by Christine M Layton
Mary Shelton steps into the kitchen of her efficiency apartment on Christmas morning and quietly fixes a small pot of coffee. Long ago divorced, with no children and no family living close by, Mary is prepared for a solitary Christmas day. While the coffee pot burbles and drips, she turns on the television for some company.
A reporter speaks excitedly. "...a phenomenon that cannot be accounted for. I repeat, this is not a hoax. Police stations across America began receiving calls in the early hours today, when individuals across the country phoned to report the break-ins. Police Chief Richard Burley is here with me at the station."
The authoritative voice of an older man, "Yes, well, at first we thought we were facing a Christmas crime wave. All those calls to report break-ins, we naturally assumed burglary. But soon it came out that nothing had been taken. It was the same story again and again. 'Someone's broken into my house and left presents...' well you can imagine what we were thinking down in the call room, hehe. We get our share of prank calls around the holidays."
Mary finishes fixing her cup of coffee and sits down on the sofa. The reporter is staring straight at her, clutching his microphone, and he is nearly shouting.
"But this is not a prank or a hoax. We're reporting live along with every other major news station in the country and the fact is that between midnight and two o'clock this morning, presents have magically appeared in every single house in America. Of course we can't jump to conclusions, but in this reporter's opinion, we're looking at a real-life Christmas visit from Santa Claus!"