T was the night

before Christmas

And Janet was gone.

I was at home

And I was alone.

I pulled down the shades,

I locked all the doors.

My feet moved swiftly

Across the cold kitchen floor.

There were the gifts

All under the tree.

I would look them over,

And find one just for me.

I’d shake it and smell it,

And rattle it good,

And hope that like last year

That it wasn’t just wood.

But as hard as I looked,

I just could not see,

A single present

That was just for me.

I scratched my bald head,

I thought I’d been good,

This year I wouldn’t

Even get wood.

I’d search the whole house,

I’d look low and look high,

“I’ll bet Janet hid it,”

I heard myself cry.

I looked in the pantry,

I searched every shelf,

I emptied the cupboards

Till nothing was left.

I went room to room,

Leavin’ a mess in my wake,

I’d find that blame present

If all night it did take.

There was one place left,

But I was scared to look there,

‘Cause it was the drawer,

Full of her underwear.

I got a screwdriver

To use as a stick,

To stir all those panties,

So I wouldn’t get sick.

Ladies panties, you see,

And it may sound silly,

They’re lacy and shiny,

And they give me the willies.

So I stirred and I dug,

Flung them here and then there,

I never have seen

Quite so much underwear.

When the drawer was empty,

I sat on the floor,

It was then that I heard

Janet open the door.

“What it the world,

Have you done to this place?”

I tried really hard

To have an innocent face.

But I could tell by the way

She looked at the mess,

To save my poor skin,

I’d better confess.

“Well,” I said sadly,

With an innocent sigh,

And tried to make a tear

Come out of my eye.

“I noticed,” I said,

“When I looked under the tree

There wasn’t a single

Present for me.

So I have been lookin’

In case it was hid.”

“I swear,” she said.

“You’re worse than a kid.

“Close your eyes,”

She said with a sigh.

“And don’t you dare peek,

Or I’ll put out your eye.”

I closed my eyes tightly,

With a smile on my face,

And then in my hands,

A present she placed.

I opened my eyes,

And there in my hand,

Was a little red box

With a bright ribbon band.

I tore off the paper,

It was then that I knew,

She had got me some bullets

For my ol’ twenty-two.

I hugged her and squeezed her

And then kissed her, too.

It was just what I wanted,

How was it she knew?

This question I posed her,

She smiled and then paused,

“I intercepted your letter,

To ol’ Santa Claus.”

She explained to me,

Because of the war,

That Santa couldn’t fly

With bullets no more.

She kissed me and smiled,

And I knew I was blessed,

“Merry Christmas,” she said.

“Now, clean up this mess.

Merry Christmas. May God bless each and every one of you.

Rusty Mitchum lives in New Harmony, Texas, where he writes a regular column for The Lindale News and Times. He says the only reason he writes is to keep the voices away.