in genuine amazement. Then he chuckled, pulled a smooth stone from his pocket, and handed it to the boy.

The boy stared at the stone. “It's a loose stone I found in the North Pole. It's a part of it. It's a part of me.” Santa closed the boy's hand with both of his own. His hands were as smooth as worn leather. “Keep it.”

And with those last two words, Santa walked over to the fireplace. He picked up the cassava pie that sat on the mantelpiece and took a bite of it, washing it down with a sip of the Gosling's Rum that also had been set out for him. Then Santa crouched down in front of the fireplace. He crawled into it, and suddenly shot up through it. A moment later, a cheery voice shouted, “Up Dasher, up Dancer, go Prancer, go Vixen!”

The little boy rushed to his door and threw it open just in time to see a blur of light shoot off in the direction of Dockyard.

The little boy never forgot his experience. He grew up, married a beautiful woman, and grew old, but always kept the stone. He gave it to his grandson the day he died, telling the little fellow, no older than eight, about what happened during the first few minutes of that special Christmas long, long ago. And, that Christmas Eve, that very same grandson snuggled in his sheets, just as his grandfather had so long ago, waiting for Santa Claus to fall into his trap….

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Published December 23, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 23, 2010 at 9:53 am)

The Boy who caught Santa

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