Christmas Miracles

March 15, 2017

I feel the cold before I’m fully awake. It’s biting at my exposed toes, making them feel numb. I pull them under the warm quilt, dreading taking them out again. I scrunch up my nose and release a breath, not wanting to wake up.
“Sage wake up!” I hear a shout from across the bedroom. I roll over toward my brother’s voice. Why is he so awake?
“Jasper go back to sleep it’s too early to be this happy.”
“But Sage, it’s Christmas.”
My eyes shoot open and I fling myself out of my bed, stumbling toward the dresser. I haphazardly throw on a hoodie and slippers. I grab Jasper's shoulders and shake his tiny body. “It’s Christmas!”
His warm brown eyes light up as he says, already wearing his robe, “Should we wake mom and dad?”
I’m out the door before he even finishes the question. Down the tiny hallway is our parents’ bedroom. It only takes me a couple steps to get to their door, which is slightly a jar. I push it open quietly, with Jasper on my heels, we tip toe across the messy room to our mother's side of the bed, laughing. She wakes with a start and giggles at our excitement. Her eyes crinkle as we flip to our father’s side, but he’s not there.
“Where’s Daddy?” Jasper asks, like he does every year.
“Why don’t you check the living room?” my mother answers, like she does every year.
We flip off her bed and I follow Jasper back down the hallway and into the main area of our small apartment. The living room is decorated with paper streamers and lights. The small Christmas tree in the corner is full of handmade ornaments that Jasper and I make every year. My dad is standing in the center of the living room wearing a Santa suit with a huge smile on his rugged face.
“Merry Chrismas Kids!” he shouts, sounding as jolly as the man he’s portraying.
We are just going in to hug him when there's a loud bang at the front door.
“FBI! Open your door.”
My father turns white as a sheet and looks to my mother, “Whitney, you gotta run with the stash.”
The door is continuing to be hammered by the FBI. Suddenly, the wood in the center begins to splinter. I grab Jasper's hand and we run through the trailer, like we’d been told to do years before. We reach our parent’s bedroom, where my mother was stuffing the cash into a large duffle. “Get out kids. You aren’t a part of this.”
Tears are streaming down my face as we climb out the back window of my parents’ small bedroom. We pull ourselves through the small window and fall onto freshly fallen snow. Quiet as mice, we scurry into the woods next to our trailer, and peek our heads out from the frozen brush. The FBI have broken down the door, and swarms of agents are pouring into our small trailer. It’s a miracle we weren’t seen.
Gunshots ring through the air, and Jasper lets out a timid yelp. I pull him back from the scene and we start walking through the snowy woods. It really is beautiful scenery. In about fifteen minutes, we arrive at what we were looking for, a cabin, much smaller than our trailer. I push in the thick wooden door, which is partially stuck. The first floor of the cabin has a small wood burning stove, living room, and bed. The basement has a high tech office, with a state of the art computer and tracking system. I run over to the computer and start typing codes into the override program.
“Where are the files?” Jasper asks, frantically digging through the filing cabinets.
“Cabinet 8, drawer 3, file Q.”
He rips the thick file out of the cabinet and starts going through the papers individually, lighting them on fire with a lighter, then throwing them into the wastebasket. Right before my eyes, thousands of files of transactions, buyers, trades, and inventory disappear. Once all the files have disappeared from the desktop, I hear voices outside the cabin. A spark of fear is ignited in my chest. I lock the basement door and slide the single bookcase across it to hide it.
Jasper and I leap onto the sofa and grab a blanket and wrap ourselves together, finally letting our fear show. There is a knock on the door, then it is pushed open. An agent in about his mid fifties walks into the cabin, gun drawn. Jasper lets out a small yelp, then he buries his head into my neck.
“Please sir,” I stammer. “We are afraid. What’s going on? What did my dad do?” I know what he did, I know why the FBI is here. This is all an act, well the fear is real, we have been told this plan many times incase my dad was busted, again.
“Your father’s game has been busted, he’s been arrested for possession and the selling of illegal contraband. But you’re safe now.”
“Contraband?” I ask, full well knowing the answer
“Yes honey, didn’t you know? Your father’s been running an Illegal International Twinkie Cartel. About 15 years ago the selling, owning, and consuming of Twinkies became illegal due to the ingredient Polystavia 50, which has similar characteristics to a hallucinogen.”
I’m ‘stunned’ into silence, letting my jaw hang open.
“Where are you taking him?” Jasper sobs.
“He’s gonna be spending a long time in prison, son.”
More agents start coming into the cabin. “What is this place?”
“My grandparents used to live here,” I lie. “Until they both got pneumonia and died, but we kept the cabin as a reminder.”
The agent doesn’t look convinced, but I stare deep into his eyes, pleading with my own for him to believe me. He lets out a sigh and turns to a female agent who just entered and says “Take them to the car, they’ll be admitted into the system tomorrow morning.”
I try not to smile and laugh out loud. We wouldn’t be going into any system. As the female agent leaves the cabin, Jasper and I quickly follow, but keep our distance. We can hear her talking to us about how the foster care system works and how we’ll be put with a nice family. When we were about fifty paces from the car, Jasper and I slow down and start walking toward the thicket. Oh these agents are so oblivious. I snake my hand into Jasper’s and we take off, the snow muffling our footfalls. I can hear them shouting for us as we escape into the woods.
After running for twenty minutes through the thick forest, we come across a thin mountain road, where a car is waiting for us. Mom is sitting in the driver's seat and the duffle bag full of cash is on the seat next to her. I can hear the agents running through the woods, but we had too big a head start. We file into the back, gasping for breath. She guns the engine and we’re off.
“What took you so long?” Mom asks, looking at us through the rear view mirror. “I’ve been waiting for a half an hour for you. I was worried!”
“We’re fine mom. The FBI took longer than expected.”
“I’m just glad you're safe,” she breathes, relieved. “Now we just have to break your father out of federal prison, again. Why couldn't he go into another field of work?”
We pull onto the highway and head south toward the state penitentiary where we will wait until they bring my father in, then we’ll jump the van he’s in and escape into the sunset.
My mother turns in her seat and hands us each a small, black revolver. “Merry Christmas, Kids.”

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