Secret Santa (A Short Story)

A vehicle pulled into the driveway. It was another SUV with roof racks and tinted windows. This one was white, and it was spotless. Not an easy feat in the current weather. He supposed she must have taken it through a car wash today.

He watched as the driver climbed out. She was a curvy woman in her thirties. She put the strap of her leather purse over her shoulder and made her way to the rear hatch. He watched, tucked behind some bushes on the property two doors down, as she picked up several paper bags and closed the hatch. The bags all had different store names on them. As he’d suspected, she’d been busy shopping.

This was the fourth house he’d done this week. There were three last week as well. He had more packages to deliver before Christmas, but he liked to watch as the recipients found them.

The woman walked up to her door and noticed the small package. It was wrapped in shiny red paper and had a wide band of green ribbon tied around it. The ends of the ribbon formed a big fluffy bow. Presentation made all the difference, and he was proud of his new-found wrapping skills.

She grinned and bent over the box. From behind the bush, he smiled.

She read the tag.

Don’t open until Christmas. Happy holidays. From Kale Frumps

The woman looked around. Her eyes scanned over the bushes. He knew she hadn’t seen him. She unlocked the door and opened it, and then bent down. The handles of the paper bags slipped down her arm, but she scooped up the box and went inside.

He waited a moment, then slipped out from the behind the bush and started walking down the street. He could get one more delivery in today. The convenience store owner. It had been tricky to figure out where he lived. But he knew now.

He would have loved to see them open the gifts as well, but this would have to do. He could imagine the look on their faces Christmas morning.

The next few days were busy. He stole moments where he could and stayed up late to put together as many more as possible. By the time Christmas Eve arrived he had managed to visit everyone on his list.

Trefor lay his head on his pillow and smiled. He’d gotten rid of the last of the materials today. Just before bed he’d placed what remained of the roll of green ribbon at his mother’s wrapping station.

The last delivery had been close. His former gym teacher had almost seen him. The man had spent last year telling him all the ways he could improve his form.  It was ironic that he moved fast enough to avoid him now.

It had been worth it. No matter what came next, it would be worth it.

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“Christmas Morning Disappearances: A Dozen Missing ” read the headline on December 27th.

There were no leads. All evidence suggested they vanished. One man said he’d gone to refill his cup of coffee in the kitchen and when he returned his wife was just gone.

Each of the missing people left behind several gifts, both wrapped and unwrapped. At each home a shiny red box lay empty on the floor, its long wide green ribbon nearby. Don’t open until Christmas. Happy holidays. From Kale Frumps read the tag.

Read the follow up Kale Frumpus.