Santa's Missing Bag (Ages 8-10)

  I saw the flyer this morning, while I was waiting for the bus. It was stapled to the telephone pole beside my driveway. It said Santa's bag was missing from his workshop. With such a small amount of time left before Christmas, the elves were asking for help. They offered a reward of $50.00.


  I could really use that money. There was a new video game I'd been wanting. But more important, finding Santa's bag was a sure way to get my name on the “nice” list. And I could use all the help I could get with that.


  After school, I went to Santa's Workshop to talk to the elves. I was hoping maybe they could give me a clue where to start looking.


  I found the elves hard at work but Dexter, the head elf, took a break to talk to me. Dexter said Santa's bag was last seen the night before inside the workshop. He looked at the ground and shuffled his feet.


  “Yesterday was my birthday and the elves threw me a party... without Santa's permission.” He said. “We were having so much fun, no one paid any attention to Santa's bag until we were cleaning up. That's when we realized it was missing.”


  He gave me a list of people who were at the party... Cola the polar bear, the reindeer, Frosty, the penguins, and the Gingerbread Man.


  I knew the reindeer usually hung out at Candy Cane Clock Tower so I decided to head over there. But before I left, I made a quick trip around the workshop to look for clues.


  I found tracks in the snow behind the workshop. It looked like something heavy was dragged across the snow and then loaded into a sleigh.


  I noticed a torn piece of paper on the ground by the tracks. It looked like part of an envelope. Most of the address was missing but I could still read “Charity Tree Park.”


  At least now I had a place to look. But the Charity Tree Park was pretty big. I'd probably need more to go on before I searched there. Well, off to talk to those reindeer...


  I found the reindeer at the Clock Tower, just as I thought I would. Unfortunately they weren't much help. They had spent the whole party singing and telling jokes on the stage. They never even saw Santa's bag that night.


  Dasher remembered the penguins were at the party, though. “You should ask them. They're always causing trouble.”


  So off I went to the penguin park. But the penguins were so busy playing, I had a hard time questioning them. I finally corned one and wouldn't let him by until he answered my questions.


  “I saw Santa's bag that night,” he said. “When I left the party, the Gingerbread Man was asleep, leaning against it.”


  “He was asleep against Santa's bag?” I asked. “Are you sure about that?”


  “Yeah,” the penguin answered. “Maybe you should talk to him. He's probably at the Candy Cane Welcome Center making Christmas Candy.”


  The Gingerbread man was busy when I got there but he answered my questions while he worked.


  “It's true I was sleeping against the bag. I've been putting in a  lot of overtime trying to get the candy ready by Christmas Eve. But I can't tell you much more than that. Frosty woke me up about nine o'clock and walked me home.”


  “Maybe Frosty can tell you more,” the Gingerbread Man continued. “I saw him over at Candy Cane Ice Rink with his kids a  few hours ago. Maybe he's still there.”


  I arrived at the ice rink only to find, I just missed Frosty. One of the skaters said he overheard Frosty saying he was going to the Christmas Tree Farm to let his kids pick out a tree.
So off I went to the Christmas Tree Farm. I caught Frosty just as he was leaving. Unfortunately he couldn't tell me much either.


  “I woke the Gingerbread Man up and walked him home just like he said. But the bag was still there when I left. Cola, the polar bear, was still there then. She would be the best one to ask.”


  “Do you know where I can find her?” I asked.


  “She usually takes her little one to play in the hot springs about this time every day,” Frosty answered. “ If you hurry you can probably find her there.”


  I found Cola at the hot springs. She saw the Gingerbread man asleep against Santa's bag and she saw Frosty wake him up.


  “But I didn't stay long after they left,” she said. “I did see some children helping clean up, though.”


  “Do you know who the kids were?” I asked.


  “Yes, I do. It was Natalie, Marcy, and Melanie,” Cola replied.


  “I know them!” I exclaimed. “They're in my class at school.”


  I might have put a piece of this puzzle together too. Melanie's parents own the Charity Tree Park. The address on that piece of envelope  I found might be Melanie's house.

 
  I ran down the sidewalk toward the Charity Tree Park. I wasn't looking where I was going and bumped into someone coming out of the candy shop. It was Natalie.


  So I asked her about the party. She said the elves paid her, Marcy, and Melanie a few dollars to help them clean up. 


  “We took out a lot of big bags full of trash,” she said. “It was a big mess to clean up.”
Natalie bites her lip. “Melanie was acting a little strange that night. She was being more helpful than usual. Every time one of us started to take a load of trash out back, she would take the bag from us and offer to take it out herself.”


  I was pretty sure I knew who had taken Santa's bag. I just didn't know why. I headed to the Charity Tree Park to talk to Melanie.

 
  Melanie wasn't home when I got there. So I decided to look around while I waited. In her backyard, I found another torn piece of paper. It was part of an envelope.
  The return address read: Mr. Grouch, Santa's Village And it was address to: Melanie Singer, 104 East... And there it was torn so I couldn't read the rest.


  I pulled the other torn piece of paper out of my pocket. They matched up perfectly... Melanie Singer 104 East Charity Tree Park.


  I sat on the porch to wait for Melanie to come home. I didn't have to wait long. I didn't say a word. I just pulled out the envelope and handed it to her. Melanie's face turned white and she started to cry.


  “Why?” I asked. “Why would you steal Santa's bag?”


  “My little sister is sick and we can't pay for her medicine.” She answered. “Mr Grouch offered me a lot of money to take the bag.”


  “He didn't even want the bag. He just wanted to make trouble for Santa, “ she continued. “I have the bag hidden in my shed.”


  She walked with me to the shed and gave me the bag.
  “Please tell Santa I'm really sorry,”Melanie said.


  “I promise,” I replied. “I'll explain everything to him.”


  I hurried to the workshop to return the bag. Hopefully, Santa will understand why Melanie took it. But as for me, I'm pretty sure I just earned a place on the nice list... at least for a while.

 

Copyright © 2010 by Kimber Krochmal