No time for it

Posted: 25 December 2011 in fiction, personal, writing
Tags: , ,

A piece of traditional christmas fiction that I wrote a while ago, but I always liked this story, so…

No Time For It

He matched the description in all the stories. Hell, he could have come straight from an audition for Miracle on 34th Street. The only thing that was different was the look of puzzlement on his face.

“Where am I?” he asked again. This was nothing new. He’d been asking the question for the past three hours, ever since we’d intercepted him one minute after midnight on the 26th. OK, so I’m sentimental. I let the old man have one more year in the job.

“You’re in a holding cell,” I said.

“Oh, fucking hell,” he said, “not again.” He walked up to the force field. “What’s the charge this time?” He reached inside his jacket. I wasn’t worried. He’d been scanned when we’d grabbed him and there was nothing in there other than a cotton vest.

He pulled his hand out of the jacket. He was holding a fist full of paper. Permits of every sort you could think of. He thrust his hands towards me. “Here you go,” he said, “whatever you think you’ve got me on, think again. I’ve flying permits, authority to land on rooftops, even waivers for trespass mentally signed by every parent.”

I smiled grimly. “The charge? Spreading joy without permission.”

That shook him. I could tell.

“Spreading joy? Bugger.”

“Yeah, spreading… joy”

He let out a huge sigh. “Since when do you need permission for that?” he asked, a note of desperation creeping into his voice.

“Ever since the last election. Come on, you must have known that.”

He leaned against the wall, defeated. He had known that, of course. But like every other year, he’d thought he’d get away with it. My phone buzzed. I turned away from him and took the call.

A minute later, it was my turn to look puzzled. And then, as the final words, sunk in, I smiled. “You’ve been found guilty,” I informed him.

“Without a trial?” he asked. I got the impression he’d been looking forward to the trial.

“Yeah,” I replied. Homeland Security abolished trials last month. “You’re sentenced to exile…”

“For how long?” he asked.

“Three hundred and sixty-four days,” I informed him, and deactivated the forcefield. I watched as he faded from view, leaving only the sound of a “ho, ho, ho,” in the air.

Who’d have thought it? The judge was even more sentimental than me.

© 2004 Lee Barnett

  1. Kaitlin says:

    Ha! Awesome! Love it!

  2. Enjoyable as ever.

    You caught the post about that legal paperwork in Almonte reported on CBC, right? ;-)

  3. Candice says:

    Part of our annual holiday movie list is MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET. Thanks for posting this again, Lee, still holds up! xxxo,-C.

  4. Jenni says:

    Brilliant, I love it.

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