The snow on the roof of the average looking upper middle-class house shifted slightly, before sliding completely off the dark brown shingles and landing on the somwhat sizable mound of white frozen moisture on the ground with a loud plop.
The sound startled five year old Dennis Mitchell out of his pleasent slumber. He sat up in his bed with a jolt. His large white dog Ruff, sleeping at the foot of his bed, suddenly jumped to attention himself. "Oh, no! It's really happenin' this time!" he exclaimed before leaping from his covers, and over Ruff, and down the hall to his parents room.
Henry Mitchell, Dennis' father, and his beautiful wife Alice, lay sleeping soundly in their warm bed, when suddenly there came the sound of Dennis shouting "MOM! DAD!" Henry opened his nearsighted eyes just wide enough to see his son, dressed in his one peice fuzzy red pajamas, come bolting into their room. Dennis sprang from the floor onto his father's stomach, knocking the wind out of him! "Mom, Dad! The house is really fallin' apart this time! I heard it!" he exclaimed.
Suddenly, Ruff barged into the room as well, racing towards the bed! "No, Ruff! NO!" Henry shouted out loud as he sat up quickly, waving his arms to deter the large, white, furry and slobbering behemoth bounding towards him.
It had no effect whatsoever. Ruff lept onto the bed with a great crash, shuddering the springs to the hilt, until Henry was sure that the bed would collapse. "DENNIS! Get your dog and yourSELF off of my bed!" Henry yelled aggresively.
Dennis meekly obeyed, saying, "Alright, come on, boy." Dennis said, tugging at his faithful companion's collar. As Ruff jumped off of the fluffy comforter of his parents' Queen sized bed, Dennis insisted to his aggrivated father, "But Daddy, I really DID hear the house fallin' down."
Henry blindly groped for his glasses in the room, which was semi-lit by sunshine, and upon locating them on their usual place on the bedside table, he put them on, and turned to Dennis, saying in a frustrated voice "Dennis, the house is not falling down, that was just some snow falling off the roof. Now go back to bed." He concluded and removed his glasses and slid back underneath the covers.
"But Daddy, I'm not tired no more." Dennis mildly protested.
"Then make yourself useful, put your jacket and wool cap on, go outside and shovel the walk." Henry said drowsily, not even bothering to open his eyes.
"But why do I gotta do it?" Dennis pouted.
"Because if you do, we'll raise your allowance." Dennis' Mother said cheerfully.
"Really? YIPEE!" Dennis shouted as he jumped for joy, before saying "Come on, boy, let's go!" enthusiastically to Ruff, as the two darted from the room.
"Why'd you have to get his hopes up, Alice?" Henry dismally asked his wife.
The steel scoop of the snow shovel bit into the white, soft pile and was dumped to the side in an untidy heap. Dennis continued to dig through the snowy path. "Boy, Ruff," Dennis said, turning to his dog as he paused from his work. "my allowance is gonna get raised! I wonder how many great Christmas presents I can get with it?"
"Oh, my sweet Heavenly Father! What a glorious gift to bestow on me! I am the Lord's Handmaid!" A familiar, annoyingly overtly-dramatic high pitched voice loudly proclaimed. Magaret Wade, her red, wood shaving-like curls partially concealed by an eggshell white winter cap, strolled into view, the sunlight gleaming off of her round, frameless glasses. "Hello, Dennis!"
She cheerfully greeted him. "Did you like the little sample of my performance?" She asked in a sugary sweet voice.
"Yeah, 'cause after hearin' that, I wouldn't wanna buy the rest!" Dennis scoffed.
"Oh yeah, smartypants?" Margaret angrily countered. "Well, I'll have you know that I've been playing Mary for two years now, and everyone loves me! They always clap their hands and cheer at the end!"
"Shows how much you know! They're just happy that they don't gotta hear from you for another year!" Dennis snarkily replied.
"Dennis Mitchell, you're so mean! And you just made so many grammar mistakes that I can't begin to tell you!" Margaret yelled back.
"Then don't! Just leave me alone!" Dennis retorted.
"Fine! I was going to help you shovel your walk, but now I won't! So there!" Margaret said derisively, sticking her tongue out. And trotted off in a huff, her nose high in the air.
"Good! I don't need help from no dumb girl!" Dennis called out.
"ANY dumb girl!" Margaret corrected him from afar. "And I'm not dumb!" she shouted.
"Yeah? Well, then, catch this!" Dennis exclaimed, and scooped up a handful of snow in his hands, and with one seemingly seemless motion, rolled it into a ball, and threw it at Margaret with the skill of a minor league pitcher, knocking her glasses straight off her face in an explosion of snow! The spectacles landed in a snowbank at her feet. "DENNIS MITCHELL, HOW COULD YOU?" She yelled angrily as she blindly felt for her glasses in the white, frozen blanket.
"Well, you gotta throw it just.." Dennis began.
"I didn't mean that, dummy!" Margaret angrily interrupted. She managed to pick up her glasses and brush the snow off of them. "Dennis Mitchell, I'm telling on you!" Margaret said, before stomping off.
"Good! I don't care!" Dennis said scornfully. He then went back to shovelling.
Gina Gillotti, a very attractive neighbor girl, dressed in very modern sky blue snow clothing, like something one would wear to a pricey ski resort. "Hi, there, Paisano!" she cheerfully greeted with a wave and a smile. Her long, straight, raven black hair shimmered in the sunlight.
Dennis blushed and smiled. He always liked to see Gina, she was the coolest girl he had ever seen. She didn't mind bugs or lizards, and she could play sports just as good as any of his other friends. "Howdy, Gina!" he gleefully replied.
"You need a hand shoveling that snow?" She asked, pointing to the snow heap, browned with the loose earth attached to the walkway, beside Dennis.
"Sure! Just grab that extra shovel in the garage and start shovelin'!" Dennis said in a happy voice, pointing to the cluttered garage.
Minutes later, Dennis and Gina were hard at work on the walk, when The Mitchell's door flew open. "DENNIS MITCHELL! Get in here right now!" Mrs. Mitchell, still in her pink nightgown, shouted at her son.
"Whoops, looks like I'm already in trouble, Gina." Dennis muttered to his friend.
"I'll visit you if the warden lets me." Gina said in a sly whisper, she then went on her way, the snow softly crunching under the fancy designer boots.
Dennis walked up to his mother with a grin on his face, as if he wasn't aware of what he had done. "Hi Mom. What's goin' on?"
He asked innocently.
"Young man, Mrs. Wade just telephoned me, and told me that you threw a snowball in Margaret's face and knocked her glasses off!" Mrs. Mitchell said indignantly.
"Aw, she was askin' for it, Mom. She was callin' me names!" Dennis objected.
"Dennis, that's no excuse!" Mrs. Mitchell angrily stated. "Now come inside at once, young man!" She ordered as she pulled Dennis in the house by his arm.
Dennis sat in the familiar polished oak chair that had been placed in the northeastern corner of the living room for when he misbehaved. "Dennis, I want you to sit there until you're sorry for what you did! Then I want you to go over to Margaret's house and apologize to her! Understood?" Mrs. Mitchell commanded.
"Yeah." Dennis said in a sheepish voice, his eyes looking down at the light blue carpeting. Mrs. Mitchell then went into the kitchen to pour a cup of coffee. Ruff lumbered over to Dennis, and noticing his owner's downcast expression, he gave his face a lick. Dennis looked over at Ruff and smiled, before embracing his furry friend around the neck and petting him on top of his fuzzy head. "Thanks, Boy." Dennis said "At least someone around here appreciates me."
Dennis fidgeted in his seat between his parents as Reverend Folger finished delivering his sermon, and was leading the congregation in prayer. Dennis' eyes were wide open, however, his mind was on other things, such as finishing his Christmas list, and how uncomfortable his church clothes were. He couldn't wait to get back into his regular clothes and have some fun.
Finally, the time to leave had come, and as his parents were speaking to the Reverend, Dennis felt a hand on his shoulder, he turned around, to see the smiling, and somewhat wrinkled face of Reverend Folger's wife, Paula. "Oh, hello, ." Dennis said.
"Hello, Dennis. How are you this fine morning?" Mrs. Folger asked cheerfully.
"Just fine." Dennis replied.
"Dennis, would you mind if I asked you something important?" Mrs. Folger inquired.
"Sure, what is it?" Asked Dennis.
"Well, as you know, the church's Christmas play is coming up, and I was wondering if you'd do me a favor, and play the angel that appears to the shepherds?" Mrs. Folger asked with sencerity.
Dennis thought about it for a moment, then said " Yeah, sure, Mrs. Folger! I'd love to!" gleefully.
Mrs. Folger's face lit up even brighter, and said "Oh, thank you, Dennis!" gratefully. She then gave him several pieces of paper and said "Here are your lines, dear, make sure that you memorize them."
Dennis looked uneasily at the dialogue and said "Mrs. Folger, I still can't read all that good." nervously.
Mrs. Folger never lapsed from her sugary sweet smile, and said "That's all right, Dennis. Your parents can help you with it."
"Gee, thanks, Mrs. Folger!" Dennis said in a joyful voice.
"Anytime, Dennis." Mrs. Folger said in a comforting voice.
When Dennis and his parents got home, he told them the news about the job he had been given, and they were very happy for him, and they agreed to help him study for the play.
George Wilson reclined on his smooth, comfortable couch as he watched television. His eyelids became heavy, and he began to drift off to sleep. Suddenly, his eyes were forced back open by a loud, wailing sound. "DON'T BE AFRAID! I BRING YOU GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY, WHICH WILL BE FOR ALL THE PEOPLE! FOR TODAY IN THE CITY OF BETHELEHEM, A SAVIOR HAS BEEN BORN TO YOU!"
Mr. Wilson looked around in shock, before silence fell again. Mr. Wilson then relaxed back on his couch, thinking to himself, [They should put a muzzle on that kid.], before closing his eyes, and again beginning to drift off to sleep. Then, another loud, juvenile shout attacked his eardrums. "HEY, MR. WILLLLLSSOOOOONNNN!"
"No! No! NO! Just when I was getting some rest!" George said aloud.
The door to Mr. Wilson's living room swung wide open, and Dennis charged in. "Hi, Mr. Wilson! Could ya hear me practicin' for the Christmas play?" Dennis eagerly asked.
George sighed with exhaustion and said "Dennis, I'd be able to hear you if you were on the MOON!" he angrily grunted.
However, Dennis didn't pick up Mr. Wilson's anger and said "Great! That means that I'm loud enough! Angels have gotta be loud to spread the good news!" Dennis then asked Mr. Wilson in a much quieter voice "Mr. Wilson, will you come to the church on Christmas Eve to watch me?"
George was taken aback by this, he said "I'll see if I can make it, Dennis. But I can't promise.."
"Golly! Thanks, Mr. Wilson!" Dennis interrupted, before zooming off toward the front door, and slammed it shut. A rather expensive vase that sat on a small table beside the door, toppled over and shattered into small fragments on the floor!
"DENNIS!" Mr. Wilson shouted at the top of his lungs.
On Christmas Eve at 6:00pm, the entire church was packed with parents and grandparents, waiting to catch a glimpse of their offspring on stage, cameras in hand. Reverand Folger wished that these people would be as enthusiastic during his normal sermons.
Backstage, Mrs. Folger was helping Dennis into his white angel's robe, which two small wings had been attached, and a small golden halo attached to a golden rod running down his back. "Oh, Dennis, you look like an absolute angel! Because you're dressed like one! Your parents are going to be so proud!" she fawned.
"Yeah, I just hope that Margaret doesn't screw things up too much." Dennis said under his breath.
Reverend Folger stepped foreward onto the altar, and motioned his hands for silence. The congregation fell silent.
"Brothers and Sisters, welcome to our presentation of the Nativity Story, performed by our young ones. Please enjoy the show." he said warmly, before walking out of sight.
The curtain went up, and revealed Margaret, dressed in period attire, attending to her biblical era chores, when one of Dennis' friends, Tommy, dressed in an outfit identical to Dennis' walked onstage "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." he announced.
Margaret placed her hands up to her mouth, and widening her eyes, feigning surprise. It was a little too dramatic for Dennis' tastes, and he grimaced.
"Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God." Tommy said assuringly. "You will be pregnant and give birth to a son. You are to name him Jesus. He will be great, and he will be called Son of the Most High."
"But, how can this be?" Said Margaret, with wild aplomb, throwing her arm across her forehead and laying on her side. "Since I am but a simple virgin? Thrown into these unexpected events like a boat tossed upon the wild waves!"
Dennis had had enough! "That's not in the script! I'm gonna teach her a lesson!" He said angrily, walking out on the stage.
Gina, who was working the curtains, couldn't believe her eyes! "Dennis, what are you doing?" she whispered after him in shock.
Dennis appeared on stage next to Tommy. "Dennis?" he exclaimed.
"The Lord also sent me here to tell you that you're overacting!" Dennis said slyly. The audience collectively chuckled out loud, except for Dennis' parents, who placed their faces in their hands, moaning "Oh, Dennis."
Margaret was infuriated! "Dennis Mitchell, you're ruining my big moment! And you're not even in this scene!" She shouted at the top of her voice.
"Good thing too, I couldn't stand that crummy acting!" Dennis fired back.
Margaret got to her feet, walked toward Dennis and cocked back her fist. "Dennis Mitchell, I ought to.." She threatened.
Dennis put his hands up defensively. "You wouldn't hit an angel, would you?" He asked innocently.
"You're not an angel! You're a little devil, Dennis!" Margaret yelled, she lunged towards him, Dennis took off backstage and Margaret gave chase. The audience went into hysterics, laughing uproariously. Except for Dennis and Margeret's parents, who were mortified.
Backstage, Margaret was chasing Dennis around the prop table, when the Reverend Folger seized the two by their shoulders. "Please, both of you! This is no time to be fighting!" He reprimanded. "Now I want both of you to apologize to each other this instant.
Both of the children rolled their eyes and said "Sorry." to each other.
"Now, Margaret, I want you to go back to the stage and finish your scene. And Dennis, I want you to wait next time for your cue."
The play continued without incident, and soon it came time for Dennis to appear in front of the shepherds, but as he appeared on stage in front of them, he realized that he had forgotton his lines! Dennis broke out in a cold sweat as he looked around nervously for help, however, everyone was only focused on hearing his lines. Dennis had no choice, but to try to wing it as best he could. He took a deep breath, and began to speak. "Hey fellas, I've got great news! Today in David's City, your savior was just born! You're gonna find him dressed up in waddlin' clothes, and lyin' in a manger!"
Then, a number of children dressed as angels came by Dennis' side, proclaiming "Glory to God in the Highest! And on Earth, Peace and Goodwill to men!"
The entire church emitted thunderous applause and cheers! Dennis, and the others on stage took a bow.
After the play was over, the chidren were greeted backstage by their parents. Dennis, parents looked reserved, yet proud of their son.
"That was a very touching performance, Dennis!" Mrs. Mitchell complimented him, giving him a congratulatory peck on the cheek.
Dennis wiped it off with the sleeve of his robe. "Thanks, Mom!" he said.
"Yes, Dennis, it was unconventional, but good." Henry congratulted him.
Thanks, Dad!" Dennis replied.
"I don't know what you're talking about! The angel never said anything like that!" Margaret interjected.
"Well, I think it was great, Margaret!" Gina said.
"Thanks, Gina. I only wish Mr. Wilson could've been here." Dennis said, his face becoming downcast.
Suddenly, a familiar voice behind Dennis said "Actually, I saw the whole thing, Dennis."
A smile came across Dennis' face, as he spun around, to see Mr. and Mrs. Wilson standing in front of him. Mrs. Wilson was smiling as usual, and Mr. Wilson had a smirk on his face, and was holding a happily wrapped present. "Mr. Wilson! You came!"
Dennis joyfully exclaimed.
"Well, I had to come, to give you this." Mr. Wilson said, stepping foreward with the package. However, Dennis stepped foreward at the same time to recieve it, and inadvertantly tripped him, sending Mr. Wilson toppling on top of the present with the sound of shattering glass!
Everyone gasped, and Dennis asked in desperation "Mr. Wilson, are you okay?"
"Yes," Mr. Wilson said resignedly, a frown returning to his face. "But I think I just broke your new snowglobe."
Dennis and his family and friends all burst into laughter. Even Mr. Wilson couldn't help chuckling.