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Go to Previous message | Go to Next message | Back to MessagesMark as Unread | Print ReplyReply AllMove... Flag this messagesequelWednesday, December 23, 2009 4:17 AMFrom: This sender is DomainKeys verified"CK" contact detailsTo: "kathy kulesza" : I'll Be Home for Christmas Author: KathyK Sam got into his car and drove away from the Brick. He was crushed by Sock's betrayal and he couldn't think of living with him any longer. "I have to talk to Mom. I'm sure she'll let me come home for a little while," Sam thought to himself as he drove to his childhood home. Right before the driveway, his car died right. "As if my day couldn't get any worse," he thought. Looking around, Sam noticed something different about the outside of the house. There are Christmas lights on the house? That was always Dad's job. He rang the doorbell since he realized that he didn't have his key with him.

Linda Oliver opened the door but she didn't seem to recognize her eldest son. "Can I help you?" Sam was puzzled. "Yes, Mom!" Then it dawned on him that something was amiss. "I mean—uh--Ma'am, my car died and I was wondering if I could use your phone?" Linda Oliver usually didn't allow strangers into her home but the young man seemed strangely familiar. "You can try, but our phone service has been spotty all day." She gestured through the doorway. Sam allowed his mother to guide him into the kitchen although he knew the layout of the house with his eyes closed. Sam picked up the phone but it didn't have a dial tone. Sam looked around the kitchen and he was shocked by what he saw. There were children's drawings on the refrigerator and the calendar on the wall read 1994. "Now I know why Mom didn't recognize me," he thought to himself. "The Sam she knows is seven years old." His face lit up. "If I'm seven years old, that means my dad is still alive. If I'm dreaming I don't want to wake up," he thought.

Suddenly, Sam was surprised to find looking down at his younger self. "Hi, what's your name?" the little boy asked. "My name is Sam," he replied. "Mine too!" the little boy grinned. "Do you want to play a game?" "Sure," Sam replied. They went into the living room where the Christmas gifts were piled under the tree. "What do you want to play?" "Anything you want!" The little boy chose the game of Hungry Hungry Hippos. They started to play and the little boy revealed a secret. "Guess what? I know someone who got coal for Christmas!" Startled, Sam said, "So do I! Who was it?" The little boy looked thoughtful. "My friend Sock tried to tell me that Santa wasn't real so he got coal." Sam couldn't stop himself. "I know someone who took money that didn't belong to him and he got a box filled with coal." "Wow! He's gonna be on the naughty list forever! I hope that I'm always on the nice list." "I'm sure you are a good boy," Sam assured his younger self. Despite the oddness, he was enjoying himself, and they were so focused on playing that they didn't hear Mr. Oliver enter the room.

"Can I play?" he asked. "Daddy!" Sam watched as his younger self hugged his father. "This is Sam too." "Hi, I'm Sam –Johnson." Sam shook his father's hand. "My car died and I was hoping you could help me start it up." "Of course I will. Thank you for playing with Sam. My son Kyle has been sick so my wife has had her hands full." The little boy looked up eagerly. "Kyle threw up all over the floor today--it smelled really gross!" "Sam you didn't need to share that information. You should be nice to your brother." "Why? He thinks I'm stupid and he never plays with me." Little Sam looked down at the floor. Things will never change, Sam thought to himself. "Dinner's ready," Mrs. Oliver stated. "You should eat first before messing around with that car. I hope you don't mind leftovers!" "I'm starved," Sam assured her, "I'm getting over a cold and I haven't had much to eat for a week" which seemed like forever ago. They had ham for dinner, which was Sam's favorite meal. "So what do you do, Sam? Are you in school?" Mrs Oliver asked. "I work at the Work Bench, downtown." "I thought the Work Bench isn't opening until March?" Mr. Oliver said. "Er, I'm part of team assigned to prepare stores for business, I'm responsible for inventory." Sam thought that sounded better than saying he stocked shelves for a living.

Sam offered to help Mrs. Oliver with the dishes but she declined with a smile. "I found my jumper cables; let's get you on your way home," Mr. Oliver said. Sam really didn't want to go, but he knew had to go, well, home. They walked to Sam's car; Mr. Oliver attached the jumper cables to the battery and he instructed Sam to start the engine. The car started up right away and Sam got out, motioning for his father to join him while the car warmed up. "Thanks, Dad, I really appreciate this," Sam said, his voice choking a little. Mr. Oliver looked startled. "Dad? I'm not your father!" "I'm your Sam, all grown up," Sam said in a low voice. The man looked confused. "That's impossible!" "No it isn't; I'll prove it. You are going to take me out of school to see the Mariners play on Opening Day. It's going to be the best day ever." This was one of Sam's favorite childhood memories. Mr. Oliver had asked a colleague to order the tickets for him that day; his wife didn't even know about it yet. His father looked at him, realization dawning. "Wh-why did you come here?" Sam knew there was no answer for this, so he simply said, "I love you, Dad and I miss you." He embraced his father tightly. "I love you too, Sam. But, I have to go now." In an instant, Mr. Oliver disappeared.

Sam was startled by the sound of his cell phone ringing. "Sam ,where are you?" Andi cried. "We've been worried sick about you!" Sam looked around and saw that he was in his car in front of his parents' house which was completely dark. "Sorry, I must have dozed off. Andi, I'll be home soon." Sam's stomach grumbled loudly. "I guess it really was all a dream; nothing that good could happen to me in real life." Sam drove back to his home. Andi greeted him at the door with a kiss. "Are you ok?" "Yeah, but I'm starving." "Come with me." Andi brought Sam into the kitchen where a ham dinner was waiting for them. "Ben, Nina! Sam's here! We can eat now!" she called into the living room. "Where did this come from?" Sam asked. "Nobody knows, it was here when we got back from the Brick." "What is this?" Nina asked, wandering in with Ben. "It's cooked pig, and it tastes better that way, trust me," Sam told her. The four sat down and began to eat. "Wasn't Gladys here?" Andi asked. "Yeah, she's holding Sock prisoner in the garage," Ben replied between mouthfuls. "I've never seen her this angry. Dunno what she's planning to do"
When they finished dinner, Sam fixed a plate, including a cold beer, and brought it to Gladys in the garage. "This is for you," he said, handing her the meal. "Thank you, honey," she replied. She nodded her head toward a dark corner of the garage. "I just need a little more time to be sure he's really sorry," she said, smiling. She took a swig of beer, then looked as Sam. "Did you have a nice nap earlier?" Sam stared. "You sent me the dream at my parent's house?" Sam was stunned. "Yes I did," Gladys replied. "Demons have a reputation for causing nightmares in humans. I didn't know I could give someone a sweet dream. You were a very cute little boy." Sam was so touched, all he could do was embrace her. "Go on in and open your presents, sweetheart." Sam nodded, left the garage, and went into the living room where a Christmas tree was brightly lit, with presents strewn underneath. He noticed that there was a plate of cookies and a pitcher of milk on the coffee table. Smiling, he thought that was funny, since you are supposed to leave cookies and milk for Santa not have them left for you. He called into the kitchen, "Hurry up, leave the dishes, you guys." He felt as excited as he had been as a child. "Okay, we're coming!" Andi replied, as the three came in carrying plates and cups. "It's going to be torture for me to watch you," Nina pouted. "Demons aren't allowed to have Christmas gifts." "Really? Someone didn't know that," Sam grinned, looking under the tree. "Nina, there are presents for you here." Sam handed her two small packages. Nina tore them open eagerly. The boxes contained a silver necklace and matching earrings. "I love them! Thank you, baby!" Nina kissed Ben. Ben looked pleased but puzzled. "I had nothing to do with it; I'm broke!" "Open yours next, Andi," Sam urged. He handed Andi two presents. Andi opened them to find a diamond necklace and solid gold studs. Sam smiled. "I was going to get you a necklace, but this one is nicer." "Thank you! Sam, they are beautiful." Ben was next. His gifts were an iPod and new iPhone. "Sam! These are sweet!" "That iPod is much nicer that the one I picked out," Sam admitted. Finally it was his turn. His presents were the PS3 that was supposed to be Sock's and every game designed for the system. "Sam, that's awesome. I'll let you use my iPhone if you let me use your PS3!" "Ben, you are a true friend. What I have is yours too." He looked around at the festive room, at his friends, and thought about the odd events of the day. He could only think of one thing to say: "Merry Christmas, everybody!"

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