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The Santa Claus

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It was a warm-spirited winter evening, just a few days before Christmas. Children were singing, Christmas trees were being decorated, and the street was filled with the typical last-minute shoppers. It may have been a cold night, but the music and spirit surely warmed up the atmosphere.
Among them was a handsome, well-built man. His name was Jasper Ice, and he was the type of man who could easily be your Prince Charming: kind, charitable, and honest. He had a thing for electronic gadgets and toys, and you would surely want to be his friend, as he broke the bank every Christmas, giving hoards of presents to friends and family. In fact, he was quite often scolded by his parents for spending so much money with presents.
Jasper only went to one gadget store, year after year. It was Tony's Electronics Co., owned by none other than Tony Gates himself. Every Christmas, Tony would give bright blue box, wrapped with a thick, white ribbon, to Jasper. Of course, the deal was that Jasper couldn't open it until Christmas day. Not once, in 14 years, did he keep up with the deal. Then again, who could resist?
Unfortunately, Christmas isn't all gifts, toys, laughter, and cheery spirits. This year, someone decided that Christmas Eve would be the best time to jump off the tallest building in town. As Jasper passed by below, he was greeted with a somewhat large crowd of people, anxiously waiting to see the man jump. Unbeknownst to them, the man was Griffin Blakes, and he was possibly the richest and most prosperous man in town. He had almost everything one could ever hope to have. Nevertheless, there he was, on the roof, peering down 21 stories.
'Jasper,' his grandmother, who was part of the crowd, exclaimed, 'Don't just stand there, do something!'
Jasper responded, 'Go up there? What can I do? I don't know what to say...'
'It shan't matter. If anyone can talk him out of it, you can,' his grandmother urged.
So there Jasper went, wondering what he was doing, and what he was going to do, as he rode up the glass elevator to the roof. Once he got to the top, he walked out into the open air, and there he saw Griffin, sitting precariously on the ledge.
'Merry Christmas,' Jasper started. He didn't really know what else to say, so he thought that a short greeting might get things going.
'Merr' Christmas to ya too,' Griffin replied.
'So... May I ask what your name is?'
''It's Griffin. Griffin Blakes, more specifically.'
'Glad to make your acquaintance. My name is Jasper Ice. Wait... Griffin Blakes‽ Aren't you the man on the newspaper headlines every day, with a big blue Lamborghini, a massive mansion, and an indoor pool the size of a baseball field? '
'Yep. That'd be me. Either way, it dun' matter much to me now 'nymore.'
Amazed and startled at the same time, Jasper asked, 'Why do you want to jump? You have almost everything anyone would ever want. You have a gorgeous wife. You eat a fancy three-course meal day and night. What troubles you?'
Suddenly overcome with a longing sense of nostalgia, Griffin melancholically started, 'You see, young man, when I was a lil' boy, my parents used to tell me about Santa Claus, and how every Christmas Eve, he'd come to every single one of our houses and deliver us fantastic presents, if we were good that year. 'Twas quite amazing actually, 'cause the next morning, I'd wake up to find an astounding present under the Christmas tree. Do you know what's so amazing about this feeling? It's like knowing that what you are getting will be something that you treasure, but not knowing what you will be getting. This 'Santa Claus' feeling was truly one of the best feelings ever.'
'Well, nothing's changed,' responded Jasper, 'Christmas is still not any more different than it was thirty years ago; the spirit it leaves behind never goes away,'
With an unchanged expression, Griffin told Jasper, 'Listen. When you become my age, with my prosperity, I think you'll start to understand. Anything I want, I can just go buy it in a blink. Anything I can't afford, neither can anyone else, as far as friends go. I do appreciate the gifts my colleagues, friends, and family give me, but it's gettin' old. There's no 'Santa Claus' feeling anymore; I either already have it or don't want it. The element of surprise for me is dead and gone. I just can't bear to live without that feeling. It makes me feel like the loneliest man on Earth, sometimes...'
After hearing this, Jasper took a minute to think and empathize with him. He knew that he had to do something, soon. This man was going to slip off the ledge anytime, and there he was, just standing there.
Suddenly, he remembered the blue box that Tony gave him earlier that day. He was curious about what was inside it, but he also knew that he wouldn't be able to live knowing that a man had committed suicide because he didn't do anything to stop him. After a few minutes of awkward silence, Jasper made up his mind.
'Okay, here. Take this bright blue box; it's my Christmas present to you. There is a very cool gadget inside, and I don't really know what it is inside either. You might already have it, but that's irrelevant. Either way, I want you to keep this until Christmas Day. Tomorrow, you can open this box and cherish whatever may be inside.'
'Agreed.'
Griffin didn't jump that night. In fact, he never jumped. Forty years later, Griffin was still alive and quite well, as he hosted a New Year's Party, in which Jasper was invited. The party was exhilarating, and by the end, after most of the guests left, Griffin and Jasper had some time to talk together, for old times' sake. They spent hours and hours talking, catching up on each of their lives' highs and lows.
Just before Jasper left, he recalled the blue box that he gave Griffin numerous years ago. As they never had a chance to talk together since that night, Jasper never found out what was inside the blue box.
He asked, curiously, 'So, Griffin, what was in that blue box I gave you, that night, so many years ago?'
Griffin's eyes widened, and his jaw dropped, dumbfounded. He got up, opened his closet, and took out the blue box.
'I don't know. I haven't opened it yet.'





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