24 December 1963 / Magnus Estate

I knew this danger was lurking, but I needed more data before submitting my findings to peer review. This summer, I remember, I was working as fast as I could, and surely, evidence was mounting. If only I wasn’t distracted by George this fall, I would’ve maintained that pace, or at the very least, wouldn’t have forgotten about it completely which was the case.

I would’ve been able to warn everyone: That twinkle in a department store Santa’s eye isn’t caused by some mystical Christmas spirit. It’s caused by disease! Indeed, it’s the first signs of a particularly virulent combination of conjunctivitis and meningitis, that if not quickly treated can be extremely dangerous and crippling, if not deadly.

Today, while I looked for what was advertised as “power slacks” in a JC Penney, a store Santa accosted me, ho ho ho-ing and asking what I wanted for Christmas. Immediately diagnosing his eye as diseased, I replied, “To live. Damnit, I want to live!”

I promptly ordered the entire store quarantined, and had every shopper, worker and that Santa, whom I assumed was patient zero, bussed to Magnus General for treatment and observation. I just hope we caught it in time.

I understand the inconvenience this places on the patients, as this night is meant to be spent with families and is filled with traditions that if missed can ruin the year for some. Though my explanation that dying also ruins Christmas should have sufficed, I tried to ease their disappointment with some fun.

Luckily, I had just that morning chopped down a dozen 15 foot pines for the hospital ballroom that had yet to be decorated for my party tomorrow night. So while I directed them and sang improvised carols, the patients strung lights and hung ornaments for a good 9 hours.

Even the patient zero Santa made an appearance, and cheered them on from his wheelchair, having already lost the use of his legs – not from the eye thing, but from the bus that was left in neutral causing it to roll over his lower body. I suspect he’s just happy to be under a solid roof for the night.

Anyway, after the trees were splendidly finished, the patients were exhausted with joy and fell asleep. Having been treated for The Twinkle (that’s as good a name as any, I think), with none of them exhibiting any symptoms through the strenuous trimming, I believe they no longer pose a threat to the community.

I just thought of this, but I think I can make a little magic happen. What if I return everyone to their home while they slumber? Yes! Imagine the look on their faces when they wake up on Christmas morning suddenly, inexplicably… miraculously!… back in JC Penney’s? I'm getting giddy just thinking about it.