PART 17, December 17
Hickory Hog could hardly believe it. He was there in the Christmas Rascal’s lair. Here were all the things he had stolen over the last few weeks. It was then that he noticed the little cassette player. It was lying on the floor right next to the figure of the baby. Nobody had reported a missing cassette player, at least not to his knowledge. It must have been left there on purpose. He reached over and turned it on.
"Well, well," came a voice from the machine, "So you found all these things. But you haven’t found me, and you won't, either. You wouldn't have found these things if I hadn't led you to them. If you look under the cassette player you’ll find a map leading back to your shack. It also shows where you can return all these things. By the time you get done with that you won't have time to look for me. Besides, you'll find it doesn't make any difference anyway."
That was all. He listened for a few more moments, but there was nothing there. So, he looked for the map. There it was. He could get home now, but first he had to deliver all these things. It looked like it would take him up until New Year's just to do that. Then what would happen to his Christmas?
The closest delivery was to Stevie Thinklebine's with the chrome. Hickory loaded it on a wagon belonging to the little girl next door to Stevie and set off with it. He knocked on Stevie's door. Stevie opened the door and stared in amazement, "Hey, man," he said, "what's all this, anyway? Are you that Christmas Rascal?”
"No," Hickory Hog replied humbly. " I just happened to stumble onto his hoard and have apparently been appointed to return all these things."
"Oh, well, that doesn't matter. I don't need that old chrome anymore, anyway. I traded that old junk heap in on a new car."
"But what am I supposed to do with the chrome?"
"Do what you want, man, I don't need it.”
"I'll have to ask you to quit calling me man. You can clearly see I'm a hog."
"Oh," said Stevie, as he slammed the door shut in Hickory's face.
The story was the same wherever he went. Instead of being greeted with joy at returning people's possessions he was met with indifference or outright hatred. Now he understood why it made no difference to the Christmas Rascal. He had already stolen people's joy, and you couldn't give it back with things. There's no joy in things, for after all, they're still just things.
© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie
4 years ago