“911, what is your emergency?”
“I need an ambulance.”
“Where are you calling from, sir?”
“I’m outside, on the sidewalk, in front of 1234 Main Street.”
“Can you describe the nature of your emergency?”
“I think I split my head open?”
“How did you do that?”
“Well, after leaving the presents under the tree, I heard one of the children waking up. I knew I needed to move quickly so I wouldn’t be spotted, and I guess I wasn’t watching where I was going. There was a spill on the floor and the next thing I knew I was on the ground and had cracked my head against the fireplace.”
“What? Sir, can you repeat that?”
“I was fleeing the scene when I slipped on a puddle of spilled milk and cracked my head on the fireplace!”
“Sir, please calm down. I have a unit heading your direction right now.”
“Ok, thank you.”
“Would you like me to stay on the line with you until they arrive?”
“That would be very kind of you. What is your name?”
“It’s Samantha, right? Yes. I thought I recognized your voice. Well, I think you just got moved to the nice list.”
“Sir, how hard did you hit your head?”
“Ho, ho, ho. I’ll be alright, probably just need a couple stitches. I’ve still got a busy night ahead of me, can’t get slowed down too much.”
“I can hear the sirens in the background now, you’ll be well taken care of when the ambulance gets there.”
“Thank you, Samantha. I’m sorry for yelling at you before. This is my busiest night of the year, you know, and sometimes I let the stress get to me. Little setbacks here and there can really throw off my schedule.”
“That’s okay. 911 operators are used to hearing from people when they aren’t at their best. Okay, I can hear the techs talking with you now so I’m going to clear this line. I hope the rest of your night goes a bit more smoothly.”
What Samantha had failed to inform Santa was she had also sent a couple uniform officers to detain the man and check his sobriety and mental health. The medics would see that he was patched up well enough, but the officers would make sure he was fit to be let back out into the world or if he needed to be held for observation for a night. The crazies always seemed to come out of the woodwork on Christmas Eve.
He had sounded old too, though his voice was strong, and there was something vaguely familiar about it. Something from her childhood that she couldn’t quite remember. Then her lined buzzed again and her mind was needed fully to deal with the next emergency call.
She wouldn’t remember having talked to Santa until later that night when she made it home to find a new car inexplicably parked out front. Her old car had been on the way out for several months and she hadn’t yet been able to scrape together enough for a new one. She knew her parents couldn’t afford to get her one and she had nobody else in her life. A tag dangling from the passenger side mirror read simply, “To Samantha, From Santa.”
She immediately pulled out her cell phone and called the techs she had dispatched to stitch up her call from earlier in the night. They told her the man they’d treated could have passed for the man from the North Pole in appearance and demeanor, but the uniforms couldn’t hold him because he didn’t smell like alcohol and was able to answer all their questions coherently. They had no grounds to haul him away so they released him once he was on the mend.
Samantha dropped her cell phone from nerveless fingers to the pavement below. It clattered to a rest, but she didn’t notice. Her gaze, her attention, was for the heavens alone as a bright red streak flashed across the sky and a moment later she swore she heard the echoing laughter faintly rolling down her street.
Word Count: 685
I know it’s a bit late for a Christmas story, but I couldn’t help it. This was the first thing I thought of when I saw this week’s Papi Prompt! from The Literary Syndicate:
What: 500-1000 word maximum flash fiction story
Use the following: I was fleeing the scene when I slipped on a…
When: Due before next Monday [3/3/2014] to be included in the results.
How: Ping back [to the Papi Prompt post linked above].
What would you have written with that prompt instead?
Did you ever meet Santa as a child?