IV. After a perfunctory investigation Constable Archibald Primrose gave up solving the murder of St Nicholas. He did the next-best thing by selling the whole story to BBC, CNN and the Danish prime minister who was grateful that now the press would run off to Longburied Parsley instead of harping on his none-too successful climate conference. “It´s gonna be a cold, cold Christmas” he hummed dejectedly. The prime minister that is, not Constable Primrose, who was quite happy with his position right in the middle of things and a wad of good, American dollars in his pocket. [I know what you think, but you did not expect a realistic story, did you?]
The world press renounced hordes of demonstrators sitting on their freezing behinds in Copenhagen and gathered around the corpse like flies smelling … well, a corpse. They informed a gawping world that Santa had died in a sensational accident, dropping off his high-flying sleigh into a snowdrift, apparently drunk as a skunk.
“Christmas cancelled” cried meter-high headlines. “World Wide Christmas Crisis.” “No Christmas presents.” “Obama promises help if China will also chip in.”
Meanwhile Arnold kept the aunties preoccupied by making sure they had plenty of schnapps on the table so he could sneak down the basement and open Uncle Nick´s Christmas present. How could Mildred´s old uncle know anything about his obsession? As if Arnold had ever admitted to anyone alive that this was his greatest wish. This was sheer Christmas magic!
On Christmas morning Arnold had finished boarding up the basement windows. He had rigged up a huge table on trestles and built a wonderful model railway for his teeny-weeny model train, and the cute, little station was a perfect replica of the ivy-covered train station of Longburied Parsley.
“Arnold, your turkey is ready.”
“Did you remember that I like plenty of gravy? You can leave it on the threshold. Merry Christmas, Mildred.” He grabbed the plate and shut the door tight, before he blew the whistle of the tiny train that was puffing merrily round and round.
“Arnold. Arnoooold? My Christmas present?” Mildred knocked on the door timidly.
“How can you worry about petty details like that when Christmas has been canceled worldwide and all the little children must go without presents. Really, Mildred …”
Relieved, he heard her slippers shuffle off and bent over his railway. Perhaps he should take a peep at the other presents in Uncle Nick´s sack later?