Santa's Helper

by Sharon Hepner

I do not owe the characters. Others richer than I do.

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The van cut its lights as it headed into the parking deck of the ATF building. A slight man, dressed all in black, got out of the driver’s side and looked around. There were hardly any cars parked at midnight. He opened the back of the van and grabbed a large box. He wrestled with it to the elevator, punching the button to bring it to the garage. He glanced furtively around while the elevator slowly made it’s way down. He shoved the box inside as the doors opened and pushed the stop button. Back at the van, he pulled out a large Christmas tree. This too he lugged to the elevator and up he went to the 10th floor. He looked quickly around when the doors opened but no on was at work at this time of night.

Ezra looked around trying to decide the best location for the 7-foot tree he had bought. The guys had attempted to decorate the office but he had decided it needed more. He chose an alcove near Chris’ office. He put the tree up in the stand he brought. He stepped back to admire the Douglas fir he had chosen. He had always wanted a real tree. Growing up he was lucky to have an artificial one. One of the relatives he had stayed with had a silver tree with the revolving light. He would hold the light on green and pretend.

He opened the box and pulled out a CD player. He put in a new Christmas CD. Bing Crosby’s voice drifted across the room. “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas..” , well ole Bing would get his wish as it starting to snow.

Ezra slowly decorated the tree. He had lights and Christmas balls. He wished he had thought of strings of popcorn earlier. After he decorated he placed presents under the tree. Each on addressed “From Santa”. He watered the tree, cleaned up and was out in less than 2 hours.

The next morning Chris was the first to arrive as usual. As soon as the elevator opened he could smell the tree. His eyes widened as he saw the huge tree and all the presents underneath. Nathan he thought. And probably Josiah. He smiled as he went into the break room and put a pot of coffee on. He couldn’t wait until the others arrived.

Vin was the next to arrive and right on his heels Josiah and Nathan. All denied putting up the tree but blamed the others with knowing smiles. Then all hell broke loose as Buck and JD entered.

“A tree!” yelled JD as he caught sight of the huge fir. A smile covered his face from ear to ear.

“Why Chris you shouldn’t have!” yelled Buck. Both men were gathered around the tree.

“It wasn’t me.” Chris came to stand by JD. “It was here when I came in. Maybe you two?” He asked, leaving the question open.

“No, it wasn’t us.” Buck smiled his slow smile. “Wish we had thought of it pard.”

“So can we open our presents now?" JD asked hopefully.

"Look!" JD yelled. "We each have a Christmas ball!"

Sure enough, closer inspection showed seven balls with Merry Christmas and their name painted on it.

Ezra wandered in late as usual. Buck giving him a hard time as soon as the elevator pinged.

"Ezra you even slept through Christmas!" Buck yelled.

"Why it looks as though I did. To whom do we owe this pleasure? Mr. Larabee?" Ezra asked in his sleepy drawl.

"Not me, looks as tho Santa has stopped by." Chris gave them all a long thorough look. Who could it have been?

"Well let's open our presents!" JD said, his voice getting higher. He and Buck looked like two kids on Christmas eve.

Chris handed out the presents and as the men tore into the paper Ezra thought with a sly smile, Or maybe Santa's helper.

The End

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